A woman and a man are sitting in a Paris café. They are talking excitedly about dreams.
The young man asks the woman, "Don't dreams always feel real while we're dreaming them? Only when we wake up do we realize that something was strange, wasn't it?" Then he asks her how the two of them actually came to this beautiful café. The woman thinks about it for a moment. But she can't remember it, so she realizes that she is dreaming.
This realization suddenly makes different rules apply. Her gaze wanders down a long street when it suddenly builds up in front of her like a wave. It's as if someone were folding the center of Paris over her head.
Many may know the scene from the movie Inception.
But can you really control your dreams so easily?
What is lucid dreaming?
A lucid dream (also often called a lucid dream) occurs when a person dreams while being aware that they are dreaming. In this state, a person can take control of the dream narrative and essentially control and direct the course of the dream.
For a long time, lucid dreaming was labeled as esoteric hokum. Since the late 1970s, however, it has been scientifically proven that people are able to tell if they are dreaming, which gives them the ability to then control their dreams.
Perhaps you too have noticed that you are dreaming. Some people notice it especially in nightmares, just before they wake up. But very few people are aware of the possibilities that come with lucid dreaming.
Lucid dreaming in medicine
The phenomenon of lucid dreaming has been extensively studied, but much is still unknown. Some researchers believe that activity in the prefrontal cortex of the brain is related to the development of lucid dreaming.
In a "normal" dream, we perceive people, objects, and events within the dream state, but we are not aware of the dream itself and cannot distinguish whether we are asleep or awake. This is attributed in part to decreased activity in the cerebral cortex.Lucid dreaming is different because sleepers are aware that they are dreaming and, in some cases, can exert control over their environment. Some studies have linked these features to increased cortical activity.
In sleepers observed in lucid dreaming studies, prefrontal cortex activity levels during lucid dreaming are comparable to levels during wakefulness. For this reason, lucid dreaming can be referred to as a "hybrid sleep-wake state".Studies have shown that most lucid dreaming occurs during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. The general consensus among researchers today is that lucid dreams arise from non-lucid dreams during REM sleep.
In this sense, lucidity is an aspect of dreams that can be induced by various means.
Is everyone capable of a lucid dream?
In short: Yes!
Every person has the possibility to learn lucid dreaming. It just needs a little training. There are also various lucid dreaming techniques and other tools.
But I don't dream at all...
You often hear people say that they don't dream at all or that they dream very rarely. However, this is not true. In truth, we humans dream every night. And always when we are in a so-called "rapid eye movement phase" or REM phase for short.
By the way, it is also possible to dream in the other phases. If you wake up in the morning without remembering any dream, it simply means that you do not have a trained dream memory.
The good news is that dream memory can be trained very easily. You can do this by keeping a dream diary.
What can you do in a lucid dream?
Most people have the goal of flying in their lucid dream. The desire to experience what flying feels like seems to be deeply rooted in us. But flying is only the beginning of the possibilities of what is possible in lucid dreams.
To stimulate your imagination a bit, here are a few examples (increasing in weirdness).
Explore fantasy worlds
You can do anything and travel anywhere. Whether it's a trip to Hogwarts, flying through space at the speed of sound, or exploring the depths of our oceans with unlimited breath. There are no limits to your imagination in lucid dreams. The exciting thing about lucid dreams is that you can also feel all the textures and influences if you want to. When you fly in lucid dreams, you feel the wind on your skin. When you swim, you feel the water, and when you walk through walls (because that is also possible), you feel the cold concrete through which you are moving. Experienced lucid dreamers even report that they often perceive textures in lucid dreams to be more visually sharp than in reality. Our brain is really powerful.
Train skills from waking life
You can do anything and travel anywhere. Whether it's a trip to Hogwarts, flying through space at the speed of sound, or exploring the depths of our oceans with unlimited breath. There are no limits to your imagination in lucid dreams.
The exciting thing about lucid dreams is that you can also feel all the textures and influences if you want to. When you fly in lucid dreams, you feel the wind on your skin. When you swim, you feel the water, and when you walk through walls (because that is also possible), you feel the cold concrete through which you are moving. Experienced lucid dreamers even report that they often perceive textures in lucid dreams to be more visually sharp than in reality. Our brain is really powerful.
Priceless experiences & vivid memories
Now it becomes really interesting.
As you surely know, dreams are the images of our subconscious. This means that everything that appears in your dreams is a part of your subconscious.
For this reason, it is possible, for example, to ask questions to the people who appear in your lucid dreams. Since they are a part of your subconscious, they can thus give you answers about yourself that you were not yet aware of.
A similar method is to simply call your questions to the heavens. This can also give you an answer. Of course, this doesn't always work. Sometimes it's also the case that you may not be ready for the answer. Still, it's an exciting way to explore yourself and your subconscious. Likewise, lucid dreaming allows you to evoke people. You can dream about talking to yourself as a child, spending time with dead relatives or pets, or visualizing your future self. There are hardly any limits in this regard.
Finish with nightmares
Nightmares can also be dealt with. Recurring nightmares are best suited for processing in a lucid dream. Here, with a little training, you can easily find out that you are already in that one nightmare again. If you become aware of this in the dream, you suddenly have the possibility to intervene in the events and simply ask the often hostile or persecuting dream character what he wants from you. Experience shows that this leads to enlightening insights and a liberating feeling.
How can I learn lucid dreaming?
There are several methods to learn lucid dreaming. They help you to distinguish between a dream and a waking state and to become more involved with your dreams. With this increased clarity and alertness, it will then become easier and easier for you to dive into the world of your dreams.
Since dreams usually only occur during REM sleep, it helps to get more REM sleep. The best way to do this is to increase the quality of your sleep. Improve your sleep habits by maintaining a regular sleep schedule, avoiding electronic devices before bedtime, avoiding heavy meals and caffeine later in the day, and providing a comfortable sleep environment.
Memory & Dream Diary
Remembering dreams is a big part of lucid dreaming, as it greatly simplifies dealing with one's dreams (and thus recognizing them in dreams). Accordingly, many people report that keeping a dream journal greatly increases the likelihood that they will experience lucid dreams.
Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams (MILD)
In this technique, you repeatedly tell yourself that you will dream and that you will be aware that you are dreaming. This technique relies on the brain's ability to implement intentions to manifest a lucid dream state.
This procedure involves testing whether you are dreaming while awake and asleep. For example, you can try pressing a finger of one hand through the palm of the other hand to determine if you are in a lucid dream. If you're not dreaming, you can't push your finger through the palm of your hand.
In a dream, however, your finger might slide through your palm with ease. If you get used to questioning reality while you are awake, it will be easier for you to do this in your sleep as well. For the methods and tricks, you can find a detailed explanation in the following article: Guide to lucid dreaming. In addition, the WorldWithin app provides you with all the necessary tools to achieve lucid dreams.
You can keep a dream journal in the app. This can be done by text and with audio recordings.
In everyday life, you sometimes forget to do your reality checks. The app reminds you and always provides new ideas to check whether you are currently in reality.
With a certain type of meditation you can very well prepare yourself for a lucid dream. Those meditations apply thought models that make it easier for you to recognize when you are in a dream. Additionally, meditating provides mindfulness and mental clarity, which leads to even better lucid dream chances.
With this article you already have a good basic knowledge about what lucid dreams are and how you can best achieve them. However, the world of lucid dreams goes much further. You can learn more about this in the course in the app.