Lucid dreaming is a fairly well covered topic. We can learn how to induce a lucid dream from helpful posts and videos. We can listen to lucid dreamers share techniques for controlling all aspects of the dreamworld in podcasts and YouTube shorts. And it seems that most lucid dreamers are talking about how to induce lucid dreams and what to do in them once you’re in them. It seems that we know about the start. We know about the middle. But what about the end … how do lucid dreams end?
Most lucid dreams will end in one of four ways. 1.You wake up before the dream ends. 2. The dream fades as you move out of REM and you wake up. 3. The dream begins to fade and you fall into unconsciousness. 4. The dreamworld begins to fade but you retain full consciousness – you can then either wake yourself, drift into unconsciousness or wait for your next REM cycle. Properly trained lucid dreamers can often stop a lucid dream from ending by prolonging the REM state and reinstating the dream.
If you don’t know exactly what a lucid dream and what you can do in one then I will tell you briefly. Lucid dreams are extremely vivid dreams in which the dreamer is completely awake and aware consciously. Although there are uncontrolled lucid dreams, in which the dreamer can only control their actions and nothing else, the most popular type of lucid dream talked about online is one that involves the dreamer having full control over everything in the dreamworld.
Regardless of whether you experience a controlled lucid dream or an uncontrolled one, these type of dreams tend to be very clear and very vivid. In fact, clear lucid dreams tend to feel feel very much like real life.
Now, there is a lot of talk online about lucid dreams and the entire topic is growing in popularity every year. Back in 2010 the film Inception brought lucid dreaming into mainstream consciousness and now many websites and YouTube channels exist that tell us how to lucid dream and which lucid dreaming induction techniques are best. A bit like The Secret did for the law of attraction – except lucid dreaming is real. 😉
As well as basic lucid dreaming advice we also have the advanced lucid dreamers who share dream-control techniques for becoming omnipotent in a created dreamworld that feels just as real as everyday real life.
And, of course we have all heard the amazing lucid dreaming stories of how much fun people have had living out their wildest fantasies in their lucid dreams (I swear I’m not going to mention Charlize Theron and the Millenium Falcon in this post – and no searching for those references in the search bar from you please!).
Then we have the courses that promise to guide you lucid dream in 30 days, and others that teach you how have and read your lucid dreams for personal growth and inner understanding. There are multiple lucid dreaming courses out there and it can be difficult to know which ones are worth it (this is one of the better ones).
Know though that it is completely true that everyone can lucid dream and anyone can learn how to do it if they are willing to put in the effort. And it is worth the effort.
But although there is a lot of talk about inducing lucid dreams and what to do once you are in one, no-one talks about how they end. So let’s do that now.
How lucid dreams end
Lucid dreams tend to end in similar ways to regular dreams though sometimes the lucid dreamer will retain full consciousness within their sleeping body after the dream is over. Let’s take a look at the ways in which lucid dreams end in closer detail.
There are 4 ways in which a lucid dream can end.
The 4 ways a lucid dream usually ends:
- You wake up before the dream is over just as you can do in a normal dream.
- The dream fades as you move out of REM and you wake up.
- The dream fades as you move out of REM and you simply slip into unconsciousness.
- The dream fades as you move out of REM but you retain full conscious awareness and can decide to wake yourself up, slip into unconsciousness or stay aware until your next REM cycle.
1. You wake up
You can wake up before a lucid dream ends just the same way you can wake up in the middle of a normal dream. However, this is the least common method of ending a lucid dream. It is only ever done deliberately if the lucid dreamer feels they need to wake their physical body up for some reason.
If a lucid dream does end in this way it is likely someone, or something, near your physical body has awoken you.
2. The dream fade that wakes you
More often than not you will simply wake up at the end of the dream once you come out of the REM stage of your sleep cycle.
It is actually very common to wake up physically even after a regular dream ends because as we come out of REM we go into another sleep cycle that begins with light sleep (I covered this here if you are interest reading more on sleep cycles and how they affect lucid dreaming). Most people wake up after they have a dream, which means waking up several times per night. They just forget this happened because when they wake they are in a hazy state of consciousness and then fall asleep again quickly.
So, waking up physically when a lucid dream ends is perfectly normal. But that doesn’t tell you how the dream ended. How does the lucid dream end as we move out of REM?
Well, if you are nearing the end of a sleep cycle, and thus your REM stage of sleep is coming to an end, your lucid dream will start to become hazy and begin to slowly fade. It’s a bit like the dimming of the lights on a movie set as it fades into nothingness.
This can be a bit strange the first time you experience it especially if you are in a particularly vivid and colorful lucid dream. Because you are experiencing a dream that feels totally real and very lifelike it can be a bit disorientating when everything starts to fade all around you. I wouldn’t call it scary (there are other scary types of lucid dreams and even lucid nightmares) but it is slightly disconcerting. You do get used to it very quickly though.
3. The dream fades and so do you
Sometimes when the dream fades, as you start moving out of REM, instead of waking up you will simply fall back into unconsciousness. As the dream fades so does your focus and concentration.
It is perfectly normal to become unconscious after a lucid dream has faded to nothing. In fact, you can sometimes fall into unconsciousness in the middle of a lucid dream if you let your focus and attention wander too much.
4. Fade to black
In rare occasions when you start to move out of REM sleep and the dream starts to fade you will actually retain full conscious awareness. You remain completely awake mentally even though everything around you is disappearing.
I still find this a slightly strange experience. Once the dream has completely faded to black it is as if you are stuck inside your own skull looking at nothingness, or I suppose looking at darkness would be a better analogy.
If you find that as your lucid dream begins to fade you are retaining full conscious awareness you can maintain this mental state as watch as the dream completely disappear and gets replaced by complete blackness. When this happens you will be aware of your physical body and feel that it is paralysed. This is known as sleep paralysis and is a completely normal and healthy experience. It is nothing to worry about.
Your body becomes temporarily paralysed during REM sleep to stop you from acting out your dreams in the real world where you could do something to hurt yourself or someone else. So this is a very useful safety mechanism and you should view it as such.
At this point you have several choices.
- Wake yourself up physically through an act of willpower or by simply intending it.
- Let yourself drift into unconsciousness merely by willing and then allowing it.
- Retain your conscious awareness and wait for the next REM cycle where you can enter another lucid dream.
Any one of these three choices is perfectly acceptable and perfectly safe and will not affect your quality of sleep. However, I tend to avoid the third option, unless it is very close to my last sleep cycle when REM states are very close together, simply because I get bored waiting!
If you want to try lucid dreaming for yourself, or you want to hone your lucid dreaming skills so you become omnipotent within your lucid dreamworld, then check out this amazing course that comes with its own community of lucid dreamers connected to it. What are you waiting for … get dreaming!