In A Better You, General Knowledge, Wellbeing

Lucid Dreaming

Until a few years, many people had not even heard of the term lucid dreaming. For many this was simply thought of as something people could only do on the rare occasion and made people ask is lucid dreaming real. With some practice and the right tools, it can be very possible for people to lucid dream on a regular basis. This is why it is helpful to understand what is a lucid dreaming as well as how to lucid dream.

What is Lucid Dreaming and is it the Same Thing as Dream Control?

The first thing to look at here is the lucid dreaming definition. This just means that you are aware you are dreaming while in a dream. The big confusion here is that many people think that this means they will be able to control their dreams. Unfortunately this is not always the case. Even if you are able to dream control, you may not be able to control the dream every time you experience a lucid dream. Just remember when you want to define lucid dreaming remember that the experience is different for every person and can vary during different dreams.

Is Lucid Dreaming Dangerous?

Just as anything else that is not publicly understood, many people wonder- is lucid dreaming bad. There are some who worry that this can lead to mental issues or even a psychotic break where you are unable to determine whether you are in a dream or not. Part of this is due to the movie Inception, where the main character plants an idea in her mind while in a shared lucid dream and she loses her touch with reality. This ultimately causes her to take her own life and frame him for it to ensure that he would end his life as well so they could be together in reality.

Despite the depiction of wild lucid dreaming in this movie, there is no evidence that shows hat lucid dreaming can be dangerous. In fact, there was a study done that shows that lucid dreams can actually increase a person’s resilience. This refers to their stability after going through a traumatic event. It is a practice some mental health professionals recommend to help people who suffer from nightmares.

The Benefits of Lucid Dreaming

There are a number of benefits that you can receive from lucid dreaming. This includes:

  • The ability (in some cases) to control your dream. You can fly, visit any place you imagine in your mind and do things that break the laws of physics because you are dreaming.
  • It can help to improve problem solving skills
  • Lose that nagging feeling that there was something in your dream you wanted to remember but cannot think of it.
  • You can create your dream in advance and know just the adventure you will go on that night.
  • This gives you the opportunity to not only see your creative potential but to watch it grow over time with the lucid dreaming stories that you come up with for your night.
  • You can overcome fears, grief and other issues you are dealing with by facing this in your dream.
  • Get better at certain skills when you practice them in your sleep.

​The First Steps to Lucid Dreaming

Most people will not just decide they are going to lucid dream and then go to sleep and actually do it. Rather this is a process where you must train your brain to be concious for your dreams. There are a few things you can do to get your brain in the right state of mind. You can try one or all of these techniques.

Keeping a Dream Journal

By writing down your dreams every day you will be doing a couple of helpful things for lucid dreaming. For one, you will be able to recognize the signs of your dreams. Your dreams have certain tells that let you know you are dreaming. As you continue to journal your dreams you will start to notice patterns. Also, just the act of writing down your dreams sends a message to your mind that you want to remember your dreams. This is the first step to being lucid during your dream.

Keep in mind that there is no correct method for journaling your dreams. Some people prefer to write them on a notepad that sits next to their bed. Others like to type them one of their devices. For others, it may be better to simply record yourself talking about your dream. Either way, try to remember as many details as you can about the dream you had as this will help you to have better results.

Performing Reality Checks Throughout the Day

Another way that people can train their mind to be awake for dreams is to perform reality checks throughout the day. The easiest one to do is to ask yourself, “Am I dreaming?” several times throughout the day. Obviously your mind knows you are awake, but think about how you know you are awake. Make a mental note of why you know you are awake. This can help to keep your brain on alert looking for signs that you are awake in your dreams, which will help you to realize that you are sleeping.

There are many other ways that you can perform reality checks. The most common way people do this is by pinching themselves. When you are awake you will feel it and when you are asleep you will not. However, it is important to note that you may experience pain and other physical sensations while dreaming so this should not be relied upon. Some simply use their dream journal and look at the signs of a dream in reality throughout the day when they do their reality checks.

You should also start performing reality checks whenever something during your day seems odd or frustrating. Often times our dreams will feel weird, especially when you look back on them. By doing the reality checks when you are experiencing these feelings, it will become instinctual. This way when your dream gets weird, you will naturally perform a reality check and realize you are dreaming.

A Stands for Awake

While this may seem like it belongs in the reality check, it is worth noting on its own. With this premise, you write an A on the palm of your hand with your finger every time you see the letter A. Remind yourself that A stands for awake. When you do this repeatedly, you will eventually start to do so in your dreams.

Methods of Lucid Dreaming

There are a few methods that you can use to achieve lucid dreaming. Just about all of them start with wake induced lucid dream.The way that most people must learn to lucid dream is by waking up. This is because the REM cycle of sleep where you dream occurs at the end of the sleep cycle. So by waking up, you can help to put yourself in the mindset to lucid dream just as it is about to happen.

Some studies have shown that the best way to do this is to stay up for about an hour before going back to sleep. If you are a person that cannot stay up that long because you will not be able to fall back asleep then you can always adjust the amount of time. Some people are able to wake up, go to the bathroom or get a drink and go straight back to bed and lucid dream.

Techniques and Tools for Lucid Dreaming

Just falling back asleep is often not enough to get people to lucid dream after waking up. If it were, then everyone who woke up in the middle of the night to use the restroom would be having a lucid dream. Rather, by combining the mind training and one or more of these techniques you can achieve this.

Looking at Your Hands

For 30 minutes before you go to sleep, look at your hands as you do this, continue to tell yourself what you want to dream about. Continue thinking on the dream and focusing on being present for this. Then go to sleep. When you wake up, look at your hands and remind yourself of the dream. Then simply go back to sleep.

Herbal Remedies

There are a number of different herbal remedies that can be used to help with lucid dreaming. There are not any tests that conclusively show that they can help. Rather they are ones that have been used through time by different civilizations to produce lucid and meaningful dreams. Make sure you consult with your doctor before taking them to ensure that they are safe for you. Also, look at reviews to ensure that you are buying a product that works.

Binaural Beats

With this technique, when you wake yourself up in the middle of the night, you will use headphones and a soundtrack. With binaural beats lucid dreaming becomes possible because the beats help to get your brainwaves into theta, which is the perfect setting for lucid dreaming. While the beats may sound weird in your ears, since each ear will be receiving different information, it may take some adjustment to get used to.

Lucid Dreaming Mask

Another technique you can use is a mask to help with lucid dreaming. There are many options out there and they range in price. The most popular one utilizes a couple techniques to help you achieve lucid dreaming. The mask has sensors in it that detect when you are in REM sleep. This is detectable because the eye movements are varied when in dream sleep. Then the mask produces sound and flashes to help signal to you that you are in fact dreaming.

The lucid dream stories you can come up with are like nothing you could even imagine at first. Just as with anything else in life, you will need to practice in order to get better at this. Over time you will find that planning what you are going to dream about that night is as simple as planning the next adventure you want to take. The time and energy you commit to learning this will be well worth it in the end.

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