Escape to the reality of lucid dreaming

Dermesse3 (1)“A dream feels real while it lasts. Can we say more of life?”- Havelock Ellis

WE ALL HAVE moments when we get stressed, annoyed or bored with our current situation in life – usually something to do with uni work or the prospect of leaving uni.

Luckily, there are many ways to wind down and escape reality. You can get immersed in an exciting movie or gripping book, smash a few people in the newest Grand Theft Auto, or alternatively just have one too many Frosty Jacks . But if you want an option which could combine all the above, I suggest escaping a stressful reality by entering the land of lucid dreams.

Everyone loves a good sleep, but you can obtain double the enjoyment when you have the opportunity to create and explore your own self-made perfect world, one where not even the sky is the limit. One where you CAN fly, you CAN see the Grand Canyon and that funky bridge in Costa Rica for free, you CAN get into bed with Ryan Gosling. When you properly know how to lucid dream, you can invent your own alternative reality whilst simultaneously catching all them vital Z’s.

When you are aware that you are dreaming and therefore able to control your dream, you are lucid dreaming. Historically, particularly in religious spheres, they have been associated with demons taking over your mind, but fortunately that is no longer an ongoing worry. There are numerous ways to have a lucid dream, and arguably the most helpful one is a reality check. You can perform a reality check by pinching your nose whilst keeping your mouth closed – if you can still breathe easily, you are dreaming. The one that has worked best for me is the finger-count. Put your hand out in front of you and count your fingers. Dream sites state that if you happen to have, too many or too few fingers, you can be sure you are dreaming. However, when I have done finger-counts in dreams the tell-tale feature is usually the fact that my fingers are short and stubby, of funny lengths, or fuzzy around the edges.

Despite it seeming silly in broad daylight, if you get into the habit of doing reality checks in everyday life, it is more likely you will remember to do them when you are actually dreaming. Alternatively, like in the blockbuster movie Inception, try and remember how you got into the situation you are in. If you are unable to, you are dreaming. Other  recommendations for lucidity in dreams is putting your alarm on for 4.5, 6 or 7.5 hours after you fall asleep. These are the stages when you will probably in all likelihood be in your REM-stage, the deepest stage of sleep when most vivid dreams are usually experienced.

When you establish the fact that you are, indeed, dreaming, you can start creating your own reality. This, as everything in life, requires confidence, in order to maintain maximum level control. Be confident about that fact that if you jump in the air, you WILL fly, since you are in a dream and in dreams everything is possible. If you want to meet a certain person, imagine them walking into the scene. Apparently people’s most popular desires in lucid dream experiences are flying and making out with celebrities. For me, flying has been invigorating but often quite scary – since I lack confidence in my flying skills even whilst dreaming, I often end up gradually losing height. I have also made out with celebrities (Heath Ledger to be specific. Not sure why him, I guess I managed to persuade even my dream self that William Fichtner is too old for me…), as well as having the extra joys of making the most of eating unlimited, scrumptious but calorie-less cakes. In addition, as an avid dream journalist, I have more than once tried to persuade a friend in my dream to go through my dream and the “key words” of what has happened so far, so that when I wake up I would be able to remember the dream more easily (this has not worked too well due to my friends often being very distracted and forgetful).

So, next time you get sick and tired of that essay on Middle-East politics or that assignment on the digestive habits of seals, do not despair. Tonight you can attempt to escape your reality and enter a world without any of that. So, why don’t you count your fingers now and check if you are dreaming or not. When your housemates are numbing their brains in the quality clubs of Aberystwyth tonight, you may be in a world far, far better than the sticky dancefloors of Why Not.