Have you ever had a lucid dream? A lucid dream occurs when you’re asleep and dreaming – and then you suddenly realize that you’re asleep and dreaming. It’s happened to me a few times, and it’s always enormously entertaining. When you know you’re dreaming, you can control what happens. You can do anything! You can walk on Mars, explore the depths of the ocean, meet someone famous, or fly. (Personally, I like to fly. Nothing beats it.)
So lucid dreaming is definitely fun. But now researchers are suggesting that it might also be beneficial to you! In a recent study published in the journal Dreaming, investigators found that people who regularly had lucid dreams were significantly better at solving word problems than those who did not have lucid dreams. They concluded that lucid dreaming may help to sharpen cognitive abilities. It may enhance critical-thinking skills and help people to solve problems more quickly and effectively.
Unfortunately, lucid dreaming doesn’t come naturally to most people. It’s believed that only 20% of the population have lucid dreams on a regular basis.
But if you’re part of that 80% who don’t have lucid dreams on a regular basis (like me), don’t despair! Apparently, there are things that you can do to enhance your dreaming abilities:
- Question yourself – A few times each day, ask yourself if you’re dreaming or not. The things that you do when you’re awake affect your dreams. So if you ask yourself this question when you’re awake, you’ll be more likely to do the same thing when you’re asleep.
- Check for weirdness – When you’re dreaming, try to look around and see if anything looks weird. Do you see anything strange or unnatural – something that couldn’t possibly exist in the real world? (Talking cats? Floating furniture? Dancing vegetables?) If you can get into the habit of doing this, it can help you to recognize when you’re dreaming.
- Keep a journal – When you wake up in the morning, write down everything that you remember dreaming about. This will help you to gain more control over your dreams.
I’ve been using these techniques, and I must admit that I haven’t had any lucid dreams recently. But I’ll keep trying! And asking myself “Am I dreaming?” throughout the day does make me laugh. So there’s that at least!
Maybe you’ll have more success. Give the techniques a try and see! Good luck, and happy dreaming!
Romm, C. (2014, August 20). Those who know they’re dreaming tend to be savvier when awake. The Atlantic. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/08/those-who-know-when-theyre-dreaming-are-savvier-when-theyre-awake/378861/
Wang, S. (2014, August 12). Sleepers with greater self-awareness may have a cognitive edge during the day. The Wall Street Journal, pp. D1, D2.