Facts About Lucid Dreaming
A dream is a sequence of images, ideas, and sensations that usually occur unwillingly in your mind during a certain stage of sleep. Even though nobody knows why we dream, scientists have studied the topic in a science called oneirology.
How do we dream?
When we sleep we go through four stages before we actually dream, the first three being Non-REM which stands for non-rapid eye movement and the fourth and final stage being REM – rapid eye movement.
- Non – REM1, the first stage is the light sleep where you slowly drift off to sleep, your muscle activity slows down and you are in-between being awake and asleep and you can still be woken up easily. This is a very short period of sleep, lasting up to 5% of your total sleeping time.
- Non – REM2, the muscle activity slows down even further and you lose awareness of the world around you as it slowly fades away while you’re falling into a deeper sleep. This stage takes up around 40% of your total sleeping time.
- Non – REM3, known as deep sleep, during which you are even more unresponsive to your surroundings. This stage occurs during the first half of the night and represents 15% – 20% of the total sleeping time.
- REM sleep, when your muscles are completely paralyzed and unresponsive, though the eyes move rapidly as you begin to dream. This stage takes up to 20 – 25% of the total sleeping time.
What are lucid dreams?
The difference between normal and lucid dreams is that during a lucid dream the dreamer is actually aware of the fact they are dreaming and sometimes has partial or complete control over their actions and can manipulate his or her own dream. The dreamer usually realizes this when they notice something highly unlikely of completely impossible during the dream and something inside their head tells them “This can’t be real, I must be sleeping.”
The fist person to define lucid dreaming was Frederik van Eeden, who has studied his own dreams and used the term “lucid” to define a state of mental clarity. There are two types of lucid dreams, ones with low-level lucidity when you are aware to some extent that you’re dreaming and you sometimes can do things like fly (not really) but you are not fully aware of the fact that you can’t actually be harmed. On the other hand, high-level lucidity dreams are those when the dreamer is completely aware of the situation they are in and often do the craziest things they could only think of in their wildest dreams.
Can you learn to have lucid dreams?
Most people, after they hear about lucid dreaming or have one for the first time in their lives, are eager to learn how to become the masters of their own dreams and have all kinds of adventures without even leaving their bed.
You can practice some disciplines while you’re awake during the day:
- Keep a dream journal – As soon as you wake up, try to remember as clearly as possible what your dream was about. Think of the things you did, the people you interacted with and the emotions you had, and write all of that down in your dream journal. This way you will realize your dreams have a pattern and will be able to recognize them more efficiently the next time you go to bed.
- Do reality checks – During the day, take a few random moments to stop and ask yourself the question “Am I dreaming?” Of course, you’re going to know you’re not, but try to notice all of the things that actually tell you you’re awake, such as clocks ticking, phones ringing and anything else that reminds you you’re in the real world.
- Turn off all screens an hour before the bedtime – Turn off your TV, your laptop, turn on the silent mode on your phone and make sure you have nothing to distract you. Try to do something relaxing before going to bed, like reading a book, or something else that helps you unwind and relax, like meditating.
You’ve realized you’re dreaming – now what?
If you practiced these steps enough you will eventually have a lucid dream. The first thing to remember is not to get too excited – many lucid dreamers tend to get overly excited and wake themselves up as soon as they realize they are dreaming. And then just relax and let yourself go. Most people love to fly in their lucid dreams, but what you do is completely up to you, that’s the beauty of it.
Lucid dreaming is something not many people manage to accomplish so if you’re one of the lucky few, enjoy yourself any way you can think of. Let your imagination run free, only the sky is the limit.
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