Considered as one of behavioral sciences’ greatest mysteries, the existence of #Dreams have attracted the interest of many researchers and experts. Many studies and investigation into the mysteries surrounding dreams, particularly the lucid dreaming phenomenon, have been carried out.

In a new study published in the journal "#Dreaming," a team of Australian researchers led by Dr. Denholm Aspy from the University of Adelaide’s School of Psychology were able to explore #Lucid Dreaming. By studying three groups of participants, they found that combined techniques are effective in controlling the experience and increasing the chances of having it.

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Main induction techniques

There are several ways to induce lucid dreams but many reportedly have low success rates. Due to this fact, the efforts to investigate the potential benefits and applications of lucid dreaming are often thwarted.

Fortunately, Australian researchers were able to identify three major techniques that can effectively induce lucid dreams. These include reality testing, wake back to bed (WBTB) or mnemonic induction of lucid dreams (MILD), Medical News Today noted.

According to NZ Herald, “reality testing” means checking your environment multiple times a day to see if you’re dreaming or not.

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This technique combined two reliable methods — the rereading of written text and the inhalation test.

WBTB, on the other hand, is a technique that involves “going to bed, waking up after 5 to 6 hours, staying awake between 10 minutes to one hour, and going back to sleep.” This method aims to put the dreamer straight into the rapid eye movement (REM) phase of sleep, which is more often linked to lucid dreaming.

As for MILD, this technique is often combined with the WBTB method. In this approach, a person woke up following a five-hour sleep period with an intention to remember they’re dreaming before going back to sleep.

Most effective technique

Among the three main techniques, the MILD method yielded a much higher success rate of lucid dreaming with almost 46 percent. Aspy explained that the technique works on the “prospective memory,” or a person's ability to recall doing the things in the future.

MILD method participants were also less sleep deprived so, lucid dreaming did not pose any negative impact on the quality of sleep. Meanwhile, Aspy is optimistic that their findings could lead them to the development of highly effective lucid dream induction techniques that will allow experts to identify its potential benefits.

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What is a lucid dream?

A lucid dream is defined as “any dream during sleep in which you become aware that you’re dreaming,” World of Lucid Dreaming noted. It can be “perfectly tangible, rich and visually detailed.” These dreams can also create impossible levels of self-awareness, including visual representations of the fifth dimension and multiple simultaneous dreams.

In lucid dreaming, you can take control of your dream but it is more than a “fantasy playground.” The reason? Lucid dreams allow you to interact with other parts of your psyche or your co-conscious inner self.

Scientific Proof

Scientific studies tried to prove the existence of lucid dreaming and the first one emerged in 1975. It was conducted by British parapsychologist Dr. Keith Hearne, who recorded a set of pre-determined eye movements through an electrooculogram (EOG) from his volunteer, Alan Worsley.

Another scientific proof was found in a 2009 research study from the Neurological Laboratory in Frankfurt, Germany. The findings suggested that there’s a “significant increase” in brain activity during lucid dreams.

Through an electroencephalogram (EEG), researchers were able to record brainwave frequencies of up to 40 Hz (or Gamma range) at lucid states. The measure was reportedly more active compared to the normal dream state, which takes place at 4-7 Hz (or in the Theta range). The study also showed an increased activity in the frontal and frontolateral areas of the dreaming brain, which is the center of linguistic thought and other mental functions such as self-awareness.

Risks

Lucid dreaming has its own benefits and risks. Although it is generally fun and safe and can be a conduit for deep meditation and personal reflection, it also poses some risks such as sleep paralysis, dream claustrophobia, and having more realistic feelings, LifeHacker revealed.