Becoming aware of consciousness, either in a dream or reality, can be unsettling, too. Dr. Fraga tells Allure, “We tend to process uncomfortable emotional and psychological experiences in our dreams,” and as such, these memories may be triggered during our sleep. Further, Fraga explains, “If the dream affects the person’s ability to get a good night’s sleep, that can affect mental health, especially for people with anxiety or depression who may have trouble sleeping.”
How can I start lucid dreaming?
Ani Ferlise, an avid lucid dreamer, astrology expert, and founder of spirituality brand Kozmic Ryder, says opening your mind is the first step to success: “You begin [lucid dreaming] by simply turning your awareness to the idea of it. This wakes up your subconscious to the practice.” Ferlise also explains that we actually strengthen our lucid dreaming abilities when we’re awake, so she suggests becoming more aware of your physical surroundings by observing small details about your own body and your surroundings, such as taking note of your hands or feet throughout the day. Activating the senses and grounding oneself also promotes lucid dreaming, and Ferlise encourages using a dream journal to jumpstart your practice. (Her own Lucid Dream Kit is a thoughtfully curated collection of tools Ferlise says can enhance subconscious exploration and get you in the headspace to lucid dream, like an amethyst, calming tea, and an essential oil blend).
You also might want to try reality testing, which Cheung says is the most famous lucid dreaming technique. (If you’ve seen Inception, you’re probably already familiar.) Reality testing is performing tests during the day to question your current reality in the effort to transfer that action to your lucid dreams to help you flag if you’re asleep or not. She provides the example of pressing one index finger into the other hand’s palm. She explains that if you’re dreaming, the index finger might pass through your palm. If you’re awake, it would touch your palm in a realistic way.
“The more reality checks you do while awake, the more likely you are to do them while dreaming,” she says.
Are there any risks of lucid dreaming? Is it safe?
The TL;DR: It is absolutely safe to lucid dream. Cheung says that lucid dreams are not only perfectly safe but can actually be beneficial to your creativity and health.
“It’s the ultimate high,” she says. “You [have] infinite potential in your lucid dream, [where] you can be or do anything. Once you have experienced that limitless world where anything is possible for you, you are far more likely to bring that confidence and creativity, and sense of bold adventure into your waking life.”