Lucid dreaming

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Lucid dreams occur during REM sleep after the person becomes conscious and aware of dreaming within the dream. Lucid dreaming (lucid from Latin, lux "light") is the conscious perception of one's state while dreaming, resulting in a much clearer experience and can be as if the dreamer were awake, even sometimes enabling direct control over the content of the dream, a realistic world that is to some degree in the control of the dreamer.[1] The complete experience from start to finish is called a lucid dream. Stephen LaBerge, a popular author and experimenter on the subject, has defined it as "dreaming while knowing that you are dreaming."[2] LaBerge and his associates have called people who purposely explore the possibilities of lucid dreaming oneironauts (literally from the Greek ονειροναύτες, meaning "dream sailors"). The validity of lucid dreaming as a scientifically verified phenomenon is wellestablished.[3][4] Researchers such as Allan Hobson with his neurophysiological approach to dreaming have helped to push the understanding of lucid dreaming into a less speculative realm.


[edit] Scientific history
A number of universities conduct continued research into the techniques and effects of lucid dreaming, as do some independent agencies such as LaBerge's The Lucidity Institute.

[6] [edit] Research and clinical applications [edit] Neurobiological model Neuroscientist J. no such experiment has been performed. but this experiment proved that actions agreed upon during waking life could be recalled and performed once lucid in a dream. Philosopher Norman Malcolm's 1959 text Dreaming argued against the possibility of checking the accuracy of dream reports in this way. This process might be seen as the balance between reason and emotion. A pilot study was performed in 2006 that showed lucid dreaming .[5] Additionally.The first book on lucid dreams to recognize their scientific potential was Celia Green's 1968 study Lucid Dreams.[8] [edit] Treatment for nightmares People who suffer from nightmares would obviously benefit from the ability to be aware they are dreaming. Reviewing the past literature. but be conscious enough to recognize them. In order to verify the predictions of this hypothesis it would be necessary to observe the brain during lucid dreaming using a method such as a PET scan. Similar experiments were duplicated by Stephen LaBerge at Stanford University for his doctoral dissertation some years later. During the 1980s. LaBerge had no knowledge of Hearne and Worsley's previous experiments at that time. and where working memory occurs. which captures a snapshot of the blood flow brain. Green was also the first to link lucid dreams to the phenomenon of false awakenings. and a volunteer named Alan Worsley. probably due to the lack of publication of Hearne's work. who used eye movement signals on a polysomnograph machine to signal the onset of lucidity. and concluded that they were a category of experience quite distinct from ordinary dreams. The first scientific support for lucid dreaming came in the late 1970s from the efforts of British parapsychologist Keith Hearne. further scientific evidence to confirm the existence of lucid dreaming was produced as lucid dreamers were able to demonstrate to researchers that they were consciously aware of being in a dream state (usually again by using eye movement signals). this recognition might occur in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex which is one of the few areas deactivated during REM sleep. Interestingly. Green analysed the main characteristics of such dreams. As of 2007. Allan Hobson has hypothesized as to what might be occurring in the brain while lucid. While maintaining this balance the amygdala and parahippocampal cortex might be less intensely activated. as well as new data from subjects of her own. She predicted that they would turn out to be associated with REM sleep. The first step to lucid dreaming is recognizing that one is dreaming. techniques were developed which have been experimentally proven to enhance the likelihood of achieving this state. Once this area is activated and the recognition of dreaming occurs the dreamer must be cautious to let the dream delusions continue.[7] To continue the intensity of the dream hallucinations it is expected the pons and the parietooccipital junction cortex to stay active.

and out of body experiences researchers believe a protocol could be developed to induce a lucid dream and near death experience in the laboratory. near death experiences. behold the action.[13] [edit] Cultural History Even though it has only come to the attention of the general public in the last few decades. yet in one dream I can compose a whole Comedy. in a letter written by St. mastery of the technique.[12] A study of 14 lucid dreamers was performed in 1991 that showed that people who experience wake initiated lucid dreams (WILD) report experiences consistent with aspects of out-of-body experiences such as floating above one's bed and the feeling of leaving one's body. • It is in the fifth century that we have one of the earliest written examples of a lucid dream. & Schredl. signaling the end of counting with a pre-arranged eye signal measured with Electrooculogram recording. Augustine of Hippo in 415.. lucid dreaming is not a modern discovery. M also studied motor activity and found that deep knee bends took 44% longer to perform while lucid dreaming. and lucidity exercises. This treatment consisted of exposure to the idea. though the treatment as a whole was successful.[15] An early recorded lucid dreamer was the philosopher and physician Sir Thomas Browne (1605–1682). apprehend the jests and laugh my self awake at the conceits thereof.[9] [edit] Perception of time while lucid dreaming The amount of time that passes in lucid dreaming has been shown to be about the same as while waking. Tibetan Buddhists were practising a form of yoga supposed to maintain full waking consciousness while in the dream state. D. In 1867..) while dreaming. he published his book Les Reves et les Moyens de Les Diriger. Browne was fascinated by the world of dreams and stated of his own ability to lucid dream in his Religio Medici: ". The German study by Erlacher. In 1985 LaBerge performed a pilot study where lucid dreamers counted from one to ten (one-one thousand.[10] The pilot study was repeated in 2004 by researchers in Germany and LaBerge's results were duplicated. It was not clear what aspect of this treatment was responsible for the success.[14] As early as the eighth century.treatment was successful in reducing nightmare frequency.[11] [edit] Replicating near-death & out-of-body experiences in the lab Due to the phenomenological overlap in lucid dreams. etc. Observations Pratiques (Dreams and • • • . two-one thousand."[16] Marquis d'Hervey de Saint-Denys was probably the first person to argue that it is possible for anyone to learn to dream consciously.

