How Lucid Dreaming Let’s You Make Use of Your Dreams

Do you remember the movie ‘Inception’? May be you saw it: may be you saw it more than once in order to understand it fully. The movie was about dreams, and dreams within dreams, which means to us everyday folk it was about lucid dreaming.

Many of us feel frustrated by the lack of control we have over what’s going on in our dreams. This makes us feel like victims of the dream if it’s a bad one, and that we can’t prolong the action if it’s a good one.

Lucid dreaming gives people a feeling of intense emotion, letting them control what’s going on and changing the outcomes of the dream.

Most of us dream in a passive, cinema-seat way, watching what happens. Lucid dreams get us involved with the action, can let us find answers to the problems that are plaguing us, and much more. How can we harness this power and enjoyment? That’s what we’re going to look at in this article.

What is lucid dreaming?

Lucid dreaming is the sensation of being conscious that you’re dreaming, while you’re dreaming.

The pioneer for lucid dreaming was Stephen LeBarge, who approached the sleep scientists at Stanford University to explore his theories and experiences at the end of the 1970s. He found that, with practice, he could direct the storyline his dreams were taking and control their outcomes.

Lucid dreams happen during REM sleep. It seems that about 20% of us naturally have lucid dreams, but up to 60% can make them happen with practice and training.

How do I create lucid dreams?

Training yourself to dream lucidly takes some dedication and time. If you feel committed to trying it, read and do these ‘warming up’ exercises and find out how…

  1. Firstly, train yourself to remember your dreams. Before sleep, say to yourself that you’re going to remember your dreams in as much detail as you can.
  2. Get to know your normal dreams by keeping a dream journal. Record what happens in your dreams, the colours, mood, noises, smells etc; the objects you see, people, places etc. Keep the journal and pen (buy these especially for documenting your dreams) next to your bed and record your dreams as soon as you wake. This may take a few weeks.
  3. When you feel comfortable with your dreams and any common themes that happen in them, start to tell yourself that you’re ‘going to dream lucidly’ before going to sleep. Or say ‘I’m going to take command of my dreams and make full use of them’; this power of autosuggestion is essential in lucid dreaming. Find a mantra that you can repeat to yourself before you go to sleep to really embed the message in your unconscious mind.
  4. As you fall asleep, imagine that you’re looking at your bedroom. Keep your eyes closed but imagine an opening in the centre of your forehead that will give you enough light to see the room and maintain your awareness and control as you start to dream.
  5. Again, record your dreams in as much detail as you can as soon as you wake.

How can I make use of my lucid dreams?

Dreams of all kinds are full of symbolism. Sometimes dreaming about George Cluny or your Great Aunt Bertha is just about these people; perhaps because you watch one of George’s films or saw Bertha last Tuesday. But sometimes they represent other people or situations in your life. The useful trick in interpreting and controlling dreams is to know the difference.
Here are some things to think about when interpreting and making use of your lucid dreams:

  1. Examine your hands in your dream. We interact with the world using our hands so they create a bridge between you, your feelings and the world around you. How do your hands look? What do they do?
  2. If you dream about people or places you are familiar with, then what could they represent? What else was happening and who else was there? How do these people/places/objects interact? Do they ‘match’ – is there someone/something from one part of your life, or era, along with someone/something from another era/part?
  3. What did you want to happen? When you made it happen, what was the outcome? Was it as you expected?
  4. If you were looking for answers to a problem, did you find them? On another night, what would you do differently to ensure a different outcome (think of the movies ‘Sliding Doors’ or ‘The Butterfly Effect’)?
  5. If you feel stressed in your waking or dreaming life, becoming aware of it can help you change how you feel and reduce the stress. In lucid dreaming, you will want to take action to reduce the stressors – and the great thing is you can be as lawless as you like and you aren’t constrained by the laws of physics! So if you want to kill your boss or fly to Mars, you can!

Find out more about dreams and everything that’s sleep-related at

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  1. Mary Christiansen says:

    I remember watching ‘Inception’ and as you mentioned, I then watched it a second time to catch all that went on. This whole idea of lucid dreaming is very interesting. I have been upset about some of the dreams I have, and being able to control the outcome with some practice and training is quite appealing. Interesting!