Is Lucid dreaming dangerous?
You might be considering attempting lucid dreaming, but you’re concerned about the consequences.
Perhaps you’ve tried it a few times or it has happened involuntarily and it wasn’t the exciting adventure it is made out to be.
Being concerned about the dangers of lucid dreaming is normal, so we are going to go over all the potential consequences in this article.
The easiest way to avoid any negative consequences is to prepare yourself for all the possibilities. Lucid dreaming has been studied by researchers and there are many active lucid dreamers around the world.
There is a lot of information out there about the experiences people have had.
In this article, we are going to go over the most common dangers that can occur when attempting to lucid dream.
Keep in mind that lucid dreaming is incredibly safe, so any dangers discussed are merely the result of a lack of awareness and preparation. By reading this article, you will have done a lot to prepare yourself and prevent any negative effects.
The most common negative experience lucid dreamers have is sleep paralysis.
This experience is just like it sounds – the inability to move when you’re asleep.
Sleep paralysis happens to everyone, every time they enter REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. Since we have vivid dreams during REM sleep, our body enters a state of paralysis to prevent us from acting out those dreams.
Lucid dreaming happens in a state between consciousness and unconsciousness and it is very easy to slip fully into either state.
When you enter REM sleep and have a lucid dream, it is possible to become conscious during this state when your body is still paralyzed. Hallucinations and ominous feelings can also accompany this stage of sleep, so paired with the paralysis, it can be terrifying to experience.
It may sound scary, but being aware of the possibility and knowing that it is totally natural, can help you overcome the fear if it happens to you.
Fear perpetuates sleep paralysis and makes it intensify and continue.
Relaxing into the paralysis and remembering that it is natural is the only way to overcome it.
It is not dangerous and will not harm you.
Getting Trapped in a Dream
Some people feel that they will get trapped in their lucid dream, unable to wake up and come back to reality.
This has, of course, never happened.
You can feel safe knowing that everyone who has ever lucid dreamed has woken up back to the safety of their bed.
This fear often results from a “false awakening” experience where a lucid dreamer attempts to wake up, but realizes that they are still dreaming.
Upon attempting to wake up again, the lucid dreamer discovers that they are still dreaming. This cycle can continue for some time until the dreamer is able to pop themselves back into reality.
This fascinating phenomenon can be frightening, but it can also be seen as an opportunity to explore an altered reality.
Fighting the cycle will likely result in more false awakenings, but giving into it and accepting that you are lucid dreaming, can awaken a world of possibilities to explore.
You won’t get trapped, so just give in to the experience and test out your abilities to control your environment. You will eventually wake up, just as you do every time you go to sleep.
Just like any dream, lucid dreams can end up becoming nightmares.
Lucid dreamers are conscious for this experience, which can make the nightmare even more frightening.
However, lucid dream nightmares can actually be less frightening than normal nightmares, because the dreamer is able to exert some control over the dream.
If you experience a nightmare in a lucid dream, unlike a normal nightmare, you have the ability to remind yourself that it is just a dream.
Typically, when you experience a nightmare, you have no way of distinguishing it from reality.
In a lucid dream, your awareness gives you the advantage of saying,
“I’m in a dream. This is all in my mind.”
Some experienced lucid dreamers actually have the ability to transform their nightmares into pleasant dreams.
If you encounter something unfriendly in a lucid dream, since you know it is all in your mind, you can let the unfriendly thing attack you and observe what happens.
Lucid dream nightmares give you a great opportunity to conquer your fears, unlock your courage and process negative feelings.
Being Unable to Distinguish the Dream World from Reality
This fear gets a lot of press and may likely be the biggest reason people fear lucid dreaming.
Just like any activity that lets someone escape from reality (video games, substance abuse, sex) it can become addicting for those who have a hard time dealing with reality.
Unlike other addictions, however, lucid dreaming is really easy to stop.
For the vast majority of lucid dreamers, being able to distinguish reality from the dreamworld is not a problem.
Even those who make a profession out of lucid dreaming (authors, teachers and public speakers) are able to balance their time between the two worlds, without confusing the two.
If you have a mental illness or suffer from other addictions, you may want to consult a professional psychologist before attempting lucid dreaming. Your risk of being awake and thinking you’re dreaming is extremely low, but for those with certain mental conditions, it may be a possibility.
If you’re attempting lucid dreaming as a form of self discovery or simply an interesting hobby, this possibility is unlikely to occur.
Getting Exhausted from Lucid Dreaming
It’s not uncommon to think that being lucid during your dreams might not make for a good night’s sleep, however, the opposite is often true.
Many lucid dreamers feel refreshed and awake after a lucid dreaming experience.
Going on adventures, learning about yourself and playing around in the dreamworld can be invigorating and exciting.
Since lucid dreaming happens during REM sleep, the body and mind are able to get the rest they need and continue through their normal processes.
Being aware of the dream state doesn’t seem to affect this for most people.
Occasionally, lucid dreaming may feel like a tiring experience.
If this does occur, simply lessen the time you spend attempting to lucid dream. Try getting a full night’s sleep every night and then attempting to lucid dream a couple times a week during naps.
This will eliminate any possible sleep deprivation you might experience.
How to Safely Practice Lucid Dreaming
Now that you know all the potential dangers of lucid dreaming, let’s talk about some ways you can prevent these negative effects.
As you go through your experiments with lucid dreaming, it may not be possible to avoid all these effects, but you can turn them into positive experiences using the tips below.
It’s just a dream
Keep in mind that everything you experience during lucid dreaming is simply that – a dream.
You will always wake back up to the safety of your warm bed. If you can keep this in mind during your experiments, it will lessen the effects because you’ll realize that nothing can hurt you when you’re dreaming.
The real world presents far more dangers than anything you could dream about. Even the most violent nightmare will leave you safely in your bed without a scar.
Make it a habit, not an obsession
When you’re first starting to lucid dream, it can be a really exciting and thrilling time.
It’s important, however, to practice in moderation.
By making a lucid dream habit, you’ll be able to make it an important part of your life, without making it an obsession. Try to only spend a couple hours each day reading about it or practicing.
All things in moderation.
Give in to the process
Just like most fears, the worst thing you can do is fight with it.
If you’re afraid of false awakenings or losing touch with reality, you’re more likely to experience them. When we have a fear, we create pathways in our brain that are constantly on guard for those fears.
Sometimes this makes us experience things that we wouldn’t otherwise experience. If you experience something frightening, sink into the feeling and even “ask for more.”
It sounds counterintuitive, but it is actually an excellent way to stop fear right in its tracks.
One of the best things you can do for yourself and for your lucid dreaming practice is to begin practicing a mindfulness meditation.
Taking just 10-30 minutes each day to focus on your experiences, without judgement, can do miraculous things for your life.
The habit of mindfulness is powerful and can instantly calm you down in moments of fear. This tool will be invaluable if you experience a negative effect during your lucid dreams.
It’s also an invaluable tool for life.
Check out Lucid Dreaming by our Mindvalley teacher below.