Do I have the power to control my dreams?

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1. Welcome to Wonderland

Lucid dreaming is the art of becoming aware that you’re dreaming, then making choices and guiding their outcomes.

Proponents suggest that, if you master it, you can take control of your journeys in the world of dreams and do anything you wish – whether it’s scoring that winning goal at the World Cup or ensuring that, when you arrive at work naked, you’re the one who’s laughing.

Over half of adults in a 2014 survey said they had experienced at least one lucid dream. Research carried out by the University of Lincoln suggests these dreams could make us more creative or insightful in our waking lives.

2. The dream ticket: Starting your journey

Alice may be one of literature’s most famous lucid dreamers, but we might all have the ability to control our adventures in Wonderland. Lucid dreaming experts suggest several ways to get started. Select any of these tips to find out more.

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3. Recognising a lucid dream

The theory is that being consciously aware that you are dreaming is essential to lucid dreaming. This can be as simple as recognising common dream signs, such as old favourites like falling or losing your teeth.

Psychologist and dream expert Ian Wallace on how to recognise a lucid dream.

4. Famous lucid dreamers

Inquisitive minds have long been fascinated with the concept of lucid dreaming, using it as a gateway to more creative thinking and problem solving.

Master of the surreal Salvador Dali used a technique known as ‘dream incubation’ to help him create a pre-set itinerary for his dreams. This is thought to have inspired some of his famous pieces of art.

Film director Guillermo del Toro's fantasy Pan's Labyrinth was inspired by his nocturnal journeys into his dreams. Del Toro has experienced lucid dreaming since childhood and uses his encounters to create characters and storylines in his work.

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American inventor Elias Howe struggled with an idea for a machine that would automate the sewing process. After unsuccessfully wrestling with the problem of how to keep thread running through the needle, he turned to his dreams to find the solution.

Inventor, electrical engineer and physicist Nikola Tesla had incredible powers of visualisation that he used while both conscious and asleep. He claimed he could not just travel, but carry out dream experiments in his mind.

5. Have you experienced a lucid dream?

Here are the four most common and obvious indications that you’re creating a lucid dream. Have you experienced one or all of these?

Increased excitement

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Increased excitement

You realise that you’re no longer just passively observing your dream, but actively creating the experience.

Vivid senses

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Vivid senses

Colours seem brighter and sounds are much clearer, providing an increased sense of clarity.

Enhanced detail

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Enhanced detail

Events are perceived in much greater detail and things appear to be more sharply in focus.

Wider perceptions

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Wider perceptions

Peripheral awareness expands, so you feel much more aware of what's happening around you than in a normal dream.