When we are not aware of what we are dreaming of
Lucid Dreaming - Controlling Dreams Consciously
A dream report
The psychologist Ursula Voss, who was involved in an international research project on lucid dreaming, quotes one of her test subjects in an article for the specialist journal "Sleep".
The student reports on one of her lucid dreams: "When I was amazed at the strange conversation I had with a fellow student whom I don't really know better, I knew that I was dreaming.
Then suddenly I was in a different picture, like from a family album. I moved my eyes and realized that I was actually in bed and asleep.
When I saw the beautiful landscape blur, I thought: This is my dream, it should stay! There the scene was there again. I thought it would be nice to gallop through this landscape.
I got a horse in the dream, but I only managed to sit on a horse's back, the neck and head of the animal were quite fake. But I could feel myself riding the horse and lying in bed at the same time. "
The dream researcher Michael Schredl can also report of his own lucid dreams. He loves flying in his sleep - so the age-old human wish to be like birds can come true after all.
Cinema in the dream world: "Inception"
Hollywood director Christopher Nolan took up the idea of consciously influencing dreams in 2010 in his fast-paced science fiction thriller "Inception". In it, a group of consciousness experts breaks into the opponent's dreams in order to manipulate his subconscious.
In order to successfully complete the dangerous mission, they must descend into ever deeper dream levels. But the deeper they rise, the greater the risk of not waking up again and getting lost in the labyrinth of dream levels - as happened to the protagonist's partner, played by Leonardo DiCaprio.
DiCaprio uses a top to be able to tell reality and reality apart. If the top rotates endlessly, it is in a dream. If he starts to stumble and then falls over, he is in reality.
Methods of Learning Lucid Dreaming
Am I dreaming or am I awake? This question has to be asked very often even with the simplest method of learning lucid dreaming.
The "reality check method" demands that you internalize this question in such a way that you ask yourself it in your dream. If you then discover that something is too strange to be true, then you have made it: you dream and at the same time you are aware that you are dreaming.
Sports scientist Daniel Erlacher is testing another method at Heidelberg University. Since it has been found that lucid dreams occur particularly in the second half of the night, the test subjects are initially allowed to sleep and then woken up in the second half, kept awake for an hour and then allowed to sleep again. In seven out of twelve cases, so the result, a lucid dream has occurred afterwards.
A representative survey on the subject of dreaming also showed amazing results: Almost half of all respondents said that they had consciously dreamed once in their life, 20 percent said that they had the phenomenon more often.
Experienced lucid dreamers have about one lucid dream a month, according to around five percent. Even sleep researchers are amazed at how widespread the accidental lucid dream is.
The lucid dream and dream research
As sleep researchers found out, the frontal lobe, also known as the frontal cortex, is significantly more active in lucid dreams than in normal sleep. This part of the brain is responsible for the critical evaluation of events.
So while in normal sleep we may not be able to question the dream experience, we can very well in lucid dreams.
The Heidelberg sports and dream researcher Daniel Erlacher caused a sensation in 2005 with another experimental research project. He observed trained lucid dreamers in his sleep laboratory.
The evening before, he arranged a sign with them, namely to move his eyes back and forth twice. This movement can also be seen when the eyelids are closed and is sufficiently different from the rapid movements of REM sleep (REM = Rapid Eye Movement).
The test subjects were athletes who were supposed to do certain exercises in the dream, such as squats. In fact, Daniel Erlacher was able to measure that the breathing rate increased. This proves that a physical effect can be achieved by exercising while sleeping.
The lucid dream in psychology
The lucid dream also plays a role in the treatment of nightmares. The reason is obvious: if you can influence the content of your dream, you can also better face nightmares.
At present, this method of treatment does not yet have any radical meaning; this particular dream phenomenon is too rare. But there is hope, as laboratory tests have shown that lucid dreaming can be trained.
So far, another method has been considered more effective: You should write a dream report of the recurring nightmare. You can then rewrite this dream and, for example, include a person who can help in the situation.
If this positively rewritten dream report is then read through several times a day, then the brain is reversed, so to speak, to the new story - and the helping person suddenly appears in the dream.
Psychologists are also interested in the possibility of a reality check. Because psychoses go hand in hand with delusions, which show that the person concerned cannot distinguish between delusion and reality, even though he is awake.
But perhaps the critical analysis of the phantasy can also be trained in these patients, similarly to the lucid dream subjects.
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