Top 10 Highlights
What exactly is lucid dreaming? In a lucid dream you become aware, or conscious that you are dreaming without waking up or leaving the dream. Having a conscious awareness of what’s happening in the dream allows you to control what goes on, so you can choose to do whatever you want. Fly like superman, swim like a fish, and hang out with people you want to hang out with.
It sounds odd but there has been plenty of serious research done on the lucid dreaming and there are courses around that teach you how to do it. Some people do it naturally and many others experience some level of lucid dreaming naturally.
What are the benefits of lucid dreaming?
10. Better Problem Solving Skills
Research has shown that lucid dreamers have better problem solving skills than normal dreamers, particularly with relation to problems that need creative solutions as opposed to problems requiring logical solutions.
When a person is in a lucid dreaming state they are more in touch with their creative subconscious and can actively address problems while they are dreaming. Even without directly tackling a specific problem while asleep, the benefits to a persons problem solving skills are shown to be significant.
A great interview with Stephen Laberge, often considered to be the father of modern lucid dreaming science and understanding.
9. Sleep Better
Lucid dreaming, like normal dreaming, most often occurs during REM sleep. During the REM periods of your sleep you are in a lighter sleep, your heart beat increases as does your breathing.
When you lucid dream you generally go back into a deeper sleep state quicker and easier because your dreams have been more enjoyable and reach a positive conclusion. Better sleep is one of the things that lucid dreamers often remark about when they talk about their experiences.
It’s hard to find a good video on how lucid dreaming helps you sleep that’s not less than an hour long. Anyway, SychroShakti has some great tips on lucid dreaming and sleep paralysis.
8. Improve Your Memory
The process of dreaming helps the brain absorb and retain episodic memory which is memory that’s associated with the events in our lives along with the emotions and context of those events. Deep sleep is important to the retention of semantic memory which is to do with the memory of facts.
Lucid dreaming and the quality of the deep sleep after lucid dreaming helps with both forms of memory and as you get older that’s a very, very handy thing.
He’s got long hair, a stubbly goaty and a Cockney accent, but he says some interesting stuff on memory and has some good, practical memory tests.
7. Fix Nightmares
Many people experience nightmares or recurring dreams that involve stressful situations like being chased or about to fall off a cliff.
If you learn how to practice lucid dreaming you can intervene in the nightmares when they occur and change them to bring about a conclusion that is positive. If you are being chased you can make yourself stop and face whatever it is that’s chasing you and have a show down. Because you have control of what’s happening you can make yourself win the showdown and bang, the nightmare is gone.
An interesting retelling of a dream and where lucidity entered.
6. Relax and Have Fun
The stresses and strains of modern life can be pretty overwhelming at times, to the point where sometimes we are not really having much fun. Start having fun again where it’s absolutely easy to do, costs nothing and doesn’t even take up valuable waking time.
In a lucid dream you could decide to take a road trip across the US in a convertible sports car, ski down the best runs at Engelberg in the Swiss Alps, sail a yacht through the Caribbean or dance the night away in a Cannes nightclub.
Make up for lost time and have fun in your dreams. Why not? Wake up feeling happy and relaxed.
A very good overview of lucid dreaming in general and the benefits.
5. Practice Things You are Learning
Learning while you are asleep sounds a bit absurd, but people have used the sleep state for many years to absorb new information. Learning systems that use recordings that you play through headphones while you’re asleep are common.
Learning consciously while you are in a lucid dream takes things to the next level because you are consciously reinforcing your memory. No matter what you are learning, practice it in your dreams. Visualizing what it is you are learning is very powerful.
Not only can you practice remembering information, you can practice doing things. If you are learning karate, how to roller blade, play a guitar or anything that requires balance and coordination then practicing these things in lucid dreaming can help to build the required pathways in your brain and these will be maintained into your waking state.
This one’s not specifically about learning, but I like it a lot!
4. Live Out Your Fantasies
Better to do it in the safety of a dream than in real life perhaps? Fantasies can take on all shapes and sizes but most often they are things that we can’t act out in real life or are just too afraid to make a reality.
In a lucid dream you can act out the fantasy and see where it goes and, because lucid dreams are so vivid, the fantasy can take on a form that is much more real than you would experience in the waking state by just thinking about the fantasy.
Having ‘experienced’ the fantasy you can move to a position where the fantasy takes a less dominant role in your life, if that’s what you want.
Wow, this guy is nothing if not passionate and he will hold you spellbound as he describes lucid dreaming to you.
3. Face Your Fears
In a dream you are safe. You can have bad dreams and feel threatened and scared, but ultimately the worst that can happen is that you wake up. If you are lucid dreaming you can consciously choose to wake up at any time. Or, more importantly, you can change what’s going on in your dream so that whatever is threatening or frightening you goes away.
So this is a great place to consciously go and face fears you might have. For example, if you have a phobia about spiders you could face that fear in a lucid dream by going to a place where there are spiders and confronting them. Perhaps you would go closer to them than you’ve ever been before, or even pick one up. You are conscious that you are dreaming so you know you’re not going to get hurt and can run away or leave the dream at any time.
If you face fears enough in a dream then facing them in real life might not be so hard.
Here’s a nice video to relax yourself to. Not about fear as such, but there aren’t many videos on fear that aren’t a product plug. There was one called ‘Let Go of Fear in Less Than 3 Minutes’, but it was 6:38 minutes long so I figured it probably wasn’t going to work.
2. Become More Enlightened
Buddha might have something to say about this. In fact Buddhists were practicing ‘dream yoga’ centuries ago. The link with lucid dreaming is all about being ‘in the moment’. Being in the moment is certainly a hot psychological topic at the moment and lucid dreaming is totally to do with being completely aware of what’s happening at a particular point in time. Whatever it is that you’re experiencing, whatever emotion and sensation it is that the moment is bringing you, being aware of it is a key to being a more enlightened.
Perhaps enlightened is too strong a term, but awareness of what is happening in the moment, whether you are lucid dreaming or not, will certainly benefit you.
A great TED talk on lucid dreaming and Buddhism.
1. Be Creative
Paul McCartney famously got the tune for Yesterday from a dream. He woke up with the tune in his head, went to the piano and worked out the chords. For a while he wondered what the tune was because he assumed it was an existing song that had worked its way into this head, but it wasn’t, it was his original composition.
Einstein had a dream of skiing down a mountain slope that helped him establish the broad parameters of the most famous equation of all time, E=mc2. It took him years to work out the detailed maths to prove the equation, but his creative mind laid out the big picture and made the equation possible.
Larry Page, the co-founder of Google, also famously dreamed of how their new invention could work. He dreamt of putting the entire internet onto computers, and it was this creative breakthrough that allowed the rest of the Google search application to work. Wow, that’s some powerful creativity.
The power of creativity in the subconscious is incredibly powerful and if you can harness it who knows what you could do. Lucid dreaming gives you the opportunity to tap into this creative area of your mind and work proactively with it. Write music in your dream, compose a picture or invent something.
With your creativity released who knows what might happen.
This guy is no scientist and seems a bit laid back, but he gives a very talk on his experiences of lucid dreaming.
Beverly D’Urso does research into lucid dreams and has worked in the field for many years. She says she has had lucid dreams since she was seven years old and now has enormous control over what happens in her dreams.
So much so that she is apparently the first person ever to have had an orgasm in a dream. Yes, and it was recorded through electrodes and probes and the results published in the Journal of Psychophysiology. Nice. She has also eaten fire to find out what it tastes like, been to the sun and overcome her writer’s block.