December 16th, 2010

The Effect of Lucid Dreaming on Sleep Quality

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Many lucid dreaming beginners are concerned about the potential negative effect lucid dreaming may have on their sleep quality. But is this concern unnecessary? Based on my own experiences, and lucid dreaming research, lucid dreaming provides the same quality of sleep as non-lucid. In both cases (lucid and non-lucid), a good dream can make you feel blissful and provide positive energy throughout your day, and a bad dream can make you feel tired and negative. The difference of lucid dreaming: You have control over your dreams when you are lucid, so you generally wake up happier and with more energy.

Lucid Dreaming Shows Similar Brain Activity to Non-Lucid Dreaming

Whether you are lucid (aware you’re dreaming) or not, you are still in REM sleep. Your brain has similar activity either way. There was an interesting study conducted on EEG activity during lucid dreaming that provides evidence of this. The study determined that “there were no important differences observed in the EEG activity of our LD signaller when LD REM and undisrupted, presumably nonlucid, REM samples were compared.”

Lucid Dreaming Techniques May Affect Sleep Quality

Lucid dreaming in itself does not have an effect on sleep quality. However, you may notice some grogginess if you are attempting new lucid dreaming techniques. Additionally, if you try too hard to have lucid dreams, you could lose sleep due to your excitement in anticipating a lucid dream before going to sleep. For example, when using the Wake Back to Bed (WBTB) technique, you wake up after 6 hours, stay up for 30-60 minutes, and go back to sleep. You may have trouble going back to sleep the first few times you try this technique. It may be better to save techniques like WBTB for the weekend, or days when you are able to sleep in later.

Sleep Supplements and REM Rebound

REM Rebound (Wikipedia definition): The lengthening and increasing frequency and depth of REM sleep which occurs after periods of sleep deprivation. When people are prevented from experiencing REM, they take less time to return to the REM state.

You can take a sleep supplement (Melatonin or 5-HTP) to suppress REM and increase the amount of time you are in “deep sleep” (N-REM) in your earlier sleep cycles. Then you can attempt your lucid dreaming during later sleep cycles. This will help you get better quality sleep earlier in the night, and increase the likelihood of lucidity in  later cycles due to a REM Rebound effect.

Poll Results about Sleep Quality and Lucid Dreaming

There was a poll conducted on Dream Views which asked “Is Lucid Dreaming affecting your sleep quality?” The results were that over 50% of lucid dreamers notice they are LESS tired the next day after lucid dreaming. So the lucid dreamers responding to the poll could either be getting better quality sleep, or are so excited about their lucid dream that it offsets any grogginess.

To learn more about lucid dreaming, sign up for your Free Lucid Dreaming Starter Handbook.

This post is part of the Dream Evolver Series

Creative Commons License photo credit: richie preiss

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