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15 Lucid Dreaming Facts That Will Make You Question Reality

Are you sure you aren't dreaming right now?

1. A lucid dream starts out just like any normal dream.

2. But when you start to lucid dream, you suddenly become aware of the fact that your dream world isn't real.

3. Scientists aren't sure what triggers you to realize you're dreaming and become lucid.

4. Lucid dreaming most likely happens during the REM sleep stage.

5. Lucid dreams aren't the same as nightmares.

6. About half the population has experienced lucid dreaming, and most people start at a young age.

7. There isn’t a known cause, but it might be linked to being more introspective or having more gray matter in your brain.

8. Lucid dreaming might just be an innate skill — like wiggling your ears.

9. And like any skill, you can get better with practice.

10. If you've never had a lucid dream, there are ways to teach yourself to have one.

"The fact that you've never had a lucid dream doesn't mean you still can't have one," Martinez-Conde says. There are different techniques to consciously induce lucid dreaming, but what works is really up to the individual. "Simply having the intent to lucid dream and telling yourself that it'll happen or you'll have more control in the dream before you sleep can help," Martinez-Conde says.

According to Breus, another popular method starts by drawing an X on the back of your hand and looking at it every hour until it becomes a habit for a week or two. The idea being that you might then also glance down at it during a dream, and if you notice that it isn't there, you could know that you're dreaming and become lucid, he explains. Similar "reality checks" would be things like seeing that you have five fingers or not being able to push your hand through a wall. The thing is, lucid dreaming experiences are super subjective so it's hard to find a definitive technique that works for everyone.

11. The degree of awareness and control in a lucid dream can vary.

12. Despite what you've seen or read, lucid dreaming won't actually influence your waking life.

13. Common themes include adventures and sex. Because, obviously.

14. You might never have a lucid dream in your life, and that's totally normal.

15. And there aren't any real benefits other than having fun and memorable dreams.