During a lucid dream, reflective consciousness allows us to be aware that we’re dreaming while asleep, and sometimes even control the experience.
And it’s been correlated with some exciting benefits, which is not that surprising when you consider the endless possibilities dreaming provides.
For example, some people report lucid dreaming has helped them overcome a fear. They might be faced with their particular challenge in the dream, and knowing that they are dreaming and safe they have the opportunity to overcome it. For this same reason, it could also be helpful in treating nightmares.
Lucid dreaming also creates a space for problem-solving and decision making. In fact, I know a brilliant neurologist responsible for some incredible research in Alzheimer’s, Rudy Tanzi, who credits lucid dreaming for some of his great breakthroughs. One thought of why this might work is that we are able to try different solutions to a problem and see how they all play out.
Then there is the physical side of lucid dreaming. Some lucid dreamers have reported the ability to focus on areas that are injured or diseased and consciously direct healing energy to them or manifest a healing environment, which translated into actual physical improvements in their waking state.
We can also hone in on a skill through lucid dreaming. By practicing something in a lucid dream, we enhance our neuroplasticity the way we do by practicing it in real life, because the brain believes it is actually doing that thing. That means we can get better at something in real life by practicing it in our dreams!
I’ve seen some of the benefits of lucid dreaming firsthand, as my wife Mia has used it to overcome her fear of death and experienced other benefits as well.
If you’re curious to find out more on lucid dreaming, make sure you tune in to my latest episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy, where I interviewed lucid dreaming expert and author Charlie Morley.
Charlie explains the history of lucid dreaming, how we can work on lucid dreaming frequency and intensity with certain techniques, and why it’s worth the effort.
Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD