From our dreams probably for most people a certain fascination goes out. Not for nothing do z. B. countless books with dream research and dream interpretation.
After a lifetime of almost 40 years, we have slept an average of 13 years and spent about three of them in dreams. It’s just a pity if we can’t remember these dreamlike times so at all…
Wouldn’t it be great if we could influence our dreams and choose for ourselves what we dream or simply change unpleasant dreams to our liking?. The keyword in this context is: lucid dream.
In our today’s sleep magazine article we deal intensively with the lucid dream, explain to you important backgrounds and also a small guidance to it, how lucid dreaming functions and/or. how you can learn lucid dreaming.
What is a lucid dream?
A lucid dream is a dream that is consciously experienced by the sleeper. be consciously directed and controlled by the sleeping person himself. So you can choose in your dream what should happen and so for example fly or have a date with your favorite star.
Instead of a lucid dream is also of a lucid dream or a lucid dream. lucid dream or waking dream the speech. The word lucid in this context comes from the Latin language and is related to lux for light. The word meaning of lucid is clear (unambiguous), plausible and/or understandable.
lucid dreams were described early in Tibetan Buddhism and by Aristotle. Modern science confirms the existence of the phenomenon, however, only for almost 40 years.
Scientifically, lucid dreams are a remarkable mix of sleeping and waking. – During a lucid dream, the EEG (electroencephalograph) records the same brainwave frequency as when awake.
Normally, the prefrontal cortex (brain area that u.a. The brain (which is responsible for critical thinking) is turned down during sleep. – If a lucid dream occurs, the mind reaches a kind of waking state, making it possible for the dreamer to notice inconsistencies in his dream world. He realizes that objects are in wrong proportions or actions are absolutely absurd or that he can fly and then knows for sure that he is in a dream.
There are parallels between lucid dreaming and metacognition (engagement with one’s own cognitive processes such as one’s own opinions, thoughts, ideas, or even one’s own creativity – kind of self-reflection). In 2015, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin published a study that showed that lucid dreamers and people with strong metacognition both have more gray matter in the frontal brain (anterior prefrontal cortex) and activate it more when metacognition is tested.
In shamanic cultures one induces lucid dreams consciously, in order to receive prophecies in this way, to recognize illnesses or also to solve problems. Dreaming is seen as a creative and creative act, which allows conclusions to be drawn about the constitution of the psyche and establishes a connection to the spirit world.
The ability to lucid dream or. Lucid dreaming or waking dreams can be acquired or. it is possible to learn lucid dreaming (Instruction: How does lucid dreaming work??)
With increasing age, we dream more often in shades of gray. This is the conclusion of a study conducted by the University of Dundee in Scotland. Young people under the age of 25 usually experience extremely colorful dream worlds, while people aged 55 and older increasingly have to put up with dreams in front of black and white backdrops. The probability for a "grayscale dream" is said to be up to five times higher from 55 years onwards.
What is a Oneironaut?
A oneironaut is a lucid dreamer – that is, someone who can consciously experience and control his dreams.
The origin of the word oneironaut is in the Greek language, where oneiros means dream and nautes means seafarer. Oneironaut can be translated literally as seafarer of dreams or dream traveler.
The expression Oneironaut or. Oneironautic was coined by the American lucid dream researcher Stephen LaBerge.
What can lucid dreaming do?
As already described, lucid dreams can be shaped according to one’s own wishes and thus one can do things in lucid dreams that are not possible in reality. Beyond that, however, lucid dreaming can be used to achieve much more:
By lucid dreaming, one can ..
… consciously influence dreams and do/experience things that are not possible in reality (meet famous people, fly…).
… to change (recurring) nightmares in such a way that they have a positive outcome, respectively. be perceived positively.
… actively work on overcoming problems, in which one z. B. let an unpleasant conversation that is about to take place in reality take place in a dream and thus be better prepared for possible eventualities. (Coaching)
… work on abilities and z. B. practice athletic movements or even playing a musical instrument in dreams.
By the way, the world hit of the Beatles "Yesterday" is said to be due to the lucid dream phenomenon. In any case, Paul McCartney is sure that he heard the melody of the song for the first time in a dream.
Another achievement of science – the periodic table of elements – is said to have been a dream image at first, too, at least its "inventor" Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev (1834-1907) says. Elias Howe is also said to have invented the sewing machine "in a dream".
Also many artists like z. B. Salvador Dali or Neo Rauch are said to have found inspiration for their famous works in dreams.
Who dreams lucidly, should also sleep better resp. being more rested the following day than after a comparable night without a lucid dream. – Partly there is the assumption that through lucid dreaming important recovery phases of sleep would be lost. It seems however rather the opposite to be the case, so the so to speak paradoxical condition of the Klartraumens euphorisierenden.
Nightmares: Imagery Rehearsal Therapy
Those who suffer massively from their nightmares should look at z. B. inquire with a therapist about Imagery Rehearsal Therapy (IRT). This therapy option usually leads to results much faster than lucid dreaming, because it requires intensive training (often over several months).
