In my thriller Fatal Distraction, Oliver Sullivan uses a technique called lucid dreaming to help him cope with lifelong grief–the death of his son.
Here’s a description from Fatal Distraction about what Oliver Sullivan does and why he does it.
“[Oliver] allowed himself to sink into light sleep again, or perhaps a state close to self-hypnosis, lucid dreaming, a technique he’d learned from his grief counselor.”
If you’re not familiar with lucid dreaming, it may sound a bit preposterous. But it simply means “dreaming while you know you’re dreaming.” The fun part about it is that during a lucid dream, you can do almost anything. Super powers? Flying? Time travel? Yep. Use lucid dreaming.
Techniques have been studied at Stanford University for quite a while. Here’s a short explanation:
Lucid dreaming is a state somewhere between being awake and being asleep.
Aristotle described it this way:
“Often when one is asleep, there is something in consciousness which declares that what then presents itself is but a dream.”
In a lucid dream, one is supposed to find oneself more alert.
Here are other specifics of what a lucid dream is supposed to entail:
- Heightened senses
- Strong emotion and feeling
- The ability to have some control over the dream.
To the brain, “seeing is believing.” In other words, if the brain goes into a lucid dreaming state and becomes convinced something is real, the brain may be able to come up with more creative solutions.
Here are several strategies that are supposed to increase the chance of having a lucid dream.
- Keep a dream journal.
- If you wake up and remember that you were dreaming, focus on the dream and try falling asleep again.
- Lastly, if you realize that you are dreaming, and the dream isn’t going the way you want it to, ‘close your eyes’ in the dream and try opening them forcefully until you awaken fully.
Are you convinced? Is lucid dreaming something you’d consider trying?
I have very vivid dreams. I can remember minute details like shoes someone was wearing, the food eaten in a restaurant, ask my hubby he would tell you. I had a dream about a huge spider running across my chest, I smacked it hard with my hand, woke hubby and left a red hand mark. Scary to think what you could do while dreaming.
I wonder if sleep walking is a similar thing, Lynne? I haven’t researched sleep walking, but I’ve heard it happens in the dream state. I wonder if those dreaming sleep-walkers are lucid dreaming or not?
Diane, my niece sleep walks quite a bit. She has had a few broken bones doing this. She does not know what she is doing when she is sleep walking.
it is a very effective tool for many things.i suffer from an incurable syndrome that is extremely painful 24/7. It Kerr me from sleeping which made it even worse. I was taught this at Mayo Clinic Jax.Fl. as a way to help me sleep so I could cope with the pain better. It does help by letting my lucid dreams be pain free or not as painful, which is the only break I get from the pain.
That does sound like a terrific tool for you, Dianna. I’m glad you found it.
Never to old to learn.
You’re so right, Judy! I love learning new things and sharing them with readers. This lucid dreaming thing really captured my imagination. Wish I could learn to do it whenever I want! Lucid dreaming could really help me with my plots, I’ll bet.