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All about lucid dreaming

21 Dec 2022

Having a lucid dream means being aware that you are dreaming while you sleep, which leads to being able to control what happens. It is that simple to understand. However, science has something more to say about it.

What are lucid dreams?

The simple definition is the one mentioned above. 

Lucid dreams are a type of conscious dreams that appear during the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) phase of rest. During this phase, the mind is very active and the brain waves that occur are very similar to those of the awake state, so it is much easier to be aware of what's happening. 

It is also in this phase where sleep paralysis can occur, which is more associated with stress and negative emotions accumulated during the day.

They help in many ways

The practice of lucid dreaming helps in many aspects of our lives: inspiration and creativity; to overcome mental barriers; to face fears and problems of our day to day such as stage fright or arguments with other people...

It's not for nothing that we humans have been trying to induce lucid dreaming ourselves for millennia.

Numerous studies affirm that having lucid dreams translates into a higher quality of rest and a more "fresh" awakening, provoking feelings of euphoria and self-realization. Yoga and other meditative sports have been using the induction of these dreams to improve mental balance and cause a great feeling of peace for centuries.

Experts in the field confirm that this type of dreams can be and are used as therapy to cure PTSD symptoms (by being able to control the nightmares in which the patient's experiences reappear), anxiety and several fears and phobias. The great advantage of dreaming lucidly is that we can direct our actions and environment at will, avoiding negative situations that directly affect our mood.

It is also proven that lucid dreams increase and improve memory, creativity and imagination and the ability to concentrate and reflect, traits that increase our general intelligence.

How to induce these dreams

If they offer so many advantages and no drawbacks, it is normal for all of us to wonder how we can have lucid dreams. Science has found four simple practices to increase the chances of lucid dreaming when sleeping.

External stimulation

The difficult thing when it comes to becoming aware that you are dreaming is precisely that: realizing it. Therefore, the use of external stimuli that can warn you that you are dreaming or that you have entered REM sleep can be very helpful. It has been proven that the use of a light or light signal programmed to turn on when entering REM can warn us that we are dreaming.

In addition, the binaural wave sounds when we go to sleep, they help change the frequency of our brain waves to induce the desired state for lucid dreaming. The waves that help the most are gamma waves.

Wake Back To Bed (WBTB)

This practice consists of setting an alarm that goes off when it is calculated that we will enter the REM phase, to make us wake up and go back to sleep at that moment. In this way, the mind wakes up and the body remains relaxed: when you fall asleep again, you enter directly the REM phase while your mind is still active, which will make you aware that you are dreaming.

Wake Induced Lucid Dreaming (WILD)

Inspired by Tibetan yoga that tries to put the body to sleep and keep the mind conscious through meditation, WILD tries to do the same: induce sleep while awake, visualizing what you want to dream and building a scene and environment that allows you to interact with them.

Question your dreams and your reality

Another of the best ways to realize if you are dreaming or not are constant questions. If when you are awake you wonder if you are dreaming and you try to find out (remembering what you had for breakfast, looking at the time, looking at your surroundings...), more often than not this attitude is also transferred to your dreams, generating these questions as well while you sleep, which will ease your awareness.

 

What if you're dreaming right now?

 

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