IS LUCID DREAMING REAL? IS IT SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN?

Lucid dreaming has been scientifically verified by various methods, and nobody familiar with the research and evidence questions whether lucid dreaming is real.

The full-scale scientific research of lucid dreaming began in the second half of the 20th century. Up until then, there was no scientific evidence of lucid dreams, only reports of dreamers who had such experiences.

blue neurons glowing in the dark

The first reliable experiment to prove lucid dreaming was conducted in the late 1970s by British parapsychologist Keith Hearne. Hearne found an elegant solution to prove that lucid dreaming is real.

As you probably know, the name of the REM phase of sleep (the phase in which we have dreams, including lucid ones), is an abbreviation of “Random Eye Movement.” A dreamer turns his gaze according to events happening in the dream, and the movements of his eyes can be observed and measured externally.

So Hearne asked a volunteer named Alan Worsley to signal the onset of lucidity by making deliberate ocular movements and used a polysomnograph machine to record the pre-determined eye movements.

Hearne also invented the world’s first dream machine, which is now on permanent display, along with his original ocular-signaling chart records, at the Science Museum in London.

Contrary to popular belief, Stephen LaBerge wasn’t the first one to scientifically verify signals from a dreamer's mind to the outside world. It was Keith Hearne.

scientist standing in front of MRI machine

Stephen LaBerge began researching the phenomenon of lucid dreaming for his Ph.D. in psychophysiology at Stanford University, which he received in 1980.

His experiments, in which he signaled the beginning of lucid dreams with agreed-upon eye movements during REM while his collaborator monitored his EEG and recorded the results, got American press coverage and attracted public attention.

LaBerge continued his studies and wrote several books in which he described the existing lucid dreaming practices and techniques, as well as the results of his experience and research.

In 1987, he founded The Lucidity Institute, which studies and promotes research into lucid dreaming. Almost every contemporary lucid dreaming training course, book, video, etc., is based on the ideas and research popularized by LaBerge.

scary empty room with multiple closed doors

Nowadays lucid dreaming continues to be of great interest to scientists and you can find a lot of studies published in the world recognized scientific magazines.

For example, there have been a number of studies on how lucid dreaming can be used in therapy and for treating nightmares (check, for instance, this research). Lucid dreaming can also help with finding creative and practical solutions for real-life tasks.

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