When was the last time you were aware of yourself in a dream? Do you know you are in a dream when you are — and able to control what happens around you? Not many of us are lucky enough to experience lucid dreams on a regular basis (if at all!), but a recent study might change that. What if you could actually learn how to lucid dream?
Brain Training Techniques
Researchers asked 169 participants to use one or more of the following training techniques for a week:
Reality testing: requires you to question whether you’re dreaming, even when you’re sure you’re awake. Choose a simple test, something safe that you could only do while dreaming.
The wake back to bed (WBTB) method: relies on breaking up the sleep cycle after 5-6 hours, then staying awake for at least 10 minutes (but no longer than an hour) before returning to bed. This technique often fast-tracks a person immediately into REM sleep, although it may affect sleep quality.
Finally, the mnemonic induction of lucid dreams (MILD): asks you to repeat a short command, for example, “I will be aware that I’m dreaming tonight,” while going to sleep, which researchers believe could prime the mind for lucid dreaming. Much like forming other intentions, you’d be planting a seed in your mind to create the right energy to see results.
While just reality testing or WBTB alone had little notable effect, those who used all three techniques — nearly a third of the participants — reported a percentage of 17.4 lucid dreams within the study week.
Imagining the Possibilities
Researchers are studying the effects of lucid dreaming on PTSD, among other disabilities. For example, PTSD sufferers might transform their nightmares into tools of empowerment by reversing character roles. This is important for all frequent sufferers of nightmares. Just imagine being able to take control and change the course of your dream! As life-changing as it could be, we all stand to benefit in some way. Imagine your dreams opening you up to a multiverse of vivid new experiences. What might lucid dreaming do for you?