Lucid dreaming is one of the most amazing experiences one can ever have. We have discussed how to prepare for lucid dreaming, and what to expect when lucid dreaming, with the latter including an insight on possibly encountering sleep paralysis, and how to deal with it should it happen. Sleep paralysis can be a frightening experience, and while it does not pose any physical danger, many people are turned off from trying lucid dreaming because of it. In fact, many people are fearful of lucid dreaming because of all its alleged risks, some of which are even claimed to be fatal. But is lucid dreaming really dangerous?
No. From a physical and physiological standpoint, lucid dreaming is not dangerous.
In fact, some scientific experts have shown that lucid dreaming (more specifically, lucid nightmares) is a very good way to help people deal with their own fears, and is a good treatment for regular nightmares. Being in control of dreams gives people the capability to be more confident in facing their fears, because despite experiencing terror, the phrase “this is just a dream, nothing will hurt me” is ingrained in the dreamer, and will allow them to face their terrors in safety, thus conditioning their mind and having that carry over in their waking lives.
Having said that, however, there are some concerns that people often raise and need to be addressed.
Here are 3 of the most concerning.
Lucid Dreaming Concerns
1.) Death in the dream – One of the most terrifying and controversial concerns is about what happens when you die in your lucid dream. Many claims that dying in a lucid dream causes you to die for real, or stay in a “lucid dream limbo” where you can be asleep for days, weeks, or even months, and if you eventually wake up, a long time would have passed and you wouldn’t even know it.
This is false. Dying can happen in dreams; have you not died in a non-lucid dream before, only to wake up in yet another dream, or wake up entirely? That’s precisely what will happen. Granted, dying in a lucid dream may truly be a terrifying experience, with everything being very vivid, but the dream itself will not physically kill you. Oftentimes, claims that people who have died in their sleep was due to death in their dreams have turned out to be false as autopsies would often reveal other causes of death.
This is when the dreamer’s physical factors come into play. People with a pre-existing condition, especially heart problems, may suffer from side-effects, the same side-effects one may feel with actual traumatic fear when they are awake, like tightening of the chest or shortness of breath. It is these conditions that may cause physical effects, not the dream itself.
There is also a concern about astral projection and what happens when the silver cord is cut, but this is an entirely different topic and will be discussed in a future article.
2.) Dissociation and blurring the lines of dreams and reality – Lucid dreaming can be very vivid and can feel very real. Some people claim that doing lucid dreams blurs the lines between what’s real and what’s not, and may cause people to experience dissociation and being unable to live normally, having different expectations from the real world. This is a legitimate concern but one that is easily addressed by being well-informed and well-practiced.
The issue arises when people who have had no ability to remember their dreams before are all of a sudden thrust into remembering dreams due to lucid dreaming, and now have memories that they previously never had upon waking up.
One way to keep the distinction between dreams and reality is by keeping a dream journal, which we discussed in a previous blog post. When a dreamer is unsure about what is real and what is not, consulting the dream journal can help. And in time, and with regulated exposure to lucid dreaming, distinguishing dreams from reality will be easier and easier.
But for the most part, people with an average, healthy mental constitution will almost always be able to distinguish memories from dreams and those from reality very easily.
3.) Dream addiction – Another concern is that people may end up wanting to just sleep their lives away and spend most of their time in lucid dreams. This is because of the amazing and fantastic possibilities of lucid dreaming, one that may be used as an “escape” from reality similar to how drugs are used by addicts.
There is a problem with this because the body cannot always physically continuously sleep that long and that frequently. The body can only have a limited time of REM sleep (roughly around 100 minutes), which is something that most people do not exceed. Remember, dream sleep is different from regular sleep, and just because you will sleep for 8 hours a day, doesn’t mean you’ll dream for the same amount. And once your body has gotten its required sleep, it will be very hard to go back to sleep again, let alone go and get REM sleep again.
There are other concerns about lucid dreaming, those that are more controversial and supernatural, which we will tackle in a future blog post.
As with everything, the best way to deal with concerns about lucid dreaming is through proper information and proper training. Don’t plunge head-on into lucid dreaming without studying it properly, and preparing yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Check out our blog for information about lucid dreams, as well as listen to this binaural beats track for studying that can help you learn properly.
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