What is a lucid dream and how can you have one?

Happy woman lucid dreaming in REM sleep state

Lucid dreaming has been practised for centuries (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The term ‘lucid dream’ was coined by a Dutch psychiatrist in the 20th century, but the practice itself has been around since ancient times.

Lucid dreaming was a central theme in the ancient Indian and Tibetan Yoga practices, and is referenced in ancient Greek writing by leading figures like Aristotle.

But, what exactly is a lucid dream, how can you have one and is it dangerous? Here’s everything we know.

What is a lucid dream?

A lucid dream is when the dreamer is aware of the fact that they are dreaming.

During lucid dreams, dreamers have the opportunity to use this awareness to gain some control over what their dream entails.

They could impact the characters in it, the environment the dream is set in and what unfolds.

Lucid dreaming is when you’re aware of the fact that you’re dreaming (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

However, the dreamer doesn’t have to succeed at controlling their dream for it to be considered a lucid dream. The awareness alone makes it lucid.

Lucid dreaming is considered to have many benefits.

Some researchers believe it can help people feel less anxious and more empowered through renewing their sense of control.

Successful lucid dreamers will also be able to control or at least be aware enough to not be scared of their nightmares, which could potentially improve their mental wellbeing and sleep quality.

Some studies have suggested that those who are able to lucid dream become better at problem-solving and are more creative.

How to learn to have a lucid dream

Lucid dreams often happen spontaneously. However, it is possible to learn the skill of lucid dreaming.

Some lucid dreaming methods ask dreamers to set an alarm clock and wake up a few hours after falling asleep (Picture: Getty Images)

Here are some well-known lucid dream methods:

1. Wake back to bed (WBTB)

There are many versions of WBTB, but a commonly used one involved setting an alarm for 5 hours after your bedtime.

You then go to sleep as usual until the alarm goes off.

When the alarm wakes you up 5 hours into your sleep, you stay up for half an hour, engaging in a calm and quiet activity like reading, then fall back asleep.

Some report that this makes them more likely to lucid dream as they fall asleep more alert.

2. Mnemonic induction of lucid dreams (MILD)

The MILD method was created by Dr Stephen LaBarge and is based on prospective memory.

The prospective memory tactic asks the dreamer to work to create a memory that they’ll remember while asleep.

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Source:: Metro


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