Lucid Dreams has been boggling our minds for many years now. In the cases of most of us, our brain constructs a reality that’s completely separate from the outside world while we dream. The dream experience usually feels so real that we don’t realize it’s actually a dream until we wake up. A lucid dream is a kind of dream during which the dreamer is aware of the fact that they are dreaming. And because of that awareness, the dreamer gains some amount of control over the dream characters, narrative, and environment. Lucid dreams hold a fascination for many of us. Here are some interesting facts about lucid dreams that you might don’t know.
1. The Start:
Lucid dreams start out like any other dream. All the imagery or people we see in our dreams are familiar. As dreams are unconscious visual exhibitions of information and memories that are already floating around in our heads. For most of us, a dream is like another world which feels real but doesn’t exist but we also can’t tell the difference while experiencing it. When a lucid dreamer becomes aware, he can then control and manipulate aspects of the dream reality. The dreamer would have control of his dreams but his physical body will be in deep sleep and he won’t be able to actually feel anything. Lucid dreams occur at the REM stage of sleep. Though it is not proven yet, what exactly causes one to lucid dream, according to some studies, an overactive frontal cortex during sleep can cause lucid dreaming.
2. Half Of The Population Has Experienced Lucid Dreaming:
According to a study, about 51% of people have experienced a lucid dream at least once in their life. Lucid dreams usually begin during childhood or adolescence but like most sleep phenomenons and disorders, it can occur at any point during one’s life. Though the reason for lucid dreaming is still a mystery, according to Martinez-Conde, “Studies have shown that people who are more reflective or introspective about their inner thought are more prone to lucid dreams than others.” Some researches show that lucid dreamers manage to also have a greater metacognitive ability, which is the ability to think on one’s mental states and report. The people who frequently lucid dream tend to have more grey matter volume in their brain. The grey matter in our brains is responsible for conscious thought, memory, decision-making, and self-control.
3. You Can Learn To Lucid Dream:
Experts believe that lucid dream is probably just a natural ability or skill some people are born with. According to researchers, there are skills that lucid dreamers can develop with practice so they can better act on demand or even find creative solutions to problems in their dreams. If you never have a lucid dream there are ways you can teach yourself to have one. You can simply tell yourself it’ll happen or you’ll have more control in the dream before you sleep can help. Another interesting fact is that in our dreams we can’t read or tell time. Keep this thought in mind before bed and try to read in a dream and finding that it isn’t working can trigger a realization that you’re dreaming. From there you can become aware of your dream and possibly be able to control it. Though how much control a lucid dreamer has on their can vary. It is also normal for someone to never have a lucid dream.
4. Lucid Dreams Doesn’t Influence Waking Life:
Despite whatever you have seen in the movies, lucid dreams don’t actually change your waking life. Martinez-Conde says, “You don’t want to become too attracted to the idea of harvesting benefits from lucid dreaming and believe you can learn to do something like a sport without ever trying it in real life.” Also, there are no proven advantages of lucid dreaming. It can be mind opening and sometimes and can give you creative ideas. Like if you are a painter, you can brush up your skills by practicing while you’re dreaming and get some new ideas. Though they can be a very memorable and fun part of your life, experts warn against reading too much into the phenomenon.
5. The First Records Of Lucid Dreaming:
Ancient Egyptians were the first to record lucid dreams. As we know, Egyptians were an advanced civilization which coalesced more than 5,000 years ago. Ancient Egyptians believed in three bodies- Shat (the corpse body), Ka (the living physical body) and Ba (the soul). In Ancient Egyptian, BaBa was often described in hieroglyphics as a human-headed bird floating above the sleeping body or corpse. According to experts, Ba is the person but in another form. The Ba could be described as a person in an out-of-body state. Early references to lucid dream can also be found in ancient Greek writing. Philosopher Aristotle also wrote about this phenomenon. In Eastern thoughts, developing the dreamer’s ability to be aware that he or she is dreaming is central to both the Tibetan Buddhist practice of Dream Yoga, and the ancient Indian Hindu practice of Yoga Nidra. Meditation is said to directly linked with lucid dreaming since focusing improves an individual’s ability to control and be aware of the present scenario.
6. If You Close Your Eyes In Lucid Dream, You Can Wake Up:
In many cases, when a lucid dreamer closes their eyes in their dreams they wake up, though it is not proven to be true for everyone. Though even you have returned to your physical waking body, there is a way you can resume the dream from where you left off. This phenomenon is called a Dream-Exit Induced Lucid Dream (DEILD).
Also, Lucid dreaming is more common than you think. Most people don’t know the technical name for it and it goes underreported. But it is said that one in five people lucid dream every month or more. Though experts are not sure if it’s frequent or regular or how long does it last.
7. Lucid Dreamers Can Talk To The Outside world:
The British psychologist Dr. Keith Hearne first recorded the eye movements of Alan Worsley as he slept and engaged in a lucid dream in the lab In 1975. The two men had agreed upon a pattern set of eye movement signals before Worsley went to sleep. Worsley was able to communicate with Hearne in the outside world, while he was dreaming by his eyes inside the lucid dream. This was the first ever proof that consciousness in dreams was indeed real. Later wise, a high-frequency GAMMA brainwave state in lucid dreamers were recorded that provided further evidence of this unique state of conscious awareness. A few years later Dr. Stephen LaBerge famously replicated Hearne’s experiment at Stanford University which showed us the possibility for a dreamer to “talk” with the outside world.
It is possible to send messages to a dreamer while they sleep. For example, if someone gently prods you in the rib while you sleep, you will sometimes feel the prod in the dream, it is called Dream Incorporation.
8. What Happens When We Lucid Dream:
Researchers have followed the brain activities of a lucid dreamer. According to them, first dreamers recognize that they are dreaming which this stimulates the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, that is responsible for self-awareness and working memory. Normally, this area is deactivated during REM sleep. After the dreamer’s lucidity is triggered, the dreamer treads a fine line between staying asleep, yet remaining conscious enough to remember they’re dreaming.
9. The Separate State Of Consciousness:
Susan Blackmore highlights the fact that lucid dreams may be a special state of consciousness, different from any other. It is believed that these separate states can be mapped. They illustrated how some states are commonly experienced and easy to reach such as being wide awake, false awakenings and dreaming. But others are rarer and tread the far reaches of the human experience such as deep sleep, sleep paralysis, and mystical experiences.
Lucid dreaming is also often linked to neurotransmitter Acetylcholine. In our brain Acetylcholine Esterase or AChE is the enzyme that breaks down Acetylcholine in the brain. If you take an AChE inhibitor, it stops that breakdown which leads to greater levels of Acetylcholine in the brain. For example, there is a Chinese natural herbal dreaming supplement, which will make you experience vivid and colorful dreams that are much more likely to turn lucid.
10. Common Themes Includes Adventures And Sex:
Having sex and going on adventures are two of the most common themes among lucid dreamers. Some lucid dreamers even report having sleep orgasms while lucid dreaming about sex. It is possible to have lucid orgasms that sometimes, followed by a real physical response like increased heart rate, changes in vascular tissue and other muscular reactions. But sometimes it’s purely in the mind which doesn’t make it any less real.