Have You Ever Experienced Lucid Dreaming?

A door opens into an outdoor landscape with the moon shining over water.

Doors can have important meanings in life. (Image: Dmitry Bruskov via Dreamstime)

A lucid dream is described as a type of dream where the individual dreaming is, in fact, aware that they’re asleep in their physical form yet still awake mentally. It has been said that individuals can even control the narrative of their dreams while in this state of dreaming. 

I find the concept of lucid dreaming quite fascinating, yet it isn’t as uncommon as you may think. Recently, I read a book called Adriana by Mark Lusardi. Adriana is about a very complex character, and you’re taken on a journey where reality is confused for fiction. I was left intrigued and fascinated as the author outlines a mind-bending trip to mixed dimensions; it bought up questions about lucid dreaming, something that Adriana does in the story.

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According to a survey conducted in October 2020 by the Sleep Foundation, approximately 55 percent of adults admit to having experienced at least one lucid dream during their lifetime. The same survey revealed that 23 percent of people had experienced lucid dreams at least once per month. 

Other studies found that participants, mainly men and young people, used their knowledge of lucid dreaming for their wish fulfillment. When asked how the individuals felt upon awakening, they said they felt particularly positive. 

Young woman reaches out to a star.
When asked how the individuals felt upon awakening, they said they felt particularly positive. (Image: Kriscole via Dreamstime)

Can you learn to control your lucid dreaming? 

It has often been said that anybody can learn to control their dreams and become their own master at lucid dreaming. There are even workshops dedicated to promoting a lucid dream state. However, it is estimated that only 20 percent of the population has mastered the true technique of lucid dreaming. 

I wondered where the concept originated. I found that a Dutch psychiatrist named Frederik Van Eeden came up with the term for lucid dreams in 1913. It seems that many lucid dreams involve flying. 

Without a doubt, lucid dreams were being experienced long before then. “Native Americans viewed dreams as portals to the spirit world, paths to prophecy and quests,” according to Katie Lambert in her article, How Lucid Dreaming Works

Lucid dreaming is also associated with the term “Metacognition.” This involves the awareness and the understanding of one’s own thought processes.

“Research suggests that lucid dreaming and metacognitive functions share similar neural systems. This means that people with heightened abilities to monitor their own thoughts may be more likely to experience lucid dreams,” according to Kendry Cherry in her article for VeryWell Mind. However, it does not seem to help people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

People with heightened abilities to monitor their own thoughts may be more likely to experience lucid dreaming.
People with heightened abilities to monitor their own thoughts may be more likely to experience lucid dreams. (Image: Alexandra Barbu via Dreamstime)

Blurring the lines 

In August 2021, Healthline published Does Lucid Dreaming Help Your Mental Health or Harm It? In a study conducted in 2020, the adverse effects of lucid dreaming included: 

  • Poor sleep quality 
  • Dissociation 
  • Confusion 

It has been reported that scientists today are increasingly making connections between mental health and lucid dreaming. Frequent episodes of lucid dreaming “could potentially restructure the sleeper’s sleep-wake cycle, which in turn may affect emotional regulation, memory consolidation, and other aspects of day-to-day life linked to sleep health,” according to the Sleep Foundation.  

My overall personal opinion on lucid dreaming is that it truly is a fascinating concept, yet I’m unsure if I’d like to find myself flying about in my sleep.  

Although this type of dreaming is considered safe overall, it is also something that should be treated with caution. Should I ever have the experience, I will be sure to write about it!

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