What is Lucid Dreaming, and How is it Learned
“What is Lucid Dreaming?” or “What is a Lucid Dream? are common first questions of those who have heard of the possibility of attaining dream control and want to know how this is achieved. This section of our website is designed to provide information that helps answer the question and also begins to provide lucid dreaming techniques that will be useful to both the novice and the more experienced lucid dreamer. Beyond knowing the techniques to learn and follow, there is a wealth of information you should know about how best to manage the experience, what the meanings are in what you might see, and how to deepen the experience. These pages help with all of that, providing a comprehensive and helpful answer to that initial questions “what is lucid dreaming?” and “What are lucid dreams?”
What is Lucid Dreaming Q&A
Throughout our site we offer suggestions and lucid dreaming tips, including of course our “How to Lucid Dream” page. Many people still have questions – good questions – about lucid dreaming techniques or experiences, both before the set out on their journey and after they’ve had a few lucid dreams. Here are some of the more common questions that beginning and more advanced practitioners have as follows ups to the original question of “what is lucid dreaming?.
Q: What is a lucid dream and can it somehow interfere with regular sleep?
A: Lucid dreams only happen during REM sleep – the time of night that dreaming naturally happens. You do not dream at the time of night that you are getting the kind of sleep that is deeper and provides rejuvenation for your physical body. Therefore lucid dreaming techniques will not interfere with your restful sleep, and the lucid dreaming tips here do nothing to change your natural sleep cycles.
Q: What is lucid dreaming and can itbe accomplished by anyone?
A: There have been no widespread studies of the percentage of people who can learn to have dream control. However, a very large proportion of people who remember their dreams do report at least several episodes of spontaneous experiences during their lifetimes. It follows that many people if not most are capable.
Q: Can lucid dreaming be used to cure my anxiety or depression?
A: While it is possible to use certain lucid dreaming techniques to overcome fears and worries, or find happiness in the dream world, this is not a substitute for traditional professional mental health services if these problems are severe. However, for issues such as fears of public speaking, depression based on wishing you could re-do something, or anxiety about social situations, your answer to the question “what is lucid dreaming?” may be that it is an activity that can provide some relief.
Q: Are there herbs or other supplements I can take to increase my chances to learn how to have lucid dreams?
A: While our sister site Lucid Dreaming Supplements does cover some supplements that may enhance the experience, we strongly suggest you become at least moderately proficient at your techniques before trying them.
Q: How long should I try to learn how to have dream control?
A: Most people report a lucid dreaming story within a few weeks of trying the techniques like those covered on this website. However, regular consistent experiences may take several months to achieve. Do not give up too early. Change from WILD to DILD techniques, or use different dream signs if things are not working
Q: Is this site just for those beginning to learn how to have lucid dreams?
A: The title of this page, “What is lucid dreaming?” may give the impression that we are here for beginners, yet we are not just here for those who are just starting out. We do offer assistance for people who want to deepen or enhance their lucid dreaming techniques.
There are just a few of the more common questions that may be asked as a follow-up to the initial question “What is lucid dreaming”. We also welcome any questions through the contact forms available at the bottom of every page. If we begin to get similar questions we will post them here. If you have your own lucid dreaming stories, please feel free to answer any individual questions you see posted in the comments section.
What is a Lucid Dream: Examples
The answer to the question “what is lucid dreaming” or “what is a lucid dream?” can be partially answered by describing the types of lucid dream that many people experience or choose to experience. There are many reasons people learn how to have lucid dreams. For some it is to have adventures and fun, and for others it is to specifically address something that is or has been bothering them. Sometimes lucid dreaming techniques can help practice for something that will happen in their waking life, and other times it can help re-do something to see how things would have turned out. We aim to show that the answer to “what is lucid dreaming” can be broken down into several categories, depending on your goals and desires:
The following is a list of some of the more common lucid dreaming stories we hear, with examples written from the perspective of the dreamer:
Flying: Flying is a very common lucid dreaming technique, and in fact many lucid dreaming stories involve flying. One example: “In my lucid dream I was standing at the bus stop, and suddenly I reached for the sky and took off. I passed all the normal sights of my trip, but I was flying through the air!”
