Behind Episode 104: Dreams
RISKS of LUCID DREAMING
Though lucid dreaming can be beneficial to a number of aspects of life, some risks have been suggested. Those who have never had a lucid dream may not understand what is happening when they experience it for the first time. This could cause those individuals to feel a variety of different emotions as they are going through a completely new psychological experience. Feelings of stress, worry, or confusion could arise. On the other hand, the feeling of empowerment could also come up as they realize that they are now in control of their dreams. Individuals who experience lucid dreams regularly could begin to feel isolated from others due to the fact that they have different experiences when it comes to dreaming. Someone struggling with certain mental illnesses could find it hard to be able to tell the difference between reality and the actual dream.
Some people may experience sleep paralysis, which is something that can be confused with lucid dreaming. Although from the outside, both of these seem to be quite similar, there are a few distinct differences that can help differentiate them. A person usually experiences sleep paralysis when they partially wake up in REM atonia, a state in which said person is partially paralyzed and cannot move their limbs. When in sleep paralysis, people may also experience hallucinations. Although said hallucinations cannot cause physical damage, they may still be frightening. There are three common types of hallucinations: an intruder in the same room, a crushing feeling on one’s chest or back, and a feeling of flying or levitating. About 7.6% of the general population have experienced sleep paralysis at least once. Exiting sleep paralysis to a waking state can be achieved by intently focusing on a part of the body, such as a finger, and wiggling it, continuing the action of moving to then the hand, the arm, and so on, until the person is fully awake.
Long-term risks with lucid dreaming have not been extensively studied.
A recurring dream is a dream which is experienced repeatedly over a long period. They can be pleasant or nightmarish and unique to the person and their experiences.
Possible explanations for recurring dreams
- Threat simulation theory – This theory was proposed by Antti Revonsuo and states the biological function of dreaming is to simulate threatening events and then rehearse threatening avoidance behaviors. However, this theory has come with mixed reviews. Zadra et el. found in a study on this theory that 66% of recurrent dreams contained at least one threat. For the most part, these threats involved danger and were aimed at the dreamer themselves. In contrast however, they also found that less than 15% of recurrent dreams involved realistic situations that could prove critical to one’s survival. They also found that the dreamer usually did not succeed at fleeing the threat. These provide mixed support for the theory originally proposed by Revonsuo.
- Gestaltist dream theory – This theory views recurrent dreams as representing the person’s current state of psychic imbalance. By bringing this imbalance to consciousness through the recurrent dream, it is possible for the person to restore their self-balance.
- Freud believed that recurrent traumatic dreams showed expressions of neurotic repetitive compulsions.
- Jung believed that recurrent dreams played an important role in the integration of the psyche.
- Culturalist dream theory, brought to light by Bonime in 1962, holds that recurrent dreams represent that it will most certainly come true, without a lack of positive change or development in a person’s personality.
- Lucid dream theory holds that some people dream in recurrent form and it is a normal phenomenon.
When you register for the Manifest Your Dreams Project you will be mailed a Dreams Bundle which includes
an 80-page Dream Journal
an instruction book with essential tools for keeping your journal
a 10mL bottle of Plant Therapy® Meditation Essential Oil Blend