Lucid dreaming FAQ
1. Why bother lucid dreaming?Dream awareness in the dream state (REM-sleep) allows you to deliberately and voluntarily direct a dream (isolated elements or the whole plot) to anything you desire. As such, the lucid dream provides endless opportunity to gain extraordinary experiences (recreative or therapeutic) that are impossible or difficult to gain in everyday life: free from physical and social laws. Imagine applying lucid dreaming within the following (popular) scenarios:
Since lucid dreaming is learnable, many people enjoy lucid dreaming to improve both their dreaming and waking lives. It is an awesome spiritual sport.
2. Is science involved?Yes. Please read our lucid dreaming page. Most techniques we address here at Lucidipedia are based on the pioneering research of lucid dream researchers at the renowned Lucidity Institute at Stanford University.
3. Is it physiologically safe?Yes. The most current validation for the safety of lucid dreaming capitalizes on the notion that it is not the "dream imagery" that humans need to survive and function properly, but REM-sleep that is vital to our physiological health. People who are deprived of "dream imaginary" but still generate REM-sleep seem to be not affected. This opposed to people who are deprived of REM-sleep and experience (far less) vivid dream imaginary, who suffer immediately the following day. In other words, dream imagery seems to be a by-product of REM-sleep which in turn is not vital to our health. Because lucid dreaming occurs exclusively during REM-sleep, it does not affect your health in any way because it does not influences REM-sleep. Whether you manipulate and transform dreams when you are lucid does not matter, the thing is that you still generate REM-sleep and that is what counts. On a side note, lucid dreams also occur naturally and rather frequently to most people, without any deliberate intent.
4. Is it psychologically safe?Yes. Lucid dreaming is safe, even healing and enormously stimulating, depending on what you would like to lucid dream about. You might imagine someone using his or her lucid dreams to create negative emotional dream content (e.g. killing people in dreams) or to pursue bad habits. If we accept that lucid dreams could have benificial effects on our mental health, we must also accept that negative lucid dream experiences influences our mental health proportionally. Importantly, there is nothing inherent to lucid dreaming that makes it in any way mentally unhealthy: it solely depends upon what YOU decide to lucid dream about.
As with video gaming, it is not the game console (i.e., the lucid dream) but the particular games you play (i.e., the particular dream experiences you pursue in your lucid dreams) that affect your psychological health. Use your lucid dreams to engage yourself in positive and rewarding experiences.
But as with many things, if you have personal reservations or if you are currently undergoing any psychological therapy, we recommend you to thoroughly investigate the full extent of your reservations before you continue.
5. Does it get you tired?No. Dreaming is also described as "paradoxical sleep"; paradoxical, because the brain is as active during dreaming as during the waking state, while strangely enough the body is mostly paralyzed. Lucid dreaming does not add much additional brain activity to the already highly active brain when it is dreaming. If you have had a stressful dream about an examination test that you failed to pass for, you are likely to wake up stressed. If you on the other hand recognized that examination dream as a typical dream scenario while you were dreaming, turned lucid and instead decided to face the situation and resolved it by deliberate fun and creative actions, you might well wake up much more energetic and mentally fit.
Lucid dreaming does not make you more tired than any other ordinary dream. Potentially, based on how you use your lucid dreams, lucid dreams can greatly improve your mental energy because you will likely seek out positive and rewarding lucid dream experiences. It is not dreaming itself that makes you feel tired or depressed in the morning, it is the particular content of the dream. When you dream about exciting and rewarding experiences, you will transfer that positive mentality to your waking life once you wake up.
6. Can anyone learn it?Anyone can learn lucid dreaming with proper techniques and motivation. Some have talent to start off with while others take more time to induce their first lucid dream. On average, with dedicated practice and good techniques, learning lucid dreaming takes about four weeks of practice. People who have experienced lucid dreams in their childhood time seem to have a natural advantage to induce lucid dreams more easy. But if you are motivated and goal-driven enough, you might have your first lucid dream tonight. After the first one, as you get more acquainted with the nature and "feel" of it, you will be likely to induce several lucid dreams in a few months.
7. Can you unlearn it?Yes. In any case, lucid dreaming requires deliberate intention. Once you stop wanting lucid dreams and as a result stop applying lucid dream techniques, you don't have lucid dreams that frequent anymore or at the same rate as you had them naturally before you started learning lucid dreaming.
8. Can you control anything?Yes. At least, anything your imagination can conceive and mostly element by element. It requires much practice and skill to hold on to an entire dream scene from memory because dreams are inherently unstable, but you can certainly approach full control. Fly, be a king, play in your favorite Hollywood movie, make love (without actually ejaculating in bed!), eat or drink (without becoming fat), overcome nightmares, control how dream characters behave, control events, rehearse sports (not getting stronger, but more mentally prepared), experiment with new personal behavior, playing music, etc. You can dream any dream you can imagine.
Be sure to know though that dream control is a skill by itself. Once you turn lucid for the first time, you need to practice and learn how to apply dream control. Your mind probably has no experience and understanding yet of the lucid dream context. With proper techniques and good motivation, anyone can learn to control his or her lucid dreams. Be sure to check out Lucidipedia's online classes.
9. Do I need to control everything?No. Lucid dreaming only means that you have become aware of the dream while you are still dreaming. Lucid dreaming by itself has nothing to do with dream control. However, once you turn lucid and know it is all just product of your own imagination, you can deliberately intent to apply dream control whenever and however you want.
Dreams are partly governed by subconscious neurochemical mechanisms in the brain that generate seemingly random brainwaves (PGO-waves) that by itself stimulate most areas of the cortex. The other part of the dream generation process involves a cortical synthesis of this random brainwave activity. It is this latter part that falls within the grasp of lucid dreamers to control. By expecting different outcomes in our dreams, we influence the dream synthesis process and so doing influence the way our dreams unfold. This means that the subconscious dream generation process still accounts for numerous events and happenings in the lucid dream that are surprising and unexpected to us while we are lucid dreaming, even though we are lucid.
Some believe that lucid dreaming might not be interesting because you would create the complete lucid dream experience deliberately. Well, that is not the case, you control half of the story. Which makes it a lot more fun. You can just as easily take a stroll across your dreamscapes without ever having (deliberately) applied any dream control.
10. Does it affect waking life?Yes, and for most lucid dreamers: intentionally. Lucid dreaming does not only extend your conscious life time, but also provides opportunity to complement waking life experiences with extra-ordinary and personally meaningful ones.
Imagine what sort of lucid dreams might make your life more enjoyable. Lucid dream experiences that might help you to experiment with family issues, lucid dream experiences that might help you to confront fears, to generate creative and original solutions to complex problems, to explore states of consciousness, or to just enjoy a wonderfully inspiring stroll along a tropical beachside. Use your lucid dreams to enrich and complement your waking life.