Can you control what you do while you sleep? Curious Case of Lucid Dreaming


Fly, cross oceans, score a goal in a world cup or travel to a desert island with your idol. Have you ever thought about being able to control your own dreams?

Some scientists say that it is possible.

Lucid dreams are the ability to be aware that you are dreaming. In some cases you can control them and choose what you experience while you sleep, social psychologist Ian Wallace.

Science has been investigating this phenomenon for years, whose early writings date from the beginning of the 20th century with the British Mary Arnold-Forster as one of the first to speak of the ability to guide our subconscious when we sleep.

Interest in this technique reaches our days with schools and faculties dedicated to the study of sleep. One of the most relevant researchers is Stephen LaBerge, an American psychoanalyst and lucid dream guru who claims the benefits of this technique.

Lucid dreams take place during the REM phase of our rest, the deepest of the 5 cycles that usually make up the dream.

Proponents of the existence of these dreams suggest that, if you master the technique, you can take control of your trips when you are not awake and do what you want.

Detractors, however, point out that a greater awareness that you are dreaming does not give you the option to choose and direct what you do.


The first condition that must be taken to have a lucid dream is that you must ” be aware that it is dreaming , ” said Wallace.

“Find something that gives you some clue that this is a dream, something that is out of context or that seems strange,” he said.

Once you identified her, what you have to do is start making decisions, said the psychologist.

“If it’s a dream in which you fly, then you decide, for example, the destination and the best route you should take”.

In addition there are other signs that can tell you that you are dreaming, according to experts such as Arnold-Fosrter or LeBerge.

  1. Excitation : you realize that you are not a simple observer but you can guide the course of the dream.
  2. Sharpening of the senses : the colors look brighter and the sounds are heard more clearly.
  3. Attention to detail : you see the things that happen are much more precision and focus.
  4. Greater perception : the peripheral consciousness expands, so you feel much more aware of what happens around you than in a normal dream.

Do you want to try?

The University of Lincoln conducted research that suggested that being in charge of our dreams could also make us more creative and insightful when we are awake.

A study in Germany of the University of Goethe and that of Bonn (together with other universities in the country) certified that at least 60% of the population dreams lucidly once in their life.

But if you do not want to trust the destiny to live the experience these are the tips that the sleep psychologist Ian Wallace.

  • Induces sleep : before sleep repeat the same phrase, for example: “I am in control of my dreams”.
  • Wake up during the REM phase, so you’ll be more conscious when you go back to sleep. You can wear, for example, an alarm clock for 90 minutes after going to bed, which is when our deep sleep begins.
  • Meditate frequently : Many believe that meditation is a kind of lucid dream although, according to experiments, these dreams are more difficult to control than those you have when you sleep.
  • Take note : Compile all your dreams in a kind of diary, including the sensations you have had. In this way, if they are recurrent, you will be able to identify them more easily.
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