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Lucid Dreaming

"The content of most of our dreams is largely determined by what has happened during the previous waking hours. Most scenarios are creative on partucular strategies acted out in the day and carried into sleep. Lucid dreaming allows the sleeper an almost limitless spectrum of creative possibilities, quite beyond our wildest imaginings." Malcolm Godwin

"In contrast to the restricted consciousness of normal dreaming, the rare state of lucid dreaming is characterized by full- blown consciousness including all higher-order aspects: the sleeping subject is no longer deluded by the dream narrative, but becomes fully aware of the true nature of his current state of consciousness. This wake-like intellectual clarity comprises a restored access to memory functions including increased availability of self-related information, and fully realized agency, enabling the dreamer to volitionally execute his intentions within the dream narrative. Lucid dreaming can be trained, which makes this phenomenon a promising research topic despite its rarity in untrained subjects." (Martin Dresler et al., 2014)

A lucid dream is a dream during which the dreamer is aware of the fact that he or she is dreaming and therefore often can consciously influence the dream content. Although awareness of dreaming while dreaming is usually considered an adequate criterion for lucid dreaming, some discussions have been held whether this is sufficient. , for example, separates dreaming-awareness dreams and lucid dreams, for which he poses an additional criterion that overall clarity of waking consciousness should also be retained. Seven aspects of lucidity or clarity in dreams have been formulated: (reference)

  1. Clarity about the state of consciousness that one is dreaming
  2. Clarity about the freedom of choice
  3. Clarity of consciousness
  4. Clarity about the waking life
  5. Clarity of perception
  6. Clarity about the meaning of the dream
  7. Clarity recollecting the dream

However, it is important to acknowledge that dream lucidity is not an ‘‘all-or-nothing’’ phenomenon but rather a continuum with different degrees: some dreams can be more lucid than others.

Even if the phenomenon of lucid dreaming was known since the times of Aristotle, it was successfully verified only in the 1970s in a sleep laboratory by measuring eye movements during REM sleep corresponding with dreamed gaze shifts. However, the first scholar to document lucidity extensively was the French aristocrat, Hervey de Saint Denys, whose very credible and well-written book initially published in French in 1867 was translated and published as “Dreams and the Means of Directing Them” in 1982. Much more recently, Mary Arnold-Forster, an English gentlewoman, described her own experiments in her book, “Studies in Dreams”, published in 1921. Apparently unaware of the earlier work of Saint Denis, Arnold-Forster E.M. Forster, was principally concerned with determining what she could and could not do when dreaming lucidly. Like many other lucid dreamers, she taught herself to fly and thus to enter, at will, all of the rooms of her house; she particularly enjoyed flying down her stairs. (reference)

Following the discovery of REM sleep by Aserinsky and Kleitman in 1953, the objective study of lucid dreaming was undertaken in earnest by K.M. Hearne in 1978 and by Steven LaBerge in 1980. Since then, numerous studies have been conducted and research indicates that lucid dreaming is mainly a REM sleep phenomenon, although it can also occur during NREM sleep. Since lucid dreamers have access to their waking memories, it is possible for them to move their eyes during the dream according to a prearranged pattern of eye movements and produce a distinct electrooculagram (EOG) recording during REM sleep. The dreamers can even communicate from within the dream.

According to recent findings, lucid REM sleep when compared to non-lucid REM sleep is associated with increased EEG 40 Hz power, especially in frontal and frontolateral regions. Another recent MRI study found increased activation during REM lucid dreaming in several brain regions, including the bilateral precuneus, cuneus, parietal lobules, and prefrontal and occipito-temporal cortices. This specific pattern of activation might explain the presence of higher order cognitive skills involved in lucid dreaming. The prefrontal cortex is associated with metacognitive regulation and self-assessment, executive function and top-down control of behaviour, attention regulation, while the precuneus is associated with self-processing operations, such as first-person perspective taking and experience of agency.

The Lucid Dreaming Experience Magazine seeks to educate, inform and inspire lucid dreamers by exploring lucid dream techniques, sharing lucid dreams and discussing the potentials of lucid dreaming. Link to Lucid Dreaming Experience Magazine  ♥♥♥♥♥

For further discussion, please visit and join our Dreaming is Personal group on Facebook

See also: Bibliography, Booze and dreams, Dream cycles, Dream glossary, Dream recall, Dreams and brain disorders, Dreams as a source of inspiration, Food and dreams, Herbs for dreaming, Hypnagogic state, Lucid dreaming, Neuroprotective agents, Precognitive dreams, Recurring dreams, Shamanic dreaming, Sleeping brain, Sleep deprivation, Weed and dreams, WILD, Yoga Nidra