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Life is short, and the average person spends 26 years sleeping. What a waste, some might say. But what if you could explore another life while sleeping? Lucid dreaming allows you to take control of your dreams and live them almost as your waking day. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? Continue reading to learn more about lucid dreams and how to experience them.
Scientists and many curious minds have sought after the puzzle that is dreaming. Etel Adnan, a painter and philosopher, writes: “The logic of dreams is superior to the one we exercise while awake… In dreams, we swim and fly, and we are not surprised.” As Adnan concludes, the logic of our waking world and the world of dreams is not one. In dreams, no matter how strange things might be, we accept and move along with them, only to realize how bizarre they are after waking up. However, when you have a lucid dream, you recognize the abnormalities and become aware that you’re dreaming. These dreams are vivid, and you can exert some control over the unfolding of the events. Researchers estimate that 55 percent of people have had at least one lucid dream. But what happens to the brain when lucid dreaming?
Lucid dreams and the brain
Lucid dreams, like other dreams, happen during REM sleep. However, lucid dreaming may involve higher prefrontal cortex activity than regular dreaming. The prefrontal cortex is the outermost frontal region of your brain. It is associated with the sense of self, conscious awareness, and controlled thought processes. Lucid dreaming is also linked to metacognition, which is your ability to reflect on your thought processes. Researchers think people with high metacognitive skills may have more lucid dreams.
Furthermore, MRI studies show that frequent lucid dreamers have higher gray matter volume, simply put, more brain, which may help lucid dreaming through higher levels of self-awareness. Lucid dreams can be induced with practice too. If you want to experience lucid dreaming for yourself, there are specific methods you can try.
How to lucid dream
Tibetan Buddhist Tarthang Tulku writes, “Dreams are a reservoir of knowledge and experience.” Lucid dreaming can be the necessary tool to access that reservoir, but how can you start lucid dreaming? Lucid dreaming takes practice, and there are specific methods you can try to increase your chances. Dr. Stephen LaBerge, a psychophysiologist expert in lucid dreaming, lists dream journaling as one of these methods in his book, Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming. “You don’t have to be a talented writer. Your dream journal is a tool, and you are the only person who is going to read it. Describe the way images and characters look and sound and smell, and don’t forget to describe how you felt in the dream”, he writes. According to LaBerge, you should write your dreams immediately after waking up. He says to write the date at the top of the page and then write as many details as possible, mainly focusing on the strange ones. This way, you practice recognizing the abnormalities and increase your chances of lucid dreaming for the next time.
You can unlock the mysteries of your dreams and access your true creativity through lucid dreaming. If you want to understand your dreams better and increase your chances of lucid dreaming, you should get into the habit of dream diary. With the help of Dreambook, the online dream journal app, you can keep a regular, detailed record of your dreams. Use a Dreambook to save and reflect on your dreams so that the next time you dream, you may become aware that you’re dreaming and enter the exciting world of lucid dreams.