What Are Lucid Desires? Dream Specialists Clarify

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Perhaps essentially the most iconic illustration of lucid dreaming in trendy media (moreover the Sleepy Time episode of SpongeBob Squarepants, IMHO) is the 2010 movie Inception. The film facilities round a bunch of spies who use desires to faucet into the minds of their targets to implant—and extract—vital information. All through the movie, they traverse shared dreamscapes, rigorously towing the road between actuality and subconsciousness. Whether or not you’re one of many fortunate few who “bought” the complete film or left the theater scratching your head, you might be questioning what lucid desires are, precisely, and if Inception’s portrayal was correct.

Whereas dream-hopping with a number of folks might not be possible, the concept of tapping into your unconscious thoughts and manipulating your desires is not so far-fetched, not less than relating to lucid dreaming. Learn on to find out about what causes lucid desires, tips on how to use them to learn your waking life, and the tried-and-true lucid dream methods that two dream specialists swear by.

What are lucid desires?

Lucid desires are vivid desires wherein you change into conscious of the truth that you’re dreaming. From that time onward, you possibly can usually management not less than sure features of the dream you’re having.

“Lucid desires are the holy grail of dreaming, actually,” says dream decoder Theresa Cheung, best-selling creator of The Dream Dictionary From A to Z. “They’re essentially the most astonishing, extraordinary solution to enter the dream world.”

Slightly than the dream occurring to you, it might be extra correct to say you co-create a lucid dream. Once we attain lucidity, we’re capable of actively search out solutions about ourselves and the world round us by way of our unconscious thoughts. “Your desires are messages from you to you, about you, as a way to enhance you,” explains dream analyst Lauri Loewenberg, creator of Dream on It: Unlock Your Desires, Change Your Life.

What causes a lucid dream?

Once we sleep, we transfer by means of 4 completely different sleep levels. It’s throughout the fourth and ultimate section, whereby we expertise rapid-eye motion (REM), that we’re most definitely to expertise lucid desires1, in line with analysis. Throughout REM sleep, sure areas of our brains—specifically the amygdala and prefrontal cortex—get extracerebral blood circulate (the blood circulation exterior the mind, supporting general blood provide to the top and surrounding tissues), which leads to a spike in mind exercise that may result in lucid dreaming.

“Often, you are extra more likely to get a lucid dream when you’ve gotten a horrible evening of sleep,” explains Loewenberg. (By the identical token, sleep deprivation can be identified to trigger extra intense and vivid desires—with a better potential for lucid desires—as a result of the physique makes an attempt to make amends for misplaced REM sleep in a phenomenon generally known as REM rebound.) “You are additionally extra more likely to have a lucid dream nearer to the morning [because periods of REM sleep are lengthier then], and also you’re extra more likely to maintain on to some sense of consciousness as you are about to get up,” says Loewenberg.

Advantages of lucid dreaming

A rising physique of analysis has confirmed the constructive advantages of lucid dreaming in regard to our psychological and emotional well-being. At present, lucid dreaming is being studied as a possible therapeutic therapy technique for these scuffling with post-traumatic stress dysfunction2 (PTSD), recurring nightmares3, and low self-confidence or poor psychological resilience4.

In accordance with Cheung and Loewenberg, some potential advantages of lucid dreaming embrace:

  • Self-discovery
  • Therapeutic previous traumas
  • Overcoming recurring nightmares
  • Tackling fears and phobias
  • Boosting self-confidence
  • Manifestation
  • Deeper understanding of life

Loewenberg shares that lucid dreaming can open the door to untapped self-discovery by permitting us to get acquainted with our unconscious thoughts, the hidden powerhouse in your mind that controls automated ideas, emotions, and actions with out your  consciousness. “When you’re capable of lucid dream, it’s one hell of a superpower,” says Loewenberg. “While you’re lucid dreaming, and you may remember that you’re in a dream, you possibly can take that dialog with the self to an entire new degree. You possibly can ask your unconscious very deep and profound questions, and you’re going to get a solution: Your unconscious will reply to you.”

