Justin Aptaker writes about philosophy, religious studies, sociology, spirituality, culture, psychology, history, and the future.
A Brief Summary of Lucid Dreaming
Lucid dreaming is getting more and more attention these days. If you're reading this, I'm assuming you probably know something about it. Just in case you don't, here's a quick summary. In a lucid dream, the dreamer is able to realize, during their dream, that they are having a dream. By practicing certain techniques, a person can start to lucid dream frequently. With more practice, a person can then learn to control almost every aspect of these dreams, creating their dream-world however they like.
I can personally attest that the power of lucid dreaming is indeed amazing. The experience itself can be more enjoyable than many things, particularly if you are the type of person who would enjoy flying like a bird or having sex with whomever you wish, or having sex with whomever you wish while in the process of flying like superman/superwoman. However, my dreaming story also had a different, darker side. I feel it my duty to offer a word of warning.
Lucid Nightmares Are Not Unstoppable
Please note that my frightening lucid experiences when I was young probably would not have happened if it weren't due to the facts that in my youth I had an anxious personality and was ill-equipped to encounter the subconscious in so direct a manner. I believe that, if caution is exercised, lucid dreams can be put to many good uses, and can potentially benefit humanity in many ways. In fact, I myself have been able to have amazing mystical/transcendent experiences in lucid dreams in the past few years. I do not, therefore, intend for the frightening lucid experiences that I am about to describe to discourage people from practicing lucid dreaming. I'll describe these experiences just to caution people to practice it for the right reasons, and to be cautious when delving into these layers of the mind. I also want to share my experiences so that others who are suffering from terrifying lucid dreams can know that they are not alone in having these, and can understand why they happen. I also want to comfort such people by assuring them that I have only pleasant lucid dreams now, so it really is possible to stop having lucid nightmares and begin enjoying lucid dreams.
Before the Lucid Nightmares
The world of dreams is a doorway into your subconscious mind. I even consider it to be a potential doorway into spiritual realms. However, the thing about your subconscious that you will do well to remember is that it is rather alien territory to your conscious mind, and may well contain things that will confuse or terrify your conscious mind.
Here's my story. When I was about ten or eleven years old, I thought up the notion of learning to know when I was dreaming. I'd experienced a few naturally occurring lucid dreams, as many people have, and I thought, "What if I could learn to do that all the time?" I had never yet heard the term "lucid dream" or read anything on the subject. It was just an idea that popped into a child's head. Well, I was a child who had a voracious appetite for knowledge, and whose favorite hangout spot was the public library. So I did my research, and I discovered that I wasn't the first person to think of learning how to control my dreams. I obtained a book on how to do that, and immediately began to practice its techniques with a vengeance.
I quickly developed the ability to lucid dream every night. At first, lucid dreaming was a dream come true. Every night, I would float up out of my body, up through my bedroom ceiling (looking down on my sleeping body), and then I would fly out over my neighborhood, through my town, and then anywhere in the world I wanted to go. I could change my entire landscape in the blink of an eye, or manifest any object or person I thought of.
Enter the Red Monkey
At this point, I want my reader to do one thing for me: do not think of a red monkey. If you are like me, chances are you just thought of a red monkey. That's how the mind works. Now if you had been dreaming, and had thought of that same red monkey, that monkey would have become a real part of your dream. And if instead of thinking of a monkey, you think of, say, a demon . . . well, you have the makings of a bad lucid dream. Once scary lucid dreams begin, it can become impossible to bring them under control.
My Terrifying Lucid Experiences Begin
About a week or two after I started regularly making myself lucid dream, my mind began to unwillingly go to dark places while I was in lucid dreams. After the first time this happened, with fearful results, I could no longer stop it from happening. The simple reason for this is that I would go to sleep afraid that I might have more lucid nightmares, and this very fear planted all the seed-thoughts needed to make the experience repeat itself. What is more, I was unable to stop lucid dreaming. I no longer had to try to lucid dream, or practice any techniques to make it happen. It happened naturally, although I no longer wanted it to. I would fall asleep, begin to dream, and immediately know that I was dreaming. Everything would go fine for a while, then something would happen. The sky would turn red, and Christ was returning to condemn me to hell eternally for my sins. Demons appeared at my back, in close pursuit. Terrified, I would wake up in my bedroom in a cold sweat. Then I'd feel relieved. It was only a dream. "This time," I would think, "I'm sure that I'm awake."
But then my bedroom window would smash inwards, sending in a rain of shattered glass. Someone was coming in through the window with a long knife. He'd waste no time in rushing over to where I was lying, paralyzed, helpless. As I'd begin to feel the very real pain of him stabbing me over and over, I would scream and try to shake free. I'd close my eyes tightly. And then I would wake up. Or so I thought. But it would only be the beginning of another scary lucid experience. This would happen over and over again, lasting all night.
