We all dream. While sometimes we may awake from a night of sleep having no recollection of our dreams, other times they can be more vivid, more disturbing, or allow us to have more control over them. These type of dreams, where the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming, are known as lucid dreams.
Like regular dreams, lucid dreams occur during the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of the sleep cycle. Usually after we fall asleep, we pass through three stages of non-REM sleep before beginning to dream. But when a person enters lucid dreaming, different processes occur that allow the dreamer to be aware that they are dreaming. The dreamer may gain a certain degree of control over the dream’s characters, plot, and setting, however that is not always the case – sometimes the dreamer is just aware that they are dreaming but they do not control the narrative.
Because lucid dreaming is such a vivid experience, it appeals to those who want to explore their inner dream world with greater awareness. Lucid dreaming has also been recognised as having other benefits, such as:
- Reducing symptoms of anxiety
- Enhancing creativity
- Preventing nightmares, or increasing the ability to change the nightmare into a more positive dream
According to studies, around half of all people have had a lucid dream at some time in their lives, and around 11% experience one or two lucid dreams per month. If you haven’t experienced lucid dreaming for yourself, but would like to try, give some of the below techniques a try.
- Get more REM sleep
Lucid dreaming tends to occur in the REM stage of sleeping, so try boosting this sleep cycle by creating a healthy bedtime routine.
- Keep a dream journal
A dream journal is a great way to aid lucid dreaming. Writing down key details of your dream forces you to recall them, which in turn allows your brain to become more aware of dreaming.
Capture your dreams with our brand new Dare To Dream Notepad. Here, you can record, reflect and track all of your dreams. Reflect on your notepad regularly to familiarise yourself with your dreams and to enforce lucid dreaming.
- Reality testing
By increasing your awareness during your waking state, you can also enhance your awareness during your dreaming state, as it’s believed that you level of consciousness is similar when you’re awake and when you’re dreaming.
Reality testing involves reality checks frequently throughout the day, for example:
- Push your fingers against your opposite palm. If you’re dreaming, your fingers will push through.
- Look in the mirror. If you’re dreaming, your reflection will look different.
- Pinch your nose. If you can still breathe, you’re dreaming.
Lucid dreaming is a magical way to increase awareness within yourself. Have you experienced lucid dreams before? Let us know in the comments below.
It’s recommended to speak to a professional sleep specialist before trying to lucid dreaming to determine if it’s the right thing for you.