Psychedelics and Other Drugs for Lucid Dreaming 

Using Psychedelics for Lucid Dreaming

Lucid dreams are a phenomenon when a person is asleep; they know that they are dreaming, and they can control the direction of their dream. While these dreams don’t happen often, they are connected with many health benefits, and they have some surprising similarities with psychedelics and other drugs. 

This article looks at lucid dreams, what they are and why they are beneficial, some natural techniques to induce them, and drugs that may create similar experiences. Let’s find out more.

Introducing Lucid Dreams

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A lucid dream is when you are dreaming and you are aware that you are dreaming. It occurs during regular REM sleep, and when you are in a lucid dream, you can control the direction of your dream to a certain extent. 

It is associated with awareness and metacognition — understanding thoughts and thought processes. Research shows the neural paths for lucid dreaming and metacognition are the same, meaning that the more you can monitor your thoughts, the more likely you are to have lucid dreams. 

When Do They Occur

Lucid dreams occur at the same time that a normal dream would — during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. In REM, people have rapid eye movements, a lack of muscle tone in the body, and more dreams (both lucid and regular). 

In terms of how often people experience lucid dreams, science suggests the phenomenon is relatively rare. Around 50% of people claim to have at least one lucid dream in their lifetime, while about a quarter of people claim to have one per month. 

How to Tell If You’ve Had a Lucid Dream

In normal dreams, you are unaware you are dreaming. That means you truly believe what is happening in your dream, however bizarre or strange the events are. In lucid dreams, on the other hand, you know that it is a dream and it’s not real, and sometimes, you can control the direction of the dream. Signs that you’ve had a lucid dream include being aware that you were dreaming, a very vivid dream, the ability to control the dream, and intense emotions. 

Why Lucid Dreams Are Important

Not only do lucid dreams offer a vivid insight into your inner world, but they also give people greater awareness of their thoughts and feelings. They are an immersive experience, almost like VR, where you can control your world with limited risk but a complete real-life experience.

Scientists also found additional advantages of lucid dreaming:

  1. Increase creativity: A lucid dream allows you to invent, create, build, design anything you want, without the limitations of the real world. This opens up a world of creativity. Studies have shown that people who have more lucid dreams are also more likely to be more creative in real life. 
  2. Reduce nightmares: If you suffer from nightmares, the worst feeling is being out of control. With lucid dreams, you have the potential to change the direction of your dream to a positive one. 
  3. Help anxiety: If you suffer from anxiety or PTSD, lucid dreams may help. They offer a completely safe environment to explore issues or situations that cause stress, allowing them to practice things they would be wary of in day-to-day life. 

Techniques for Lucid Dreaming 

Using Psychedelics for Lucid Dreaming

There are benefits to lucid dreams. If you want to encourage them, there are several methods to help train yourself to experience more lucid dreams. The most common ones are:

Reality Testing

This technique involves testing whether or not you are dreaming several times a day and night. The reality test consists of a series of checks to see whether you are dreaming or not, such as checking in a mirror, touching solid objects, checking the time, and more. By doing the same check throughout the day and night, you can train your mind to induce lucid dreams. 

Dream Diary 

An effective way to encourage lucid dreams is to use a dream diary. All it takes is a standard notebook in which we will write every morning everything we remember from our lucid, and non-lucid dreams. Try to write every little detail. You should use a pencil rather than a pen. As a result of being able to remember and pay attention to a dream, a dreamer develops self-control and awareness by being able to perceive space and time in the dream.

Wake Back to Bed (WBTB)

You are more likely to lucid dream when you fall asleep, so this technique advises you to set an alarm for 4 - 5 hours after you fall asleep, then stay awake doing a gentle activity like reading for half an hour, then return to sleep. The aim is when you fall back to sleep, you will experience a lucid dream.

Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams (MILD)

One of the earliest techniques designed involves setting an intention to remember you were dreaming. You can do this by remembering a recent dream as you are about to fall asleep. You then create a dreamsign (something within the dream that is strange) then think about returning the dream. When you see the sign, set a mental note that this sign only happens when you dream. 

