Is Lucid Dreaming Dangerous: Potential Risks & Harm

Lucid dreaming, the state where you’re aware you’re dreaming and can sometimes control the dream’s events, has fascinated many.

But is lucid dreaming dangerous? Are there any negative impacts of lucid dreaming? 

Various health experts have highlighted the negative impacts and encourage caution before intentionally indulging in lucid dreaming. 

Let’s check out the potential risks of lucid dreaming below!

Key Takeaway: Is Lucid Dreaming Dangerous?

  • Frequent lucid dreaming may lead to disrupted sleep patterns and potential sleep deprivation.
  • The similarity between lucid dreams, nightmares, and reality can cause anxiety and confusion for the dreamer.
  • Intense and prolonged lucid dreaming might overstimulate the dreamer, increasing stress and potentially worsening sleep quality.
  • Lucid dreaming occurs during REM sleep but may interfere with normal REM processes like memory consolidation and emotional regulation.

What Exactly Is Lucid Dreaming? Is It Real? 

As stated, in lucid dreaming, you see yourself doing things you don’t usually do in real life. For example, you see yourself flying everywhere you want to go. The dream looks so vivid that you feel you’re present in the state. 

For example, if Paris is your dream destination, you might fly there, walk the streets, or stand in front of the Eiffel Tower. Even though you’re aware you’re dreaming, your senses are heightened; lucid dreaming is physical. 

Lucid dreams are more common during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. It’s a period of deep sleep with very deep breathing, more brain activity, and eye movements. 

A person enters the REM state after 90 minutes of sleep. Lucid dreaming may last only ten minutes or an hour. 

Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, first introduced the concept of lucid dreaming in his treatise On Dreams. He described a state of consciousness when people dream. 

But are lucid dreams real? 

Yes, lucid dreaming is pretty real because you’re physically and emotionally present in it. The scientific community at Hull University confirmed lucid dreaming for the first time in 1975. 

According to a study, lucid dreaming increases activity in the prefrontal cortex, which is associated with cognitive abilities. Therefore, lucid dreaming is a hybrid state of consciousness. 

In normal dreaming, your consciousness levels don’t work. You do not control your actions and aren’t self-aware of what you see. 

In contrast, in Lucid dreaming, you’re self-aware; you can influence your actions, make decisions, and decide what should happen next. In short, you enter a magical world where you have the superpowers you always wanted. 

Is Lucid Dreaming Dangerous? 

The rising popularity, different interpretations, and myths about lucid dreaming have led some to believe that it is dangerous. Is this true? 

No, lucid dreaming isn’t dangerous. You won’t die while lucid dreaming because you’re aware you’re dreaming and can control how your dream goes. 

But lucid dreaming can be scary, and when not practiced with caution, it may have the following negative impacts- 

1. Hallucinations & Mixing Reality With Dreams 

Lucid dreams may cause confusion or hallucinations between what’s real and what’s imaginary. Especially people with mental disorders will find it difficult to distinguish between reality and dreams. 

Hallucinations & Mixing Reality With Dreams 

Also, normal lucid dreaming may become an addiction to escape reality when we face any hard time. However, it’s a very serious concern because most people don’t fall into the trap, and people who professionally practice lucid dreaming are also able to distinguish between the two. 

In case it becomes an addiction, and you find it difficult to differentiate between the two, it’s best to see a licensed psychologist. 

2. Sleep Deprivation 

A lucid dream occurs in the REM sleep state, which is the final stage of sleep, and when it gets disturbed, the person may feel sleep-deprived. 

Sleep Deprivation 

Also, since lucid dreaming is so vivid, we remain in half-asleep and half-awaken mode. And the shock of lucid dreaming may make you wake up in the middle of the night. Sometimes, it is really difficult to go back to sleep, and you may lie awake for some time. 

Lucid dreaming causes fragmented sleep, a short cycle of sleep interruptions. Momentary nighttime waking disrupts sleep quality and, in the long run, may cause sleep deprivation. 

3. Feeling Trapped In The Dream

Even though it has never actually happened, some people may feel trapped in the dream. You may feel unable to return to reality or wake up. 

Feeling Trapped In The Dream

This often leads to false awakenings. When the dreamer tries to wake up but realizes they are dreaming again, this continues until the person can wake up. This could be a very scary experience. 

