Can lucid dreaming detract from the recuperative effect of REM sleep?

Imagine you mastered lucid dreaming, so you have a lucid dream every night. You might want to use this phase to do creative work or problem solving.

Would this have a negative influence on the recuperative effect of sleep?

• @draks note that this question has been asked (and answered) on quora: quora.com/Sleep/… – Jeff Nov 29 '12 at 5:46
• @Jeff thanks for the link, but in my opinion the answers there are inconclusive, but it looks like it depends on you... – draks ... Apr 8 '13 at 22:42
• @Jeff can you use the resources in the quora answers to inform an answer suitable to this site? – Artem Kaznatcheev Dec 4 '13 at 17:30
• @jeff would you mind posting an answer here? – draks ... Jan 7 '14 at 9:12
• @draks... '@Artem i posted the link because i thought it provided an answer to your question, but this is not my area of expertise. if one of you wants to paraphrase the answer on quora or do some more research, that would be great, but i don't have time for it at the moment – Jeff Jan 9 '14 at 18:31

Lucid dreaming is a half-way state between normal REM sleep and wakefulness. Lucid dreaming probably has less of a recuperative effect than normal REM sleep. On the other hand, there is usually less sleep inertia when waking from a lucid dream than when waking from a non-lucid dream.

The function of REM sleep is still a mystery, so very little is known about how lucid dreaming affects sleep quality.

However, going in the other direction, it is known that sleep quality affects the likelihood of lucid dreaming. More specifically, REM rebound following sleep deprivation, going back to sleep after a morning awakening and being sufficiently sleep deprived to take naps before noon are all common triggers for lucid dreams.

In my experience, I have never had a lucid dream after eight hours of unbroken sleep but if I wake up early in the morning and go back to sleep or if I take a daytime nap then I will quite often get a lucid dream, especially if I have consumed caffeine prior to falling asleep.

Smith, B. V., & Blagrove, M. (2015). Lucid dreaming frequency and alarm clock snooze button use. Dreaming, 25(4), 291-299. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/drm0000012

Dresler, Martin et al. “Neural correlates of dream lucidity obtained from contrasting lucid versus non-lucid REM sleep: a combined EEG/fMRI case study.” Sleep vol. 35,7 1017-20. 1 Jul. 2012, https://dx.doi.org/10.5665%2Fsleep.1974

I would think so. REM sleep Is in the alpha wave category where visualization Is increased and the restoration properties come from Theta waves. Delta waves are asociated with deep sleep/meditation. I know these waves are simultanious, so, as long as you are producing theta waves, even during the REM/alpha stage, I think you will be getting regenerative results, as well with delta sleep. Its weird because dreams make me want to sleep longer. Not want to wake up. I think dreams have a lot to do with conciousness more so than the brain. If you put your hand in water and slide it, causing a wave or ripple, it follows the hand. I think its the same with conciousness and the brain. The less conscious you are and the more active your brain is (always in beta, on the go, got to constantly be doing something) the more I think your subconcious tries to communicate to you what your waking awareness has lacked to absorb throughout your waking life and when there Is nothing to learn, you play, create, and develope a connection with the dimenions other than the 3rd dimension.

• Welcome to psych.SE and thank you for taking the time to post an answer. Do you have any references to back up the claims made in this post? We do like to be able to check references for accuracy and additional detail. – Arnon Weinberg Jun 14 '19 at 18:51

Having experienced this, here is the outcome :

When having back to back Lucid dreams, one begins to create a new world in which, you begin to have real problems when dreaming or when awake, and essentially comes to make a choice as to which one YOU would like to live in, or to determine which is the real world. This occurs when one has evolved to the point where your Lucid dream would continue from being Awake in the exact same manner that life continues while you are asleep. I am not sure how this happens, but the effects can be quite confusing.

When doing this, I had no problems with obtaining REM, and in fact found that it was much easier to obtain that state within a few minutes.

Mastering lucid dreaming is beneficial, however you will begin to notice that the world you created are bound by laws as well -- albeit a completely different set of rules. For example, one common pretext for dreaming is the wish to fly. When adopted into your world, you may find that you CAN fly, or do pretty much anything, but it requires and existential resource which may or may not be limited in quantity. You are also able to sense that Death in a Lucid dream will definitely kill you, but you start to lose touch with the vice-vera.

