How to control your dreams
Imagine if you could control the experience you have while you dream.
This is possible with lucid dreams, where the dreamer is aware of dreaming. Lucid dreaming is a learnable skill and has a wide range of applications such as treatment for nightmares and improvement of physical skills and abilities through practice while in a lucid dream experience. Research in this area has been limited due to the lack of effective dream induction techniques.
New research from the University of Adelaide has found a specific combination of techniques which can increase the chance of experiencing lucid dreams.
The study investigated the effectiveness of three cognitive lucid dream induction techniques:
1. Reality testing – involves checking your environment a few times a day to ascertain whether or not you’re dreaming.
2. Wake back to bed (WBTB) – waking up after five hours, staying awake for a short period, then going back to sleep so as to enter a REM sleep period during which dreams are more likely to occur.
3. MILD (mnemonic induction of lucid dreams) – waking up after five hours of sleep and then developing the intention to remember that you are dreaming before returning to sleep, by repeating the phrase: “The next time I’m dreaming, I will remember that I’m dreaming.” You also imagine yourself in a lucid dream.
169 Australian participants participated in this study. They completed a pre-test questionnaire, provided a baseline logbook in Week 1 and practised lucid dream induction techniques in Week 2.
47 participants, who combined all three techniques, achieved 17 per cent success rate in experiencing lucid dreams over a period of just one week. This was significantly higher than baseline where they did not practise any techniques.
Among those who could sleep within the first five minutes of completing the MILD technique, the success rate of lucid dreams was almost 46 per cent. Several factors that influence the MILD technique were identified by this study – such as amount of time taken to fall asleep after completing the technique and general dream recall.
Among those who could sleep within the first five minutes of completing the MILD technique, the success rate of lucid dreams was almost 46 per cent.
The ability of remember to do things in the future – such as setting an intention to remember that you are dreaming (which results in you remembering that you are dreaming) – is what contributes to the success of the MILD technique, according to this research.
The MILD technique had no effect on sleep quality with participants reporting that they were significantly less sleep deprived.
Dreams are an important part of our lives. They serve a purpose which can be quite elusive just as our dreams. But now you can apply techniques to exert a degree of control over your dreams.
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