Lucid dreaming has always baffled the minds of many and debated as a myth of mythology. A topic left behind for the geeks to debate over, until Christopher Nolan’s Inception hit the theatres. While the movie draws a fine line drawn between fact from fiction, and the extent of manipulation may not seem possible in real life, if they can’t be disregarded completely as well.
Soon after the release, everyone questioned the reality behind the unknown mystery of the mind, trying to decipher and uncover what lucid dreaming really is. As the movie quotes it correctly “Well, dreams, they feel real while we’re in them, right? It’s only when we wake up then we realize that something was actually strange.” But what if we encounter instances where we are fully aware of our dream, yet continue dreaming? That is what scientist call lucid dreaming! Explained as “a dream during which dreamers, while dreaming, are aware they are dreaming”. For people who experience lucid dreaming, the goal is being able to do whatever you wish to do and be whoever you want to be within a lucid dream. That’s why achieving a state of lucid dreaming is so highly sought after.
Lucid dreams meaning simply Explained…
Lucid in Lucid dreaming is the state of dreaming in your REM (Rapid eye movement) sleep where the person is aware that he is dreaming and has partial control over the dream characters, narrative, and environment. However, this is not actually necessary for a dream to be always described as lucid.
How to start Lucid dreaming?
How to lucid dream? Is lucid dreaming real? Lucid dreaming may happen without consciously trying to indulge in it, but might also be the result of persistent practice over time. To consciously get into a state of Lucid dreaming, one must identify their individual triggers, moments or cues within your usual sleep cycle that allow your unconscious self to literally realize that it is currently dreaming.
While you are in transition into your dream, your body will check with your consciousness if you respond to external stimuli cues like itching, the urge to cough, switch sides and, numerous other bodily clues to distinguish if your body is attuned to its state of rest. The easiest way to trick your body is to not respond to these external stimuli so that your body rests while your mind stays awake, inducing you to transition into your REM sleep.
Sleep-inducing music that is calming, and a number of lucid dreaming applications, can help make those activating moments more attainable.
When does it happen? What does it feel like?
Under normal circumstances, lucid dreaming will occur during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Few people experience it spontaneously. However, others train themselves to start dreaming lucidly, or to become better at it.
The extent to which a person can manipulate their dream if they are lucid while dreaming also varies to a great degree. Some people may simply wake up instantly upon realizing that they had been dreaming.
Other people may have the ability to influence their own actions while they are dreaming, or parts of the dream itself. Some lucid dreamers have been reported to control and manipulate even the narrative of the dream to have a pleasant experience.
The feeling of being in a lucid dream can be extremely realistic and vivid. Its is almost as real as the feeling of grass under your feet walking at the park or the warmth of the afternoon sun on your skin. Things can get very intimidating in some cases. Emotions may be intensified, gripping you with fear and uneasiness in the inability to perceive the situation in a dream beyond your control. Lucid dreamers often share their experiences of being terrified in their initial journey before they identify and learn to enjoy their dreams. It is said that you’ll feel a greater sense of happiness and pleasure from engaging in enjoyable activities that you want, once you learn to assert conscious control within your own dream.
What are the benefits and applications of lucid dreaming?
The human mind is as always, fascinating and a marvellous part of the body enabling us to reach beyond our own limits and at the same time, has the ability to destroy itself as well.
Lucid dreaming is one of its fascinating abilities of the human mind to replicate an unworldly experience cocooning you in your worst nightmare or your most desirable dream- being able to explore our own inner worlds with full awareness that we are in a dream state is intriguing and has an almost magical experience about it.
Some people use this state to get back in touch with their inner child and boost creativity. Lucid dreaming lets you tap into unlimited sources of inspiration. Your subconscious mind is capable of imagining and experiencing almost anything, and with lucid dreaming can be your potential key to do just that.
One of the best health benefits of having lucid dreams is that you’ll have a better, deeper, and more restful sleep. This is great if you not getting good sleep or if you are not a good sleeper, as learning just a few key skills can improve your quality of sleep and change your lifestyle drastically.
One of the other benefits of lucid dreaming is to tap into your subconscious mind. You can train yourself to delve into your inner self and know yourself better knowing what’s hidden beneath the surface. This cannot be achieved when you are awake as your subconscious mind is too powerful and complex to tap into in the wake state.
Today with the assistance of modern science, doctors with their extensive research have developed therapeutic techniques to address reoccurring nightmares, especially the ones that would affect the quality of life. The practice of Lucid dreaming in order to stop or control these reoccurring nightmares is called “Lucid dreaming Therapy”.
The vast application of Lucid dreaming therapy goes beyond nightmares, it can also help people cope with their phobias such as vertigo (the fear of heights), Hydrophobia (the fear of water), trypophobia (fear of holes) arachnophobia (the fear of spiders) amongst others. While in the state of lucid dreaming, an individual has the comfort to delve with their phobias.
Dangers of lucid dreaming, Are there any risks involved in Lucid dreaming?
Lucid dreaming is generally risk-free for people who are mentally fit, but it is important to know the susceptible risks for those who wish to practice this often.
While lucid dreaming can induce a state of extreme euphoria, it also means things can get pretty unpleasant on the other side of the spectrum.
Fear, sadness and pain can also be induced in this state. While these dreams can be very intense, it may leave you with a bad experience in all. It may also leave you in a confusion as distinguishing between reality and dream can be difficult in this state. With time and practice, one gets used to telling the difference and will be able to remember the context the experiences.
There is also a chance of getting addicted to lucid dreaming. While this isn’t a physical addiction, people may want to wake up late, thus affecting one’s lifestyle.
On some occasions, people have debated over the fact that when you’re Lucid, your brain is in the state where it’s conscious, but not FULLY conscious. As you’re able to remember the dreams that you have in this state, and you’re also able to make certain decisions consciously, you can have lots of false memories that remain in your wake state as well. Certain moments where you think you’ve done something in real life, but in fact, it was just a dream. The ability to distinguish can get very difficult and can have prolong impressions.
‘Sleep paralysis’ is the inability to move when you’re falling asleep. An individual in sleep paralysis will be awake, but he’ll be stuck to the bed and sometimes see a shadow figure (This is just a natural part of the sleep imagery one can experience when drifting into a dream). This can be scary for some people, especially if you are unaware or don’t expect it to happen.
A false awakening is another lucid dreaming danger, In this state of hallucination when you dream about waking up, go about your daily routine and then in a few moments you go back to your couch and recognise you were dreaming about waking up. This can happen repeatedly, to the point where you just don’t know if you’ve woken up for real or not. It can be scary, and it can feel like you’re spending a lot of time just feeling trapped in your mind, dreaming about waking up again and again.
The risks of Lucid dreaming are minor and are not everlasting to be precise. they are all fixable and with a little work, you can make sure you don’t have any side effects at all. It’s nothing to worry about, and you shouldn’t let it put you off. There are pros and cons to almost everything in life, this is no different.
Like with most things, first, understand lucid dreaming meaning, do it in moderation, and be sensible about it. If you do it right, you’ll always be fine! The only one to really watch out for is the false memories effect.