Is Lucid Dreaming Harmful? Dream Specialists Clarify

If there’s any facet of actual life that seems like taking part in a online game, it is lucid dreaming. Lucid dreaming grants us artistic management over our goals, giving us VIP entry to the playground of our unconscious. (The apply can also be linked to increased self-confidence and general higher psychological well being1.) Whereas attending to dictate what occurs subsequent in our goals is undeniably cool AF, questions on the way it can have an effect on us linger on: Are there any repercussions to controlling your goals? Is lucid dreaming protected, or is lucid dreaming harmful?

Contemplating the thriller that surrounds dreaming, it’s not a foolish query to ask. “Lucid dreaming is like having a foot in each worlds: the aware, waking world and the unconscious dream world,” says dream analyst Lauri Loewenberg, writer of Dream on It: Unlock Your Desires, Change Your Life. The thought of towing the road between actuality and the dream world is slightly scary, however the advantages of lucid dreaming are ample and value pushing previous any preliminary fears you may need, says Loewenberg. “In the event you’re in a position to lucid dream, it’s one hell of a superpower!”

Forward, dream consultants reply your most urgent questions concerning the security of lucid dreaming and the potential risks of controlling your goals.

Is lucid dreaming harmful?

Doubtlessly, sure. However the dangers of lucid dreaming primarily revolve round our waking life, not the precise act of lucid dreaming itself.

Firstly, lucid dreaming can throw a critical wrench in your sleep habits, particularly whenever you repeatedly attempt to have them on function. Sure lucid dream strategies, just like the Wake Again To Mattress methodology, require you to pressure your self to get up and fall again asleep in fast succession so as to obtain REM rebound—the place your REM sleep cycle is prolonged, rising the chances that you’ll lucid dream. Doing this usually (and thus continuously being sleep disadvantaged for the sake of lucid goals) can open your self as much as a myriad of potential well being penalties, starting from minor results (like a nasty temper, or poor focus) to extra critical potential points (like an elevated threat of diabetes and dementia).

That’s why some consultants—together with dream decoder Theresa Cheung, best-selling writer of The Dream Dictionary From A to Z—warn in opposition to utilizing lucid dream strategies that contain chopping into valuable snooze time. These strategies are type of like a shortcut for lucid dreaming, which makes all of them the extra tempting to strive (particularly for individuals who don’t have goals in any respect). However “sleep may be very restorative and therapeutic in thoughts, physique, and soul,” says Cheung, “and something that interferes together with your sleep hygiene, to me, is not excellent news.”

One more reason why lucid dreaming might be harmful is that it will possibly blur the strains between actuality and goals, particularly when performed repeatedly and in fast succession. When you could have constant management over your goals *and* your waking life, differentiating between the 2 can get difficult, which is one cause why Loewenberg recommends in opposition to making an attempt to lucid dream each single night time.

The potential psychological results of lucid dreaming change into extra harmful for individuals who wrestle with some type of psychosis2—like bipolar dysfunction, schizophrenia, or manic episodes. This muddying of the waking world and the dream world can exacerbate present signs and will probably reinforce any flawed perceptions of actuality they’ve.

Retaining this in thoughts, lucid dreaming can truly be useful when performed responsibly. It has even been used as a therapeutic intervention for individuals who wrestle with post-traumatic stress dysfunction (PTSD)3. “Numerous therapists will use the consciousness throughout the dream to [help the client] overcome trauma,” explains Loewenberg. “You actively face no matter it’s that has traumatized you in a protected atmosphere—you are very protected in your personal head.”

Are you able to get harm lucid dreaming?

Presumably—however once more, not in the best way you assume. It is unlikely that you’re going to bodily hurt your self whereas lucid dreaming (

Regardless of a rising quantity of analysis, the subject of whether or not or not we are able to expertise actual ache throughout our goals remains to be topic to debate. There have been loads of research4 performed on ache in goals, with new analysis5 suggesting that we do in actual fact expertise ache (or one thing much like it, at the least). One research5 discovered that the mind exercise related to real-life ache and the mind exercise related to imagined, in-dream ache are carefully correlated.

What we all know for positive is that any bodily hurt we expertise within the dream world exists solely within the dream world. In different phrases, you possibly can’t pull a Freddy Kreuger in A Nightmare on Elm Avenue.

Can lucid goals be scary?