My lucid nightmares lasted for a couple of weeks, and then they slowly went away. I stopped becoming lucid in my dreams. I think that this happened because my subconscious mind finally registered the fact that I no longer wanted to lucid dream.
Between fifteen and twenty years later, I started to slowly explore lucid dreaming again. This time it was different. For one thing, I no longer wanted to lucid dream just so I could fly around and have a lot of sex. I was more interested in lucid dreams for the sake of my own psychological growth and spiritual transformation. Also, over the years I had worked through most of my anxiety disorders and fears. I had matured. I'd already begun the process of spiritual development, and that had changed me radically. I was no longer a fearful person, and so my lucid dreams as an adult turned out to provide me with some of the spiritual learning that I sought from them. I now have quite a few lucid dreaming stories that are amazing, mystical, and awe-inspiring. But I think I will save those stories for another article, as I feel that this article has already explored the things I wanted it to.
To all you dreamers and would-be dreamers out there, I say, "Keep on dreaming, but dream for all the best reasons." I believe that your dreams will lead you along bright paths if you hold on to that advice.
Questions & Answers
Question: Wow, your Lucid Dream story is very interesting! Would you say that it is alright to try it if we are curious to do so, or would you recommend for us to stay away from it?
Answer: Thank you. First, I am not a licensed mental health professional, so I am not giving any kind of mental health-related or medical advice here. Consider everything I say here as for entertainment only. That being said, I think that a person should use caution when it comes to exploring as deeply into the mind as lucid dreaming allows one to do. What I mean is that a person should ask themselves how well they really know themselves, and more importantly, how well have they come to make peace with themselves. The deeper levels of the mind contain things that, by waking-consciousness standards, are wild, primitive, and unruly. Are you willing and able to see those aspects of yourself? Are you prepared to accept those parts of yourself, or have you already done a lot of work towards doing so?
Also, if you deal with a great deal of anxiety during your waking life, I would especially advise caution. If that is the case, I would suggest that one first explore ways to find more inner peace while one is awake, rather than venture too deeply into mental spaces that one barely knows. For example, I would suggest learning how to meditate and practice mindfulness, and to establish a daily habit of doing such things until they become a natural part of one's waking life. If, however, you feel that you have a lot of peacefulness in your day-to-day life already (particularly if that peace is the result of a consistent spiritual/mental discipline), and that you are willing to look at and embrace the wilder parts of yourself that exist beneath the surface (or you have already done so to a considerable extent), then I would say that the risks involved in deeper exploration are much less, and that they might be outweighed by the potential benefits of personal and spiritual growth that can be accomplished through a spiritual lucid dreaming practice. But only you should be the judge of if you think you are ready, or if you think the risks for you are smaller than the potential benefits. This is because, first of all, hopefully you know yourself and your particular situation much better than I do, and second (and more importantly), you will be the one who will face the outcome, whether that is positive or negative.
© 2010 Justin Aptaker
Suleiman on June 10, 2020:
I had to lucid dream before I even got to know such a thing exist.
its quite uncommon here, plus very hard to control.
my lucid dreams often start from a regular horror dream.
i keep repeating the same horror dream almost every time , but that night was different , the dream had happen the exact same way before. that was when I realised it was a dream.
honestly, that was how it all started.
oh crap on February 02, 2019:
ThePlatGamer on January 29, 2019:
Last night I had some sort of lucid dream. I remember doing a reality check and then doing what I would do in a lucid dream, but it didn’t feel like I was doing it. I think I was partially lucid but in not sure, if anyone has experienced this please tell me, as I am confused as to what it was.
Gabe Visaya on January 29, 2019:
im 16, i just recently started looking into this because i lucid dream almost every night. its been like this for months now. very very few times i don't remember them. and everyone and then my dreams will turn completely into terrifying nightmares, the more i know that i am dreaming the more the things i don't want to happen start happening and the more i try to control what happens the more i can't. last night i was dreaming i was at my grandparents house and we were in a skyscraper and i was with my cousins, the dialogue was very confusing and very random between us. my grandparents said they lost there AirPods and so i went outside to look for them and they were all over the grass, but some of them weren't real and some of them were and i had to find which ones were, i then realized that this is not important and i was dreaming but i came back inside with a handful of AirPods and told my grandparents i found them. when i walked outside i started i tried to get out of my dream state i didn't like how random everything was, as soon as i thought about that school busses were falling out of the sky and recking everything, i jumped inside one of them and tried to get my dream to get me out of there but instead it shot up in the sky and there were people who looking kind of cartoonish but in a realistic way and they were screaming at me but not looking directly at me, it was absolutely terrifying.
RachelleAupry on November 11, 2018:
Thanks for sharing.
