A dream is a simple succession of emotions, ideas, images, memories, and sensations that occur during different stages of your sleep cycle. Sometimes though, dreams can feel more real than life itself.
Dreams have a strange way of affecting our moods and daily life. For instance, some dreams can scare us awake suddenly, leaving an overwhelming sense of doom that can last a couple of days. Other times, a dream can give us inspiration by showing us a path that we never realized existed before.
But have you ever had the sudden realization that you were in a dream? Maybe it was the way your house looked, or perhaps it was a circumstance that your brain recognized as impossible. No matter what the cause, if you have experienced that sensation, then you have had a lucid dream.
So, What Is Lucid Dreaming?
A lucid dream is a dream in which you are fully aware that you are, in fact, dreaming. At times, this awareness can give you control over certain aspects of the dream such as the environment, character, and narrative.
Like most dreams, lucid dreaming occurs during REM sleep, which stands for rapid eye movement sleep. This is where most dreaming occurs, along with a faster pulse, body movement, and eye movement. People who wake up during this sleeping stage are more likely to remember their dream.
Becoming lucid during your dream can be triggered by several things, and it is not as rare as you may think. In fact, a survey conducted in 1988 by Snyder & Gackenback showed that 20 percent of people said that they had lucid dreams at least once a month. In other words, roughly 1 in 5 people claim to lucid dream monthly.
There are many things that can trigger a lucid dream, both voluntarily and involuntarily, and there are several ways that you can help influence your ability to recognize that you are in a dream state.
How Can You Try to Lucid Dream?
Trying to intentionally have a lucid dream is both simple and difficult. It is simple because you only need to train yourself to recognize something that is not as it should be. It is difficult because it can be hard to recognize when you are dreaming.
Below are some simple tips and tricks that could help you to lucid dream.
Keep a Dream Journal
Keeping a dream journal is an important step on the path to lucid dreaming. Keep a notebook close to where you sleep (on a nightstand, or under your mattress) so that you can write dreams down as soon as you wake up. The sooner that you write about the dream when waking up, the more details you will remember about it.
This will help you to train yourself to remember your dreams, which will help you draw parallels between certain objects and characters that appear in multiple dreams. Once you are able to recognize these objects, it may help you to realize that you are dreaming when you see them in your sleep.
It is very common to not remember your dreams. If that is the case, simply write that down in your dream journal.
Another step toward lucid dreaming is to perform random reality checks throughout the day to ensure that you are not actually dreaming at that moment. I know this may sound crazy, but the point is to train your brain to perform these reality checks in your dreams as well, which could help you realize that you are dreaming.
Performing a reality check can be something as simple as looking at your hand or at a clock. Try looking away from it, and then back at it again. If anything changes or something does not look right, then you may be dreaming.
It is important that you perform these reality checks when you are awake so that your mind can form the habit of checking periodically, improving your chances of checking during a dream.
Wake Up, Then Go Back to Bed
Nearly 6 hours into a night’s sleep is when the longest REM stage is active. Waking up during this stage will help you remember the dream you were having so that you can identify it as a dream.
Try to stay awake for around 20 minutes, focusing on what you want to dream about when you go back to sleep. According to research, a minority of lucid dreams occur when an individual returns to REM sleeping directly after an awakening.
Why Intentionally Have Lucid Dreams?
Now that you know it is possible to intentionally have a lucid dream, you may be asking “why?” The answer to this is quite simple: To live your dreams.
We’ve all sat around and silently thought in our heads about what our “perfect” life would be (daydreaming, if you will). When you think of this, it is common to think of things such as the house you would live in, the car you would drive, and even the person you might marry. Learning how to lucid dream can help you to experience this dream because you will be able to create it in your head.
There are several reasons to try and purposely have lucid dreams. Some of the most popular reasons are:
- Fantasy Fulfillment
- Problem Solving
- Rehearsing Success
In case all of that information was a lot to take in at one time, here is some frequently asked questions about lucid dreaming to help simplify it.
What Is Lucid Dreaming?
Lucid dreaming is when you are having a dream and are fully aware of it.
Are Lucid Dreams Rare?
No. Roughly 20 percent of people report having lucid dreams monthly, with another 50 percent reporting to have had lucid dreams at least once in their lifetime.
What Causes Lucid Dreaming?
Lucid dreaming can be caused by many things. Often times, lucidity will occur when you notice something in your dream that is impossible, such as the ability to fly. However, other times the cause of lucidity is unknown, and you will just suddenly realize that you are dreaming.
Is Lucid Dreaming Dangerous?
No, lucid dreaming is not dangerous. Although bad experiences can occur, most people who fully experience lucid dreaming have a positive experience that rewards them in some way. Some people that may have reported nightmares may not have actually been lucid in their sleep.
Can You Intentionally Have Lucid Dreams?
Yes, it is possible to intentionally have lucid dreams. In fact, there are many things you can do to practice for it, such as keeping a dream journal, performing reality checks, and experimenting with different sleeping techniques.
Is Lucid Dreaming and Dream Control the Same Thing?
Although having a lucid dream typically means you have some form of control over it, you do not necessarily have to be in control in order to be lucid. Being lucid in your dream simply means that you are aware that you are dreaming.
The ability to lucid dream is more obtainable than many people realize. With a lot of time, practice, and patience, you too could experience the power of controlling your dreams.
If you enjoyed this blog, be sure to check out all of our other content here at SleepReports!