Lucid Dreaming Supplements and the Placebo Effect

Some people have reported positive effects on lucid dreaming from a wide variety of supplements, many of which do not work for others or would not seem scientifically to have anything to do with dreaming.  Yet people will say that on a day when they took supplement “x” they had more lucid dreams, and each time they took it thereafter they were more likely to become lucid.  What explains this effect?

In some cases new information about what potential supplements can increase your chances of having a lucid dream comes in exactly this way.  People did not know that vitamin B6 could enhance the chances of having a lucid dream until many realized that they were getting a positive effect from eating foods rich in this nutrient before bed.  In addition, it cannot be ruled out that perhaps for some people different chemicals work to promote lucid dreams – chemicals that might not work for others.  So in these cases the reports could be accurate, but not replicable.

There is another explanation, however.  We can be influenced greatly by what we think a supplement will do.  When we take a home remedy of any kind our confidence that it will work often guides whether it does.  In other words, sometimes it is not the power of the home remedy but actually the power of our confidence that it will work that alleviates our symptoms.  This well-known placebo effect can certainly relate to lucid dreaming.  Let’s say a person takes a Vitamin D pill before bed because he or she wanted more of this nutrient in the winter when the sun was less powerful (the sun activates vitamin D synthesis in our bodies).  Then imagine he or she happens to have a long and vivid lucid dream that night.  The next night he or she will again take the Vitamin D, perhaps still mostly for the original purpose, but confidence that it can increase the chances of lucidity makes him or her think or lucid dreaming more, and that creates a better opportunity for lucid dreaming.

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Bottom line: Anything technique that gets us thinking more about lucid dreaming and builds our confidence about having one is certainly more likely to truly have a self-fulfilling nature.

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