Home | News | Odd Enough: Want the power to control your dreams? Try these proven lucid dreaming tricks

Odd Enough: Want the power to control your dreams? Try these proven lucid dreaming tricks

Inception, the 2010 film starring Leonardo DiCaprio, was all about lucid dreaming—a form of dreaming where the dreamer is not only aware of their dreams, but is able to control the experience.

While the ability to enter another person's dream is still Hollywood fabrication, it turns out lucid dreaming is entirely possible for you to try out at your home, no dream machine required.

While there are many speculated methods of inducing lucid dreams, most have a low success rate with little scientific backing. Researchers at the University of Adelaide thus decided to conduct a study exploring three different methods of lucid dream induction. (Do you dream? You'll be surprised how the answer impacts your health.) The researchers applied the following techniques on 169 Australian participants, comparing the effectiveness of three different methods: reality testing; wake back to bed (WBTB); and mnemonic induction of lucid dreams (MILD).

Reality testing is the practice of actively checking one's environment several times a day to determine whether or not you're dreaming.

WBTB is waking up five hours after falling asleep, staying awake for a short period of time, then going back to sleep. The theory with this method is that one will enter the REM sleep period after falling asleep the second time, which is when dreams most frequently occur.

The MILD practice, like WBTB, involves waking up after 5 initial hours of sleep then focusing on the intention to remember you are dreaming prior to falling back to sleep. This is done by both imagining oneself in a lucid dream and repeating the phrase, "The next time I'm dreaming, I will remember that I'm dreaming."

The researchers found that participants who practiced all three techniques over the span of one week achieved a 17 percent success rate in having lucid dreams. While this sounds like a small number, this was a significant improvement from a week of baseline testing, which involved zero techniques.

The researchers also found that those who only practiced MILD and were able to fall asleep within five minutes of completing the technique (after the first five hours of sleep) had a lucid dream success rate of nearly 46 percent after one week of practicing.

Dr. Denholm Aspy, Visiting Research Fellow in the University of Adelaide's School of Psychology and one of the researchers in this study, said in a report on the university's website, "The MILD technique works on what we call 'prospective memory'—that is, your ability to remember to do things in the future. By repeating a phrase that you will remember you're dreaming, it forms an intention in your mind that you will, in fact, remember that you are dreaming, leading to a lucid dream."

He also said that opposed to what one might think, those who practiced the MILD technique actually showed an improvement in overall quality of sleep.

"Importantly, those who reported success using the MILD technique were significantly less sleep deprived the next day, indicating that lucid dreaming did not have any negative effect on sleep quality," he said.

Improved sleep and the ability to control your dreams? Lucid dreaming is sounding a lot less scary that Leo was making it out to be. While the findings look promising regarding the benefits of lucid dreaming, the study concluded that further research needs to be done on the effects of the practice. Until that happens, have a go at one of these techniques and see what happens. But if you're just looking to improve your sleep quality and aren't entirely committed to waking up in the dead of night, try out these methods to help you get a better night's sleep.

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