You are walking down a road with your friends engaging in conversations and enjoying the moment that suddenly your friends disappear. You look upwards; the sky has turned dark. The road has started to vanish, and there are no people in the entire scene. You are scared, very scared. There is a monster truck coming right towards you, but you are tied to a pole, and you cannot do anything. In less than 10 seconds, it will crush you.
Suddenly you realize, this is a dream. And you untie yourself and jump to save your life. Maybe fly to another world with a beautiful view and all the amenities, it’s your dream after all.
Have you ever experienced this before?
Taking control over your dream after a sudden realization? Like you are playing a video game, not watching a movie? If yes, then you, my friend, were lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming, by definition, is known as a dream in which the individual is aware of what is happening and also has some control over it.
How lucid dreams occur?
Our sleep is known to flow in two stages. REM and NON-REM. In the REM stage, our brain is the most active. And it is conclusive that our heart rate and eye movements also take a hike.
Lucid dreams are most likely to happen in the REM stage. When the lucid dreams occur, you are in total awareness that you are dreaming. Healthline.com states that about 55 percent have experienced lucid dreams once or more in a lifetime.
Why Lucid dreams occur?
There is no exact reasoning stated by the neuroscientists as to why lucid dreams occur, but there have been some theories.
- Scientists have found physical differences in the brains of people who lucid dream and the ones who do not. The lucid dreamers have a large frontal side of the brain that controls memories and decision-making.
- One set of researchers believes that lucid dreamers have a better grasp of learning and attaining knowledge in real life.
- According to webmd.com, there was a small study that took place in Germany. It measured that lucid dreams are not a part of the deep sleep. It might be a mid-way. Neither fully asleep nor woke up.
How to experience lucid dreams?
People are natural lucid dreamers, but is there a way we can induce lucid dreaming?
There is no exact formula to have lucid dreams, but there are few techniques that can better your chances of having lucid dreams.
Extend REM sleep
We already know that lucid dreams occur in the REM stage of sleep when the brain is most active. Extending REM sleep can increase the chances of lucid dreams.
You can extend the REM sleep stage by having a fulfilled overall sleep.
The level of consciousness stays somewhat intact. It doesn’t change much while we are sleeping or not. So if you design an experiment and become more aware when you are not sleeping that is (woke up stage), there are chances of your brain to be much more aware during the sleeping stage.
Reality Testing is an excellent method to achieve this. It trains you in a way to be aware of being aware. That means when you are awake, you will be able to recognize your awareness. The method includes practicing the awareness stage multiple times during the day. Once you are habitual of it, there are chances for you to pick it up in the sleeping mode as well.
Dream Journals are a good way to induce lucid dreams. Dreams journals are notes that you write down after you wake up. It consists of the details of your dreams. You will recall your dreams easily when you write them down. And dream journals have proven to be somewhat effective in inducing lucid dreams.
Pros and cons
Every coin has two sides. Lucid dreams, too, come with its fair share of positives and negatives.
Lucid-dream can help in decreasing nightmare and nightmare-related anxiety. There have been some cases where lucid dreaming has helped in alleviating general anxiety. It is believed that it cuts off the source of the anxiety, thereby relieving people of it.
Research has pointed out that lucid dreaming helps in increasing creativity. This acts vice-versa as well. The people who are more creative tend to lucid dream. It can be due to their ability of better visualizing events and more often. Science has not authenticated the use of lucid dreaming to enhance creativity. Still, there were some cases where people believed that lucid dreaming had impacted their ability to think creatively to an extent.
Difficulty in distinguishing between reality and dream.
Lucid dreaming makes it challenging to differentiate between reality and virtuality. People get confused about being aware of what is going on in reality and what the dreams were. It can take a severe toll on mental health.
Issues in sleeping are known to impact negatively on mental health and cause depression and anxiety.
Problem in sleeping
Lucid dreaming involves consciously interrupting sleep and disrupting the whole sleeping system. Getting less quality and quantity of sleep can be problematic for the body turning into a severe sleeping disorder.
If you have lucid dreams, chances are you might be lucky and creative at the same time. If not, then don’t worry, it’s not a lot that you are missing out on. But if you are still adamant on the part, you can induce lucid dreams by implementing the above-mentioned techniques. Don’t forget to read the pros and cons before going in to experience lucid dreams. Do not forget to comment on your lucid dreams experience. If you already are a lucid dreamer, go and mention one of your most interesting lucid dreams that you remember in the comments section.