Bouncing: For some reason another common lucid dreaming technique is the ability to jump very high or bounce. Again this seems to happen in cases of spontaneous lucid dreaming, such as: “I was not aware that I was dreaming until I took a step. Suddenly I bounced sky-high, over the treetops, before coming down gently, ready to take another step. Excitedly I realized I was conscious!”
Meeting new people: Often people want to meet a famous person in their dream, or maybe just a new person who might be a friend but who they’d never know in real life. For example: “I’ve been looking for guidance in my life so I wanted to learn how to lucid dream so I could meet with Ghandi who ended up giving me great advice and inspiration in my dream.”
Meeting “old” people: Traveling back in history is a common pursuit. This can be fun, exciting, and informative – though likely not historically accurate. One possibility: “I wanted an adventure where I could meet Socrates. I don’t know why, but I always wanted to talk to that man. So I wanted to learn how to have lucid dreams and I did so!”
Overcoming fears: A common way to relieve anxiety is to face the problem that is causing it. In many cases this is not possible or feasible, so dream control can provide a means, such as: “I’ve always been afraid of flying on a plane, but I managed to get over it by practicing using lucid dreaming techniques…I even simulated turbulence and a lot of take offs and landings.”
Practicing for events: Another common source of anxiety is an upcoming event that contains pressure or requires practice. Dream control can allow for some practice, and thus anxiety reduction, ahead of time, such as: “I had a big public speaking appearance and was nervous about how it would go. I actually practiced my memorized speech in my dream…in front of a stadium of people!”
Having fun: There are many things we don’t dare try in our waking life, or perhaps things that are expensive or difficult to get to. Lucid dreaming techniques can provide a key. For example: “I don’t think I’d even take up mountain climbing in my “real” life, but I loved climbing a huge mountain in a beautiful mountain range using my lucid dreaming techniques. And when I got to the top, I jumped off and flew back down!”
Having fun part 2: There are also activities we choose not to do in our waking life for a variety of reasons but would do if no one was watching. For example: “I don’t like dancing in real life. I’m a bad dancer and I feel like everyone is watching me. But after I managed to learn how to have lucid dreams I can now dance like I never have before, and people are impressed and smiling.”
Just watching: Sometimes we can get a glimpse into our subconscious by doing nothing but sitting back to see what the lucid dream techniques lead to. This can lead to some interesting insights, such as this lucid dreaming story: “I was able use a “passive” technique and it was wonderful. I was walking down a path and I just stayed open to wherever it took me. I passed some beautiful surroundings, met interesting people (and animals!), and saw amazing sights. Then I was able to pull meanings from these experiences.”
These adventures, powerful personal reflections, and ways to overcome fears and anxieties are just a very few examples of what you can do if you learn how to lucid dream. And once again it must be stated that lucid dream techniques are not difficult to learn and master, and when you begin to have them you can join in and help answer the question “what is lucid dreaming” by describing your own stories here using the comments section of elsewhere on the web. Our How to Lucid Dream page can get you started.
Answering “What is Lucid Dreaming?” using this site
There are several pages and posts here that can help you answer the questions “what is lucid dreaming?” and “what is a lucid dream?”:
- Our page about Benefits can be very helpful in answering “what is a lucid dream? using examples.
- Our post that asks what are lucid dreams takes another view of the question “what is a lucid dream?”
- Of course our stories page uses reader experiences to answer the question “what is lucid dreaming”
More advanced or experienced lucid dreamers we invite you to use our comments section to add your own answer to the questions “what is lucid dreaming” and “What is a lucid dream?”
Back to Lucid Dreaming Center Home Page
Here is a good page from Psychology Today about the “What is Lucid Dreaming?’ by describing some of the benefits, and Wikipedia has a nice entry that helps answer “What is a Lucid Dream? We also welcome more experienced practitioners to share below their own answers to the questions “What is a lucid dream?” and “What is lucid dreaming?”