Can You Get Hurt in a Lucid Dream?

Man getting hurt in lucid dream

Lucid dreaming offers many varied benefits beyond it just being a whole lot of fun. But, because a lucid dream feels just as real as the waking world many people wonder if you can get physically injured from lucid dreaming. Can you get hurt in a lucid dream?

It is not possible to get physically hurt in a lucid dream. Although being hurt in a lucid dream will feel very real, it will have no effect on your sleeping physical body because everything’s happening only within your mind.

Is it possible to get hurt while lucid dreaming?

Many people believe that you can get physically hurt in a lucid dream because, by their very nature, lucid dreams feel incredibly real. It can be difficult to wrap your head around the fact that you have just experienced an event that would normally injure your body, yet you remain unhurt.

The naturalness, and vivid life-like nature, of lucid dreams means you experience events in them in the same ways you experience events in the waking world. In fact, lucid dreams feel so real that some people even develop memories from their lucid dreams that are indistinguishable from real world memories. Though this is a rare occurrence, as I covered here, it is evidence of just how real lucid dreams feel.

So, it is no wonder many non-lucid dreamers, and people new to the experience of lucid dreaming, are fearful that events encounter within a lucid dream can affect them in real life.

Although lucid dreaming can affect reality it does so in very normal ways, such as helping you to enhance real-world skills, it cannot affect your physical body in any way.

Lucid dreams can not harm you. Lucid dreaming is in no way dangerous or bad. Everything is occurring within your brain and therefore anything that happens within a lucid dream is only happening in your mind.

However, because lucid dreams feel so real, and due to at least one film about lucid dreaming, many urban myths have arisen around the phenomenon of controlled-dreaming. This has been exacerbated with the dawn of the internet and the growth of online forums.

Lucid dreaming urban myths

There are many urban myths that surround lucid dreaming. These myths tend to lean more on the scary side making many people afraid to lucid dream. Take a look at these 3 scary lucid dreaming stories for examples of what I am talking about.

I have covered some lucid dreaming urban myths previously on this website and I will link to each article in turn as I cover them.

Myths about lucid dreaming:

  1. Lucid dreaming is dangerous.
  2. You can get stuck in a lucid dream.
  3. Lucid dreaming can put you in a coma.
  4. Lucid dreaming causes regular sleep paralysis.
  5. You can die in lucid dream.
  6. Lucid dreaming is a sin.

Let’s quickly look at these 6 lucid dreaming myths and debunk them one by one.

Myth 1: Lucid dreaming is dangerous

Lucid dreaming carries no more danger than normal dreaming. Actually, a lucid dream is a normal dream in every respect except one – you are fully conscious in the dream.

Just as it is not dangerous to experience a normal dream, it is just as safe to experience a lucid dream. In fact, it is actually bad for you if you don’t dream! And, as a lucid dream is just a normal dream that you are consciously aware that you are having, there is no reason to avoid taking advantage of the many benefits lucid dreaming offers.

Ok, so you cannot get physically hurt in a lucid dream because everything is only happening in your brain but what about potential brain injuries?

As I explained in this article, there are specific areas of the brain that are active during a lucid dream that are not active in a non-lucid dream. But this doesn’t mean that abnormal things are happening in your brain.

The areas that are active in a lucid dream are the same areas that are normally active during wakefulness. So, your brain is not doing anything that it doesn’t normally do during the day.

Myth 2: You can get stuck in a lucid dream

This myth existed before a certain famous lucid dreaming movie was ever made but, with the release of Inception, the belief that a lucid dreamer can become stuck in their own dreamworld grew to unreasonable proportions.

The concept of dream limbo, introduced in the film Inception, was a great plot twist and very entertaining but it has absolutely no basis in fact.

In the article can you get stuck in a lucid dream I clearly show how it is impossible to enter a state of “limbo”, where you cannot wake up from a dream or, where you forget that you are dreaming (which is just what a normal dream anyway .. right?!).

The very nature of dreams, both lucid and non-lucid, make it impossible to stay stuck in the state of dreaming sleep for all the reasons I highlight in the previously mentioned article. If you want a detailed explanation of how you cannot get stuck in a lucid dream read that article.

This myth, although busted, is closely linked to the next.

Myth 3: Lucid dreaming can put you in a coma

The myth that lucid dreaming can put you in a coma is prevalent on the internet. It is often used as a scare tactic (and link bait) to frighten people away from learning how to lucid dream.

I totally busted this myth in a previous article that cites qualified medical sources which show clearly how it is impossible to enter a state of coma just because you are lucid dreaming.

On the flip side, though there is evidence to show that some people already in a coma can lucid dream. However, lucid dreaming cannot put you into a coma.

Remember, lucid dreams have the same properties and origins as normal dreams. So, if you cannot go into a coma from having a normal dream (which you can’t) then it stands to reason that you cannot go into a coma from having a lucid dream either.

Myth 4: Lucid dreaming causes regular sleep paralysis

The statement that lucid dreaming causes sleep paralysis regularly is not true. Waking from a lucid dream is, for the most part, the same process as waking from a regular dream and feels the same.

However, this myth does have some basis in fact. So, I need to make a disclaimer here; it is possible to experience sleep paralysis after having a lucid dream. Having said that, you are just as likely to experience sleep paralysis after a regular dream.

Occurrences of sleep paralysis after waking from a lucid dream are rare though.

I covered the subject of dealing with sleep paralysis in this article. If you are concerned about this happening to you, you should read that article. It gives easy-to-implement simple methods for avoiding sleep paralysis but also details simple ways of getting out of sleep paralysis quickly if you ever find yourself experiencing it.

