Can We Control Our Dreams?
Have you ever had a beautiful dream that you didn’t want to end? If so, you know you are dreaming. This is called “lucid dreaming”. Lucid means “open”. Being aware that you are dreaming while you are dreaming. Half of people have this experience at least once in their life, one in five people once a month. Some claim that with a little exercise anyone can control their dreams. Has anything like this ever happened to you?
“I’m Not Dreaming”
You might say, “Well, I can’t even dream normally.” You actually see, but you choose to forget. Because everyone dreams. We dream at least 1.5 – 2 hours every night. Why is there a term like “falling asleep” in our language? Because we dive to different depths at night. About 90 minutes after going to bed, at the end of the first sleep cycle, we enter REM sleep, the level at which we are closest to being awake. If you look into the eyes of a sleeping person at this time, you will notice that even with the eyelids closed, it moves in it.
This is one of the most characteristic features of REM sleep, which stands for “Rapid Eye Movements”: rapid eye movements. So when we dream most often, it’s also when we’re closest to being awake. Whole body, even eyelids closed. But eyes are open. In an 8-hour night’s sleep, we enter REM sleep 4 times with increasing durations, and we dream a lot during that time. Then as soon as we wake up, we forget these dreams within the first 10 minutes. But why do we dream?
Why Do We Dream?
Some think that dreams are a rehearsal or rehearsal of what we experience in real life. So we get a kind of personal education in our sleep. On the contrary, some say that we dream of forgetting, not remembering. Forgetting bad experiences, traumas, negativities in life. Dreams are a kind of escape from reality.
Almost 90% of the information our brain collects in a lifetime is in a locked chest or encrypted folder. We cannot open this folder called “subconscious” by double clicking. We cannot easily access the information in it. But they find a way in our sleep and tell us stories in the form of dream movies. Of course, we cannot understand and forget these films because they are a bit complex and abstract. We choose to forget because it is easy.
If we want to understand them, we must first change that. Some of us naturally have this ability. When they watch these dream movies, they see everything more clearly. We already have these dreams when we are closest to being awake. But like most of our bodies, it is unconscious at the time. Here are some trying to keep their consciousness awake and control their dreams while their bodies continue to sleep.
How Do We Control Dreams?
Known since ancient times, this practice, called “Yoga Nidra” in India or “dream yoga” in Tibetan Buddhism, has been on the agenda of the scientific world for the last 100 years. With the fMRI scanning method, scientists can detect that a person is dreaming and observe whether he is conscious at that moment. An experiment was conducted on this in 2012. First, participants were asked to shake their hands while awake.
This movement of the hands can be detected by the fMRI device as changes in certain areas of the brain. Participants who claimed to be able to control their dreams were asked to do the same while dreaming after falling asleep. As you can imagine, the same changes occurred in the same areas of their brains when these people began dreaming after entering REM sleep.
Although they didn’t use their hands in the real world at the time, they do shake hands in their dreams. So they created and controlled their own virtual reality. So what do these people do in their dreams other than shaking hands? Almost anything they want. The most common thing is to fly. Some people claim that they can even solve the problems they encounter in daily life.
Methods for Dream Control
The first method everyone recommends for this is to keep a dream book. To record in full detail what you see as soon as you wake up, like the chemist Mendeleev. After a while, you will notice that certain themes are constantly recurring. Like rhymes in poems. Same things, same words or same places. Recognizing these are the first steps to understanding that you are dreaming while you are dreaming.
The second method is a little more complicated and can leave you sleepless. You set your alarm 5-6 hours after going to bed. When you wake up, you get out of bed for 15-20 minutes and walk around. Then, if possible, lie down somewhere other than the bed and imagine and say what you want to do in your dream. “I will see elephants roaming in the desert… I will see elephants roaming in the desert…” This is how you fall asleep.
Next comes the reality check. You look at your watch or your hands throughout the day to check if you are dreaming. Then you try to do the same thing in your dream.