Lucid dreaming offers many benefits and opens us up to experience the type of fantasies and adventures that would never be available to us in the waking world. But, just as with most things in life some people wonder if too much of a good thing can be bad. Is it bad to lucid dream too much?
It is bad to lucid dream too much but it is not possible to do. Non-lucid dreams are an important vehicle used by the subconscious mind for dealing with, sorting, storing and processing memories, life experiences and emotional issues. If it were possible to make every dream a lucid dream this important role would be greatly diminished and would have a negative impact on us.
The important role dreams play
To demonstrate to you why turning every dream into a lucid dream is a very bad idea, I need to highlight the very important role that non-lucid dreams have on our psyche and well-being. But, before I do that I should state clearly that it is not possible to lucid dream too much. I will highlight why you can’t possibly lucid dream too much later in this article. For now, simply know that you don’t be worried about learning to lucid dream as you are not able to do it more than is healthy.
A really good lucid dreaming course will give you more than enough training to become a master at this skill. Even if you already lucid dream, learning advanced techniques will greatly improve your lucid experiences and give you control over the amount of lucid dreams you have.
So, let’s highlight some of the key benefits we get from standard dreaming.
Although we still don’t fully understand every benefit we get from dreaming there are some key things that regular dreaming does for us.
Some of the main important roles dreams play in our lives:
- Dreams are theurapedic.
- Dreams are used by the brain to process and store information gathered during the day.
- Dreams act as memory aids.
When you sleep your body may enter into a restful state but your brain remains very much active. In your dreams your subconscious mind can play out specific scenarios to help your brain better process emotional issues in your life. It is a form of self-therapy that is of benefit to both mind and body.
Likewise, situations that you encountered during your waking hours can be processed while you dream. It is said that the subconscious mind registers and stores every detail that comes to you through your five senses. That is a lot of data to process. At night, when you are unconscious (not consciously in control) the subconscious mind has ample opportunity to process this data and arrange it in a way that gives you easier access to important information while awake.
We can liken this mental activity to the defragmenting of a computer hard drive, when the computer rearranges the storage of information in a way that makes the whole system perform faster and better.
Also, because your brain is operating at a much more emotional level when you are dreaming, than when you’re awake (because you are mentally in the realm of the subconscious mind and not the conscious mind), your brain is better able to process emotional issues that you may not be able to process during the waking state. You may have experienced such a phenomenon in the past when had a dream that resolved an issue or uncovered some emotional connections that you consciously never made.
As you can see dreams are an excellent way of processing not only hard information but also processing emotions. So it should come as no surprise that they are also a means for the mind to process memories.
Although a dream may seem totally unrelated to anything you experienced during the day, though more often than not some aspects of the day are incorporated into your dreams, they are actually serving a vitally important role in how your mind works and functions while you are awake. When dreaming your brain is organising your memories and the storage of them. It has been shown that lack of REM dream sleep has a very negative effect on memory and recall.
Dreams are essential for our mental health.
They help the brain process vital information and effect our memories and recall.
If we didn’t dream we simply would not be able to function properly in the everyday world.
Sleep studies have shown the very negative effects that sleep deprivation has on people but three famous examples of sleep deprivation show just how important dreams are to us and what happens when you don’t get to dream. Randy Gardner, Peter Tripp and Tom Rounds are three men who have went the longest without sleep – each over 200 hours. They all experienced periods of intense paranoia and all had hallucinations, as though they were dreaming while awake!
Why lucid dreaming too much is a bad idea
Even though lucid dreams are just dreams they are very different from the standard regular type of dreaming.
In standard dreams the subconscious mind is free to structure and guide the dream in any way it chooses. This allows it the ability to use the dream for the processing activities we discussed above. In lucid dreams it is a different matter entirely.
In a lucid dream the subconscious mind is still responsible for the structuring of the dream and everything in it. But, because you can do anything you want in a lucid dream, a large part of that control has been switched from the subconscious mind to the conscious mind thus restricting the subconscious mind’s ability to use the dream for processing purposes. So, for example, instead of processing an important emotional episode that occurred during the day, you are off frolicking in the woods with the latest hollywood megastar or discussing the theory of relativity with Einstein.
