Human beings have been dreaming for as long as they have had brains but neurobiologists are yet to understand the meaning and purpose of dreams. In a lucid dream, a person is completely aware that they are dreaming, unlike in a regular dream, and they are able to exert a degree of control in their dreams.
One can choose what to say or do, choose who appears in their dreams and even stop the dream if it is unpleasant. Lucid dreams can be either nightmares or fantasies. As such, you can visit the city of your choice, have sex with anyone and slay dragons in your sleep.
Lucid dreams occur in Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep and can occur more than once in a night. While some people can induce lucid dreams at will, at least half of all people have experienced lucid dreams. Unlike normal dreams, one can remember a lucid dream even years down the line.
Dreams have been proven to unlock one’s innermost emotions and feelings in the brain. With the control that comes with lucid dreaming, an opportunity arises to rectify deep psychological issues.
One can associate current emotions with past memories and explore the root of their psychological issues. Some psychologists and therapists have devised creative treatments for their patients by use of self-induced lucid dreams.
Bereaved people can meet with their departed loved ones in a state of lucidity to fight depression and overcome grief. People usually overcome phobias by facing their fears and likewise in a lucid dream, you can jump from planes to battle your fear of heights.
Many people suffer from nightmares, which can cause sleep deprival and lucidity has proven to be effective in treating nightmares and has gone on further to improve sleep quality.
Lucidity also offers release, for example in a sexual dream or in your wildest fantasy.
The expression ‘let me sleep on it’ is actually a prelude to lucid dreaming. For instance, a computer programmer can dream about a problem in a program and explore their innermost thoughts to formulate possible solutions to the problem. By morning, they could actually solve the problem.
This approach can also work for creatives, such as singers and poets, who can belt out hit songs and exquisite poetry they patched up in a lucid dream.
Lucid dreams also make us capable of motivating and inspiring ourselves to become better people and to attaining our life goals. If you dream up someone who inspires you, for example, Bill Gates or Michael Jordan, and have a whole conversation with them, this could inspire you for days to come.
We often dream of becoming the people we aspire to be, for instance a rich businessperson, and in lucidity, we elicit feelings of success and self-fulfilment. This is inspires a great deal of motivation and a lot of successful people have alluded to this experience as an inspiration to their success.
A lot of students and learners will carry to bed a lot of the day’s experiences and find themselves dreaming of that algebra lecture they had that day or that history test the next day that they were just studying for.
Lucid dreams are in fact capable of consolidating both episodic and semantic memories in our brains resulting in improved memory. So having a good night’s sleep could actually result in better grades.
Lucidity also improves performance in sports and games and can better other skills too. Almost every athlete regularly dreams of their sport and visualizes themselves actually playing. When a basketball player practises shooting three-pointers in a dream, the brain stimulates the same neurons that are involved when physically performing the action.
This actually results in betterment of skills and can be manifested in other games like chess.
As dreams continue to remain a mystery, lucid dreams are capable of psychological healing, restoration and self-improvement. Learning how to dream lucidly is possible and we can make dreams work for our own benefit.