4. Sleep Paralysis 

This is one of the scariest things about lucid dreaming. Sleep paralysis is the inability to move your body when you’re asleep. This takes place in the REM state because our dreams in the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) state are so vivid that our bodies get paralyzed to prevent us from breaking that dream.

Sleep Paralysis 

While lucid dreaming, you’re in the REM state. It’s possible that you may gain consciousness while your body is still paralyzed. Sometimes, sleep paralysis is accompanied by hallucinations, creating an extremely scary feeling. 

It may scare you when you experience it for the first time. But if you train your mind that it’s natural and only a situational stage, you can easily overcome it. 

5. Nightmares 

Lucid dreams may also turn into lucid nightmares. When things get out of your control, the dream becomes a nightmare. However, this should be less scary than a normal dream because the person is aware that it’s a dream, and you have the ability to remind yourself of it. 

Nightmares 

While it’s an unpleasant experience, it’s a great way to overcome your fears. Some people, because they are aware that it’s just a dream, actually want to see what happens if they face certain problems and how to prevent such issues in real life. 

6. Hypersensitive Emotions 

We experience hypersensitive emotions while lucid dreaming. We may experience the loss of a close one, or we may fall in love with someone we have hardly spoken to. Feelings get so heightened that you may cry or laugh in the dream. 

Hypersensitive Emotions 

Since these emotions are so powerful, we may feel stressed for a short span. 

Common Myths About Lucid Dreaming

Lucid dreaming is surrounded by myths and misconceptions. Let’s debunk some of the most common ones with real data:

Myth 1: Lucid Dreaming is Rare 

While it’s true that not everyone has lucid dreams frequently, about 55% of people have experienced at least one lucid dream in their lifetime. Regular lucid dreaming is less common, but it’s certainly not as rare as some might think.

Myth 2: You Can Get Stuck in a Lucid Dream 

The fear of being trapped in a dream is unfounded. Lucid dreams are a normal part of the sleep cycle, and there’s no evidence to suggest you can get stuck in one. In fact, lucid dreams typically last for only a portion of the REM sleep cycle.

Myth 3: Lucid Dreaming is Not Real

Despite some skepticism, lucid dreaming is a well-documented phenomenon. Scientific experiments, like those conducted by Dr. Keith Hearne in 1975, have provided solid evidence of its existence by observing eye movements in lucid dreamers.

Myth 4: You Need to Be Spiritual to Lucid Dream

Lucid dreaming isn’t limited to any particular spiritual practice or belief system. It’s a natural part of human sleep that can be experienced by anyone, regardless of their spiritual inclinations.

Can You Turn Lucid Dreams Into Something Positive? 

Yes, you can turn lucid dreaming into a positive experience. People practice lucid dreaming for spiritual growth, to overcome fears, to fulfill wishes, and for emotional and physical healing. 

However, you need to take it slow and believe in the process. Remember that it’s just a dream and find ways to overcome your fear. 

Most people say that they feel quite relieved after practicing lucid dreaming. It’s one of the proven techniques to practice mindfulness. If you focus on lucid dreaming only for 10 to 30 minutes daily, you can achieve extraordinary things. 

How To Prevent Lucid Dreaming? 

If you feel lucid dreaming is constantly affecting you and you no longer want to experience it, the following steps may help prevent it- 

1. Create A Sleep Routine 

Developing a sleep routine is extremely important for quality sleep. A sleep routine should include going to bed at the same time every day, switching off all electronic devices, using sleep meditations, and not taking caffeine before bed.  You can also try sleep meditation to feel better.

2. Exercise Daily 

Daily exercise of at least minutes is essential for your overall development. Exercising gives you a boost of energy for the day, but as bedtime gets closer, you feel tired and get a sound sleep. Additionally, you can also opt for mediation. Check out these best free meditation apps to get started.

3. Make Your Bed Comfortable 

There are mattresses with plush foam folds that fit your sleeping pattern. It makes you feel relaxed and lets you doze off peacefully the entire night. Again,, you dim your lights and light-cancelling curtains, and you may play soft music that creates a nice sleeping environment. 

Final Verdict

Overall, lucid dreaming appears to be a relatively safe experience for most people. The key is moderation and being mindful of one’s own mental health. 

If you’re considering exploring lucid dreaming, it might be wise to consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you have concerns about your sleep or mental well-being.

Remember, while the data provides insights, everyone’s experience is unique. If you find lucid dreaming affects your sleep quality or mental state, it’s important to step back and seek guidance

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