WHAT IS LUCID DREAMING?
Lucid dreaming is simply the knowledge that you are dreaming while dreaming. Nothing more, nothing less.
In other words, during a normal night's dream, you "wake up" inside the dream, and understand, with complete certainty, that everything you are experiencing is a dream. You know that you're dreaming during the dream.
If you've ever had a dream and thought "Oh, this is just a dream!", then you've had a lucid dream.
CAN ANYONE LEARN TO LUCID DREAM?
Probably. Most websites will simply answer "yes", but the simple truth is that nobody knows for certain. In practical terms, it seems highly likely that most healthy individuals can learn to lucid dream.
While it is likely that most people can learn to lucid dream, we must accept that this is not a hard fact, there simply hasn't been enough research to confirm this.
Just as with any physical ability or trait, humans are incredibly varied. While we can make the generalization that most humans have a sense of sight, we must also accept that varying levels of blindness exist.
Lucid dreaming is likely to follow a similar pattern. It's probable that most people fall within the bell-curve and will be able to learn to lucid dream, but there will also be outliers: those who lucid dream with extreme ease and those who are entirely incapable.
One thing is certain, if you've experienced a spontaneous natural lucid dream, then you can safely assume you are capable of developing and improving upon this ability.
HOW LONG WILL A LUCID DREAM LAST?
Anywhere from a few minutes to an hour, sometimes longer.
REM sleep, the stage of sleep in which dreams occur, happens roughly 90 minutes after you fall asleep.
The first period of REM typically lasts 10 minutes.
You'll then reenter dreamless non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM) for a further 90 minutes until the next stage of REM. This roughly 90-minute pattern repeats throughout your night's sleep.
REM stages grow progressively longer with each new cycle and your final REM period may last up to an hour or more.
Lucid dreaming can only last as long as any period of REM, but often is shorter as it is probable that a period of your dream will be spent without lucidity.
There are generally five periods of REM sleep on any given night, meaning you can experience multiple lucid dreams in a single night's sleep.
IS LUCID DREAMING DANGEROUS?
Absolutely not. Lucid dreaming is an entirely safe and natural state of mind.
Lucid dreaming is one of the safest natural forms of mind exploration available.
A lucid dream is nothing more than a normal night's dream with self-reflective consciousness added into the mix.
As with any dream, there is always the chance for scary, strange, or unnerving experiences. However, the knowledge that you are dreaming helps keep these experiences fun, as you're fully aware that you're entirely safe in the virtual world of dreams—this knowledge is lacking in non-lucid dreams.
Lucid dreams are as safe as any other dream.
HOW MUCH CONTROL WILL I HAVE IN A LUCID DREAM?
This will vary greatly depending on your experience and natural abilities.
Many people mistakenly assume that lucid dreams immediately come with complete god-like control over the dream world, this isn't true.
Dream control is a separate skill that is developed and improved upon after you have learnt to lucid dream.
In general, your ability to control the dream will fluctuate from dream to dream. It correlates closely with how deeply you grasp the virtual nature of the dream space.
Dream control is deeply connected to belief and expectation, in other words, if you believe something is possible in the dream world, that is often all it takes to make it so.
For most people, dream control is a reasonably simple skill to develop, and many find that it comes rather naturally.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO LEARN TO LUCID DREAM?
This varies from one individual to the next. In general, most people can experience their first lucid dream within three months of training.
Like any complex skill, lucid dreaming takes time to learn.
With dedicated training, most people can experience their first lucid dream within three months. However, this fluctuates greatly between individuals.
As a rule, a year of focused training is the average amount of time it takes to become a reasonably regular lucid dreamer.
As with most things in life, lucid dreaming will reward you depending upon the time and effort you invest.
HOW OFTEN WILL I LUCID DREAM?
Again, this will vary greatly between individuals, there is no set rule.
Once you become reasonably adept at inducing a lucid dream you'll potentially be able to experience somewhere between 1-5 lucid dreams a week. It is incredibly rare, for all but the most naturally gifted lucid dreamers, to lucid dream every night.
Your rate of lucid dreams will fluctuate greatly and depend entirely on how much time and effort you invest.
There is no set rule on how often you'll be able to induce a lucid dream. A very rare few report lucid dreams every night, others only a handful each month, for most, it falls somewhere between these two extremes.
It is genuinely impossible to make a definitive statement as there are too many variables at play. Be wary of teachers who make firm statements regarding lucid dream regularity.
In general effort and dedication are the most important factors.
WHAT IS THE BEST TECHNIQUE FOR LUCID DREAMING?
There is no such thing as a perfect technique for lucid dreaming. In reality, you will need to employ multiple techniques and discover what works best for you.
There is no single technique that will guarantee lucid dreaming.
Indeed, it is best to avoid becoming too obsessed with individual techniques as, in general, techniques are simply a shorthand "hack" to force certain behaviours and ways of thinking.
Lucid dreaming requires each lucid dreamer to employ a degree of creativity and science to discover their own best route into the dream space.
Experimentation and quality record-keeping are the core elements required. Everything else requires thoughtful testing and evaluation.
IS LUCID DREAMING ADDICTIVE?
No. While lucid dreaming is an incredibly compelling experience, there are natural safeguards that make addiction impossible.
You might wonder, if lucid dreaming is so wonderful, why would I not want to do it all the time and become addicted?
This is a very good question.
While lucid dreaming holds huge appeal and is incredibly compelling, becoming obsessed or addicted is virtually impossible.
The nature of lucid dreaming is such that it is self-limiting. REM periods are finite—you simply cannot spend an unlimited amount of time dreaming, this is physically impossible. Once your body has completed its required REM sleep, that's it until the next night.
Equally, lucid dreaming is difficult to achieve and requires work. Lucid dreaming rarely occurs without a concerted effort. Even experienced lucid dreamers still need to put in a sizeable and continued energy for lucidity to occur. This helps limit access to the state which, in turn, reduces the chance for any unhealthy overindulgence.
Finally, lucid dreaming is most easily achieved with a stable and focused mind. Addictive or obsessive mindsets are the antithesis of the calm, logical, and mindful states required for lucidity.
The skills and experience of lucid dreaming will likely help curb and reduce addictive personality traits rather than exasperate them.