Monday, 9 July 2012

Lucid Dreams

Lately I've been on YouTube a lot to pass time and just now I ended up with a link to a video about lucid dreaming. Bit freaky as I was blogging about it last night but anyway, I decided to write my experiences with lucid dreams. They seem to have become popular lately with everyone attempting to induce lucidity into their dreams. If you are one of these people attempting to have a lucid dream then my advice is simple: DON'T DO IT!!!!! Having suffered from lucid dreams for as long as I can remember (yes SUFFERED) then I know all too well how exhausting they are.

When having a lucid dream, activities that you do in the dream affect you the same way as they do when awake meaning that if you run a mile whilst having a lucid dream, then you will wake up feeling like you have just run a mile. And believe me, I have done a lot of running in these sorts of dreams and I always wake up exhausted. Unfortunately running in a lucid dream doesn't burn extra calories otherwise I think I'd be able to get back into my skinny jeans again! And if you wake up properly whilst having a lucid dream then you might as well kiss having a constructive day goodbye. Waking up during any dream is exhausting but waking up slap bang in the middle of a lucid dream is a thousand times worse. I have literally gone 4 nights in a row without sleep when I was at university (long story!) and felt better then than waking up in the middle of a lucid dream.

Lucid dreaming also increases the risk of sleep paralysis - a very scary experience indeed. Sleep paralysis occurs when the mind wakes up and can see around the room but the body stays asleep. You can't move. You can't speak. Thankfully you can breathe as the body does this naturally (providing you are healthy) but that's about all you can do. This is scary enough but sometimes you can dream whilst the sleep paralysis is occurring. Many people who claim to have been abducted by aliens have simply had a dream whilst in sleep paralysis. Listening to accounts of people with such claims rang a bell with me as I have had many a dream where I've been lying in bed, in sleep paralysis, with people walking all around me, talking about me even doing tests on me and I've not been able to do a single thing about it. The first time such an experience occurs is terrifying, traumatic to some. Especially if you can hear people plotting to torture and kill you and you're unable to move or scream for help.

Back to lucid dreams and as I said before, to anyone thinking of attempting to induce lucidity then don't. Despite all the ads telling you that they can control what you dream and what you see, well, they're lying. Or it's a case of plausible deniability but either way, nothing can control what you dream in a particular night. Listening to relaxing music increases the odds of having a relaxing dream but doesn't guarantee it. You can increase the likelihood of what your dreams will consist of but not 100% ensure what you dream. And if your mind decides to randomly bring back a scary memory or invent a new horror story the night you induce lucidity then buckle your seatbelt. I've had a few "zombie apocalypse" nightmares lately. I blame the app stores for having so many zombie apps which make me think about them on an almost daily basis. And like I mentioned earlier, if you're fighting a bunch of zombies and running for your life then you're going to be shattered in the morning!

The worst thing about these dreams is that they seem to evolve (or at least in my case they do.) I've implemented a few tricks into my dreams to wake me up or put me into a dreamless, restful sleep but lately my dreams have evolved and aren't letting me wake up or sleep dreamlessly. With sleep paralysis the best trick I learnt for going into a proper sleep was to close my eyes and relax. Like I was trying to fall asleep normally. (I learnt this from my dad who has occasional sleep paralysis.) So I attempted this in lucid dreams and it used to put me into a dreamless sleep. It still does in sleep paralysis but not lucid dreams anymore. Nowadays if I lie down and try and go to sleep in a lucid dream, whatever is chasing me usually catches up with me. And if you've ever attempted falling asleep in the arms of a rotting zombie then you'll know it's not easy!!! I used to be able to lie down in the middle of random dream fields or roads and fall into a dreamless sleep. Now I just get caught.

So with that trick no longer working, I attempted another trick I discovered myself a few years ago. Holding your breath whilst dreaming is a sure fire way of waking up. Usually if you wake up fairly quickly then you can catch your breath and go straight back to sleep. If you're not so lucky then you may just end up with an unproductive day for reasons mentioned earlier. This used to work wonders for me. Except now that I'm no longer able to stop in my dreams to hold my breath (because of getting caught by the living or undead) it doesn't work. And I can't just hold my breath whilst running either. Why? You attempt to hold your breath while running for your life. It's not easy!!!

My last tip I learnt for waking up from lucid dreams was learned from the film Inception. (Good film if you can get your head around it.) Killing yourself in a dream will wake you up. In the film the characters would kill each other in a bid to wake the other up so I decided to try it for my next lucid dream. And it works!! Or at least, it used to. Now my dreams don't let me kill myself. The environment in my dreams is now a suicide free zone. No sharp knives or swords. No cliffs to jump off or roads with heavy traffic to jump in front of. The only way to die now is to let the captors kill me. But they usually want to torture me instead.

So that's one of the reasons why my sleep is so bad at the moment! A combination of fear of my dreams and waking up from exhausting dreams. Fair play to my dreams though, I do occasionally have a dreamless nights sleep or a nice dream. Even the occasional pleasant lucid dream where limits don't exist. But to be honest, once I'm aware that I'm dreaming, I do everything I can to wake myself up. Even if it means enforcing gravity into my dreams to enable me to fall to the ground and wake up a fraction of a second before death. But I have to admit, jumping off a cliff is quite fun when you know you're going to survive. Can't do THAT in real life!!!

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