In the 1950s the Senoi hunter-gatherers of Malaysia were reported to make extensive use of lucid dreaming to ensure mental health. although later studies refuted these claims. The ability to sleep appears to decrease when people get older. the ability to remember one's dreams. rather than as referring to the perceptual quality of the experience. Despite this difficulty.[17] This book was highly anecdotal and not embraced by the scientific community.[22] Hypnotism may help induce lucidity[23] Induction techniques can help a great deal in becoming lucid.[21] Children seem to have lucid dreams more easily than adults do. in which he documented more than twenty years of his own research into dreams. The term itself is considered by some to be a misnomer because it means much more than just "clear or vivid" dreaming.[19] • [edit] Achieving and recognizing Many people report having experienced a lucid dream during their lives. Although lucid dreaming is a conditioned skill. There are some factors which can affect the ability to experience lucid dreams: • • • • • Meditation. as in the phrase 'a lucid interval' applied to someone in temporary remission from a psychosis. Practical Observations). It involves performing an action with results that are difficult to re-create in a dream. • The term "lucid dreaming" was coined by Dutch author and psychiatrist Frederik van Eeden in his 1913 book A Study of Dreams. Induction devices are also available to assist lucid dreaming. techniques have been developed to achieve a lucid dreaming state intentionally. A better dream recall ability makes one more aware of their dreams in general as well as allowing one to remember if they did have a lucid dream. one may eventually dream of . is often practiced in conjunction with learning to lucid dream. By practicing these techniques during waking life. and involvement in consciousness focusing activities can strengthen the ability to experience lucid dreams. On the other hand.[20] achieving lucid dreams on a regular basis can be difficult and is uncommon. Dream recall. often in childhood. even with training. To that extent van Eeden's phrase may still be considered appropriate.How to Guide them. which may or may not be clear and vivid.[18] A better term might have been "conscious dreaming".[24] [edit] Common induction techniques [edit] Reality testing Reality testing is a common method that people use to determine whether or not they are dreaming. the term 'lucid' was used by van Eeden in its sense of 'having insight'.

[citation needed] Reading some text. The number of fingers will often be higher or lower than 5. it is possible to breathe through the nose. to remember to recognize that one is dreaming. one may notice a strange stuttering or 'strobing' of the image. then look away and look back. [edit] Mnemonic induction of lucid dreams (MILD) The mnemonic induction of lucid dreams is a common technique used to induce a lucid dream at will by setting an intention. Another form of reality testing involves identifying one's dream signs. The acute pain usually cannot be felt in dreams. with no transition whatsoever. this may include the presence of unusual clothing or hair. or to look at one's watch and remember the time. Common reality tests include: • • • • • Holding one's nose. some people panic or are frightened by it and consciously pull out of it. Cohesion — Sometimes the dreamer may seem to "teleport" to a completely different location in a dream. even though it is pinched shut. and reading it again. In some cases when moving one's head from side to side. another dream character. Form — The dreamer.[25] Flipping a light switch or looking into a mirror. in a dream.performing a reality check—which will usually fail—helping the dreamer realize that they are dreaming.[26] Pinching oneself or hitting an object hard. or is oddly formed or transforms. Dream signs are often categorized as follows: • • • • • Action — The dreamer. clues that one is dreaming. they may seem perfectly normal to a dreaming mind and learning to pick up on these dream signs will help in recognizing that one is dreaming. or to remember to look for dream signs. distorted or incorrect. Though occurrences like these may seem out of place in waking life. or not be easily counted. the text or time will often have changed. Observers have found that. Because it is easy to master . or a third person view of the dreamer. Light switches rarely work properly in dreams. then breathing through it. Context — The place or situation in the dream is strange. or altered perceptions. while falling asleep. or a thing changes shape. another character.[citation needed] Counting one's fingers. and reflections from a mirror often appear to be blurred. such as photos in a magazine or newspaper becoming 3-dimensional with full movement. or a thing does something unusual or impossible in waking life. Because lucid dreams start instantly and look and feel like the real world inside the dreamer's mind. feeling as if lingering might cause them to be trapped inside the dream. looking away. Awareness — A peculiar thought. a strong emotion. an unusual sensation. Often. or even shift before the dreamer's eyes.

