If I spend a third of my life sleeping, and I live to be 80, that would be 26 years sleeping. Is there a way to make my sleeping time more productive?
– Businessman in his 40s
Productivity While Sleeping…
There’s a way, and it’s called lucid dreaming. The word lucid means clear, but when it is lucid dreaming, it means a time when you recognize that you are dreaming—you are conscious it is a dream. It’s like being asleep and awake at the same time.
Many people are able to control their lucid dreams, which allows them to:
- Tap into their inner creativity,
- Face fears, anxieties and other traumas, and
- Fulfill their fantasies like flying, meeting famous people—and for some, it’s exciting sexual encounters.
In lucid dreams, everything is as authentic as the real thing!
In a 2009 study by the Neurological Laboratory in Frankfurt revealed a significant increase of brain activity during lucid dreams, with far more activity than the normal dream state. This activity takes place in the frontal cortex while we are asleep. The frontal cortex is where spontaneous vivid dreams occur and the dreamer is aware he is dreaming.
Because everything happens in your lucid dreams, everything is infinite, and anything that you can think about comes true because you can take control of your dream. Once you learn you can control your lucid dreaming with the power of thought, you can make it real in your mind.
Do you like to problem-solve in your dreams? First think about the problem before going to bed, and if possible, find a visual image that represents it, and think about that image before going to sleep.
You should start by willing what you want to happen or announce out loud what you decide you will dream about, and be empowered by your own words—and then your dream will oblige.
Remember: It’s your conscious expectations that are important. Stay confident in your ability to do things, and you will soon learn that anything is possible when having lucid dreams.
REM (rapid eye movement): Why do we dream more during the REM sleep? Because at that time the cortex is almost as active as when you are awake. This is when the burst of activity in the brain stem is rhythmic. The cortex of your brain does a lot of organizing, and when it is activated, it leads to meaningful thinking.
Getting enough sleep is the most important aspect of the ability to have a lucid dream. Good sleep induces a high level of REM, which we go into every 90 minutes.
For insights and advice, here are two recommended books on the subject.
Charlie Morley, Lucid Dreaming: The Beginning Guide (Morley is an expert, author and teacher of dream lucidity)
Deirdre Barrett, The Committee of Sleep: How Artists, Scientists and Athletes Use Dreams to Creative Problem Solving and How You Can, Too (Crown 2001)