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"Not all lucid dreams are useful but they all have a sense of wonder about them. If you must sleep through a third of your life, why should you sleep through your dreams, too?"
Stephen LaBerge

       The concept of lucid dreaming is not at all a new one. The first recorded instructions for learning how to lucid dream come from an unnamed Tibetan yoga master from the eighth century, the author of “The Yoga of the Dream State.” The next also originates in Tibet, Atisha, who described lucid dreaming as “being simultaneously awake and asleep” in his “Seven Points of Mind Training.” But no scientific research was performed until the 1960s and 1970s, including P.D. Ouspensky’s “A New Model of the Universe”, in which it’s called a “half-dream state”; Don Juan’s “Journey to Ixtlan, which taught cues for becoming conscious in and stabilizing dreams; and Carlos Castaneda, apprenticed to Don Juan. In the fall of 1975, Stephen LaBerge, one of the current leading researchers in lucid dreaming today, was introduced to lucid dreaming. Currently, he works in the Stanford University Sleep Research Center, where he proved that lucid dreaming is indeed possible and that virtually anyone can be taught.
       Essentially, a dream is lucid if you are aware that you are dreaming. Depending on the control, experience, and/or natural talent of the dreamer, you may be able to influence the dream, changing it to your own desires. However, any attempt to alter the dream creates a chance of waking up. (Lucid dreaming, wikibooks)
       It is difficult to describe lucid dreaming without causing some confusion, so the following list of terms is provided to, hopefully, clarify.
  • The term “dream state” or “dreaming” refers to the period one experiences during rapid-eye movement (REM) periods of sleep.
  • Lucid dreaming, or cognizant dreaming, refers to a state where the sleeper is aware that they are dreaming, and may or may not have control over the dream state, the “storyline” of the dream, and its contents.
  • Dream recall refers to the ability to remember dreams experienced upon waking up. Dream recall can be trained to be more vivid
  • The term “real life” refers to the waking state, the “real” world, regardless of how “real” the dream state appears, and how “fake” the “real” world appears.

       There are many ways to achieve and improve your lucidity, from mind strategies to uses before and while going to sleep, to food, dinks, plants, and drug. Technology in the forms of gadgets and software to simulate and improve lucidity have also been developed. Regardless of your budget, you can find enhancements to aid in your attempts for lucidity.
       Strategies for achieving lucidity can be confusing, difficult, complex, and unreliable, or they can be very simple. Use caution when using these strategies, as some may disrupt your sleep cycle.
       WBTB (Wake-Back-to-Bed) requires waking yourself up a few hours after you fall asleep, then going back to bed. During the interim, it may help to do something involving lucid dreaming, either reading about it, or performing another method to induce lucidity, such as autosuggestion, MILD, or VILD.
       Autosuggestion is perhaps one of the simplest and requires the least preparation and can still be as successful as any of the others with practice. Autosuggestion simply requires that, as you lie in bed, tell yourself that you will dream, and that it will be lucid. If there’s anything specific you want to dream about, that can also be included.
       MILD (Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams) was developed by Stephen LaBerge. It requires that you repeat a mantra to yourself as you fall asleep. For example, “Next time I'm dreaming, I will remember I'm dreaming.” (Wikibook)
       WILD (Wake-Initiation of Lucid Dreams) can involve lying in bed on your back and tensing/relaxing your body, very similar to meditation techniques. This may create a sleep-paralysis state where you cannot move your body, and feel fully conscious but are indeed asleep. There are many ways to accomplish this, simply by trying to stay awake while falling asleep.
       LILD (Lucid Induction of Lucid Dreams) requires that you have a lucid dream in the first place. While in that dream, according to Wikibook, “you have to do something in your dream that will help you become lucid the next time you are dreaming.” This will not work for those who have not had a lucid dream.
       VILD (Visual Induction of Lucid Dreaming) requires that the dreamer visualize what they want to dream about as they fall asleep. This method may not work for those who have trouble falling asleep due to constantly thinking.
       Vitamins in food and drink and naturally occurring hormones in the body can enhance lucidity in ways that aid the mind strategies. Included in these are Tryptophan, which is present in warm milk, Vitamin B6 and other B-group vitamins, and the hormone Melatonin. (Wikibook)
       Plants and herbal resources can be used, either by use of a “herb pillow” that can be placed inside one’s pillow at night, or ingested. Artemisia vulgaris (mugwort) is a hallucinogen, and acts as a substitute for marijuana and tobacco. It can increase intensity, recall and control of dreams. Hypericum perforatum (St John’s wort) is commonly used to treat depression, and contains serotonin. Calea zacatechichi (Dream herb or bitter grass) can increase frequency and recall, and is commonly used by the indigenous Oaxaca Chontal of the Mexican state of Oaxaca, and in oneiromancy (divination through dreams. The dream herb is legal to grow and sell in the US, except for Louisiana, and has no apparent side effects or hangover. (Wikipedia)
       There are two primary gadgets that can influence the mind and lucidity. Caution is advised when using these devices, be sure to read all warnings and operating instructions before using the following devices.
       The NovaDreamer was originally produced by Stephen LaBerge and the Lucidity Institute, but is now only available through independent distributors. It is an aid, but is not essential to learning to develop and control lucidity. The NovaDreamer detects when one enters REM, and provides a cue that allows the dreamer to become aware in-dream. (Lucidity Institute)
       The Kvasar is very similar to the NovaDreamer. However, the Kvasar is not available for sale. Instead, it was developed for those who may not be able to afford the NovaDreamer, and instructions to build are available online. (Kvasar)
       Software programs for computers have been developed to help control, generate and improve lucidity. However, not all programs will work for all people. Among those currently available include the Brainwave generator, which plays binaural noise files that may or may not do everything from improving creativity to concentration; Liquid Dream II; Reality Check; and SBaGen. This is by no means a complete list, as new software is continually being developed.
       Drugs can be used to enhance the dream state, vividness, control, and frequency of dreams, but as with plants, use with caution. The following list, provided by Wikibooks, included chemicals natural to the body in small doses, and legal and illegal drugs.
  • Serotonin
  • Amanita muscaria
  • Ayahuasca
  • DMT
  • DXM
  • Ketamine
  • LSD
  • Mescaline
  • Morning glory seeds
  • PCP
  • Psilocybe mushrooms
  • Salvia divinorum (in larger doses)

