The elusive art of lucid dreaming is a difficult thing to comprehend. Used for multiple reasons including psychological therapy, muscular rehabilitation and, of course, relaxation, lucid dreaming is an effective way of controlling your dreams as you wish.
But, what are the benefits of lucid dreaming, and what causes lucid dreams to begin with? If you’re interested in learning more about lucid dreaming, keep reading as we divulge the benefits of lucid dreaming and explain how to have vivid dreams.
What’s A Lucid Dream?
When we sleep, our bodies go through various sleep cycles. The aim of this is to allow us to enter deep sleep before emerging in the morning feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day.
A key part of these sleep cycles follows our ability to dream. Although nothing has been scientifically proven, it is believed that dreams act as our mind’s way of entertaining our thoughts at night-time. Dreaming helps us process our emotions, memories, and feelings, causing wild imagery akin to those introduced by psychedelic drugs.
The dreaming process isn’t perfect and sometimes we become aware of our dreams while in the middle of them. This results in the phenomenon of lucid dreaming. Mostly occurring during the rapid eye motion (REM) portion of sleep, lucid dreaming gives us the ability to take control of our dreams and steer things in a direction of our choosing.
How Do You Lucid Dream?
Naturally, upon discovering the ability to have lucid dreams, humanity has been in pursuit of creating defined methods of achieving a lucid dream more frequently. As such, there are three methods that have emerged as being the most effective:
Wake-Initiated Lucid Dreaming (WILD)
By far the most effective lucid dreaming technique is to enter it through wake-initiated lucid dreaming (WILD). WILD happens by going straight into a lucid dream directly from normal sleep. As you can imagine, this is extremely difficult and can only really be achieved by practice.
Wake Back to Bed (WBTB)
Wake back to bed is one of the more interruptive lucid dreaming tactics. It involves waking up in the middle of the night before returning to sleep after a certain amount of time has passed. The rationale following the works of Dr Stephen LaBerge who suggested that morning naps increased the chances of lucid dreaming.
Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams (MILD)
Mnemonic induction involves training self-awareness to identify and recognise when dreaming starts and ends. It is achieved through cognitive affirmation at night-time, with users seeking to encourage memorable processes to signify when they are likely to begin lucid dreaming.
The Benefits of Lucid Dreaming
As more attention has been paid to lucid dreaming over the years, researchers and enthusiasts have been sure to point out some distinct benefits of the activity:
Lucid dreaming has already been effectively used to treat various psychological conditions, including PTSD, depression, and anxiety. By using dreams as treatment facilities, dreamers are able to confront their fears in a safe, controlled environment.
By being able to control the outcome of their dreams, people are given the ability to defuse traumatic situations and lessen the fear factor of nightmares.
Without the restrictions of reality, people that undergo lucid dreams are given the ability to think even further outside the box, which inspires greater creativity in the real world.
To some anxiety sufferers, a lack of control is a major trigger point. During a lucid dream, the control is in your hands which helps with feelings of stability. This could prove beneficial to those with anxiety issues, restoring a sense of balance in their life.
During a lucid dream, you’re safe to make all sorts of decisions without any physical consequences. Some first-timers often resort to flying, and others choose to face their deepest fears. If you’re scared of spiders, you can get to ‘grips’ with one during a lucid dream, which may help you overcome mild arachnophobia.
Dangers of Lucid Dreaming
everyone can agree on its definition, it has been difficult to fully understand the process. Despite this, there’s a lot of speculation around the dangers of lucid dreaming, with some specialists believing it to be a highly risky activity.
So, is lucid dreaming harmful? Let’s find out by looking at the dangers:
Poor Sleep Quality
Due to the various community-invented methods of achieving a lucid dream, sleep quality can become severely impacted as time goes on. This is due to the unnatural ways in which our routines can become affected through measures like the wake-back-to-bed routine.
Hallucinations and Confusion
When we don’t get enough sleep, our everyday lives can become greatly impacted. These effects take place in the form of general confusion and frequent hallucinations.
As with anything involved in lucid dreaming, there are some elements that we simply cannot control and, sometimes, these lucid dreams can quickly turn into lucid nightmares. These nightmares can be a lot more visceral than your average disrupted dream and can even feel traumatic to some.
Could Lucid Dreams Be Your Sleep Solution?
Much like a brand new king size mattress, lucid dreams give us the opportunity to explore all sorts of sleeping regimes in pursuit of a better night’s sleep. Could they be the answer to your problems?
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