Welcome to this introduction to lucid dreams! If you’ve heard about them but are not sure what they are, or if you never heard about them, you’re in the right place. This article will give you a brief overview of what lucid dreams are and why they are so interesting. Let’s dive in!
As the name suggests, lucid dreams are dreams in which you are lucid and aware that you are dreaming. Since the 20th century, many studies have analyzed the brain of dreaming patients and found clear evidence of lucid dreaming.
Research has shown that some brain zones that are usually inactive during normal dreams are activated during lucid dreams. These zones are responsible for self-reflection, the feeling of being in control of our actions, and self-awareness —this explains how the dreamer is aware of being dreaming.
While it’s not always the case, the awareness of being in a dream often leads to two interesting characteristics.
First, control. Once you realize that you are dreaming, you can influence the content of the dream. From the place, characters and the color of the sun, you can control every little detail in the dream. Do you want to explore the moon? Meet someone from the past or a celebrity? Confront your biggest fears? You are free to do whatever you want, with no consequence.
Then, vividness. Another effect of being lucid in dreams is that everything feels a lot more real. Your senses and perceptions are more accurate. In the highest levels of lucidity, you can see, hear, touch, and feel anything like in reality — including pleasure. While regular dreams often feel vague and blurry, lucid dreams tend to be much more vivid. It’s not all black and white, though; there are different levels of the vividness of lucid dreams, and it will take some training to make your lucid dreams more vivid.
Lucid dreams are a playground where you can do anything you want. Most people are interested in them simply to have fun and exciting experiences. In lucid dreams, your imagination is the limit.
But lucid dreams are also a perfect training field for practical skills. Do you want to get better at playing your instrument or play darts? Rehearse and memorize a presentation? You can practice in your dreams. Studies have shown that the results are visible when you wake up!
You can also use them to find inspiration. By modeling some situations and approaching them from new angles and perspectives, you can develop creativity and problem-solving. Or you can just explore your dreams and find ideas for your creative work.
Finally, you can use lucid dreams as a healing experience. You can confront nightmares, traumas, fears, or any other emotion. You can heal from physical and psychological pain. You can meet someone you lost. You can achieve better management of emotions in your waking life. You can reduce stress and anxiety, and develop a higher self-esteem. Lucid dreams can be a soothing bath for your mind, and many lucid dreamers report significant improvements in their mental and physical wellbeing.
Now you probably understand why many people are actively trying to have lucid dreams. It’s an amazing experience, and the possibilities are endless.
If you are wondering whether you can get stuck in a lucid dream, or if lucid dreams are healthy, we answered those questions —and others— in the following article:
If you want to learn how to have them, you’re in the right place! If you feel ready and motivated, here’s the next step:
We hope this introduction to lucid dreams answered some of your questions and made you want to know more about them. We wish you sweet dreams, lucid or not!
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Schädlich, M., Erlacher, D., & Schredl, M. (2017). Improvement of darts performance following lucid dream practice depends on the number of distractions while rehearsing within the dream–a sleep laboratory pilot study. Journal of sports sciences, 35(23), 2365-2372.