What's the difference between lucid dreaming and day dreaming? After all, a lucid dreamer knows what they are dreaming and that they are dreaming, so wouldn't that mean they are awake, just day dreaming?
Rebecca says: When a person lucid dreams, his body is asleep. When a person day dreams, his body is awake. That's the main physiological difference - which we know for a fact because we can scientifically measure things like:
There are other marked differences between the sleeping body and the waking body, explained in the article Why Do We Sleep? These will help you differentiate between the bodily states during lucidity and day dreaming.
But what about the mental experience? Again, lucid dreams and day dreams are very different, although these differences are harder to measure. Because they are both internally generated, reporting of these states is a subjective task. I'll give you my personal view of the differences, which I think most lucid dreamers would roughly agree with:
While day dreams are fun (research shows we day dream for 70-120 minutes every day) they are really just waking thoughts. We slip in and out of day dreams, visualizing our hopes and fears, reflecting on the past, future and fantasy. We maintain awareness of the outside world, to some degree, and can stop and re-start the fantasy if our attention is directed back to reality. Day dreams are fairly intangible, so when you day dream of running across the sand, the sensation is not really there; it's only imagined.
In lucid dreams, the fact that you are asleep and switched off from the real world means you are fully immersed in the dream world - literally seeing, hearing and touching your surroundings in a way that can vividly mimic reality. Your brain perceives the lucid dream world as vividly as if it were waking reality and you are fully tuned in to the experience. The dreamscape is largely self-generating (even when you consciously manipulate parts of it) and allows for illogical and unexpected creations to appear from the unconscious mind...
If we're completely honest, lucid dreaming isn't really known for being the most social of interests. In fact, often it's a lone pursuit - just you, your dream journal and the landscape of your mind. But this technique called PAL (or Partner Assisted Lucidity) breaks down that wall and turns lucid dream exploration into a social event.
Members of our lucid dream forum have been asking how to create dream characters in lucid dreams. The most common problem is having characters who look nothing like they should. Or they seem disinterested in your company. Or they fail to show up on command altogether. So, how to combat this? It's a matter of finding creative solutions that bypass logical expectations.
To lucid dream, I recommend being able to remember at least one vivid dream per night. That will boost your self awareness in dreams (making lucidity more likely) and also means you can actually remember your lucid dreams. Which is nice. Here are four detailed tips on how to remember your dreams more frequently. And if you don't think you dream at all - trust me, you almost certainly do. It takes an extraordinarily rare sleep disorder to deprive someone of dream sleep.
It is estimated that these wise and wily Indians have been using mugwort in their healing and ritual practices for 13,000 years, where it is known as the ‘dream sage’. They use the herb to promote good dreams, which they consider an essential aspect of normal human functioning! But that’s not all...
Silene Capensis has been used for millennia by the Xhosa shaman of the river valleys in the eastern cape of South Africa, where it is known as Undela Ziimhlophe or 'white paths'. It's fragrant white flowers open only at night, when they emit a fragrant and almost hypnotising aroma. Also known as African Dream Herb or Ubulawu, Silene Capensis induces spectacularly vivid dreams - yet has never entered the mainstream and remains a fringe taste within western culture.
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?