To use the state for higher-learning, happens at entry level lucid dreaming where you are in control, but everything may still be a bit "fuzzy". Your dream may carry you through whatever it is that you wish to learn. When mastering Lucid dreams, it works a bit different, in that the whole environment now has it's own life that continues while you are awake. A good (simple) example of this would be if you were to consider the following :

Real Life

You are a passenger in a car and you fall asleep.

Before falling asleep, you notice that

 * The driver is smoking
* You are nearing the exit of the city you are leaving
* It's raining
* A certain song is playing on the radio
* Your little brother is playing with his phone
* Your little sister is sleeping


When you wake up,

  * The driver is no longer smoking
* You are just entering the driveway of your destination
* It is bright and sunny
* "News" is playing on the radio
* Your cushion is now too warm
* Your little brother is asleep
* Your little sister is now awake and playing video games on her portable game device.


Now picture all of that happening, but replace 'Real Life' with Lucid dream, and your sleeping with 'wake up' and your wake up' with sleeping. You can begin to understand how mastering Lucid dreaming can then become a real problem the longer this process continues.

My advice, is instead of mastering Lucid dreaming, would be to utilize the benefits of entry level lucid dream states for higher learning.

To this day, I still have no idea whether I am awake or asleep, and that is not a philosophical reason for it, but from my experiences of Lucid dreaming. Is this 'real' or is it 'real' when I am in my dream world.

I hope this helps.

For those seeking citations from other experiences that are similar to my own and relay the same concept that reality and dream differentiation can become very blurred, here are two references :

Zhuangzi’s Butterfly Dream

Zhuangzi stated "Once I dreamed I was a butterfly, and when I woke, I wasn't sure if I was a butterfly dreaming I was a man, or a man who dreamed of being a butterfly"

This shows that reality comes into question which is the "real" one. My experience is this happens after a lot of "practice", and you keep going further without caring which is which, until you need to make a choice for yourself which one you want to believe and accept as real.

There is also this handy bit on Psychology Today Dream and Reality

While I can not find any studies, I am not surprised as how would one go about studying that which you only have someones word for it. I suspect if you are looking for irrefutable and empirical data, you will find the only real "test" you can do, is to achieve the same level of lucid state for yourself, which is something hinted at, in the works of 3rd parties (and cited in papers since) who are all long since dead so you can not question them any further.

If you wish to know the truth, explore for yourself, and I hope you achieve both the capability to reach the same heights, and the wisdom when it comes time to decide which fate you choose as your reality. Barring that, perhaps accept (or reject) the experiences of those who have tangible results (higher "IQ", more knowledge about things, patience, and wisdom all come with the package).

At the end of the day, it is up to you to decide, and research (beyond any possible included citations), what data you wish to accept.

I have since tracked my sleep using a FitBit Versa for whatever it's worth, which shows that I have much longer REM states than "normal" (and this is decades after the experience i described above), and that my other cycles of sleep are typically very short, and restless - although when I awake, I appear to have not moved (same position, blankets/etc still taut, and so on).

• Your answer does not really seem to target the question (effect of lucid dreaming on effectiveness of 'normal' sleep) – AliceD Dec 21 '14 at 9:50
• Actually, it does, however it is expanded as it isn't a straight yes/no answer. The effects can vary from person to person, and depending upon the depth of how far into Lucid you go. The answer I gave was "When doing this, I had no problems with obtaining REM, and in fact found that it was much easier to obtain that state within a few minutes." . That may vary, but REM is all you need to be rested, hence why you can have a 10 minute nap and feel fully refreshed. Average person requires about 8 hours sleep for a few minutes of REM. – Kraang Prime Dec 21 '14 at 15:50
• No references. Dubious claims. -1. – blz Dec 22 '14 at 22:15
• @blz The reference was my personal experience. I challenge that Any "research" in the area (if ever done) would not be reliable in results as it would be based on the subjects opinions of if they had a lucid dream or not, and would require back to back lucid dreaming. The fact is, if you can control how fast you go into "dream" state -- that is your REM (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rapid_eye_movement_sleep) then you can control your 'rest'. The only difference with Lucid is the lines can become blurred between what is real, and what is dream. – Kraang Prime Dec 23 '14 at 17:00
• @SanuelJackson "The reference was my personal experience". Yes, that's precisely the problem. There are empirical studies relating to lucid dreaming, as a cursory google scholar search reveals, but your personal experience and subsequent speculation isn't addressing the question in an empirical manner. It's anecdotal, hence the downvote. (That said, I mean no disrespect!) – blz Dec 29 '14 at 20:37