The Science Behind Lucid Dreaming

Lucid dreaming can be defined as being aware that we are dreaming, while we are dreaming. According to Lucidity Institute, “lucidity usually begins in the midst of a dream when the dreamer realizes that the experience is not occurring in physical reality, but is a dream.” It turns your dream world into an alternate reality where all of your senses come to life and are authentic. Lucid dreaming is a safe and natural state when the conscious brain wakes up during sleep.

There is scientific evidence of lucid dreaming. British parapsychologist Keith Hearne was the first to discover scientific evidence of lucid dreaming in 1975. In his research he caught the pre-determined conscious eye movements of a lucid dreaming volunteer. He found that lucid dreams are real dreams occurring in rapid eye movement (REM) of sleep, and that lucidity is consistently preceded by a REM burst. Doctor Stephen LaBerge became famous for replicating Hearne’s experiment and formally publishing his findings.

Lucid dreaming is typically triggered in two ways. In one case, you are dreaming and then there is some extremely unusual occurrence that causes you to realize that you are, in fact, dreaming. In the other case, you have just awoken from a dream and then fell back asleep with little to no break in consciousness. There are benefits to lucid dreaming. A group of scientists in Germany found that “self-reflection in everyday life is more pronounced in persons who can easily control their dreams. The area of the brain responsible for self reflection (among others) is significantly larger among lucid dreamers.” Lucid dreaming can help in overcoming nightmares and sharpen creativity and problem solving skills. Once you know you are dreaming, you can do basically anything your mind can imagine without obeying the laws of society and physics.

There are techniques we can follow to learn how to lucid dream. Assistant clinical professor of psychology at Harvard and author of the book The Committee of Sleep: How Artists, Scientists, and Athletes Use Dreams for Creative Problem-Solving—and How You Can, Too Deirdre Barrett says that the most important thing you can do is remind yourself just as you are falling asleep that you want to realize you are dreaming tonight. Another way is to systematically check to see if you are awake or not during the day. You will eventually find yourself checking to see if you are awake in a dream, thus allowing you to enter a lucid dream. One way to do this is to look at a digital watch or simply just reading text periodically throughout the day. In dreams, text usually doesn’t make sense and time changes extremely fast.

Lucid dreaming is a safe and natural way to gain more control over your mind and thought processes. Practicing the lucid dreaming techniques mentioned above will make you more aware of your surroundings and actions, giving you a better grasp on reality. Lucid dreaming gives us the ability to “experience” anything we can imagine without having to actually do anything but sleep.

Dreaming II(Image found here)

Other sources:

World of Lucid Dreaming



2 thoughts on “The Science Behind Lucid Dreaming

  1. Johnna Nicole Hayward

    Hey Kevin!

    A lot of my friends have attempted lucid dreaming and I don’t think a single one was successful. I have never given it a try because it always freaked me out and I almost saw it as dangerous.
    After researching whether or not lucid dreaming is dangerous I discovered that it is not considered to be because there is “no evidence of physical or social malfunction has been linked to lucid dreaming”. But it was also clearly stated that you should never have too much of a good thing. An example of this would be the fact that people have “false awakenings” where they think they’re awake but they really aren’t.
    So I guess lucid dreaming can’t really be considered as dangerous, but there are definitely aspects of this procedure that are risky.

  2. Jose Ignacio Arango De Diego

    Your blog about lucid dream fascinated me. I have always been interested and intrigued about what is lucid dream and as other people call it “astral projection” or “astral travel”. I tried it once and honestly I was completely scared. I tried to train my body into be completely aware that I was in a dream but as I felt a weird sensation in my body I panicked and woke up immediately. It is amazing the power of the mind and all the mysteries of it and it is completely scientific in regards to popular mystical belief.

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