Lucid dreaming

Picture this: you are afloat on a river when a purple flamingo offers you a gin-sling but before you can drink it the flamingo is swallowed by a giant turnip and the sky turns to honeycomb and out of the honeycomb-holes fly winged-cupcakes ridden by hedgehogs that are singing a Gregorian chant.

The chances are that at some point in that narrative your mind rebelled and said, “Hang on a moment…I don’t even like gin-slings!” The sequence is all a bit dream-like and your waking mind had no difficulty separating it from reality, but could your dreaming mind have done the same? There are some people who generally are aware that they are dreaming when they dream, as opposed to being caught up in the dream and “believing” it is happening. Those people who regularly realise they are dreaming are called “lucid dreamers” and new research shows that they have some added capacities in waking life as well.

The new study involved subjects between the ages of 18 and 25. Some had never experienced lucid dreaming, some experienced it occasionally, while others were regular lucid dreamers.

All of the subjects took part in a problem-solving test designed to test their capacity for insight. The test included 30 problems each one consisting of three words and the subjects had to find a word that would link the words and therefore solve the problem. So, for example, for the word group “sand”, “mile”, and “age” the answer to the problem was “stone”.

The results showed a significant difference between frequent lucid dreamers and those who never lucid dream. It emerged that the lucid dreamers solved an average 25 per cent more of the problems than those who never lucid dream.

It appears that lucid dreamers have some underlying capacity for cognition that also helps with problem solving in the waking state. Maybe being a “crazy dreamer” is not so bad after all…as long as you know you are doing it.

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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