So, although lucid dreaming can lead to rare cases of sleep paralysis, you can actually use lucid dreaming techniques to deal with it and get out of it quickly.

Myth 5: You can die in a lucid dream

This is probably the most ridiculous urban myth surrounding lucid dreaming – if you die in a lucid dream you die in real life. This myth is actually not just confined to lucid dreaming. Many people believe that of you die in a regular dream you will die in real life as well.

Not only is this an unrealistic viewpoint to have but how could you ever prove it? Someone would need to come back as a ghost to prove that they died in real life as a result of dying in their dream!

Think of it logically. Anything that happens in a dream stays in the dream. For example, if you dream that you are getting soaked from heavy rain do you wake up wet? Of course not! Likewise, if you die in a dream you will not die in real life – you are much more likely to simply wake up.

Myth 6: Lucid dreaming is a sin

This myth is often used to stop those spiritually-minded people from trying lucid dreaming. Is lucid dreaming a sin?

No it isn’t!

If lucid dreaming is a sin then regular dreaming is a sin because the only difference between the two is that in one you are unaware that you are dreaming and in the other one you are fully conscious.

The belief that lucid dreaming is a sin stems from a few different viewpoints:

  1. Firstly, the false belief that lucid dreaming is supernatural.
  2. Secondly, the fact that you can fulfil sinful fantasies in them.

As I demonstrated in this article lucid dreaming is far from supernatural and is, in fact, completely normal and natural. Lucid dreaming is so normal that many people do it every night naturally and spontaneously without any training.

I also point out in that previously mentioned article that although you can sin in a lucid dream it is just as easy to sin in real life. If you want to avoid sinning in a lucid dream just don’t do anything that you would consider a sin if you did it in the real world – you are in full control of the dream after all!

Can you feel pain in a lucid dream?

Ok, so we have determined that lucid dreaming cannot hurt you physically or cause you any harm in the real world. But, what about the sensations of getting hurt? Can getting hurt in a lucid dream make you feel pain.

It is possible to feel pain in a lucid dream because lucid dreams feel just as real as real life. However, a trained lucid dreamer can instantly eliminate pain or even prevent it from happening in the first place. 

It is possible to prevent the sensation of pain in a lucid dream through a simple act of will. Likewise, a lucid dreamer can also instantly stop feelings of pain they are experiencing in a lucid dream by just deciding to stop it.

Can you feel pain from a dream when you wake up?

Sometimes you will hear stories of dreamers that have woken feeling the same pain that they experienced in a dream (lucid and non-lucid).  Why is this? If being hurt in a dream cannot possibly cause physical harm to you in the real world how do we account for this phenomenon?

Let me give you an example that may help you to understand what is going on.

Back when I was a energetic 17 year old (so many moons ago), I had a vivid dream where I caught the shoulder of my motorcycle jacket on barbed wire (I grew up in Belfast, N. Ireland in the 80’s when the whole country was militarized).

Although the dream was not a lucid dream it was so vivid that upon awakening I immediately leaped out of bed and proceeded to go yo the coat cupboard to check my jacket.

As you may have already guessed I indeed found a small rip in the exact position on my jaket where I had experienced it happening in the dream. Needless to say this freaked me out somewhat (I was only 17 after all), until I gave the situation some critical thought.

Now, obviously the dream did not cause a rip to occur in my jacket, so what exactly was going on here?

Well it seems that during the day we are bombarded with millions of pieces of information from the environment around us. It is estimated that for the majority of people the conscious mind can only focus on up to 4 things at a time. However, the subconscious mind can process every piece of stimulus it encounters. This means that things which go unnoticed to you consciously are processed and stored by the subconscious mind.

If you think this is not the case then consider the “cocktail party effect”. We have all been in a situation where we are engaged in a conversation, or other activity, in a crowded environment with many different conversations going on all at once. Then suddenly we become altered to a specific conversation when our name is mentioned. This can happen even if your name is mentioned at a considerable distance away, in a conversation that you were unaware you could even hear.

This cocktail party effect demonstrates just how much information your brain is processing without you being consciously aware of it. As your name is mentioned, your subconscious mind immediately alerts you that something of interest connected to you is occurring.

So, how does this relate to the small rip in my motorcycle jacket and the feeling of pain following you from the dreamworld to the real world?

Well, in regards to my ripped motorcycle jacket, obviously at some point during the day I caught my jacket on something and caused a small rip to appear. Consciously I was unaware of this happening but my subconscious mind was not. As dreams are often used by the mind to process daily events, my subconscious mind presented the ripped jacket within a dream. It merely used the event of ripping my jacket as a storyline within my dream.

In the same manner something can happen to your sleeping body to cause it pain and your subconscious mind will incorporate that pain into your dream. When you awaken and experience the pain in the real world it seems like the dream caused the pain.

You can feel the same pain when you wake up that you experienced in a dream usually only when the pain originated in the real world. For example, a bite from a spider on your sleeping body may be incorporated by your mind into your dream. When you awaken and feel the pain from the bite it will feel as though the dream caused the pain when it was, in fact, the opposite.

Are you still too scared to lucid dream?

No matter what occurs in your lucid dream it will have no effect on your physical body in the real world. You simply cannot get hurt in a lucid dream.

When you wake up, your body will show no signs of trauma from negative events that occured within your dreamworld – no matter how real they felt at the time.

So, why not give lucid dreaming a try and see just how exhilarating, fun and life-changing it can be. Learn more here.

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