What is a lucid dream?

In the case of a lucid dream, the sleeper is actually in an altered, hybrid state of consciousness. Indeed, this state has its own cerebral signature, very distinct from that of a simple dream or waking stateas shown in recent years by studies conducted by MRI or electroencephalogram.

Certain areas of the brain, usually awake during sleep or during a common dream, light up, giving the sleeping dreamer back the functions they house.

In particular the frontal lobe, which manages complex thoughts, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, seat of metacognition, that is to say thinking about one’s own thoughts, and the fronto-temporal region, involved in executive functions relating to the self. So many intellectual capacities which are normally inaccessible when one dreams.

1 in 2 people concerned

Lucid dreaming begins with the awakening of metacognition – knowing that you are dreaming within the dream. A first step which can then give access to full consciousness and all its memories, until mastery of the dreamlike environment.

In theory, everything then becomes possible. Steal ? Descend the pyramids on skis? Too easy… Witness the birth of a star from the back of a giant sunfish? Why not, if it is enough to think about it.

Until creating his own lucid dreams on command? Problem: if there are mental methods to increase the chances of doing so, the experience remains rare.

According to a 2016 meta-analysis, only 55% of us experience lucid dreaming in our lifetime, and less than one in four experience it once a month or more. Knowing that, among these lucky ones, the majority only reaches the first stage of lucidity…

New techniques being tested

For scientists, this was a real obstacle to the study of this singular state of consciousness. An obstacle today removed by new techniques of induction of the lucid dream: the transcranial electric stimulation and the catch of galantamine, a drug used for the treatment of the disease.

But beware, concerning galantamine, the authors of the study warn: no self-prescription! The drug has yet to be studied for its side effects. For their part, the first prototypes of helmets with cranial stimulation adjusted for the awakening of lucidity have already been built and promise to invade the market soon.

Sure, the promise of being able to control your dreams is… dreaming. But is it risk free? Because many specialists suspect that the dream would have a useful function for the smooth running of our organism.

Using it could therefore deprive us of its benefits. So that the power to control your dreams does not turn into a nightmare, moderation therefore seems to be in order. But the fact is that this old dream is coming within everyone’s reach. Tent ?

According to Science & Life Questions & Answers n°34

Read also :

• Control your dreams: finally the real key to dreams

• When do we dream?

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What is a lucid dream?

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