A lucid dream is a dream during which the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming. During a lucid dream, the dreamer may gain some amount of control over the dream characters, narrative, and environment; however, this is not actually necessary for a dream to be described as lucid. Lucid dreaming has been studied and reported for many years. Prominent figures from ancient to modern times have been fascinated by lucid dreams and have sought ways to better understand their causes and purpose. Many different theories have emerged as a result of scientific research on the subject and have even been shown in pop culture. Further developments in psychological research have pointed to ways in which this form of dreaming may be utilised as a form of sleep therapy.
Lucid dreams have been scientifically proven to exist. Stephen LaBerge of The Lucidity Institute used a special machine to track eye movements during a dream (these are linked to your eye movements within the dream). He asked lucid dreamers to point their eyes left and right in quick succession once they became "conscious" in their dreams, and this movement was recorded on the machine. For more information on this and other experiments, read Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming.
There are plenty of reasons you might want to dream lucidly:
- For fun! Just flying in a lucid dream is an exhilarating feeling. Lucid dreams are generally far more intense and vivid than most non-lucid dreams. You can use a lucid dream to wind down after a long day.
- Transforming into animals or getting superpowers is a unique experience that is hard to get any other way.
- If you are particularly interested in dreams — either spiritually or psychologically — trying lucid dreaming could help you in your research.
- If you're writing fiction or even creating a world for a computer game, lucid dreaming can help you visualise it. You could ask your characters how they feel about something or what they think will happen.
- Some people compose music in their lucid dreams.
- Lucid dreams can be realistic enough to rehearse a speech or musical performance.
- You can relive previous dreams or experiences.
- They can help in dream interpretation and communicating with your subconscious.