       Lucid dreaming can be very useful in many cases. According to Stephen LaBerge, they can be used to deal with stress, aid in problem solving and decision making, improve creativity, and deal with phobias and nightmares.
       In the dream world, one can potentially do anything, be anyone, see anything, go anywhere. Using that ability, one can deal with stress in ways impossible or illegal in the real world. Tormenting someone who torments you, injuring someone who has to you, among other things. There is a word of caution on this, however. Be certain that you are dreaming, and not really participating in the real world when performing such activities.
       Lucid dreaming can also help when it comes to solving problems. Trying to redecorate, but don’t know where to start? Trying visualizing what you want to see when you dream. Build the furniture in your mind. Create, invent, discover.
       Some artists and writers have been known to use lucid dreaming to create and inspire art. For writers dealing with writer’s block, they may enter the dream and ask their characters what happens next, what decisions they make, such that the writer may form the story true to their characters and not polluted by their own point of views.
       For those who experience nightmares and phobias, lucid dreaming can be used to control and squash those fears. One may take control of their nightmares and turn them into comedies. For those with phobias, desensitization therapy in-dream is free.
       There are some things to be cautious of when introducing and immersing oneself in the worlds of lucid dreaming. In some ways, LD can be dangerous, and in others, it has the potential to be greatly beneficial. Among there are addiction, alienation, disassociation, and religious caution. (Wikibook)
       Lucid dreaming can be a wonderful way to escape the world and the pressures of life, but like all escapes, it can become addicting. Spending more time asleep may not show a problem, providing that there are no problems appearing in real life that stem from lack of attention. Using lucid dreams to solve problems is one thing; using them to live your life is destructive.
       Simple alienation can also be a problem. Lucid dreaming is not a concept many people are familiar with, let alone willing to comprehend. There is nothing abnormal or “wrong” with lucid dreaming, but people may not perceive it as such.
       There is no solid evidence that too much lucid dreaming is a bad thing, except in cases of addiction and disassociation. The following list, provided by Wikibooks’ “Lucid Dreaming,” contains symptoms of disassociation.
  • Ability to ignore extreme pain or what would normally cause extreme pain
  • Absorption in a television program or movie
  • Remembering the past so vividly one seems to be reliving it
  • Finding evidence of having one things one can’t remember doing
  • Not remembering important events in one’s life
  • Being in a familiar place and finding it unfamiliar
  • Seeing oneself as if looking at another person
  • Other people and objects do not seem real
  • Looking at the world through a fog or haze
  • Not recognizing friends or family members
  • Finding unfamiliar things among one’s belongings
  • Finding oneself in a place but unaware of how one got there
  • Finding oneself dressed in clothes one doesn’t remember putting on

