This Is What It Means When You Can Control Your Dreams
Ever had a dream where you were able to control everything that happened in it?
What about having a dream and being totally aware of the fact that you're dreaming? Like, there you are, right in the middle of a dream but and instead of letting that silver subconscious thread tug you along into the land of nod you stop, reassess, and decide exactly how this journey is going to go down.
Have you had that?
Or what about a dream where you actively decide to kiss someone? You clock on that yup, Jason from accounts is RIGHT THERE in your dream and you decide to walk on up and give him a big ol' smooch. Ever done that?
Well, there's a name for 'that': Lucid dreaming.
According to academic journal Frontiers in Psychology, lucid dreaming is an "awareness of dreaming while in a dream". So, not only can we observe the dream as it's happening, we can actually control it, too. And unlike reality, we can essentially do what we want.
"It's like an out-of-body experience," Dorothy Forsythe* told 10 daily. Dorothy said she has regular lucid dreams, adding that sometimes she even has an "out-of-body experience" along with it.
I know I'm dreaming, I'm fully aware of that, but the dream doesn't end, it just continues normally. Except I'm sort of floating above 'dream me,' watching on like a video game player watches their character. Often I can tell 'dream me' to do things -- 'watch out for that snake!' or 'run after that bus!' -- which is a relief, but other times I just have to watch on as 'dream me' does dumb stuff.
What's Going On Inside Our Brains At The Time?
Quite a lot, according to sleep specialist Olivia Arezzolo.
"Lucid dreaming usually occurs during REM sleep (rapid eye movement) -- which is a time when our brains are highly active, particularly in the frontal cortex," Arezzolo told 10 daily.
It's a busy time in the brain, with a study from the Sleep Research Society finding that lucid dreaming usually sits in that space between REM sleep and being fully awake.
But according to Sleep Therapist Ron Boyd from Dr Levi's Sleep Clinic, there isn't really any concrete evidence explaining exactly what's going on with our brains during this time and whether or not it constitutes as lucid dreaming.
"We know that dreams occur during the REM stage -- but we’re unsure how that’s formulated or done. So further research is needed."
Is It Dangerous
It's not, but, according to Arezzolo it can be downright terrifying if you end up waking up from a lucid dream unexpectedly.
"This can usually lead to sleep paralysis," she said. According to the Mayo Clinic, sleep paralysis is when someone wakes up suddenly and unexpectedly and is not being able to speak or move. It usually lasts one or two minutes.
Our girl Dorothy* has also experienced "the horror" of sleep paralysis, telling 10 daily "it's very scary as you feel 'stuck' and it's often hard to breathe."
"I sweat a lot and when I finally 'break out' of it I usually shout or scream," she said.
One of the most well-known depictions of the condition was done in 1781 by artist Henry Fusili, and depicted a woman in a deep sleep with a demon resting on her torso.
Can Anyone Do It?
Yeah, pretty much. There is one problem, however, with that study from the Sleep Research Society finding that a "major obstacle to experimental studies of lucid dreams is that spontaneous lucidity is quite rare".
Which basically means you don't really have control when it comes to entering into a state of lucid dreaming.
But, according to psychic Rose Smith, there are ways you can encourage your subconscious to dip into that lucid state long before you fall asleep.
Should You Do It?
Rose told 10 daily that while "some psychics regularly engage in lucid dreaming", she's not one of them.
"Lucid dreaming is about putting your ego in charge of your dream and there is a danger in that," she said.
"The problem that I see with it -- is in today’s society we raise the intellect above all other faculties -- we think our mental abilities are more important than what we’re supposed to feel spiritually"
Still Keen? Here's How To Encourage Your Brain To 'Go There'
Rose told 10 daily that getting into 'the zone' all starts before you nod off. "You need to start the process when you're in the 'pre-conscious zone'.
"That's the zone when you're just starting to fall asleep at night," she said. "It's the zone when you're in complete relaxation but you're still alert".
Rose said that when you find yourself in that space you need to start repeating positive language to yourself that will help you become active in your dream.
She advises we say something like "I'm going to be completely aware and active in my dream".
"Then you'll go from that to a deeper level of relaxation and eventually fall asleep and hopefully you'll you take those thoughts with you as you’re falling asleep"
Go forth and slumber.
*Names have been changed
Feature Image: Getty