What is the best sleep posture for having lucid dreams?
The most popular sleep postures in the general population.
The folks at The Lucidity Institute are currently running a research study into sleep positions and their effects on conscious dreams.
Until the results are out, I thought I'd put my two cents into the mix and identify my own personal optimum sleeping positions for lucid dreaming.
This is not something I've kept track of over the years, but I can recall having more success with certain sleep postures over others.
First though, I should identify the two main types of lucid dreams because this could make a notable difference.
Dream Induced Lucid Dreams (DILDs) are dreams that begin normally but give way to lucidity spontaneously through increased awareness.
Perhaps you see a flying pig and your well-trained brain spots it as a cue that you're dreaming... This can happen at any stage during the night but is much more likely during the final 2-3 hours of sleep when your REM periods are at their longest and dreams are most vivid.
I've woken up from many DILDs in the common fetal position (on my side, with my knees and elbows tucked in) as well as flat on my back. It can be strange to be walking around in a lucid dream one moment, then lying curled up in bed the next.
Occasionally I even wake myself up because I've moved my arm in the lucid dream and triggered my real life arm to move and hit the bed. This can be disorienting and cause a sudden shift in awareness from one body to the next.
If I stay completely still and close my eyes, I can sometimes return to the lucid dream from the same place I left off. This is known as Dream Chaining.
Wake Induced Lucid Dreams (WILDs) are lucid dreams which you enter very deliberately as you fall asleep in bed, with no lapse in consciousness.
WILDs are the most vivid kind of lucid dreams. They allow you to choose your lucid landscape as you fall asleep consciously and recall your lucid dream intention.
This is a different kettle of fish and I think finding the best sleep posture for lucid dreaming matters much more in this instance.
My success with WILDs is universally down to lying on my back, despite the fact that this is not how I prefer to fall asleep. I find it the best posture to dissociate from my body (forget it exists and stop feeling it as sleep paralysis tales over) without my mind falling asleep. In essence, the perfect formula for a WILD.
Some lucid dreamers say back-sleeping isn't necessary for WILDs, but since I started out practicing Robert Monroe's OBE induction techniques I just find it the easiest way to relax every muscle group. Nowadays I more often use the 61-point relaxation technique which relies on the same corpse pose.
I also think this position creates a shallower breathing pattern which keeps you closer to consciousness as you sleep.
This is the preferred method of Nick Newport of Lucidology, too. Nick is a proponent of WILDs and teaches how to systematically relax your body (including areas you may never consider, like the incredibly strong jaw muscles) to create a deep physical relaxation.
Once you have done this it may only be a matter of seconds until you can emerge mentally into the lucid dream world.
Here's a good question. If a lucid dream is any dream in which you know you're dreaming, then why aren't we always lucid in dreams? Why doesn't it just become the default state of dreaming? Why do we accept our dreams of flying pigs and dinosaurs as an extension of waking life? What is the mechanism for defaulting to non-lucid dreams? Intriguingly, scientists have approached this question from three different angles./p>
What do blind people dream about? Can they "see" in their dreams? Take a look at scientific studies into the dreams of the blind, colorblind, and black-and-white dreamers. In 1999, dream researchers at the University of Hartford analyzed 372 dreams of 15 blind people. They found that both the congenitally blind and those who went blind before five years old did not have any visual dreams at all. That's because our dreams are made up of real world experiences and our innermost thoughts, anxieties and desires. So for someone who has never perceived images or light (or can't remember any) their dreams simply can't manifest visually.
Not long ago, scientists at Frankfurt University discovered how to produce lucid dreams with electronic stimulation. It was a world first. And - astonishingly - it worked in non-lucid dreamers 77% of the time. Now you can buy the same technology for yourself. The foc.us V2 - which delivers the proven optimum 40 Hz transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) - was originally developed to increase working memory in video gamers and improve sleep.
As technology continues to move us towards more immersive dreamlike experiences, one can only wonder what digital wonders lay just beyond the horizon of tomorrow. We may also question just how the future of virtual reality will impact the study and practice of lucid dreaming. Are we, perhaps, the last generation to whom lucid dreaming will maintain an appeal?
Jeremiah Morelli is a whimsical fantasy artist and visual storyteller. He places conceptual fairytale creatures in vivid dreamscapes to capture the imagination. He's also a school teacher, and amazingly finds the time and motivation to create this huge gallery of artwork. Such light and dark fairytale paintings make beautiful places to visit in your lucid dreams.
Experts agree that everyone is capable of having lucid dreams. Dreaming itself is a normal function of the mind. We all dream every night, even if we don't remember. And we all achieve conscious awareness while awake every single day. So what does it mean to combine these states? Why, the amazing ability to have conscious - or lucid - dreams. Sounds simple, doesn't it? So why do I keep hearing from people who say they can't achieve their first lucid dream?