We all dream throughout the night but rarely do we remember what we dreamt of. In some cases, the dream simply remains a blurry set of images that do not make sense, causing us to wake up confused and sometimes drained.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could experience dreams in a more in-depth manner and even remember them in the morning? That’s where lucid dreaming comes into the picture — these are dreams in which the individual is very aware that it is a dream and might even be able to control certain aspects of the dream.
What Are Lucid Dreams?
Dreams are defined as, “Stories and images our mind creates while we sleep.” While some of our dreams may be mellow, there are others that can be exciting when they occur but vanish without a trace the next morning.
While dreams can happen during any sleep stage, the most exciting ones are said to occur during the rapid eye movement (REM) stage when the sleep is the deepest and the brain is most active. These vibrant dreams can be strong enough to affect our emotions.
Dr. Sigmund Freud, the renowned psychoanalyst and author of “The Interpretation of Dreams” believed that dreams are necessary as they often represent an individual’s “Unconscious desires, thoughts and motivations.” According to him, people utilized their dreams to overcome certain inhibitions and do things that they would not do when awake.
That description almost defines what lucid dreams are, they are dreams where, for example, a timid girl lives out her urge to turn into a superhero and save someone from distress or a child who fears taking examinations at school, dreams of excelling in all subjects.
The science behind lucid dreams
Scientists who study sleep and dreams have found that lucid dreaming occurs in a sleep stage that is between REM and waking up and tends to utilize parts of the brain that are usually inactive when we sleep. It gives an individual the ability to set aside “Obstacles of reality … as you make trips to the sun or the interior of the earth or test your craziest science experiments on your worst enemies.”
Sounds like fun, doesn’t it? Experts believe that lucid dreaming is more than a dream that is clear, it is the experience of realizing that you are dreaming as the dream pans out. Though a novice lucid dreamer may not have much control over the things that happen in the dream, more experienced people might be able to manipulate certain aspects of it.
For instance, a new employee who dreads facing her tough boss in real life might dream of the terrible things that the boss says to her and be actually able to step up and talk back. Such situations are known to have even helped individuals overcome certain fears they have carried with them for ages.
Is this technique easily learnable?
Yes, of course. Expert lucid dreamers say that the most important quality required to become a lucid dreamer is to be extremely observant and aware of your surroundings. Paying attention to small details like the location of your desk and chair at work, the layout of the office and other fine details like the decor, the color of the walls, etc. can help you realize that you are in a dream when these things are misplaced in the dream.
Practicing mindfulness techniques, of being aware of the present including your surroundings and your emotions, can also be a stepping stone toward lucid dreaming. Being mindful can often help you absorb more details without being distracted and a lucid dreamer develops the ability to be aware of the present, both physically and mentally, and that’s when lucid dreaming reaches its peak.
While regular dreams may cause us to wake up confused, lucid dreamers are aware that they had been dreaming and wake up without any confusion between the dream and reality. This knowledge may even help them wake up refreshed even after a scary dream.
The content of this Website is for informational purposes only, is general in nature and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, and does not constitute professional advice. The information on this Website should not be considered as complete and does not cover all diseases, ailments, physical conditions, or their treatment. You should consult with your physician before beginning any exercise, weight loss, or health care program and/or any of the beauty treatments.
Facts About Dreaming. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/dreaming-overview#1
Lucid dream. (2018, October 04). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucid_dream