October 16, 2021

Lucid dreaming: Can you learn to control your dreams?

You may know that feeling of having had a nightmare where you are being chased by something scary. For example, it could be a monstrous monster or a mysterious man who is right on your heels.

Could it not be great if in the nightmare you could turn to the monster and ask, “Why are you really persecuting me?”

‘Lucide dreams’ (‘lucid’ means clear or luminous in Danish), are dreams where you become aware that you are dreaming.

In this week’s episode, your Brainstorm hosts, Jais Baggestrøm Koch and Asbjørn Mølgaard Sørensen, examine whether everyone can learn to control their dreams, or whether you need a special brain to master it.

In the section, Jais and Asbjørn talk to Birgitte Rahbek Kornum, associate professor at the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Copenhagen, who unveils a lucid dream she herself has had.

As far as Brainstorm knows, there is no one who researches lucid dreams in Denmark, but Jais and Asbjørn have asked Birgitte Rahbek Kornum, who is a sleep researcher, to read up on the field.

“It can’t possibly be reality!”

It sounds almost too good to be true that you can learn to control your own dreams, but according to a study from 2016, 55 percent of all adults have experienced a lucid dream at least once, and 23 percent experience lucid dreams at least once. the month.

However, Birgitte Rahbek Kornum does not think that it is likely that the entire population of the Earth can ride with the blob in dreamland one fine day:

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‘Some can learn it. It’s not track easy. The studies that have tried to investigate it scientifically with different techniques show that there are some people who can learn it well. It requires time and practice. And then there are some who just can not learn it. It depends on how your brain is arranged and how your biology is. ”

In previous studies, researchers have observed sleeping subjects who have communicated to the researchers that they were conscious, signaling with eye movements and breathing.

But what happens in the brain during a lucid dream?

‘The brain wakes up a bit. So that the frontal cortex – the part of the brain that controls the mind – wakes up a little while you sleep, and suddenly you can see: ‘How can this possibly be reality – it’s too strange!’, «Explains Birgitte Rahbek Kornum in the podcast.

Stressed divorce bear

Together with Birgitte Rahbek Kornum, the Brainstorm hosts review a new study on lucid dreams, in which they investigate different methods for how to learn to have more of these dreams.

They also take a closer look at several guides online. One of them is called: ‘How To Make Yourself Have A Lucid Dream Tonight’, and it promises that one can dream a lucid dream already the same night. However, Birgitte Rahbek Kornum thinks this is hardly realistic.

If you learn the art of controlling your dreams, you can come across a lot of sour experiences.

Asbjørn has been on a trip down the rabbit hole – better known as the social news and entertainment website Reddit – where many write about his absurd dreams.

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User Iann2 reports, among other things, a nightmare in which the Reddit user was chased by a bear. When Iann2 turned around and confronted the bear, the bear replied that he was very stressed because he was going through a divorce.

Should one take the research into lucid dreams with a grain of salt, or have the researchers actually grabbed something?