Unscripted dreams, i.e. non-lucid-dreams are vitally important to us. Evidence suggests that lack of dreaming is just as detrimental, if not more detrimental, to us as lack of sleep is. Getting short periods of sleep but not entering REM dream states is just as bad as not getting any sleep at all even if those small periods last many hours when combined.
So we can see that dreaming is vital and can also see that non-lucid-dreaming is very important.
So we can therefore say that lucid dreaming too much would be a very bad thing.
But how much is too much?
Too much, as far as lucid dreaming goes, would be every dream every night.
If every dream were a lucid dream your subconscious mind could not properly process important information which is vital for a healthy mind.
Luckily, it is not possible to make every dream a lucid dream.
It seems that due to their immense importance to how the brain functions we cannot turn every dream we have into a lucid dream even if we wanted to. Thus we are protected from the negative effects of dream-deprivation at least from our lucid dreaming activities.
Why you cannot lucid dream too much
Many people mistakenly believe that they have just one dream per night. On occasions when they remember having two or more dreams they think it is only because they have awoken during the night and some time later went back to sleep. The act of falling back to sleep is thought by many to merely trigger a new sleep cycle and thus another dream. However, this is not the case.
When we sleep for an extended time, of several hours, we are guaranteed to have more than one dream.
Although there is some fairly recent research that is pointed to evidence that some dreams occur out of REM state (Rapid Eye Movement), it is widely held belief that the REM state is the state in which we dream.
The brain goes through several REM cycles during each prolonged nightly sleep session. Each period of REM results in the sleeper dreaming. Therefore each REM state offers the dreamer the opportunity to become lucid in the dream. It is certainly the state in which lucid dreams occur.
To understand why you cannot possibly lucid dream too much we need to look at the number of dreams we have each night and discuss why having so many dreams makes it impossible to lucid dream too much.
How many dreams do you have a night?
We dream more than once every night. Each dream offers the subconscious mind a vehicle for processing the important information of the day and for helping us deal with emotional issues as well as helping us store memories, as I outlined above. But how many dreams do we have each night?
A person can have between 5 – 9 dreams each night with the average being 6 dreams in an 8 hour sleep period. Each REM dream state will last from 10 minutes to 1 hour with the shortest being the first dream and the longest being the last dream.
Because we have so many dreams each night we have more than enough opportunities for the subconscious mind to use those dreams for important mental processing tasks. Even if you lucid dream every night, you will experience more than enough dreams needed to perform those mental processes.
As each dream gets longer, with each consequent dream, many lucid dreamers will wait until the last dream of the night to become lucid. This way they can make the lucid dream last longer and have more time to enjoy the experience.
How many lucid dreams can you have?
As I have discussed above because it is not possible to make every dream a lucid dream you therefore do not need to worry about suffering the negative effects of REM-sleep-deprivation, at least as far as lucid dreaming goes. But how many lucid dreams can you actually have?
It is possible to have several lucid dreams in one night. Although this is ok to do occasionally it is not recommended long-term. You can safely have 1 lucid dream each night though it is more common to have 3 – 5 lucid dreams per week.
You can actually increase the number of lucid dreams you have without worrying about inferring with the natural dream processes of the mind. With proper training, through a course and community like this one, you can train yourself to have daily lucid dreams. Such courses also improve the vividness, control and overall structure of your lucid dreams making them more lifelike while simultaneously giving you more power over the dreamworld.
I would, though, avoid using lucid dreaming masks as most of them simply do not work!
Finally, although it is possible to have several lucid dreams each night I strongly recommend having only one lucid dream per night and only over a 5 day period i.e. 1 lucid dream per night 5 days out of every 7 days.
Following the pattern of only 1 lucid dream per night and only on 5 out of 7 days will give more than enough daily non-scripted non-lucid dreams to process the day’s activities and also give you two full days of non-lucid-dreaming to give your mind ample opportunity to process the important mental and emotional tasks that I have outlined in this article.