Catch Yourself in a Dream

05.26.2022 - By The Science of Happiness

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Have you ever known you're dreaming while you're asleep? Our guests try practices to help induce lucid dreams, and we hear what they can teach us about consciousness.

Episode summary:

How do you know you’re awake? Are you sure? Practicing lucid dreaming means taking a step back to question your very consciousness — throughout your day, and even when you’re asleep. It’s no wonder lucid dreaming is associated with mindfulness. In this episode, journalists Marylee Williams and Michaeleen Doucleff try a practice to induce lucid dreaming, and researcher Benjamin Baird explains what lucid dreaming is teaching scientists about consciousness, plus how it might benefit our well-being. Lucid dreaming appears to help foster creativity and can boost your mood when you wake up.

Try Lucid Dreaming

There are a few different ways to induce lucid dreams. All of them take time and practice. Find a brief summary below and more information at this link:

(i) Reality Testing (RT), a technique that involves checking your environment several times a day to see whether or not you’re dreaming;

(iii) MILD, a technique that involves waking up after five hours of sleep and then developing the intention to remember that you are dreaming before returning to sleep, by repeating the phrase ‘The next time I’m dreaming, I will remember that I’m dreaming;’ you also imagine yourself in a lucid dream;

(iv) SSILD, a technique that involves waking up after five hours of sleep and then repeatedly focusing your attention on visual, auditory, and physical sensations for 20 seconds each before returning to sleep; this technique is similar to mindfulness meditation but involved repeatedly shifting your focus;

More Resources:

Lucid Dreaming FAQ by The Lucidity Institute:

Lucid Dreaming at TEDx:

Learn about the cognitive neuroscience of lucid dreaming from today’s expert Benjamin Baird:

More sleep resources from The Greater Good Science Center:

Why Your Brain Needs to Dream:

The Influence of Dreams:

How Mindfulness Improves Sleep:

Your Sleep Tonight Changes How You React to Stress Tomorrow:

Dear Christine: Why Can’t I Sleep?

Today’s guests:

Michaeleen Doucleff f is a science reporter for NPR and author of the book Hunt, Gather, Parent.

Check out her reporting:

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Mary Lee Williams is an editor and producer on a morning news show in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

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Benjamin Baird is a Research Assistant Professor at The University of Texas at Austin, where he focuses on consciousness, including lucid dreaming.

Check out Dr. Baird’s website:

Tell us about your experiences and struggles with lucid dreams by emailing us at [email protected] or using the hashtag #happinesspod.

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