Imagery Rehearsal Therapy is a cognitive nightmare therapy developed in the 1990s by Barry Krakow, an American sleep and dream researcher. The guiding principle here is that one consciously visualizes the dream story and then rewrites it. For this purpose, the problem is approached in three stages:
1. You face your nightly fear and write down or draw your dream.
2. In order to cope with the nightmare, the person concerned writes or draws a new ending – a happy ending according to his ideas – for his dream, whereby there are no limits to his imagination.
3. Practicing to turn the nightmare into a harmless story. – For this purpose, the affected person deals with his new (nightmare) story several times a day for five to ten minutes and imagines it as vividly as possible. In most cases, a period of 14 days is enough to finally take away the nightmare’s horror.
When do lucid dreams occur?
Preferably lucid dreams occur in the REM phases of sleep. Here the REM phases of sleep accumulate with the duration of sleep. – Those who sleep longer have more REM phases and thus better conditions for lucid dreaming.
By the way, lucid dreams develop most easily in the morning. – If you want to have a lucid dream, it is worthwhile to stay asleep in bed longer in the morning.
Dreams – even lucid dreams – never last longer than 15 or 20 minutes, even if some dreams seem "eternal" to us. As in a Hollywood movie, many scenes in our dreams are joined together, with the times in between mostly faded out, causing our sense of time to lose its "orientation". However, it is true that a dream scene of ten seconds also takes up ten seconds of our reality.
Dream Myths – Dream Misconceptions
Dream Myth 1 : No one dreams every night
Regardless of whether you can remember anything the morning after or not, every person dreams every night. – There is no exception here. Babies start dreaming already in the womb.
Dream myth 2 : Dreaming only occurs in the REM phases of sleep
For a long time, it was assumed that people only dreamed during the Rapid Eye Movement phases of sleep, which usually accounts for about two hours of the total sleep time. Nowadays we know that dreams occur at every stage of sleep – from falling asleep to waking up.
Dream myth 3 : Dreams are easy to interpret because they are full of symbols
Generalized works on dream interpretation – such as Sigmund Freud – have only a certain entertainment value, but are less suitable for an intensive exploration of one’s own dream experience. Basically it is to be assumed that each dream is as individual as the dreamer himself and must be seen for the interpretation in the direct context to it. – What does the dream say, if you look at it in terms of life resp. current life events of the dreamer?!
Dream myth 4 : Dreams are almost purely imagery
We experience dreams with all our senses. So there is no reduction to visual perception. In addition, feelings and emotions also play a role. Emotions as well as ideas, plans and thoughts of the dreamer play a big role in dreams.
Dream Myth 5 : Dreams cannot be controlled
Our whole article is about lucid dreaming and thus about the conscious dream guidance. Dreams can be controlled and changed for our own good, for example if they are recurring nightmares.
Instruction: How lucid dreaming works?
How to control dreams? How to control what you dream? – Many people have probably already asked themselves these or similar questions. The answer lies in lucid dreaming.
It is assumed that almost every person has the ability to lucid dream. It is, however, the case that one must practice before one can do anything with this existing ability and actually be able to gain control and "power" over one’s own dream world.
Some people, after some practice, are able to lucid dream very quickly, while others need a few months and still others u.U. Never become a lucid dreamer despite extensive training. As a rule, older people find it more difficult to access lucid dreaming.
The consumption of alcohol and/or nicotine is counterproductive,
When you want to lucid dream. Taking some medications can also have an adverse effect on lucid dreaming.
For lucid dreaming one must be able to identify a dream as such during sleep. For this you need a certain training. Once you have learned to lucid dream, you usually have to continue working on this skill or. Continue to exercise regularly.
There are several methods that are suitable for practicing lucid dreaming and they are usually used in combination with each other:
Learning to dream lucidly: Reality check
As part of the reality check, you ask yourself the question five to ten times during the day: "Am I dreaming or am I awake??"
For the reality checks one usually uses rational criteria and checks for example repeatedly the time, in order to be able to say consciously again and again that one is awake or questions the accomplished activities of the last ten minutes. You also check your environment during the reality test to see if everything is logical and nothing is contradictory.
Lucid dreams – reality check: Helpful questions / tasks
- Can you breathe with your mouth closed and your nose closed??
- Do you have ten fingers and/or ten toes? – Are you at all able to use your fingers and/or toes?. To count toes?
- Do your fingers or toes appear normal or can you see them z. B. stretch or bend into unnatural positions at will?
- Are you able to touch your palms or can you simply reach through your hands?
- When you rotate on your axis, are you still where your rotation began or did you change locations during your rotation?
- Look around you, can you name all the colors in your surroundings or do you perceive unknown colors that do not seem to correspond to reality?
- Can texts and times near you be read correctly and remain identical even if you look away and back again?
- What about the physical conditions? Is everything all right with gravity?
- Do people or places seem real to you, or does everything rather seem to be composed of individual pieces of memory? How did you get to your current location? Have persons or things appeared out of nowhere?