       Finally, there is the religious aspect. Accidentally encountering spiritual entities may or not be a problem depending on one’s religious standpoint. For those who are deeply religious, you may encounter in your dreams your significant spiritual entity, or their adversary. Depending on your beliefs, you may believe that this manifestation is genuine, or that it is just an object created by your mind. Tread cautiously.
       Lucid dreaming can do many things for everyone. It can help dealing with stress, solving problems, decision making, and phobias and nightmares, as well as  provide inspiration and improve creativity. But, as with many of treatments for dealing with these things, there are dangers. For some, these dangers may be inconsequential, for others, entirely worth the benefits, for still others, potentially serious. Anyone can be taught to lucid dream, but lucid dreaming may not be for everyone.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Most recent project. Recently, I have become interested in Lucid Dreaming, and here is the result on my research.

Critique on organization, grammer, punctuation, clarity. Comments only on content. Thank you.

Further Reading and Resources:
Revised Lucid Dreaming Guide
Additional Readings
Add a Comment:
 
:iconorpheusex:
OrpheusEx Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2014
I was wondering; in a lucid dream, is it possible to take say, an OC, put it in your dream and have your subconscious deal with how they'd react? Or do you have to actively control "sentient" constructs?
Reply
:icontheredsweaterghost:
TheRedSweaterGhost Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2015  Student Digital Artist
Hi, I know this comment is almost a year old but I noticed you never got an answer.
Yes- if you know the personality of your OC you can have complete conversations with them and they would act as they would usually do with their personality type.
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:iconmadeleinearmy:
MadeleineArmy Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
After reading this I now realize that my "sleep problems" is not that, but infact lucid dreaming. I am a lucid dreamer and I had no idea. I would wake up every few hours thinking that I had gotten no sleep because I was aware I was dreaming the whole time, now that I know what the "problem" is, I'm going to start exploring this new world :) 
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:iconbittykitty1:
BittyKitty1 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2013

Uhh... Question about Lucid Dreaming:

   Is it possible to *accidentally* have a Lucid Dream? Because I'm pretty sure that happened to me a few nights ago. I had no idea what was going on, at the time, but when I woke up I honestly looked like this: "O____O?!" And now that I've found people usually have Lucid Dreams on purpose, I've been curious if there's a way to accidentally fall into a Lucid Dream.

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:icondivby0:
divby0 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2013  Professional Writer
It's absolutely possible. That's how I started before I learned that it was a "thing," and it's how I suspect most people start.
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:iconbittykitty1:
BittyKitty1 Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2013

Ohmygosh- Thank goodness. I thought I was weird for a sec- Wait.

~ahem~

Thanks for the quick response ^3^ Love the Icon!

 

/floats away

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:icondrowsydoormouse:
DrowsyDoormouse Featured By Owner Jun 24, 2013  Professional General Artist
Wow very cool! I've been researching lucid dreaming for two years now in a pretty obsessive way so I'm really happy that I walked away from this article with new information- that doesn't usually happen to me anymore. I've never heard of VILDs or LILDs.

LILD sounds fascinating. I used to do VILDs all the time as a child without realizing that was what I was doing, but I've never even thought of setting up the next lucid dream while inside a lucid dream - very interesting. I have no idea of how I'd do that though
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:iconsatsutheslugma:
SatsuTheSlugma Featured By Owner Mar 27, 2013  Student Digital Artist
What of melatonin?
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:icondivby0:
divby0 Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2013  Professional Writer
What about it?
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:icon900bunny:
900bunny Featured By Owner Feb 26, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
pretty helpful!at first i was scared out of my mind of lucid dreams turning into nightmares and i was almost afraid to fall asleep for fear of a nightmare!!!but now i REALLY want to try it :) and i have dreams often it's just that most of the time,later in the day i'll remember an element from it then recall more of the dream but not much.but this whole lucid dreaming thing sounds great and i'd like to give it a try!by the way,i've had mild depression for the last 5 months now but it is much better and more subtle so is there any danger of addiction for me?thanks for any help~!
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:icondivby0:
divby0 Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2013  Professional Writer
"addiction" to dreaming is not something you should be terribly concerned about unless you start negleting your waking-time responsibilities and/or starting dosing yourself with chemicals that will help you sleep longer and dream more vividly.

