Many research studies have been conducted to find out what exactly happens during dreams. Science aside, most of us know that when dreaming, everything seems real and one is not conscious that it’s a dream until they wake up. But it’s also possible to be in a dream and be aware that you’re dreaming. If this has happened to you at some point in one of your slumber moments, then you’ve experienced what is known as lucid dreaming. Simply put, a lucid dream is a dream in which the dreamer is fully aware that they are dreaming.
Well, to begin with, we dream during sleep, and quality sleep is important to your overall health and wellbeing in so many ways. Both your physical and mental wellbeing depend on it. Without getting adequate quality sleep, one can easily suffer from sleep deprivation, which may cause a wide range of health problems. Some of these may include general fatigue, concentration problems, brain activity decline, a weakened immune system, increased stress, lower sex drive, and a wide range of other health problems. But we are all different and as the Night Nod author points out, some people may need more sleep than others. This makes it important to understand just how much sleep is enough for you while taking measures to ensure a good night’s sleep every day.
We can go on and on about the importance of quality sleep, but for the title’s sake, are lucid dreams supernatural or neurological. Stick around as we explore the truth behind lucid dreaming, starting with the benefits.
Lucid Dreaming Benefits
There is anecdotal evidence suggesting that controlled or lucid dreaming can have several benefits. One of these benefits is that lucid dreaming can help overcome nightmares, especially through the use of imagery rehearsal therapy (IRT) as well as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Some lucid dreamers have also claimed that being able to control their dreams allows them to tackle their anxieties. Additionally, lucid dreams can be used to help improve motor skills in people suffering from certain physical disabilities.
Is It Supernatural?
Dream control is a phenomenon that has been around for centuries. Some also view it as a supernatural ability only found in some people. Some even consider lucid dreaming as satanic or associated with evil forces. Well, no scientific evidence may be available to prove or refute such claims, but in the real sense, this could be related to the fact that many people experience lucid dreams in the form of nightmares, which they end up waking up from as soon as they realize they are dreaming. According to Amie Greenaway, you can even include Satan or demons in a dream as long as you can control it. Some lucid dreamers can manipulate a dream’s plot into anything they want to happen, which is why it sounds spooky to the extent of being considered supernatural. As per science, there’s nothing supernatural about lucid dreams, but what exactly happens during the dream?
The Neurology of Controlled Dreaming
From the many studies conducted regarding lucid dreaming, a lot of findings suggest that it is neurological. From most of these studies, one of the most important findings shows that frontal cortex stimulation could be behind lucid dreaming. For instance, in a study conducted by the Goethe University of Frankfurt, non-lucid dreamers were zapped with mild electricity in their REM sleep. The subjects interestingly reported having experienced lucid dreams after frontal cortices were stimulated.
According to a recent publication from Science Direct, cholinergic stimulation with sleep mentation also shows promise in inducing lucid dreams. From this, it can be suggested that the reactivation of prefrontal networks is responsible for or associated with lucid dreaming. Other research studies have, however, shown that people who experience lucid dreaming do so because they use parts of their brains that are otherwise inactive in non-lucid dreamers. Despite the reactivation of the prefrontal and parietal cortical networks, many mysteries revolving around lucid dreams are still yet to be explained scientifically, which is another possible reason why some people believe they are supernatural or spiritual.
Whether lucid dreams are spiritual or neurological remains a matter of debate as neurophysiologists and researchers study the subject more. They’ve been shown to have various benefits, but it’s a thin line. At the end of the day, what matters most is to ensure you get adequate quality sleep every night as your health greatly depends on it.