You want to learn lucid dreaming or are about to try it, but are afraid of the dangers and all the nightmares that would feel real? In this article, you will learn whether lucid dreaming is dangerous or not.
It doesn’t really matter whether you have consciously tried lucid dreaming a few times or whether it happened completely involuntarily. The answer is the same: lucid dreaming is safe.
Most bad things happen due to poor preparation or insufficient awareness of the risks. The easiest way to avoid all problems is therefore thorough preparation. Be aware of what’s coming.
Jump ahead to any of the sections below:
- Danger 1: Sleep Paralysis
- Danger 2: Can You Get Stuck in a Lucid Dream?
- Danger 3: Lucid Nightmares
- Danger 4: Confuse Dreaming with Reality
- Danger 5: Does Lucid Dreaming Make You Tired
- How to Make Lucid Dreaming Safe
We only address the common dangers, because it depends on the person, their subconscious, and many other factors, what dangers they expose themselves while having a lucid sleep.
Danger 1: Sleep Paralysis
Sleep paralysis is a state during sleep, where you consciously experience immobility. Means: You’re awake, but can’t move.
It is the most frequently observed negative experience in connection with lucid dreams.
But sleep paralysis has absolutely nothing to do with ghosts or demons. It is a natural reaction of our body and occurs in every REM phase, i.e. the dream phase.
Once we have a dream, our body activates a natural protective mechanism and paralyzes us to prevent possible injuries. Especially in dreams that feel real, people tend to physically transfer their dreams into reality and move. Sleep paralysis should protect us from this.
How can people actually report that they have had a sleep paralysis? When you’re having a lucid dream, you can jump back and forth between consciousness and subconscious with your mind. It can happen, especially in REM phases, that you return to consciousness in a lucid dream and notice that your body is paralyzed.
This feeling can be quite frightening, which is why the described experiences are mostly negative. But as we already mentioned: Sleep paralysis is absolutely not dangerous at all. It protects us from ourselves.
It’s really important to take away the fear of lucid dreaming from yourself. Fear reinforces the effect of sleep paralysis even more. If you find yourself in such a situation: relax, even if it may initially speak against your instinct. It is more likely that the paralysis will let you go and you will be able to dive into your dream faster.
Remember, sleep paralysis is neither dangerous nor harmful. It will do you no damage whatsoever.
Danger 2: Can You Get Stuck in a Lucid Dream?
Besides sleep paralysis, there is another apparent danger you expose yourself to while lucid sleep. Some people report that it is possible to get stuck in a dream and never return to reality.
That is not true and never happened. There is absolutely no danger of getting stuck in a lucid dream. You have absolutely nothing to be afraid of. That’s never gonna happen.
Your body and mind will always return to reality. But where does the fear of this phenomenon actually come from, if it never happened?
People report waking up and still dreaming. This illusory “awakening” is still happening in the dream. That’s the reason for the fear of being “trapped”. The people who report this have never really left the dream. They were dreaming how they wake up.
Such an experience can be quite disturbing. You shouldn’t fight it or panic. If you forcefully try to get back to reality, so wake up, it can have negative effects. Among other things, this kind of illusion will occur more often, the exact opposite of what you wanted to achieve. Just like sleep paralysis. If you go in that instinctive direction, it’ll only get worse.
Just accept that you are in a dream and try not to fight your subconscious. Just remember, it is not possible to get stuck in a lucid dream. No matter how real it feels. So don’t be afraid. Dedicate yourself to the dream and try to enjoy it.
Danger 3: Lucid Nightmares
Just like any dream, a lucid dream can become a nightmare. That’s probably the most likely scenario after sleep paralysis. However, you do not need to assume any danger here either.
The only thing that can happen is you’ll live through a nightmare in full consciousness. However, if you have enough experience with lucid sleep, you can take away the fear of such a nightmare. If you are fully conscious while dreaming, just repeat the following sentence several times:
“I am dreaming. This is not real”
There are all kinds of possibilities to carry out reality checks. Knowing that you are dreaming is your ultimate tool against any kind of lucid nightmare. Condition yourself and your mind best and prepare yourself. With enough practice, you can even turn a nightmare into a beautiful dream.
