Ever felt stuck in a lucid nightmare?
We’ve got the answers you need.
Dreams can be strange and bizarre — especially when you get lucid and you know you’re in a dream. But what happens when you become lucid in the middle of a nightmare?
These occurrences are known as lucid nightmares, and this guide will cover everything you need to know about them, particularly, how to manage them.
What exactly are lucid nightmares?
Lucid nightmares are a unique sort of nightmare in which you’re aware that you’re dreaming. One might assume that this automatically makes nightmares less frightening.
On the contrary, lucid nightmares tend to be more frightening because the hyper-aware state of mind can intensify the experience and make it more frightening… if you don’t know what to do.
Learn more about lucid nightmares here.
Why do we have nightmares?
Let’s take a look at the most common causes of nightmares:
- Side effects of medication/drugs
- Illness, sleep deprivation or any other physical ailment
- Alcohol consumption/abuse
- Sleep disorders
Because nightmares are the mind’s way of letting us know something is wrong… we should pay attention to them and try to work with them. Becoming lucid during the nightmare, gives us an opportunity to do just that.
5 Tips for Managing Lucid Nightmares
Tip 1: Use lucidity to your advantage
If you actually become aware of the fact that you’re dreaming during a nightmare, at first this may amplify the fear. But remember – this is YOUR dream, and you are creating everything in it. You can simply generate a weapon or possible escape route that you could use.
Alternatively, try to have some fun with it. Completely ruin the plot of your nightmare by re-staging it in a room full of puppies or conjure up a luxurious buffet and invite your demons for a yummy feast.
One fun method is to think of yourself as a video game designer – create situations to navigate through and overcome with the goal in mind of overcoming them, knowing it’s your world you’re creating.
Really, dreams are mental simulations … similar to computer interfaces or video games. And no one else is creating the imagery you see in your simulation… it’s all you! So you already are the designer. Simply remember that, stay calm and be creative!
Tip 2: Detach yourself from the situation
Horror movies can be terrifying… until you wonder why that one girl entered a creepy forest by herself, I mean it makes no sense, why anyone would do that?!
This process that I’ve just illustrated is called detachment. Using logical reasoning, focusing on specific details or using humor are great ways to make scary movies less scary. By doing this, you remind yourself – it’s just a movie, a simulation of reality, it’s not real.
This same strategy applies to lucid nightmares. Find the resemblance between dream demons and your annoying colleague at work, laugh at the cheesy plot of your nightmare or pretend it’s one of those low-budget horror movies.
Tip 3: Get healthy sleep!
Unhealthy sleeping patterns are a huge cause of nightmares. By getting 7-9 hours of consolidated sleep every night, your body (and mind) will be well-rested, and more balanced.
Interrupting sleep throughout the night, whatever the cause can be agitating and can influence dream content. The more well-rested your body is, the more at-peace your mind will be, thus rendering nightmares less likely. Check out lesson 1 and 2 for more on healthy sleep tips.
Tip 4: Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness refers to a state of calm whereby you observe and acknowledge your surroundings without reacting. One of the most common mindfulness exercises is mindful meditation.
Meditation helps us reduce the chatter and anxiousness in our minds. It cleanses the mind and soul, helping you feel at ease and refreshed. Practicing meditation before going to bed is a great way to get rid of any negative thoughts/emotions that could contribute to lucid nightmares.
The point is, when experiencing a lucid nightmare, the technique of staying calm and simply observing your surroundings can help you get through the unpleasant experience. Use the lessons learned in your mindfulness practice and apply them during the nightmare.
Tip 5: Lean into it
No matter how terrifying the experience, don’t let fear consume you. Lucidity means ‘clarity’, but you can take this to higher levels beyond clarity of the fact that you’re dreaming. Depending on your level of lucidity, it can become clear to you that this nightmare might be trying to tell you something.
So even though it’s very scary at the time, remember the other tips and embrace this opportunity to learn and grow – turn and face your fear knowing it can’t really hurt you. Lean into it rather than running away from it. After all, you’re only running away from an urgent message from your mind which is somehow or another related to your waking life.
Often, people say that when they ask their scary dream figures who they are and what they represent, something amazing happens… The figure morphs into something less frightening and more understandable.
Summing it up…
Lucid nightmares are manageable! It really is just a matter of how you frame it… how you think about the situation while it’s happening, and what you choose to do about it.
Lucid nightmares are a product of your own mind so you, therefore, have much more say in the matter than you might realize. It just takes a little mindfulness, some confidence, and some practice!
Which tip are you excited to try first? Let us know in the comments below and update us on your progress!