Lucid Dreaming: In Chase Of Control, You Might Lose Sleep

Lucid Dreaming: In Chase Of Control, You Might Lose Sleep
During lucid dreaming a person can change the response or do something that empowers them in a dream.

It can give dreamers more power over what happens in the dream but can make them too involved in process. They might miss on quality, undisrupted sleep.

Written by Kashish Sharma |Updated : May 3, 2023 5:01 PM IST

Movies like Inception have hinted at the power one can have over dreams. For long, it was just a fancy to control one's dreams but recent research on lucid dreaming has shown that what seemed like an impossibility can be a reality with some practice. In simple words, lucid dreaming is one in which the dreamer has self-awareness that they are sleeping and whatever might be happening is not real. This awareness can be harnessed further with some scientific techniques that can give more control to the dreamer in terms of what happens in the dream. However, some studies are suggesting that though there might be many benefits of lucid dreaming, it has the potential to adversely affect sleep hygiene and quality.

Lucid dreaming has emerged as a potential way to explore the blurred line between dreams and reality. With dreamer having more control over the content of the dream, it can not only give access to the subconscious or unconscious emotional conflicts that could be tactfully resolved but also it can open door for healing in conditions like post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression and prevent the distress caused by nightmares.

What is the potential harm?

As per quoted by a popular international media outlet, with scientists trying to find ways to induce lucid dreams and people who have followed the techniques, some physical changes have been observed in them while they try controlling the dream. A study showed that when researchers asked the subjects to do squats in a lucid dream, their heart rate and breathing rate while dreaming was much similar to what it would have been in real life. This shows that inducing lucid dreams and giving dreamers more control over the action can make them more physically active. This can disrupt the natural sleep cycle and disrupt the circadian rhythm or body's internal clock.

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During lucid dreaming a person can change the response or do something that empowers them in a dream. For instance, a person who might have phobia of spiders might be able to fight it off or even escape from it climbing on them. This can also be done in case of horrifying nightmares. Scientifically this can prevent people from emotional distress in the moment and the following day. However, while doing this, all intention might be on overpowering the dream and sleep quality might get compromised.

Some studies have shown that lucid dreaming might not have a therapeutic effect on all people. Those affected by psychosis might already find it hard to differentiate between what is real and what is not. Lucid dreaming will add on to the confusion and might even aggravate their symptoms of hallucinations, delirium and others.

Also, the techniques prescribed for inducing lucid dreaming for instance reality monitoring might keep a person occupied all night and they are likely to miss a good night sleep. It can also increase the risk of a person experiencing sleep paralysis (temporary inability to move or speak as one wakes up while sleeping).

Methods for inducing lucid dreams

Research has formulated some methods using which a person can initiate lucid dreaming. A person can schedule waking up after 5 to 6 hours of falling asleep, then engaging in some mind involving activity for some time and then going directly into sleep from that waking state. They might probably enter the REM phase where lucid dreams happen. Another method is to do constant reality check while dreaming like asking practical questions, checking mirrors for reflection, reading time on clock, pushing your hand against solid objects and others. Consciously training your mind to remember a certain dream can also be done.