When I was younger I always remember my dreams as being very vivid. I had this reoccurring nightmare of one of my dolls coming to life and chasing me. (I watched Chucky when I was little and it scared me for life) Anyways, I began to realize I was dreaming when I would fall asleep because I would remember the nightmare and what would happen in it. As I grew older I learned that the dreams I had been experiencing were called lucid dreams and the more that I learned about them, the more I was able to control what happened in them. This helped me stop my nightmare and enhance my good dreams. Though everyone may not have experienced a lucid dream yet in their lifetime like I have, anyone of all ages has the ability to learn, and control it (Diamond 2014). The three things that I want you to learn from my speech today is the explanation of what lucid dreaming is along with what cycle of sleep it is experienced in, the benefits of it, and how to start teaching yourself to lucid dream.
First off, in the simplest terms, lucid dreaming is when a sleeping person becomes aware of the fact that they are dreaming. In the normal adult there are two main stages of sleep that alternate at about 90-minute intervals. Those stages are the REM and nonREM sleep. Rapid eye movement or (REM) sleep can be roughly described as a period when the brain is active but the body is paralyzed. Note that you can only dream during a REM cycle of sleep. In non-rapid eye movement or (nonREM) sleep, the brain is less active but the body can move. Non-REM sleep is composed of four stages. Your brain goes through each stage of sleep in a continuous cycle throughout the night, but as this alternating pattern continues, the nonREM stages are less apparent and the periods of REM sleep grow longer (Levitan 2014). At about the six hour mark you will reach your longest phase of the REM cycle where lucid dreaming is easiest.
Now that we have discussed the REM cycle, I want to explain to you some of the benefits of lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming can be an exciting and thrilling experience that is actually helpful in the real world. Once you have experienced your first lucid dream, you are more likely to have another. The more that you practice and experience them, the more opportunities you have to let them help you. Lucid dreams can help you by allowing you to overcome a fear, like public speaking or heights or whatever else you are afraid of, by allowing you to create situations where you could practice overcoming your fear.
It can help you solve problems or stop nightmares, like my creepy doll fiasco, by letting you control the outcome of any situation. You can also use lucid dreams for creative inspiration. According to Diamond …… Salvador Dali, Mozart, and Beethoven all pointed to lucid dreams as sources of inspiration. Lastly you don’t have to lucid dream for a purpose; you can use lucid dreaming for fun by creating anything you want inside your dreams. You can fly, you can have six hands, you can ride a rocket ship to Mars and back 7 times, you can do.. whatever you want! When you lucid dream, your dreams are the playground of your mind and the only limit is your imagination.
Now that you understand some of the benefits of lucid dreaming, here are a few techniques that you can try to help jumpstart your first lucid dream. The first thing to do is tell yourself you will have a lucid dream. Telling yourself this increases your chances of becoming lucid because you have told your body what you are going to do. Next is to try to remember your dreams. You can do this by keeping a dream journal and as soon as you wake up write down everything you remember about a dream you had. Dream journals help by allowing you to notice your sleep signals, which are occurrences in your dreams that happen often. Like a clock being on the wrong time or an object continuously changing colors each time you look at it. Something obvious. These sleep patterns will help you signal yourself when you are dreaming due to similarities in your dreams. You can also try setting an alarm to wake yourself up just as you are entering the 6th hour of sleep which is, like I discussed earlier, the longest stage of REM sleep. Once you wake up tell yourself that you will have a lucid dream and go right back to sleep.
Waking up during this REM cycle can boost your chances of lucidity by 20-50% (Aaronson 2014). So to re-cap, keep a dream journal, look for sleep patterns, and wake up during the last stage of the REM cycle to tell yourself you will have a lucid dream. The more you practice these techniques, the more likely you will become prone to experiencing a lucid dream. It may take a long time to experience your first lucid dream, but practice makes perfect. If you keep at it I promise the benefits are worth it. In conclusion, I hope you all realize that lucid dreaming isn’t just a hippie phenomenon, but an actual tool in helping to de-stress yourself by allowing you to overcome obstacles and problems in your life. When you go home tonight I hope that you think about what you have learned today and try to find out for yourself what lucid dreaming is all about.
So I want y’all to picture yourself going to bed like any other night, falling asleep and dreaming, but somehow in the middle of your dream you realize that nothing is real and you are just sleeping. Then imagine being able to control everything around you, the people, the places, the colors, the textures and also everything that happens to you in that dream, where you are, who you are, what you are doing. This, my friends, is the concept of lucid dreaming, and according to Levitan who… it is the gateway to all of our imaginations.
You hav eto understand the REM cycle of sleep. You onkly have dreams in your REm cycle. Every 1 in a half hour of sleep you enter REM. As the night progresses the rem phase gets longer.
Courtney from Study Moose
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