“While you’re lucid dreaming, and you may remember that you’re in a dream, you possibly can take that dialog with the self to an entire new degree.” —Lauri Loewenberg, dream analyst

Lucid dreaming may also be an efficient instrument for uncovering the unconscious features of your self which will require shadow work to convey to the floor and combine.

Equally, “loads of therapists will use lucidity, the consciousness throughout the dream, to beat trauma,” says Loewenberg. “You actively face no matter it’s that has traumatized you in a secure surroundings since you’re very secure in your head. You possibly can confront demons from the previous. You possibly can even problem phobias, [like] spiders or flying in planes.”

And relating to enhancing your waking life, Cheung says that lucid dreaming can skyrocket your self-confidence. Tackling these aforementioned fears and self-doubts in your desires can provide the energy to manifest the life you’ve at all times dreamed of.

“Dream work is the inspiration of manifesting,” explains Cheung. “When you can expertise within the dream state what you need, which means unconsciously, you consider it. When you can dream it, you are able to do it.”

Potential risks and precautions to take

Selecting to faucet into your unconscious thoughts by way of dreamland could appear downright terrifying. Fortunately, there are a number of precautions you possibly can take to make sure that your lucid dreaming expertise is a constructive one.

Training good sleep hygiene habits akin to not ingesting alcohol earlier than mattress, exercising usually, and falling asleep at your regular bedtime can all enhance the expertise. In case your lucid dream takes a darkish flip, or should you uncover some scary truths about your self within the dream, strive to not get overwhelmed, says Loewenberg. Keep in mind that you’re the one in management and that you simply get to dictate what occurs subsequent.

“It’s vital to recollect lucid desires normally do not final lengthy,” provides Loewenberg. “If it will get scary, simply bear in mind it is a dream, and which you can nonetheless use the scary to get solutions.” On this realm, you might be coping with a lucid nightmare, which happens once you understand that you simply’re having a nightmare whereas nonetheless within the dream state. Whereas nightmares are by no means enjoyable, reaching consciousness whereas in the course of one may also help you get out of it. When you’re capable of acknowledge that your nightmare is simply that—a nightmare—you might be able to shift the dream’s final result in a extra constructive course.

“While you’re in a nightmare, concern can set off consciousness,” explains Loewenberg. “Keep in mind, in a lucid dream, you possibly can take management and do something. In case your dream begins in a conflict zone, you possibly can say ‘I need to be at a Taylor Swift live performance,’ and the dream can change.”

When you’re involved about sure traumas lucid dreaming could dredge up, nonetheless, Loewenberg suggests trying it whereas below the supervision of a sleep or dream specialist. This particular person can watch and await bodily indicators of misery that may happen once you’re experiencing a nightmare and might wake you up, reducing the dangerous dream off. That mentioned, should you’re aiming to make use of lucid dreaming to work by means of a much less traumatic concern or roadblock in your unconscious thoughts—as in, to beat a sure concern, or work out tips on how to higher get alongside along with your mother-in-law, you possibly can actually strive it your self, says Loewenberg.

As with driving a bicycle or studying tips on how to play the trombone, apply makes good. “Lucid dreaming may be overwhelming at first,” says Loewenberg, “however the extra you do it, the higher you are going to get at it.”

The right way to lucid dream in 6 steps utilizing the “Wake Again to Mattress” approach

When you’re aiming to strive lucid dreaming for the primary time, each Cheung and Loewenberg suggest utilizing what’s generally generally known as the “Wake Again to Mattress” approach. This system includes waking your self up earlier than you normally get up, staying awake for a short time period, after which falling again asleep earlier than your regular alarm goes off. (A phrase of warning: As a result of this system will shorten the quantity of sleep you are getting, it is best to keep away from this should you’re presently scuffling with getting sufficient sleep.)

1. Set an alarm for 5 to 6 hours after bedtime

Earlier than going to sleep at your regular bedtime, set an alarm to wake you up in 5 to 6 hours. “So should you go to mattress at 11:00 p.m., set your alarm to wake you up at 4:00 a.m,” advises Cheung. Set a second alarm to wake you up at your regular time.

2. Keep awake for 20 minutes

When the primary alarm goes off, keep awake for 20 to half-hour. This era serves to bridge the hole between your dream world and actuality and enhance the chance of you reaching consciousness mid-dream.

