What is a Lucid Dream?
Author: Jonathan Warren
Have you ever had a vivid dream where you were suddenly aware that you were dreaming or have you ever felt that you could control elements of the narrative? This moment of clarity during a sleep state is called a Lucid Dream. For some, Lucid Dreams are a spontaneous event, however, many people take active steps to encourage the experience. Whether you have had a Lucid Dream in the past or you simply want to learn about experimenting with dream states, read on to discover more about the world of Lucid Dreaming from the benefits they can bring to the various techniques you can try out.
How Does Lucid Dreaming Work?
Have you ever been aware you are dreaming, and therefore were able to manipulate what happened? If so, you have experienced a lucid dream!
Lucid dreams tend to occur in the REM stage of sleep, when the most vivid of dreams occur and your brain is most active. During a lucid dream, the dreamer gains awareness that they are in a dream and are able to control elements of the dream such as locations and people.
If you have ever wanted to dream about a specific person or place or even a particular activity you would never dare to do in real life, you may want be interested in the techniques used to conjure up a lucid dream.
What Are The Benefits Of Lucid Dreams?
Dreaming is said to have many benefits, including helping the brain store important memories and sort through complicated feelings. Lucid dreams come with their own set of benefits including:
Providing A Therapeutic Experience
While lucid dreams tend to be vivid, many people report that the experience is overall a cathartic one. A lucid dream is basically a blank canvas that you can use for self reflection and inner peace.
Experiencing A Fun Adventure
Lucid dreams are completely controllable which means you can experience once in a lifetime events, like meeting your celebrity crush or going into space. The only limit is your own imagination.
Another benefit of lucid dreams is that they give your creativity levels a boost. Creating your own virtual reality adventure is a great way to think outside the box. You can even use lucid dreams to test out things you want to try in your business or personal life.
Confronting Your Fears
Lucid dreaming allows you to control the storyline of your dream, so you could use it to safely increase your exposure to the things that scare you the most. By encountering things that you are scared of regularly in a safe environment, you will become desensitised to it over time, allowing you to deal with phobias.
Combat Night Terrors
If you are plagued by frequent nightmares, lucid dreaming can give you greater control over what happens in your dreams – providing relief from potential frightening experiences as you sleep.
Lucid Dream Techniques To Try
Some people are able to naturally experience lucid dreams without trying. For those who have yet to have a lucid dream but want to learn how to control your dreams, there are a number of techniques you can try.
Start A Dream Journal
In order to learn the art of lucid dreams, it can be beneficial to document your dreams. Recording dreams in a dream journal is a simple way to boost your dream recall which is an essential skill to master.
If your aim is to experience a lucid dream, you should begin with regular reality checks in your day to day life. By doing these checks daily, deciphering the difference between reality and a dream world will become second nature and you will soon be able to do this in your dreams. A simple way to check if you are experiencing reality or a dream state is to pinch your skin to see if it hurts or push your finger against a hard surface such as a wall to determine if you feel resistance.
Practising self-meditation can increase your chances of lucid dreaming as it allows you to set affirmations and intentions. Becoming more aware and using mindfulness techniques can reprogram your subconscious mind which you can tap into not only when you are awake but also when you sleep.
The Wild Technique
WILD stands for Wake Induced Lucid Dreams and it is a technique used to trigger a lucid dream. In essence, this helps you to walk your way into a lucid dream from an awakened state using the power of thought. This method relies on visualising your dream before you sink into it and basically creating your chosen dream landscape in your mind’s eye.
Is There A Downside To Lucid Dreaming?
Experimenting with lucid dreams can be a great experience, and it is generally safe to lucid dream. However, you should think about the reasons you wish to experience one carefully before you try to initiate it.
If you suffer from mental health issues, experimenting with dream states could have both positive and negative effects. For example, if you already suffer with disassociation, experimenting with lucid dreams may make it harder to distinguish reality from a dream like state. While there are no real risks involved, it is important to understand that while feelings of joy and euphoria are possible, so are fear, sadness and pain.
Have you ever had a lucid dream? Have you tried any of the techniques mentioned in this article? Let the team know on Twitter at @Time4Sleep.