A pilot study shows how lucid dreaming impacts insomnia and mood symptoms, reports Psychology Today.

The authors of a recent study published in Behavioral Sleep Medicine thus set out to assess whether lucid dream training could improve insomnia symptoms, along with waking mood symptoms, under the hypothesis that through lucid dreams individuals could reduce the negative content of their dreams thereby ameliorating sleep and waking mood symptoms. The final sample included 48 adults (22 males and 26 females, mean age 28.83 ± 8.67 years) who were not experienced in lucid dreaming.

Participants in the study first completed baseline questionnaire measures of insomnia, anxiety, and depression symptoms. They then attended four training sessions over the course of two weeks, during which they learned about techniques for inducing lucid dreams. These included techniques for improving dream recall, practicing checking whether they were awake or dreaming throughout the day, noticing unusual elements in their dreams that could clue them in to the fact that they are dreaming, setting the intention to become lucid, and visualizing becoming lucid in dreams. Participants were encouraged to practice these techniques at home.

One month following the completion of this training, participants were asked whether they had experienced at least one lucid dream since training. They again completed questionnaire measures of insomnia, anxiety, and depression symptoms. Thirty-seven of the 48 participants reported attaining at least one lucid dream, whereas 11 did not experience any lucid dreams. Overall, participants showed a decrease in insomnia, anxiety, and depression symptoms. Further, those who experienced a lucid dream had a greater decrease in their insomnia and anxiety symptoms compared to the individuals who did not have a lucid dream.

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