Does lucid dreaming work? How I tried to fix bad dreams brought on by the coronavirus age
Skip these 4 foods and drinks for a good night's rest, especially if you have sleep apnea. USA TODAY
Here's something I haven't said in 2020: “I had the most wonderful Reddit threads and watching Ted Talks on lucid dreaming, an oneironaut is someone who explores the dream state while explicitly conscious that they're dreaming (though the word is not yet officially defined by Merriam Webster).
As I understand it, lucid dreaming can be a practice of holding a mirror to yourself and facing your innermost fears. It can also be a series of scenes thought up by the dreamer, according to awakening in your dreams, points to studies where the visual imagery produced during lucid dreaming could improve physical and mental health. For example, someone who solves a problem or confronts a fear while lucid dreaming can wake with a sense of empowerment and courage, according to the Lucidity Institute FAQs.
Since lucid dreaming is generally considered safe to attempt, that was enough to convince me to give it a try.
Plus, it turns out that some side effects of a global pandemic – staying 真人百家家乐官网网站home, limited social life and sleeping more erratically and more often than ever before – make for a lucid-dreaming conducive environment.
“People aren't relying on alarm clocks in order to wake them up, so there’s less interference to help them recall dreams, and recall is key to lucid dreaming,” says Kristen LaMarca, a clinical psychologist in sleep medicine and writer of a concise new dream book, “Learn to Lucid Dream”.
And since people are more isolated and without their normal routines, she says, it gives them “more room to have more of an inward reflective focus.”
I was all about the inward reflective focus. I was ready to do all of the things that I read were important to do in order to lucid dream: Practice more meditation (well, I mostly just did yoga on a fitness app); repeat the mantra “Tonight, I will have a lucid dream” in bed (when I thought of it); write down what I remember of my dreams as soon as I wake up (this I did religiously); and then go over what happened and what I would have done in that dream were I lucid in it (I did this sometimes).
Staying Apart Together: Subscribe to USA TODAY's newsletter about coping with a world changed by coronavirus
I put up sticky notes throughout my apartment that said “Am I dreaming?” to force myself to ask that question several times a day, with the hopes that making the inquiry would become so routine that my dream self would begin to do it, as well. I read text on a page, looked away, and then reread the text to confirm that the text hadn’t changed, something that tends to happen in dreams and can be a sign to your dream self that you are not awake, LaMarca says.
After doing all of this work for a month, I still was not lucid dreaming.
I wasn’t directing any wondrous night visions in my head that connected me with a dead grandparent or put me in the center of the dreamy wedding celebration my sister had to postpone.
But I persisted.
According to LaMarca, having a lucid dream "could take weeks, or months, or some people don’t have one after years."
I wrote down more dreams, found more themes and rehearsed more scenes.
And then I realized that a toilet I was about to use was broken and inexplicably shared a stall with another toilet.
That sounded like a dream I had before.
Actually, it was a dream I was having at that moment! My dream self put this together! I was lucid dreaming!
I could confront my own anxiety, I could ask a dream person why the toilets were in disarray and figure out a way to fix them. I could learn about the stressors that my dreams represented and start finding ways to address them.
I did not do any of that. Instead, I immediately forgot that I was in a dream.
But in the short time that I was lucid, I did do one thing that I can't do in my waking life.
I danced en pointe in the bathroom.
It was a wonderful moment. And I'll keep trying for more.