Wake-Initiated Lucid Dream (WILD)

Using the WILD lucid dreaming technique, the person attempts to remain conscious as they transition from the wake state to the dream state. In a way, it can be considered almost as a form of meditation. This technique is considered advanced since the dreamer tries to "fool" his own body into thinking that he is asleep. To do so, you should lay down in bed and pretend as if he is asleep. As a result, your body will react to this manipulation by applying sleep paralysis. As you strive to achieve full sleep paralysis while awake, you will be tempted to move, ich, do something. Remember, in order for this method to work, you must remain still and let your body enter into sleep paralysis mode. This is not easy. In order to stay awake, you can try focusing on counting numbers, singing a song in your head, or anything else that does not require any use of your body or interaction with your environment. Then while staying awake, try to imagine a door that will be a gateway to your lucid dream. Slowly, without moving a muscle, using only imagination, imagine yourself getting closer to that door and entering it. If all proceeds according to plan, you will find yourself awake in your own mind within a vivid lucid dream.

Lucid Dreaming and Psychedelics

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If you consume or have ever consumed psychedelics, you’d be forgiven for thinking that a lucid dream has many aspects in common with a pleasurable psychedelic trip. There’s a lot in common, from the strange direction of lucid dreams to the benefits (increased creativity and reduced anxiety). Let’s look at the science to find out more. 

The Experience Elicited by Hallucinogens Presents the Highest Similarity to Dreaming within a Large Database of Psychoactive Substance Reports (2018) 

A 2018 study by Sanz, Zamberlan, Erowid, Erowid, and Tagliazucchi set out to discover the experience of hallucinogenic drugs and demystify dreams. The study analyzed Erowid.org, a site where people report their experience with recreational drugs, and dreamjournal.net, a site that hosts more than 200,000 dream reports.

The analysis found that the 20 drugs that resulted in dream-like experiences were all psychedelics apart from three: THC, MDMA, and Salvia Divinorum. The results showed that in dreams and hallucinogenic trips, the person described similar experiences such as distortions, a sense of unreality, dissociation from their body, a feeling of losing their sense of self, and a sense of being at one with the world.

Psychedelics or Other Drugs That Help People Have Lucid Dreams

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The 2018 study above and other studies show the similarities between the effects of certain drugs and lucid dreams. If you’re keen to know, the psychedelics and drugs that have the most significant impact on lucid dreams are listed below.

Galantamine

Galantamine is used to treat cognitive decline, which is frequently given to patients with Alzheimer's disease or other memory problems. It's used to help patients improve their memory, consciousness, and capacity to carry out daily tasks.

It does, however, aid in the ability to have lucid dreams. It's best to take it immediately before night because you'll be pushing your body into the REM stage. It generates incredibly vivid and extended dreams.

However, it is recommended that you cleanse your system thoroughly before taking it again, as lucid dreams can quickly transform into nightmares.

Nicotine

It comes in the form of a patch or chewing gum, and its primary purpose is to assist smokers in quitting smoking. It should be used in minimal dosages for lucid dreams and only on rare occasions because it might trigger an autoimmune condition that causes muscle spasms and exhaustion.

Please note, Nicotine is an addictive substance that shouldn't be underestimated. 

Nicotine’s effects are significantly higher than those of the former substance, which is why you must use extreme caution when administering it. However, if you only wear the patch during lucid dreaming efforts, the adverse effects can be minimized. 

LSD

This is one of the most potent and mood-altering illegal narcotics on the market. Users claim to have changed awareness of their environment, perceptions, sentiments, and pictures and sensations that only appear to be real.

The 2018 study above shows that LSD was the most likely to induce a lucid dream-like state out of all of the drugs analyzed. This isn’t to say that LSD will make you fall asleep and have lucid dreams, but rather the psychedelic trip is the most similar to the experience of a lucid dream. 

Please note that even if in theory LSD might be able to help you experience lucid dreams, it is very difficult to fall asleep while under the influence of this drug. Making it far from being a good method to encourage lucid dreaming in your daily life.

Magic Mushrooms 

You can consume them, make tea, combine them with other dishes, or coat them in chocolate before eating. It has extreme psychedelic qualities that can last from three to eight hours after consumption.

A study in 2014 by Imperial College London showed that after consuming magic mushrooms, users experienced waking dreams, similar to lucid dreams, for days after taking them. 

Conclusion

Even though all of the substances mentioned above might be able to help you generate high degrees of lucid dreaming, the results may vary from person to person. As a result, caution must be exercised when using any of them.

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