Lucid dream is when you are aware that you are in a dream. This happens most often when the dreamer is in their REM (Rapid Eye Movement) Sleep. This stage of sleep is when we are dreaming and our brain activity is at its peak. During a lucid dream, you are aware of your consciousness and have partial to free will in your dream. It is a form of metacognition or a state of heightened awareness.
The dreamer is aware that they are in a dream, but they do not leave the dream-y state so as to say. There can be instances when dreamers have reported to control the physical and the metaphysical environment around them.
There have been contradicting thoughts regarding lucid dreaming as some suggest that it is a great way to exercise your mind and subconscious state, while others have speculated it to disturb sleep and cause the dreamer to blur the lines between reality and fantasy.
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Whichever school of thought you may be inclined towards, you can always give it a try. It takes a lot of patience and will to lucid dream, let alone master it. Here are ways in which you can start your lucid dreaming journey.
Test your Reality
It has been studied that you can only be better at being subconsciously aware if you are better at being consciously aware of your surroundings and reality. One can repeatedly check if they are sleeping or not. Done enough times, the idea seeps into a state of routine where one can find it easy to distinguish the real from the sleepy ’real’.
Use MILD (Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams)
This technique is based on prospective memory, which means that you set an agenda for yourself to do something later. Keep reminding yourself that you will remember that you are dreaming. For example if you see the lines on your and they seem distorted, it most likely means you are dreaming. This is called a dreamsign. You should find your dream sign, recognise it and make sure that when you see your dreamsign you tell yourself that you are dreaming.
Maintain a Dream Journal
The best way to keep a track of your dream sign is to write about them, the moment you wake up. Keep a diary or a short notebook by your bedside and write everything you remember from your dream. It is essential to do this right after you wake up, as the longer you wait the more details you lose of your dream. Once you write these dream details and read them later, it will be easier for you to pick up cues of what makes up your dream reality.
Wake Back To Bed
This technique involves you setting an alarm for about 4.5 – 5 hours from your sleeping time. As you wake up from your sleep to the sound of the alarm, practice an attentive activity, most likely reading. After about half an hour or so, go back to sleep, this makes it more likely for you to have a lucid dream. As your REM sleep generally arrives 5-6 hours into your sleep, you are more likely to lucid dream after an attentive bout of reading.
How to Wake Up?
It can be a scary thought to have a dream in which you are active and not knowing how to wake up. There are ways in which you can wake yourself up after or when in a lucid dream.
- SCREAM – The best way to wake up is by calling out for help in your dream. This will trigger your brain to look out for things that aren’t in your absolute control, making you wake up.
- Try to Sleep in Your Dream – This may seem counterintuitive, but it can act as a negative to your already being in sleep, confusing your brain and waking you up.
- Read Something in Your Dream – Reading invokes and activates parts of the brain that can’t be working together as and when you sleep. You will most likely wake up after this.