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Lucid dreaming may help you in real life

You can train yourself to lucid dream. It may not be easy at first, but soon you will be able to control your dreams and do whatever you want, regardless if it is possible in our normal physical world. But does that bring you any other benefit than just making sleeping a little more fun? Scientists from the University of Northampton say that lucid dreamers are more aware when awake as well.

You can teach yourself lucid dreaming, which will make you more aware when you’re awake as well. Image credit: StormCloud1012 via Wikimedia(CC BY-SA 3.0)

Various devices designed to encourage lucid dreaming are set to hit markets later this year. And no one doubts that they are going to be extremely popular, but how lucid dreaming will affect people’s lives when their awake? Scientists organized a twelve week programme to train volunteers to lucid dream and those who were successful later were found to be more adept at perceiving subtle changes or objects in their visual field. In other words, people who lucid dream are more ‘field independent’ in their waking life. But what does that mean?

35 people – 23 women and 12 men – were participating in the study. None of them were regular lucid dreamers to make this research more representable. They were given a set of five regular ‘exercises’ in an attempt to induce lucid dreaming over a three month training period. Before and after the programme participants had to take some tests. They were meant to distinguish if some personal characteristics make lucid dreaming easier of actually lucid dreaming induces some changes in person’s perception of waking life. Not all tests revealed that lucid dreaming had some effect.

Two tests – one measuring need and enjoyment of mental stimulation and one measuring the extent to which a person believes they control their own destiny – revealed no changes. Both people who had lucid dreams and those who did not performed equally well in these two test. The only test that did show effect of lucid dreaming measured Field Dependency – people who had lucid dreams were 13 % better at it. Understanding how this works could help people boosting their creativity and enhancing their motor skills. Why Field Dependency matters? Dr David Saunders, lead researcher of the study, said: “People high in this characteristic tend to be more self-sufficient, less reliant on colleagues support when completing tasks, have a much stronger internal compass, and tend to perform better in formal educational programmes than field dependent individuals”.

Participants had to try out some techniques that are thought to induce lucid dreaming, you can try them as well: daily ‘reality checking’; repeat a mantra and visualise lucid dreaming as you are nodding off; wake up early, think about dreaming for a period and then return to bed.

 

Source: University of Northampton

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