“You may have sufficient consciousness since you have been simply awake,” says Loewenberg. “This raises the percentages tremendously that you can stay acutely aware.”

You should utilize this time to meditate, apply deep respiratory, or journal about what you’d prefer to get out of this dream. As soon as the time is up, permit your self to float again to sleep.

3. Set intentions and return to sleep

As you start to fall again asleep, set intentions for what you need to dream about and what you need to have the ability to do in your dream. You may as well set intentions about what space of your life you’d prefer to get solutions about (your relationship, for instance).

“Put your self there, play it out in your thoughts,” advises Loewenberg. “That’ll elevate the percentages of your dream starting that method.”

4. Ask questions throughout your dream

Upon getting into your dream, strive asking your self and the characters in your desires questions on what is occurring in your dream. Ask your self: In the actual world, can alligators communicate English? In the actual world, would I overlook to decorate myself earlier than going to high school? These questions may also help you confirm whether or not or not what you’re experiencing is actual.

Alternatively, strive doing one thing in your dream that you already know for a truth will not be doable in the actual world. You possibly can strive flying, singing with colours, or teleporting to a special scene.

“Do one thing inconceivable in actual life to make sure that it is a dream, after which take it from there—have enjoyable,” says Loewenberg.

5. Write down your dream

Upon waking, instantly write down what occurred in your dream; you should use a dream journal, a pocket book, or a note-taking app in your smartphone to report your expertise. Write down the second you realized you have been dreaming. Replicate on the occasions main as much as that second of realization. Did you discover one thing particular was ‘off’? Have been you capable of fly? Did Pedro Pascal suggest to you?

Document what prompted you to understand it was a lucid dream. You should utilize this second of realization that can assist you rapidly acknowledge that you simply’re dreaming sooner or later.

Writing down your desires—even the non-lucid ones—may also help you uncover messages out of your unconscious. Document any unusual or notable characters, objects, and occasions, and mirror on what the deeper which means of the dream could also be. Constantly protecting a dream journal also can make it easier to acknowledge scary recurring desires, which you’ll then problem in your subsequent lucid dream state.

6. Apply what you’ve discovered to your waking life

After recording your lucid desires, mirror on what you’ve discovered from them. What did you find out about your self? Did you get any solutions to your questions? How did it really feel to manage your dream? Apply this info to your waking life, and belief within the energy of your unconscious thoughts that can assist you navigate your real-world conflicts.

“It’s totally deep, but when you are able to do the work at that degree, your private and non secular progress will take such a leap ahead,” says Cheung. “If you’re blessed with a lucid dream, have fun it. Even should you do get up and the dream collapses, simply have fun that, wow, you are able to do this. Is not that thrilling?!”

Different lucid dreaming methods to strive

1. Query your actuality throughout your waking hours

In accordance with Cheung, a every day mindfulness trick you should use to advertise the frequency of your lucid desires is to query the proof of actuality in your waking life. Taking note of these indicators of actuality may also help you extra simply establish a dream because it’s occurring.

2. Strive “anchoring” to make your dream last more

Lucid desires are notoriously brief and fleeting, however in line with Loewenberg, you possibly can strive “anchoring” your self to an object in your lucid dream to make it last more.

“Discover a focus, like observing your palms, or possibly a plant on the shelf,” explains Loewenberg. “Stare at that plant. Give attention to it, take a look at it, observe it; that can anchor you in there a bit bit longer.”

3. Belief the validity of your dream’s messages

It may be straightforward to dismiss our desires as superficial figments of our creativeness, however to get essentially the most out of your lucid desires, it is best to entrust your unconscious with the authority it deserves. Trusting in your lucid desires and their skill to disclose vital truths about your waking life is essential to having extra of them sooner or later.

“When you readily dismiss your desires, you possibly can’t count on lucidity to occur, as a result of your dreaming thoughts will not be going to disclose itself,” explains Cheung. “You have to fall in love along with your desires.”

Incessantly requested questions on lucid desires

Are lucid desires good or dangerous?