- Can you reach through things or even walk through things?
This reality check becomes a habit for our subconscious mind, so sooner or later you can apply the reality checks also in your dream or. that these automatically flow into the dream world and help to identify the dream as such. – As soon as one is able to recognize a dream as a dream ("Am I dreaming, or am I awake?"), one is able to recognize the dream as a dream?" – "I dream!"), you can trigger a lucid dream resp. actively intervene in the dream.
However, patience is required: Until a reality check is possible in the dream, it can take several months.
Learning to dream lucidly: good-night ritual
Shortly before going to sleep, one repeatedly says to oneself the sentence: "The next time I dream, I will remember that I am dreaming." or the sentence "The next time I dream, I will remember that I am dreaming." on. Reciting the sentence serves as a memory aid. It should be done aloud. By the way, in connection with this method one also speaks of mnemonic induction or mnemonics. from the MILD method (Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams).
The MILD method is sometimes carried out by lying down to sleep again in the morning, about 30 to 120 minutes after waking up, or by lying down to sleep again in the morning, about 30 to 120 minutes after waking up. Get up. Before that, you should try to put yourself back into the last dream, if possible, and also take it upon yourself to identify the dream state directly as such next time. Thereby the loud recitation of the sentence "The next time I dream, I will notice it" can be very effective." be used supportively.
Learning to dream lucidly: Let yourself be woken up in a targeted manner
To be more mentally alert in the second sleep phase, you can set an alarm clock to interrupt sleep after about five to six hours (calculated from falling asleep). This method is also called "Wake-back-to-Bed" or "Yoga Nidra". WBTB.
After being woken up by the alarm clock, one should stay awake for a while (ca. 20 minutes), remember what you dreamed and think about it. Afterwards you lie down again and try to continue the sleep with a "more awake mind" in order to have more favorable conditions for a lucid dream in the second sleep period of the night.
Learning to dream lucidly: writing a dream diary
When learning lucid dreaming, keeping a dream journal can help. – To do this, place a notebook or notebook and pen handy next to the bed.
Immediately after awakening, everything that was "experienced" in the dream is written down in the dream diary. This includes not only the plot of the dream or certain dream symbols, but also impressions, feelings or smells that are remembered.
Instead of describing the dream, you can also draw a picture to your dream in your dream journal to keep the memory alive.
If you can’t remember any dream content at the beginning, you should still start writing the dream diary and first note down here how your own sleep was perceived. The will to document dreams alone will gradually lead to a better ability to remember dreams.
Introduction to the world of dream herbs
Dream herbs are also scientifically called oneirogens (for the concept of oneirogens, see also: What is a Oneironaut?). One understands by it psychoactive plants, which are characterized by a dream-inducing effect behavior. The effect is usually to intensify, prolong, or make more conscious the nocturnal dream experience or dream recall. Dream herbs can therefore be an aid for people who aspire to lucid dreaming.
Many dream herbs can be ingested or smoked. Some oneirogens are also used to smoke the bedroom.
The presentation of individual dream herbs, their ingredients and the respective application possibilities leads too far at this point. For this we will, if necessary. In the future, publish another separate article in the sleep magazine.
Yoga Nidra and lucid dream
Yoga Nidra is a very special form of yoga, also known as physical sleep meditation. Yoga Nidra is an ancient practice from India, in which one physically approaches the lucid dream relatively strongly.
The body and mind enter a deep, trance-like state during yoga nidra, allowing consciousness to penetrate the deepest parts of the soul. From this point it is not far to a lucid dream.
Yoga Nidra works for everyone and can be done within one hour. With the help of Yoga Nidra one approaches its dream consciousness piece by piece and can promote so the lucid dream training.
Brief overview: The most important dream images resp. Dream symbols and their meaning
Partially the opinion is represented that the dream interpretation expresses more over the interpreting person than over the dream itself. Nevertheless, we would like to present you a small overview of the most common dream symbols and their widespread interpretation:
are usually symbolic of fear of loss – especially in times of change
often indicates the fear of losing control, falling can also be an indication that you need to part with an illusion
expresses freedom and also stands for the abandonment of duties
found in the dream, it stands for a new energy boost / strength gain | lost in the dream, it is an indication of the wrong use of one’s abilities
stands for defenseless delivery in a situation or also for the fact that one feels misplaced (out of place) in a context
Indicates feeling judged by others, which can cause pressure
if a mirror appears in the dream, the sleeper worries about what others think about him/her
in a dream is often not negative at all, but only indicates that the dreamer is about to conclude something
Looking for the toilet
during the dream gives an indication that there is some urgent need in life that is not being met
by a person in a dream, gives an indication that most likely in reality there is a situation that you want to escape from at all costs – you don’t want to deal with the unpleasant thing
in clear form symbolizes balance, but if the water is cloudy, this dream symbol is an indication of a lack of self-knowledge
in the dream indicates that you are afraid of not being able to achieve your goals or. not being able to cope with everything