Because this REM cycle is longer and deeper. while success at night after being awake for a long time is very difficult. and this technique takes advantage of the best REM cycle of the night. passive sexual fantasies. while still being calm enough to let their body sleep. concentrating on relaxing their body from their toes to their head.[28] There are many techniques aimed at entering a WILD. especially during the transition which can be quite sudden. "to drift off into another dimension". There are key times at which this state is best entered. it is relatively easy after being awake for 15 or so minutes and in the afternoon during a nap. controlling their breathing. Usually a device is worn while sleeping that can detect when the sleeper enters a REM phase and triggers a noise and/or flashing lights with the goal of . or any various form of concentration to keep their mind awake. focusing all thoughts on lucid dreaming. If a person is successful in staying aware while this stage occurs. [edit] Induction devices Lucid dream induction is possible by the use of a physical device.[27] [edit] Wake-initiated lucid dream (WILD) The wake-initiated lucid dream "occurs when the sleeper enters REM sleep with unbroken self-awareness directly from the waking state". Also there is frequently a sensation of falling rapidly or dropping through the bed as one enters the dream state or the sensation of entering a dark black room from which one can induce any dream scenario of one's choosing. Dreamers often count.(almost everyone sets intentions frequently). they will eventually enter the dream state while being fully aware that it is a dream. staying awake for an hour and going back to sleep while practicing the MILD method. envision themselves climbing or descending stairs. allowing images to flow through their "mind's eye" and envisioning themselves jumping into the image. which is within the border of being awake and being asleep. The key to being successful is to not panic. Then. one is likely to experience sleep paralysis. A 60% success rate has been shown in research using this technique. including rapid vibrations. exploring elaborate.[27] This is because the REM cycles get longer as the night goes on. The key to these techniques is recognizing the hypnagogic stage. [edit] Wake-back-to-bed (WBTB) The wake-back-to-bed technique is often the easiest way to induce a lucid dream. it is ideal for those who have never practiced lucid dreaming induction techniques before. The method involves going to sleep tired and waking up five hours later. chanting to themselves. gaining lucidity during this time may result in a more lengthy lucid dream. During the actual transition into the dream state. The general principle works by taking advantage of the natural phenomenon of incorporating external stimuli into one's dreams. simply by concentrating on it.[13] a sequence of very loud sounds and a feeling of twirling into another state of body awareness. Common techniques for inducing WILDs abound.

the dreamer is engaging parts of the brain that may also be involved in REM activity. Scientific research has found that these eye movements correspond to the direction in which the dreamer is "looking" in his/her dreamscape. LaBerge tested his hypothesis by asking 34 volunteers to either spin. this apparently enabled trained lucid dreamers to communicate the content of their dreams as they were happening to researchers by using eye movement signals. • • Rapid eye movement (REM) and communication during sleep: during dreaming sleep the eyes move rapidly. the device is no longer manufactured. False awakenings: In a false awakening. helping to prolong REM. This technique is intended to engage the dreamer's brain in producing the sensation of rubbing hands.[31] This research produced various results. such as that events in dreams take place in real time rather than going by in a flash. or do nothing. [30] [edit] Other associated phenomena REM Sleep. EEG highlighted by red box. Commonly in a false awakening the room is identical to the room that the person fell asleep in. one suddenly dreams of having been awakened. If the person was lucid. this is called a "false awakening". [edit] Prolonging lucid dreams One problem faced by people wishing to lucid dream is awakening prematurely. Since the person is actually still dreaming. and may start exiting their room etc. The second technique is rubbing one's hands. Only 33% of lucid dreams were prolonged with taking no action. This is often a nemesis in the art of lucid dreaming because it . Stephen LaBerge proposed two ways to prolong a lucid dream. preventing the sensation of lying in bed from creeping into awareness.[29] however. Results showed 90% of dreams were prolonged by hand rubbing and 96% prolonged by spinning. He proposed that when spinning. For example flashing lights might be translated to a car's headlights in a dream.these stimuli being incorporated into the dreamer's dream. This premature awakening can be especially frustrating after investing considerable time into achieving lucidity in the first place. he/she often believes that he/she is no longer dreaming. The first technique involves spinning one's dream body. Eye movements highlighted by red line. A well known dream induction device is the Nova Dreamer. as of 2006. rub their hands. with several small subtle differences.

because otherwise the movements which occur in the dream would actually cause the body to move. People who keep a dream journal and write down their dreams upon awakening sometimes report having to write down the same dream multiple times because of this phenomenon. there are references to it in popular culture. especially auditory ones. during.• usually causes people to give up their awareness of being in a dream. Hypnagogic hallucinations may occur in this state. However. or after normal sleep while the brain awakens. [edit] Popular culture Related article: Lucid dreaming in popular culture. . This can lead to a state where a person is lying in his or her bed and he or she feels frozen. Though lucid dreaming is not well known by the general public. it is possible for this mechanism to be triggered before. Notable examples are Richard Linklater's film Waking Life. but it can also cause someone to become lucid if the person does a reality check whenever he/she awakens. Sleep paralysis: During REM sleep the body is paralyzed by a mechanism in the brain.