As soon as you are in such a negative dream, you can simply face your fear and see what happens. Being aware of yourself dreaming strengthens your self-confidence. When a wild animal stands before you in a dream, surrender to the animal, let it attack you and see what will happen. At the latest after the animal has bitten you, you should have realized that you are dreaming.
Lucid dreams can also be a very powerful tool to overcome your fears.
Danger 4: Confuse Dreaming with Reality
Every time we want to switch off and escape reality, there is a certain risk that we will become addicted to it. People quickly become addicted to feeling good.
We flee from reality because something bothers us. We dive into another world, which should distract us from everything. That’s how people try to suppress their problems. Common tools for this are video games, cigarettes or alcohol.
Since lucid dreams also represent an “escape” into another world, it can make us addicted to a certain extent. So the theory. But all the other things can lead to addiction, why is there no fear of video games?
Compared to other addictive substances, lucid dreaming is very easy to stop. Most people who have regular lucid dreams report and confirm this. They are neither afraid to remain stuck in a dream, nor to confuse reality with the dream world.
Even regular lucid dreamers who do this professionally have no problem with it.
If you suffer from a mental or emotional illness, you should always visit a professional psychologist before you start dreaming. The probability is very low, but it could still happen that in reality, you think you are dreaming. It’s very rare, but safety first.
Have a psychologist assure you that you can dream risk-free.
Danger 5: Does Lucid Dreaming Make You Tired?
When people talk about a peaceful sleep, they rarely mean lucid sleep. Waking up exhausted after a lucid dream, however, is not true. You’ll be able to relax just as much as you would in a common dream. The only thing that could happen to you, is that you feel a certain confusion after waking up.
Most lucid dreamers describe lucid sleep as a very refreshing and exciting experience. You go on adventures and voyages of discovery that you might never dare in reality. You experience incredibly exciting things while you’re still asleep.
Since all dreams happen in the REM sleep phase, your body and mind are completely able to switch off and regenerate the energy they need. So you recover completely normal and you don’t physically notice that you had a lucid dream last night. So, lucid dreaming does not make you tired.
How to Make Lucid Dreaming Safe
Now that we have spoken of all the potential dangers of lucid dreaming, we have found out that lucid dreaming is completely safe and harmless. The only things that can happen are minor side effects, which might feel bad.
However, we want to give you some tips and tricks on how to clear your mind completely, so you’ll be able to have a lucid sleep, without negative side effects.
It is never quite possible to eliminate all side effects. However, there are a few ways you can reduce the discomfort.
Tip 1: It’s only a dream
Repeat the sentence: “It is only a dream” while you have a lucid dream. If you manage to manifest this thought clearly in your head, you are on the safe side in a lucid dream.
You will realize that you cannot get hurt in a dream. That should give you a little more self-confidence and take away your fear of it. You should also be aware that reality is much more dangerous than the dream world. In fact, the dream world isn’t dangerous at all.
Tip 2: It’s all a matter of habit
The first lucid sleep can be a wonderful and very interesting experience. However, it is important to enjoy everything in moderation.
Try to make dreaming a part of your life. A habit, not an addiction. You can devote yourself to lucid dreaming on a daily basis, but you should take it easy, especially in the early stages. Don’t read too much about it and don’t overdo it with the number of exercises.
As with all things in life, it is important to maintain a certain balance.
Tip 3: Don’t fight it
What happens when you constantly think about your fears and unpleasant experiences? Right, they are always present. It’s the same with potential dangers of lucid dreaming. You will notice this negative effects even more than usual because a lot depends on your mental state.
The more you deal with sleep paralysis or other alleged dangerous stuff, the more likely it is that it will actually occur. We are not saying, that you should go into a lucid dream unprepared, but rather that most fears are totally unfounded and do not deserve the attention they eventually get.
If you are afraid of the loss of reality, our mind stores a kind of negative connection to this element. So it is more likely that this element will eventually haunt us in a lucid dream.
As you can see, all these “dangers” are not really dangerous. None of the above can harm you in any way. This does not mean, however, that you should not prepare yourself sufficiently for lucid dreaming.
What are your experiences with lucid sleep? Have you had a positive or rather negative experience? Tell us in the comments and subscribe to our mindfulness newsletter right below this article.