Have you ever forgotten an amazing dream right after waking up? We have all been there. When we wake up, we tend to forget the dream. There is, however, still a way to experience your dreams, one that even allows you to control what you see. This is called lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming is when we become aware while in a dream. In this article we will be looking at 10 things to avoid while lucid dreaming. The article is only meant for educational purposes, furthermore Psych2Go discourages self-diagnosis and advises that this be done by a professional.
Don’t close your eyes
When you are lucid dreaming, it may seem tempting to close your eyes in the dream. Maybe you will have a dream within a dream? The reality of this however is much different. When closing your eyes in the dream, your brain will actually attempt to close your eyes. Most of the time this will result in you waking up since the action breaks your lucid state.
Don’t lie down
This is very similar to the effect of closing your eyes in the dream. Your brain still registers the thought of wanting to lay down. When lucid dreaming, your brain is in a fragile state and an impulse like this one can quickly bring you back from your lucid dream. It is a state between being aware and being asleep, if you lay down in your dream it is very likely that this action will awaken you.
Don’t think about your real body
All-in all, to forego the risk of waking up due to the above-mentioned reasons, it is best to not think about your real body whatsoever. If you make this a rule for yourself, you will train yourself to ignore the impulses coming from your real body. You essentially want to be disconnected from it for a short while. Not to worry though, at any time you can wake up. It is not like you lock yourself way in the lucid state, you are always in control. In short, to have the best lucid dreaming experience it is best to ignore your real body as simply thinking about it can be enough of an impulse to awaken you.
Don’t do something really exciting too soon
As mentioned before, small impulses can break the lucid dreaming state and awaken you. This is very likely to happen when you think about your real body in any way, dreaming something too exciting however will have the same effect. If you experience something very intense in the dream it is highly likely that the signal will reach your conscious and then wake you up. Overtime you will be able to experience more intense feelings in your lucid dreams, just do not do it too soon. It is something you grow towards. Until you have some experience, don’t do too much too soon.
Stay away from your real memories
While lucid dreaming, you have complete freedom. Anything is possible, even flying. It can therefore be tempting to use real life memories in your lucid dreams and experience them in a different way. While this might seem like a good idea, it is a dangerous one. Connecting your lucid dreaming to your memories can have some serious consequences. You can accidentally alter memories, make new memories or erase memories. It isn’t guaranteed that you are aware of this, further adding to the danger. If you use your memories in lucid dreaming it opens a pandoras box which will gradually affect your memories. It is better to keep this door closed and keep your lucid state and waking state separated.
Don’t fantasise too often about someone you know
While using your memories can be very bad, there is another way in which lucid dreaming can affect you in your awake state. If you consistently fantasise about someone you know, slowly memories of these lucid dreams will seep into your memory. Again, this will happen gradually and, most likely, without you being aware of it. Then when you see this person in real life you will be reminded of the dream memories. They can be indistinguishable from real memories, hence the danger. So, in short, it is okay to fantasise about someone you know as long as it does not become a consistent thing. Lucid dream memories will slowly start to come up in real life, so be careful.
Don’t wish for something scary
Lucid dreaming can be very intense. You are essentially looking into your subconscious. You might be tempted to wish for something scary to happen. Think about this though before doing it: who knows what you find scariest? Your subconscious. By wishing for something scary it is very possible your subconscious will show it to you. This can be a harrowing experience. It is therefore better to avoid wishing for something scary.
Another thing which can be very scary is looking into a mirror. This might sound dumb but is true. When looking into a mirror in a lucid dream it is highly unlikely you will see your actual self. You will see how you perceive yourself in your subconscious. It is different for everyone and won’t be scary for everyone, just be prepared to see how your subconscious sees you.
Don’t over-do it
It is undeniably very interesting/exciting to lucid dream. For the first time you are able to control everything, even gravity and such things. It gives you infinite options and has no consequences if you do it the right way. The experience might be amazing, but it is still important to not do it too much. Every second you spend in a lucid dream is one you are not spending in real life. In the end, real life is more important so don’t get obsessed with lucid dreaming.
Don’t leave stuff for later
One final tip, don’t leave things for later in a lucid dream. Each dream is unique and most of the time cannot be replicated. If you see something you really want to do, go for it! Once you stop dreaming it will be gone forever. All in all, Lucid dreaming is something beautiful that allows you to enter your subconscious in a sense, so enjoy it. If you avoid the things mentioned in this list, you will have a good experience.
In the end, everyone has their own experience when lucid dreaming. If you avoid these 10 things however you have a larger chance of having a good experience. One way to see what triggers waking up for you is keeping a dream journal. When you wake up you write down what you dreamt and can look at it later. It will also make you more aware of your dreams making it less likely you forget them. This was all we wanted to talk about in this article, happy dreaming!
Interesting follow-up articles
1 Blagrove, M., & Hartnell, S. J. (2000). Lucid dreaming: Associations with internal locus of control, need for cognition and creativity. Personality and Individual Differences, 28(1), 41-47.
2 LaBerge, S. P. (1981).An exploratory study of consciousness during sleep.
3 Patrick, A., & Durndell, A. (2004). Lucid Dreaming and Personality: A Replication. Dreaming, 14(4), 234.
4 Voss, U., Holzmann, R., Tuin, I., & Hobson, A. J. (2009). Lucid dreaming: a state of consciousness with features of both waking and non-lucid dreaming. Sleep, 32(9), 1191-1200.
5 Zadra, A. L., & Pihl, R. O. (1997). Lucid dreaming as a treatment for recurrent nightmares. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 66(1), 50-55.