Identical to regular goals, lucid goals can get intense (er, or downright terrifying). That preliminary second of realization that you simply’re dreaming might be particularly overwhelming for those who’ve by no means skilled it earlier than. However similar to any type of ability, the extra you do it, the higher you are gonna get at it, says Loewenberg. “Settle down whenever you change into conscious that you simply’re dreaming,” provides Cheung, who recommends actively reminding your self that you simply’re the one in management.

Since our goals, lucid or not, aren’t certain by the bodily limitations of actuality, actually something can occur in them. Within the dream world, you run the chance of operating into one thing completely nightmarish, like, say, a 30-foot-tall speaking tarantula. The good thing about operating into stated spider whilst you’re lucid, although, is that you’ve the notice wanted so as to determine what occurs subsequent.

“When lucid dreaming, it’s necessary to attempt to floor your self and deal with an object within the dream which doesn’t set off worry,” says Cheung. Each time we acknowledge a personality in our goals, they have a tendency to stay round. If stated large spider appeared whilst you had been in the midst of one thing else throughout your dream, strive diverting your consideration again to what you had been initially doing.

If that doesn’t work and the spider insists on sticking round, confront it outright. Relatively than flip away from the large spider, strive difficult it, suggests Cheung. “Summon your worry within the dream and ask it what it needs,” says Cheung. “Typically, the worry dissipates whenever you face it and present it compassion.”

If that doesn’t work, Cheung recommends reaffirming to your self that you simply’re the one calling the pictures in your dream. “Remind your self that you’re in management, and consider one thing you need in your dream which makes you’re feeling protected,” says Cheung. That’s the fantastic thing about lucid dreaming, in spite of everything: You get to determine what occurs subsequent.

What must you not do in a lucid dream?

Simply as our waking life choices can have an effect on our goals, our in-dream actions can decide how a lucid dream will pan out.

Lucid dreaming is thrilling—so thrilling, in actual fact, that our pleasure can take us out of the lucid dream completely, says Loewenberg. Making an attempt to right away do one thing tremendous cool in a lucid dream (for instance, flying an area shuttle) may even make you get up. Once you first change into conscious that you simply’re dreaming, relax, says Loewenberg, and begin by making small adjustments to your dream as a substitute.

As a result of lucid goals defy the legal guidelines of physics that we expertise in our waking life—just like the legislation of gravity, or the legislation of reflection—we are able to’t anticipate our goals to abide by these legal guidelines. Because of this many dream consultants counsel in opposition to trying in a mirror whilst you’re lucid dreaming, because the reflection staring again at you may be distorted or unusual, since your mind is trying to re-create a picture of what it thinks you seem like.

As talked about earlier, lucid goals can get scary, similar to some other dream. With a purpose to stop your lucid dream from turning into a lucid nightmare, don’t actively strive to consider issues that scare you. “Hold it constructive,” says Loewenberg.

Greater than something, although, “do not overdo it,” says Loewenberg about trying to lucid dream night time after night time. “You might want to enable the unconscious to do its factor,” she says, and for those who’re at all times making an attempt to take management of your goals, you would be lacking out on an necessary message out of your unconscious.


Effectively+Good articles reference scientific, dependable, latest, strong research to again up the knowledge we share. You may belief us alongside your wellness journey.

  1. Soffer-Dudek, Nirit. “Are Lucid Desires Good for Us? Are We Asking the Proper Query? A Name for Warning in Lucid Dream Analysis.” Frontiers in neuroscience vol. 13 1423. 24 Jan. 2020, doi:10.3389/fnins.2019.01423
  2. Calabrese J, Al Khalili Y. Psychosis. [Updated 2023 May 1]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2024 Jan-. Obtainable from:
  3. Holzinger, Brigitte et al. “Cognitions in Sleep: Lucid Dreaming as an Intervention for Nightmares in Sufferers With Posttraumatic Stress Dysfunction.” Frontiers in psychology vol. 11 1826. 21 Aug. 2020, doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01826
  4. Zadra, Antonio & Germain, Anne & Lavigne, Gilles & Donderi, Don. (1998). The Nature and Prevalence of Ache in Desires. Ache Analysis and Administration. 3. 155-161. 10.1155/1998/946171.
  5. Siclari, Francesca et al. “The neural correlates of dreaming.” Nature neuroscience vol. 20,6 (2017): 872-878. doi:10.1038/nn.4545


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Is Lucid Dreaming Harmful? Dream Specialists Clarify

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