Reaching consciousness within the dreamworld could appear terrifying (or doubtlessly harmful), however many sleep researchers and dream specialists agree that lucid dreaming is a constructive and doubtlessly therapeutic technique for tackling unfavorable recurring desires, interior conflicts, and post-traumatic stress dysfunction (PTSD).

Nonetheless, lucid desires can doubtlessly be distressing for these with unresolved psychological well being points or who’ve by no means skilled a lucid dream earlier than. As a result of lucid dreaming can muddy the road between vivid desires and actuality, lucid dreaming might doubtlessly be upsetting or dangerous for many who wrestle with derealization, bipolar dysfunction, or schizophrenia.

When you’re fearful about how lucid dreaming could have an effect on you, enlist the assistance of a sleep professional or dream information who can monitor you for indicators of misery—like tossing and turning, or quickened respiratory—and wake you up.

Do lucid desires have which means?

Identical to regular desires, lucid desires can reveal your deepest interior ideas and emotions. You possibly can nonetheless analyze and pull which means out of your lucid desires: Although you will have been capable of management particular features of the dream, there are seemingly characters, objects, or themes inside it that may make clear your wishes and fears.

How uncommon is a lucid dream?

In accordance with a meta-analysis of 34 lucid dream research, roughly 55 % of adults have skilled a lucid dream5 of their lifetime, and 23 % of adults expertise a lucid dream usually, roughly as soon as a month or extra. While you consider the truth that all people dream (even should you assume you don’t dream, you do—you simply can’t bear in mind them!), 23 % appears fairly uncommon, certainly.

Don’t let their rarity dissuade you from studying tips on how to lucid dream, although. With a bit little bit of apply, you’ll be capable of reap the advantages of lucid dreaming very quickly.

What kind of particular person has lucid desires?

Whereas anybody can be taught to lucid dream, sure forms of individuals are extra more likely to have them naturally. Inventive people who find themselves in tune with their ideas and feelings are inclined to expertise lucid desires greater than others.

“People who find themselves extra right-brained are much more more likely to lucid dream than left-brained folks,” says Loewenberg. “Your artists, your musicians, your writers, your inventors—these varieties are extra liable to lucid dreaming, and the rationale as to why that’s the case is as a result of right-brained individuals are much more emotional. They lean into their creativity and so they’re extra liable to do deeper introspection.”

Individuals who meditate, too, are proven to have extra lucid desires. In accordance with a 2018 examine, contributors who ceaselessly meditate and have practiced meditation and mindfulness for lengthy durations of their lives had extra frequent lucid desires6 than those that don’t.


Effectively+Good articles reference scientific, dependable, latest, strong research to again up the data we share. You possibly can belief us alongside your wellness journey.

  1. Baird, Benjamin et al. “The cognitive neuroscience of lucid dreaming.” Neuroscience and biobehavioral opinions vol. 100 (2019): 305-323. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2019.03.008
  2. Holzinger, Brigitte et al. “Cognitions in Sleep: Lucid Dreaming as an Intervention for Nightmares in Sufferers With Posttraumatic Stress Dysfunction.” Frontiers in psychology vol. 11 1826. 21 Aug. 2020, doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01826
  3. Spoormaker, Victor I, and Jan van den Bout. “Lucid dreaming therapy for nightmares: a pilot examine.” Psychotherapy and psychosomatics vol. 75,6 (2006): 389-94. doi:10.1159/000095446
  4. Soffer-Dudek, Nirit. “Are Lucid Desires Good for Us? Are We Asking the Proper Query? A Name for Warning in Lucid Dream Analysis.” Frontiers in neuroscience vol. 13 1423. 24 Jan. 2020, doi:10.3389/fnins.2019.01423
  5. Saunders, David T et al. “Lucid dreaming incidence: A top quality results meta-analysis of 50years of analysis.” Consciousness and cognition vol. 43 (2016): 197-215. doi:10.1016/j.concog.2016.06.002
  6. Baird, Benjamin et al. “Elevated lucid dream frequency in long-term meditators however not following MBSR coaching.” Psychology of consciousness (Washington, D.C.) vol. 6,1 (2019): 40-54. doi:10.1037/cns0000176


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