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Dreams provide a world in which we escape from reality into the mind
and seemingly have little control over what happens
But what if you could know you were dreaming, and subsequently control the dream?
It turns out lucid dreaming is entirely possible
and with a little effort and practise, even you can do it
Now, some of you might be saying, "I don't even dream"
but the truth is everybody has about 3-7 dreams a night
the problem is we quickly forget them
The first strategy towards lucid dreaming is keeping a dream journal
Keeping the journal improves your ability to recall dreams, and helps facilitate lucidity
So every time you wake up, write down what you can remember,
even if it's nothing, just to form the habit
The next step is performing reality checks
In a dream, something as simple as reading a sentence,
counting your fingers, or checking the time
can often go astray
Try it right now: look at the time, look away, and then look back
Assuming you aren't currently dreaming,
the time probably stayed the same
However, in a dream, the time or the words you were reading
will often completely change
The key is to do these reality checks often when you're awake
This way they become second nature
and when you're dreaming you're likely to perform the same test
and realise that something's wrong
After this comes a technique known as Mnemonically Induced Lucid Dreams (MILD)
As you're falling asleep, begin to think of a recent dream,
and imagine yourself becoming lucid.
The idea is to reinforce the intention to realise you're dreaming in your dream
Keep repeating the phrase "I will have a lucid dream tonight"
The highest rates of success tend to come if you wake up in the middle of the night
get up for 30 minutes, and then go back to sleep with these intentions in mind
Finally, once you've had success with MILD,
an advanced technique known as Wake Induced Lucid Dreams (WILD) may be attempted.
The idea behind this is to keep your mind aware while your body falls asleep
The risk here is that you'll experience sleep paralysis.
A completely normal phenomenon that prevents your body from moving during sleep
except you'll be awake
which can be somewhat frightening
The extra caveat with WILD is that, during sleep paralysis
the brain can play tricks on you,
inducing strong feelings of fear and causing hallucinations of dark and scary figures approaching you
Scientific research into lucid dreaming
has provided an insight into the location of meta-consciousness in the brain,
provided opportunities for dream therapy and nightmare recession,
and even begged the question if sleep and wakefulness
are distinct events, or part of a continuum.
After all, dreaming of doing something
is almost equivalent to actually doing it
when looking at the functional system of neuronal activity in your brain
So, are you sure you're not dreaming?
Got a burning question you want answered?
Ask it in the comments or on Facebook and Twitter
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The Science of Lucid Dreaming

6635 Folder Collection
betty published on January 15, 2016    Clément translated    Mandy Lin reviewed
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