What is lucid dreaming? Is it scientifically proven? Can anyone learn to lucid dream on demand? How long does it take? What else can I use dream control for?
I'm sure you have plenty of questions about lucid dreaming and this article aims to answer the most burning ones. Welcome to my quick start guide to lucid dreams.
Lucid dreaming is the ability to consciously observe and/or control your dreams.
It transforms your inner dream world into a living alternate reality - where everything you see, hear, feel, taste and even smell is as authentic as real life.
Lucidity occurs during altered states of consciousness when you realize you are dreaming - and your brain switches into waking mode inside the dream.
In normal dreams, your self awareness is shut down. That's why they often feel fuzzy and distant. But when lucid, the conscious brain wakes up during sleep.
This is a safe and natural state. It is not anything spooky or paranormal (in fact, out of body experiences are thought to be explained by the lucid dream state). With lucid dreams, you are always asleep in bed.
And if you want to, you can wake yourself up.
But who'd want to do that! When you become lucid, your senses become alive. You can explore the inner workings of your unconscious mind with total freedom.
Lucid dreaming is a learnable skill. Start right now by signing up to my tutorial-based, interactive and fully illustrated course, the Lucid Dreaming Fast Track.
Tibetan Monks have used dream control for more than a thousand years, in the philosophy of dream yoga.
However, the modern term "lucid dreaming" was not created until the 1800s by the passionate dream researcher Marquis d'Hervey de Saint-Denys.
The concept of lucid dreams became popularized by Celia Green in the 1960s, who pointed out the scientific potential of self awareness in dreams. She was the first to make the link with both REM sleep and false awakenings.
The first scientific evidence of lucid dreaming was produced by the British parapsychologist Keith Hearne in 1975. He did it by catching the pre-determined conscious eye movements from a lucid dreaming volunteer.
A sequence of left-right ocular signals, recorded by Keith Hearne using a Grass polygraph.
Hearne's research slipped under the radar of the mainstream science journals, and it was Stephen LaBerge at Stanford University who became famous for replicating this experiment and formally publishing his findings.
A prolific lucid dreamer himself, LaBerge founded The Lucidity Institute in 1987 to explore the question: what is lucid dreaming? His mission is to research the nature and potential of consciousness in dreams... A riddle that may one day offer considerable advances in our understanding of the human mind.
Yes, experts believe so. We all have dreams (whether we remember them or not) and so we all have the capacity to become conscious within them.
Children learn to lucid dream intuitively. And certain medications for degenerative conditions like Parkinson's Disease can cause lucid dreams. Age and cognitive ability appear not to factor into the equation.
Having a lucid dream is not actually that hard, once you tap into the right mechanism.
Research shows that everyone will have at least one lucid dream in their lives, just by accident. And to have lucid dreams on demand, all you have to do is get into the habit of recognizing the dreamstate.
There are many ways you can achieve this habitual recognition, such as:
You can practice one or all of these methods during the waking day or just before you fall asleep in order to plant the seed of lucidity. It is up to your unconscious mind to trigger you during sleep.
The first moment of lucidity is the hardest - but this unconscious programming becomes easier over time.
In fact, one study found that committed students of lucid dreaming were able to have their first lucid dream, on average, between 3-21 days.
Your first taste of lucidity will provide all the motivation you'll need to continue your mental training. It is like nothing else you've ever experienced before.
At first, many people are drawn to lucid dreaming for escapism.
In your virtual reality dream world, you can realistically fly over cities, meet your favorite celebrity in the flesh, or become a ninja assassin. It is way more realistic than day dreaming or playing your favorite video game. It's like it's actually happening to you.
Although the novelty value hardly wears off, you'll soon discover lucid dreaming has many personal growth applications, too:
The lucid dreaming author, Robert Waggoner, tackles some more advanced applications of lucidity in his book, Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self.
Lucid dreaming is a powerful psychological tool and an enriching conscious experience.
As a beginner, intermediate or expert oneironaut, I hope you find this website and its complete guide to lucid dreaming useful in your quest for self awareness in the unconscious dream world.
Access Rebecca's popular e-course, 10 Steps to Lucid Dreams, plus personal insights and links to her best web content. 30,000 people are on board.
Books are a powerful way to increase our understanding and generate new perspectives. Good books are immersive and profound: they can change the way we live our lives. In teaching us new lessons, stripping away fallacies and inspiring independent thought, the following books on lucid dreaming are bestsellers for a reason - they are groundbreaking and thought-provoking reads to expand your awareness and develop your lucid dreaming skills.
Galantamine is best known for its ability to improve memory and provoke intense lucid dreams. Research by Dr Stephen LaBerge has found that taking galantamine intensifies your dreams on many levels, including cognition, lucidity, recall, control, bizarreness and visual vividness. If you want to boost your dream life, and maybe prompt some lucid dreams, it's worth taking the occasional galantamine supplement.
Why write a book about how to "hack" sleep? Well, I've suffered from sleep issues throughout my entire adult life. Sleep was such a tough thing to figure out. It didn't respond to willpower. I could beg and cry and kick and scream to myself to fall asleep, but my body would not listen. Finally, I realized that enough was enough and that I was going to fix this very important area of my life for good, or at least do my best to try. I spent nearly one year constructing a system to improve the quality of my sleep.
Humans are unique in our endless capacity for imagination. According to Steven Mithen, an anthropologist at the University of Reading in the UK, we needed to evolve seven critical mental skills before we could have imagination as we know it. Each of these abilities serve a distinct purpose in their own right, while imagination is the culmination of them all.
This dream starts out pretty violent but then suddenly goes all profound on me. I'm having a nightmare in which a thin, gray-faced man is trying to kill me. I become lucid and battle him with ease, firing shots of lighting out of my hands and hitting him in the chest. He falls to his knees and I lock him in a gated prison using only my mind. But then my lucid dream evolves into a lucid nightmare. Another villain, who looks like Krang (or Krang's body at least) from that delightful cartoon about giant mutant turtles, frees the gray man using his telepathic powers. I am no match for him.
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?