Lucid Dreams: What Are They and How to Make One Happen
You may have heard about lucid dreams, but may be confused about what they are and how they differ from ordinary dreaming. Simply put, a lucid dream occurs when a dreamer becomes aware that he’s in a dream and gains control of it.
Lucid dreaming is the practice of remaining in this dream state and exploring it. People practice lucid dreaming for a variety of reasons like overcoming psychological challenges and receiving creative inspiration. Or even merely for the fun of experiencing dream stunts like flying or traveling to unknown places.
Not only are lucid dreams pretty darn cool to experience, but it turns out they provide physiological benefits, too.
The benefits of lucid dreams
A 2009 study revealed increased brain activity in the gamma brainwave state during lucid dreams. The researchers of the study classified lucid dreaming as a new and separate state of consciousness. The calming and quiet gamma brainwave state is associated with expanded consciousness and spirituality.
In this state of consciousness, lucid dreamers can train their minds to work toward their personal goals in sleep. Lucid dreams also provide a unique outlet to subconsciously work through a particular problem that isn’t resolving easily in real-life, like overcoming a fear of public speaking.
Though accessing another state of consciousness may sound complicated, there are a few simple techniques that make experiencing a lucid dream a lot more attainable.
Lucid dream hacks
Since lucid dreams occur in the REM stage of the sleep cycle, the most effective techniques for having lucid dreams train you to remain conscious, or lucid, as you enter the REM stage. Following are three popular tricks for having lucid dreams.
Wake Back to Bed
The Wake Back to Bed (WBTB) is a popular technique that trains your body to target the REM sleep phase.
Set an alarm for two to three hours before your usual wake up time (after about 4.5 to 6 hours of sleep.) When the alarm sounds, shut it off but stay in bed. Allow your mind to wake up while keeping your body relaxed. Think about and focus on the lucid dream you want to have.
When you fall back asleep, you will jump back into the REM stage of sleep but remain mentally conscious in your dream.
WILD stands for Wake Induced Lucid Dreaming and is a form of meditation inspired by Tibetan Dream Yoga that allows you to maintain awareness while your body falls asleep.
First, lying on your back, breathe deeply inducing the body to become completely relaxed. Next, begin to focus on your hypnagogia, the colorful swirly patterns you see behind the eyelids. As you start to feel more sleepy from observing the patterns, remain aware. Lastly, visualize the lucid dream that you want to have. Construct the scene in your mind and begin interacting with it.
Listen to a Brainwave Audio
Another simple way to enter the deep meditative state that’s ideal for lucid dreaming is by listening to a brainwave entrainment audio as you lie in bed.
Brainwave entrainment is a technique that uses binaural beats to change brain wave frequency to a frequency corresponding to the brain state you want to induce. Since lucid dreams produce increased gamma brain activity, binaural beats in the gamma frequency will best help you have lucid dreams. If you’re interested in experimenting with binaural beats try the Relax Melodies app which features several free high quality binaural beats.
You now have everything you need to get started on your lucid dream journey, try these techniques and find the one that works best for you. Ready, set, dream!
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