I used to suffer from regular nightmares until I started lucid dreaming. with lucid dreaming, I was able to defeat those nightmares and their hold over me.
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:icon900bunny:
900bunny Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
okay good.thank you!
Reply
:iconchiyochan64:
chiyochan64 Featured By Owner Jun 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Hello!
I am having a bit of trouble with the hypnagogic imagery, and being pulled into a dream.
It is harder for me to see the hallucinations of the color, and to visualize correctly, so I find it much harder to lucid dream. Even when I focus on where it is I want to be, I am never sucked into a dream. I am already in Sleep Paralysis when it happens.

Does being in sleep paralysis mean that you are already asleep? When I try to open my eyes, I always end up opening my real ones.

May I please have some tips, and some help figuring out where I am going wrong?
Thank you!
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:icondivby0:
divby0 Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2012  Professional Writer
To my understanding, hypnagogia (where sleep paralysis occurs) is a transitional state where you're not quite awake, but not quite asleep.

Unfortunately, I have no experience with this state. I go directly from wakefulness to sleep with no identifiable intermission, and back the same way.

I have tried (and continue to try) to enter this state, but have been unsuccessful. I'm sorry.

If I do make any headway, I will definitely post anything I learn.
Reply
:iconchiyochan64:
chiyochan64 Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
It is hard for me to find it, and it normally occurs with colors or flashes of light for me.

The hard thing is, is that I normally still feel the sensation of lying in bed.

What method do you think I should use instead?
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:icondivby0:
divby0 Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2012  Professional Writer
For initiating lucid dreaming, I exclusively use WBTB. It is the only method that works for me.
Reply
:iconchiyochan64:
chiyochan64 Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I don't completely understand it. What do I do when I wake up?
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:icondivby0:
divby0 Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Professional Writer
I have an alarm that goes off about an hour before I actually have to get up. I shut it off, roll over, and when I shut my eyes, I can drop immediately back down into the dream I was roused from.

Some people who use WBTB recommend getting out of bed and walking around, maybe drinking some water, and staying up for anywhere from ten to thirty minutes. For me, any activity other than rolling over prevents me from going back to sleep.
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:iconchiyochan64:
chiyochan64 Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Ah, I will try to do that tonight! Thank you!
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:iconxbefore-idie:
xBefore-IDie Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
i didnt know it was called that...or had a name. ._. apparently i have lucid dreams all the time. and every dream ive ever had is as vivid as real life. but this does explain many things. thank you.
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:iconkalkris:
kalkris Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2011
You, my friend, are a wonderful person.
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:icondivby0:
divby0 Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2011  Professional Writer
thanks :blush:
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:iconsimkaaa:
simkaaa Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2011
Really incredible!

I just find the whole concept of dreams amazing.
I would really love to study something about psychology/ the human psyche... any suggestions?
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:icondivby0:
divby0 Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2011  Professional Writer
sorry, my studies of dreams have been limited to just that: only dreams.
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:iconsimkaaa:
simkaaa Featured By Owner Apr 7, 2011
No worries :) and you're welcome for the fave :)
Reply
:iconpjato333096:
Pjato333096 Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2010
But don't you think it could also be dangerous somehow, I mean someone could do it, make their own world, do anything they want, but what if they get a little too obssessive(did I spell that right?), and start sleeping all day. AND it's the ones have some disorders like OCD, Bipolar, and such. I'm only 14, but can you please clarify that for me?
Reply
:icondivby0:
divby0 Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2010  Professional Writer
1) Life is dangerous. You could die falling out of bed.

2) Yes, the dreamworld does have a certain appeal to it, that those suffering from depression and other psychological disorders can become addicted to. OCD isn't such a vulnerability. Mostly depression, schizophrenia, and MPD.

