We’ve all experienced nightmares and weird dreams, most of which are simply a product of our subconscious. Our brain creates images while we sleep, which we react to despite how we may feel about them. In other words, we’re not in control.
However, some people can fully control their dreams, or at least certain aspects of them, through lucid dreaming. If you’re interested in trying lucid dreaming, keep reading to find out what it really is and how to get started as a beginner.
What Is Lucid Dreaming?
Most of the time, we don’t know we’re dreaming until we’ve woken up. During lucid dreaming, a person is aware that a dream is taking place but remains asleep. They may be able to change the dynamics of their dream and even respond to outside stimuli. About 55% of adults have experienced at least one lucid dream in their lifetime, and 23% of people experience at least one lucid dream per month.
Lucid dreams usually occur several hours after you’ve fallen asleep. They’re most common during periods of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which makes up about 25% of total sleep time in normal adults. While lucid dreaming, people often report being able to perform actions they can’t do in reality, like flying or time travel. Others use it as a tool to induce creativity or solve problems that they’re struggling with in real life.
How to Lucid Dream
If you want to give lucid dreaming a try, several techniques can make it much easier for a beginner. Here are a few methods that may help induce a lucid dream:
- Try the MILD method: The mnemonic induction of lucid dreams (MILD) method involves the process of training yourself to recognize the difference between dreams and reality during sleep. To use this technique, wake up after a set period of sleeping, and repeat this phrase: “The next time I’m asleep, I’ll remember I’m dreaming.” Simple, yes – but it has proven to be highly effective in some studies.
- Keep a dream journal: Keeping detailed records allows you to recognize dreams more easily when you’re asleep and makes lucid dreaming more likely.
- Optimize your bedroom for sleeping: Make sure your bedroom is comfortable, quiet, and relatively dark. Practicing good sleep hygiene can help ensure you’re getting enough REM sleep to dream.
- Assess your reality: Practice ‘reality testing’ throughout the day by checking your environment to confirm whether you’re awake or sleeping.
When to See a Doctor
If you’re having trouble sleeping, it may be a sign of a more serious disorder, such as sleep apnea. Contact us today for a sleep study and find out how we can help you get a better night’s sleep.