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Lucid dreaming: when and why does it happen?
What is a lucid dream?
Sleep experts define lucid dreaming as a moment in which the dreamer has a self-awareness that they are in fact dreaming and what they are imagining is not a reality.
The concept of lucid dreams was brought to wider attention after the film ‘Inception’ was released ten years ago which explores the idea of controlling what happens within your own dreams. This is not entirely possible for real life dreamers, but people who are able to enter a lucid state of sleep have the power to influence the actions that occur during their dream.
What does lucid dreaming feel like?
Lucid dreaming has a unique feeling. It is often difficult to differentiate whether it is a real life experience or simply a dream, this is because a conscious part of your brain is awakened. This part of your brain works to heighten the sense and emotions that you feel during the dream, making it appear more realistic.
The difference between a normal dream and a lucid one is that your average dreams play back in your memory like a movie, whereas a lucid dream allows you to play an active role in your own film.
How to induce lucid dreaming?
It is possible to induce your own lucid dreams. However, this is not a simple task. Many people need a few attempts before reaching their dreaming goals. There are recommended techniques to follow to increase the chances of entering a lucid state:
- First start with a reality check - during the dream try to recognise if it is reality by asking yourself ‘am I dreaming right now?’. Another way to test this is by placing your hand on a wall, in real life you will be able to feel a solid object. If you test this a few times per day then your brain will become more accustomed to self-awareness.
- Start a dream journal - research suggests that by recording your dreams within a journal improves the the likeliness of being able to remember your dream in the future and they will become more vivid
- Create a night time routine - before to sleep, remind yourself of what you want to dream of. Another helpful thing to do before to sleep is to meditate as this improves your awareness of your surrounding areas as well as producing more melatonin in the body.
Will lucid dreaming make you feel tired?
At Next Divan we are strong believers in a good night sleep. It is important to understand the positives and negatives before experimenting with lucid dreaming.
Many people are concerned about the possibility of sleep problems occurring once you begin lucid dreaming on a regular basis. There is a chance that sleep paralysis may occur as you are entering into a deep sleep, so the feeling of being ‘stuck’ can happen more frequently. However, this is not something that we should worry about as we can only physically sleep for a certain amount of time.
A benefit of lucid dreaming is that it can encourage those who often find it difficult to drift off, fall asleep more easily and quickly. A reason for this is because you have something to look forward to - watching your own film unravel with you as the main part!
Overall, the concept of lucid dreaming is an interesting one, allowing you to explore and understand the profound complexities of the organ that we call our brain!
Have you ever experienced lucid dreaming before?