Did you know that 95% of your brain “data” is stored in your subconscious? What if you could access it during your sleep? Lucid Dreaming is a state where you become fully aware that you are dreaming, giving you the ability to control your dreams. It has been practiced since ancient times but the term itself was first used by Dutch psychiatrist Fredrik Van Eeden in 1913.

After analyzing at least 500 hundreds of his own dreams, Van Eeden spoke about the existence 9 different types of dreams:

  • First type: initial dreams: “very rare, and hard to describe, somewhat similar to hypnagogic hallucination whilst not being that. Occurs only in the very beginning of sleep”.

  • Second type: pathological dreams: “When the state of the body influences your dream such as in the case of fever, indigestion, or some poison. Occurs rarely”.

  • Third type: dissociative dreams: “ordinary dreaming, is the usual well-known type to which the large majority of dreams conform; not particularly pleasant or unpleasant, though it may vary according to its contents”.

  • Fourth type: vivid dreams: “differs from ordinary dreaming principally in its vividness and the strong impression it makes, which lasts sometimes for hours and days after waking up, with a painfully clear remembrance of every detail”.

  • Fifth type: demoniacal dreams: “I call demoniacal those phenomena which produce on us the impression of being invented or arranged by intelligent beings of a very low moral order. It is in this class also, that the erotic element, or rather the obscene element, plays such an important part”.

  • Sixth type: dream-sensations: “Not an ordinary dream; there is no vision, no image, no event, not even a word or a name. But during a long time of deep sleep, the mind is continually occupied with one person, one place, one remarkable event, or even one abstract thought”.

  • Seventh type: LUCID DREAMS: “In these lucid dreams the reintegration of the psychic functions is so complete that the sleeper remembers day-life and his own condition, reaches a state of perfect awareness, and is able to direct his attention, and to attempt different acts of free volition. Yet the sleep, as I am able confidently to state, is undisturbed, deep and refreshing”.

  • Eight type: demon-dreams: “ a lucid dream is immediately followed by an eighth type of dream I call a demon-dream.” When you become unsure of what is real and what isn’t.

  • Ninth Type: wrong waking-up: “Waking up and realizing that there is something uncanny around us; we see inexplicable movements or hear strange noises, and then we know that we are still asleep”. Can be associated with modern day sleep paralysis.

Let us talk about the 7th type of dream called Lucid dreaming. Like I have said before, lucid dreaming implies being aware that we are dreaming and having the ability to control our thoughts.

It usually occurs during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, the 5th sleep phase which occurs early in the morning. British parapsychologist Keith Hearne was the first one to figure this out in 1975.

Lucid dreaming tends to be triggered in two different ways. The first one implies realizing that you are asleep after witnessing an unusual occurrence in a dream. The second one happens after you’ve woken up and fallen asleep again, leaving little break for consciousness.

Dr. Matthew Walker, director of a sleep lab at Berkeley, suggested that the lateral prefrontal cortex, a part of the brain that deals with logic, may be responsible. This part of the brain is supposed to be “asleep” during REM sleep, however, it is possible that it “wakes up” making dream and logic operate at the same time, hence enabling dreamers to realise they are asleep. An EEG reading showed a significant increase in brainwave frequencies at the 40 Hz (or Gamma) range while lucid.

Psychophysiologist Stephen LaBerge also found that different parts of the brain become active during a lucid dream than during an ordinary dream. Some researchers have suggested that Out-Of-Body experiences could be a type of lucid dream.

Nikola Tesla used to lucid dream. He would visualise and test some of his inventions whilst asleep.
So also did physicist Richard Feynman, mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan and Albert Einstein, who, according to some rumours, first visualised the theory of relativity during his sleep.

Interestingly enough film director Christopher Nolan also is an avid lucid dreamer and has based the concept of his famous movie Inception on his own experience.

What you should do if you wish to lucid dream?

  • Sleep well

  • Keep a dream journal(or audio journal)

  • Try Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreaming (MILD) “When you wake up from a dream, try your best to remember it fully. When you go back to sleep, keep telling yourself that you’re going to remember that you’re dreaming during your next dream. The next step is to picture yourself back in the dream that you just had and look for a sign that the dream is a dream and not reality, like the fact that you’re flying through the air with wings (LaBerge calls these dreamsigns). At this point, remind yourself that you’re dreaming and continue the visualization. Keep doing this until you fall asleep”. (Source: HowSuffWorks)

  • Perform reality checks. A popular one is looking at your hands to see if there is any difference.

  • Set your alarm an hour before you usually wake up and go back to sleep straight away.

  • Practise mindfulness meditation, as it increases cognitive abilities and aid in lucid dreaming.

  • Many studies still need to be made on lucid dreaming as it is clear that we know very little about how the human mind functions.

    Lucid dreaming can allow us to create imaginary worlds where possibilities are endless.

    Lucid dreaming is a safe and natural way to gain more control over your mind and thought processes. Practising the lucid dreaming techniques mentioned above will make you more aware of your surroundings and actions, giving you a better grasp on reality