3) I think you've been reading too much into the world of Inception. Lucid dreaming isn't as easy as taking a drug from most people. Very few people have an innate skill in creating and manipulating the dreamworld. I've only met one and I've been studying this field for quite a few years.

As for myself, I tend to have vivid dreams and remember them well, but I have difficulty influencing them without using WBTB.

Dreaming lucidly takes a lot of practice, patience, and many people never succeed at controlling it. And as you get older, life changes and you have to pay for your own things instead of relying on the finances of your family. You have to find work to pay for food and shelter, or you'll be living on the streets.

The fate that you're fearing is a false fear, likely partially from the scene in Inception with all the people taking drugs and dreaming in shifts. That is part of a fantasy world. (Trust me, if it was real, I'd be in the business and living in a room larger than this broom closet.)

If you dream lucidly too much, there's no detrimental effect on your ability to dream regularly. NONE.
Reply
:iconpjato333096:
Pjato333096 Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2010
Yes, I agree, but when I had that lucid dream, I was 8 years old....And I still remember it.
Reply
:icondivby0:
divby0 Featured By Owner Dec 25, 2010  Professional Writer
Sometimes dreams are powerful enough and key to our lives that they influence us very strongly and, as we tend to remember key events in our lives, we sometimes remember key dreams.

Since I often use dreams for the basis of my art, when I read or experience the art, I can revisit the dream.

Have you had any other lucid or particularly powerful dreams since then?
Reply
:iconpjato333096:
Pjato333096 Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2010
Yes, but I'd rather not talk about it.
Reply
:icondivby0:
divby0 Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2010  Professional Writer
fair enough.
Reply
:iconinner-pyrefly:
Inner-Pyrefly Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2010
My partner explained this to me last year after realising I naturally learnt how to control my dreams as a young child. Have you seen the movie "Waking Life" ? I recommend it :heart: Great piece of informative writing.
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:iconrjf2:
RJF2 Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2009
this is really awsome, as i have only found out in the last 6 months or so i am a lucid dreamer, so this is good for cautions as i actually have 2 of the symptons, so basically, thanks for the warnings and heads-up, really, thanks
plus great work *thumbs up*
Reply
:icondivby0:
divby0 Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2009  Professional Writer
you're very welcome, and i wish you the best of luck!
Reply
:iconflipqingoutfan:
flipqingoutfan Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
Really nice. I didn't know about the machines that help you with lucid dreaming. I knew a little about the side effects but not very much. Very informative. I like to lucid dream a lot but I don't do it too often. :)(:
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:icondivby0:
divby0 Featured By Owner Oct 1, 2009  Professional Writer
thanks. glad to hear this little piece is still helpful to people.
Reply
:iconflipqingoutfan:
flipqingoutfan Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
They are. It's nice to see that other people take an interest in that sort of thing. :)(:
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:iconlion-paws:
Lion-paws Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2009
This is well written. You give out a lot of essential information about LD. Well done!
Reply
:icondivby0:
divby0 Featured By Owner Mar 16, 2009  Professional Writer
thank you very much!
Reply
:icondavethephotobitch:
DaveThePhotoBitch Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2008   Writer
This is good stuff. On par with anything thing else I've seen on the net so far.

I used this as a source for a school assignment I wrote, hope you don't mind.
Reply
:icondivby0:
divby0 Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2008  Professional Writer
i would like to hear how the paper turns out, if you don't mind
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:icondivby0:
divby0 Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2008  Professional Writer
oh, certainly not. thank you very much.
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Hidden by Owner
:iconkneatynx:
kneatynx Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2006   Writer
it's really technical...text-book technical. it seems good but i can't hold concentration on it so i don't want to really comment
Reply
:iconwindypower:
WindyPower Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2006
I've printed it. :)
I didn't know about LILD or VILD... Thanks.
Add DreamViews to your link list, maybe ?
Reply
:icondivby0:
divby0 Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2006  Professional Writer
I've got the link, thanks, but the list at the end is all the sources. Since I did not use DreamViews, I won't be adding it. But thatnk you for pointing it out to other readers.

And thanks for the :+fav:
Reply
:iconwindypower:
WindyPower Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2006
Oh, I see.

Welcome (for the favorite).
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