Lucid Dreaming: How To Prevent Sleep Issues

All of us would have experienced one or the other form of lucid dreams. We might not even recall or realize it. Lucid dreaming is a phenomenon that was reported in Greek  Mythology but is very newly being talked about in the scientific sphere. There are many factors about the lucid dreaming phenomenon that are in the grey area. However, according to researches published by The American Journal of Psychology, 83.5% of people have had experiences of lucid dreaming. The average duration of a lucid dream is about 14 minutes. Lucid dreams often lead to sleep paralysis, disorientation, drowsiness, etc., all of which have adverse effects on sleep.

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Lucid Dreams: What They Are And How They Are Caused?

Lucid dreams are described as the ability to be aware of the dream and direct the course and outcome of the dream. In a normal dream, one just experiences the happenings in the dream without dictating what’s going to happen next. In case of a lucid dream, the person is aware that they are dreaming and can take control of the dream. They can decide the outcome of the dream by dictating what will happen next.  Though there is limited research on this phenomena, there are certain factors that are reported to play a major role in inducing or causing lucid dreams. Lucid dreams are experienced by all, but in many cases, a person can go from being an occasional lucid dreamer to a frequent lucid dreamer. This could cause potential hazards on the sleeping cycle, sleep patterns, and the circadian clock of the body. 

Sleep patterns are ideally a healthy mix of REM (Rapid eye movement ) and non-REM stages. Lucid dreaming changes these patterns because the brain activity is higher and the non-REM stage is reduced. It is during the non-REM stage that our body relaxes and refreshes. Lucid dreaming can create haphazard sleep patterns and the body finds it difficult to cope with it. 

The circadian cycle is also disturbed by lucid dreaming. The body is used to a certain sleep and wake cycle. Lucid dreams have the tendency to put the person in a trance-like mode which cannot be termed awake or asleep. This confuses the body’s internal clock and affects various biological functions of the body. 

A person stands higher chances of having lucid dreams frequently due to:

Why It Is Harmful?

Researchers who have studied lucid dreaming extensively say the brain activity increases exponentially when a person experiences a lucid dream. Sleep can basically be broadly categorized into 2 stages: REM (Rapid Eye Movement) Stage and Non-REM Stage. Most of the dreams occur during the REM stage and brain activity is increased to a certain extent. During the non-REM stage, the whole body is relaxed and the brain activity is minimal. However, it was found that during the lucid dreaming stage, the activity of the brain is midway between the REM stage and awake state.

A person’s brain undergoes a sudden unnatural peak in brain activity during a lucid dream. The whole point of sleep is to refresh and relax the body and mind. Normal dreams have shown to marginally increase the brain activity, which doesn’t affect the restful state of the body during sleep. Lucid dreams on a frequent, continuous or back-to-back basis pose a harmful threat to the person.

  • The person wakes up disoriented and confused.
  • The dream continues to linger in the brain while the dreamer tries to figure out the happenings of the dream. 
  • On a frequent basis, lucid dreams can be addictive. The person induces lucid dreams so that it becomes possible to dream exactly the way the dreamer wants.
  • The person’s productivity and activeness see a sharp drop. 
  • Mood disorders are common and it becomes difficult to control inexplicable mood swings.
  • Day time drowsiness
  • The sleep patterns change, causing an internal imbalance in the circadian cycle.
  • The brain undergoes unnatural active and passive phases, and the lines between awake and asleep begin to blur.

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David W | Published on Friday, November 14, 2018

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How to Prevent Falling for Lucid Dreams and Sleep Better

It is not a cause of concern if a lucid dream occurs once in a while. However, if you are having trouble staying away from lucid dreams, here are some of the things that you could consider doing to wean away from it:

  1. Stay away from drugs that cause mental stimulation: If you are frequently ingesting drugs that trigger the mental activity of the brain or alter the brain-waves, it is time to stay away from them. They induce stages of hallucinations and lucid dreams. While a lucid dream that occurs occasionally could be special, frequent lucid dreams cause multi-factor health hazards.
  1. Keep the environment Sleep Conducive: Use a low-intensity light in the room or draw the blinds to darken the room. It helps you fall asleep naturally. Keep the sleeping area free of loud or harsh noises. Remember to turn down the volume of your phone before you sleep. Use clean and comfortable beds, mattresses, pillows, and blankets. The more comfortable you are, the lesser the chances of you waking up in the middle of your sleep. Make sure that you use the best mattress like Nuvanna. Designed by a material scientist with over 20 years of experience, the Nuvanna mattress emphasizes three layers that address excess heat, motion transference, and poor support – the most critical factors that disrupt sleep. The cooling top layer of the Nuvanna mattress uses phase-changing gel particles to absorb heat and disperse it away from the body. The middle layer isolates motion and prevents it from being transferred across the surface of the bed. The bottom layer supports the entire length of the body and keeps the spine aligned maintaining your body position and keeps the temperature amicable so that you can continue to sleep restfully.
  1. Avoid alcohol, drugs, and stimulants right before sleep: They could potentially cause a disturbance in the natural body and brain processes that evidently affect sleep.

Lucid dreams could be adventurous and thrilling once in a while. It is better to be prepared to never fall into the trap of being addicted to them. Lucid dreams are just that – dreams. One should not let that take away the beauty and adventure of our real life.  

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