How did lucid dreaming suddenly manifest in my life?
September 18, 2016 8:26 PM   Subscribe

For the past couple nights I have been aware of dreams in which I was sitting up, yet knew I was asleep and my first thought was "don't wake the cat" who sleeps curled up with me. Are these really lucid dreams - and if so, how shall I foster and welcome them?

Lots of points-of-view shifting during the past week, and one of the manifestations has been vivid dreams during which I feel I have agency over their progress. I checked Wikipedia and these dreams fulfill the seven Tholey criteria, so I believe they count.

They are delightful. I would like more of them.

How does one foster their appearance?
posted by jet_silver to Religion & Philosophy (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Lucidity comes in various degrees. There is a general awareness of being in the dream state to the fully lucid, manifest your thoughts and knowing exactly where your awake-body is in bed. So this sounds lucid to me!

To foster them, it is often recommended to do "dreaming checks" during your waking life. Pause several times a day and ask "am I awake or sleeping" and develop your tests (trying to read something, dial a phone or use a light switch.) Then do these checks during the dream. Not unlike the movie Inception :P

Also set your intention - during the week say to yourself that you'd like to lucid dream. Eventually it "just happens."

Also check your sleep schedule. The "awake-back to sleep" is a common trick. Wake up with an alarm, be up but in bed for like 2-3 minutes and then fall back asleep. It increases your chances of being lucid. For example I'm often lucid if I hit the snooze button. Another trick is napping. Afternoon naps are prime lucid dream times (at least for me!).

Lastly you could check out the Lucidity Institute / Stephen LaBerge who is the premier researcher on lucid dreaming. (He found people can communicate their lucidity to researchers while sleeping via pre-determined eye movements!) I think he has a lucid dreaming retreat to help people learn how to do it but honestly it sounds pricy and all of these things you could do at home.

Sweet dreams!
posted by St. Peepsburg at 9:29 PM on September 18, 2016

I've always had the occasional lucid dream, but the two things that contributed to me lucid dreaming more than usual, is waking up several (2-3 hours) before I normally do and no screens before bed. I didn't realize that waking up earlier than my regular routine dictated would increase them until I had a child who woke routinely at like 4am. On the nights when my wife would get him, I would still stir, but not wake up. That was like primo time for lucid dreaming.

The only other thing that lead to an uptick in lucid dreams was sleeping at altitude in La Paz in Bolivia; but changing your altitude isn't easy to replicate on a nightly basis.
posted by furnace.heart at 9:32 PM on September 18, 2016

Oh I almost forgot: dream journal. Write your dreams down every morning. At the very least spend 5 min remembering them. Working on dream recall seems to increase the chances of becoming lucid. I don't know why this is but it's a very common recommendation that works for me too.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 9:33 PM on September 18, 2016

Boring possibilities - did you just start taking B complex vitamins? B6 can increase vividness. Or it could be that your sleep was interrupted in stage 1 (see this).

(I hope these dreams continue for you, though, if you like them.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 10:45 PM on September 18, 2016

You might like to watch the movie Waking Life, which discusses some of these techniques, e.g. St. Peepsburg's light switch test.

Also make sure to write in your dream journal if you wake up and remember a dream in the middle of the night, don't wait until morning. Sometimes talking to people about your dreams also helps.
posted by SaltySalticid at 7:24 AM on September 19, 2016

I came in to suggest the dream journal, so I'll second that! I used to have lucid dreams all the time and I kept a journal by my bed for when I'd wake up. Another thing that seemed to foster them was setting a reminder to ask myself whether or not I was dreaming during the day. Somehow, seriously considering the possibility that my waking life is a dream seemed to really help the lucid state at night. Also, the journaling really helped to get my mind to identify the lucid state in my dreams. It became as if there was less of a veil between the sleep and wake state, I guess.

I stopped lucid dreaming intentionally because the quality of my sleep became interrupted on a regular basis. I often go directly into REM sleep and dream after only sleeping for a few minutes, so my natural sleep pattern is weird to begin with, and lucid dreaming only seemed to make that worse. The dreams were awesome, though! Flying on command is the best.
posted by onecircleaday at 11:35 AM on September 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

These comments are reflective of my situation: it is shortly after awakening too early and falling back to sleep when I have these dreams. The first couple were short, "I'm sitting up though my body is lying down, don't wake the cat" dreams - and then I had an elaborate one where there was a plot, characters, a situation that helped me affirm some issues around my gender, and people I would recognize should I meet them IRL. There were bright colors, interesting situations and a subjective hour or so's activity. I retain a detailed memory of this dream.

The only chemical change in my diet has been a -reduction- in magnesium supplements. I used to take around a gram of Mg supplement every day, but both the depression and the cramps seem well enough without them these days.

Thanks for the hints and tips. I never thought of taking to the air, but will try to remember that next time. All answers 'best' because all disclose an aspect of what I would like to learn.
posted by jet_silver at 7:13 PM on September 19, 2016

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