RachelleAupry on November 11, 2018:
Lucid Dreaming usually allows a person to control the flow of events within the dream. However, the degree of control experienced will vary from person to person and from dream to dream. So sometimes you will have more control over your dreams than you will at others. The two things that are constant within a Lucid Dream are that you will have some degree of control over what happens within the dream and you will be aware that you are not awake, and that you are in fact dreaming. I agree that being stuck in your dreams can be stressful. You can ask someone about this, to the one who would have known about this or should have any unique ability in them like can say a psychic ability like Voyance Direct( http://www.martine-voyance.com/consultation ) because people with different abilities can see things in a different way than others. One can also look for help by searching about it online.
Mary on October 15, 2018:
I have been lucid dreaming since a child besides that, i always had many nightmares so i never tried to lucid dream its just happened naturally in a response to fight my nightmares, all my nightmares are lucid, but they all start like normal dreams, when the place i am or the people im with start to change i become lucid and gain conscience that the dream is evolving to a nightmare, some nightmares are with terrorist attacks, i start running from them until i gain the control, after that i have different actions, either i beat one up and take his weapon, or i control them with magic powers or i make explosions to kill them, ahaha when you control your nightmares you can do anything, the worse nightmare i recorrently have is evil spirits, i always start at a childhood house, either my grandmothers or my moms and looks like a normal dream untip things seem fishy, i sense dark and evil and i have a feeling im heading throw a malicious force, then they appear, as i try to lock all my house, doors windows, they try to get in violently and suddenly they do when im facing them i evoke powers from entities from above but sometimes they are just to strong so i try to expell them with words like the powers of christ compells you, i repeat these words with power and sometimes they leave, sometimes its too powerful so i wake myself out of the nightmare, but i never die on any nightmare
Ron on September 08, 2018:
Are you sure you know what a lucid dream is? A lucid dream is just when you are consciously aware that you are dreaming inside of a dream. It sounds like you are just describing regular nightmares. I personally have never been able to control my lucid dreams, but I have them all the time. Ill notice something out of place and think, "Oh, I must be dreaming". But I cant really change the world through my thoughts, I just do whatever I want within the "dream rules". If that's even a term.
Miri 26 on September 05, 2018:
Aargh. I hate it it happened last 7 years ago until last night. Last night: i am more than anxious its awful, struggling daily basis not just sometimes. Fall asleep after work around 5pm and woked up 7pm with cold sweat cause i didnt understand what time it is cause it was dark and i get anxious whenever i take naps thats why i try not to. I calmed down watched tv had tea and then it was late enough to go to sleep again. I felt really tired so the first time i slept in 5min i think then woked up cause all these ugly satanic faces waked me up. I dont know what it is but happened before few times aswell. U dont kinda see anything yet u know its evil. So woked up all stressed trying to clear my mind. Then trying to fall a sleep again with empty head. Happened again twice all these in bit different way or scene. Then finally im sleeping..didnt take too long until i realised something is wrong i couldnt move, open my eyes or do anything i was panicing.. again i felt that evil and something told me that im dealing with something really evil and that i should ask for gods help. Im atheist. Anyway.. my boyfriend was sleeping next to me and all i wanted was him to save me.. i could move my mouth eyes or hands..but somehow i managed to touch his leg with mine cause they where close to each other..so i kinda kicked him really gently until he waked up and said what.. that what saved me and waked me up. But. That feelings something wants to harm u and u are just laying there helpless. I cant talk with him about these kind on things cause he dont understand.. well i try to explain him today again.. ..anyways..
I didnt want to close my eyes again cause i felt so scared and lost..so what finally led me to fall a peaceful sleep was... praying to god..like for real.. and boyfriends hand over me.
First time it wasnt that bad. I did lay down with no power to move or open eyes and i saw everything around me and felt the reality and it was scary aswell but with no bad creatures
Kelly Gru on July 29, 2018:
Is it true that along with lucid dreaming where you can feel,smell,taste in your dreams can’t you as well have like lucid nightmares
w on June 06, 2018:
i have been having varying lucid dreams since i was 4, i have complete control and sleep paralysis happened only once.
Tori Gordon on June 05, 2018:
My first dream was when I was 13. *im 14 now*. I fell asleep at about 10 and I didn't have school the next day. Anyway, I woke up in my bed in the dream. I don't know how tf I found out I was in a dream but I just knew.
So I went downstairs where I found my entire family just sitting on the couch, staring straight ahead like a bunch of weirdos lol. I guess I heard something coming from outside so I opened the front door and saw this huge tank thingy spraying out a bunch of green gas like ten feet away on the road. I sort of pushed it to the side and ran down my front steps and onto the sidewalk. I remembered hearing something about how you could fly in a dream, so I immediately tried doing that. I floated off the ground and flew around a bit. Then I got super excited about the whole ordeal and I woke up.
derpaderp on May 22, 2018:
im 15 and a half. omg i had my first lucid dream last night and i got to tell you. I had control of it all and it was Great. If you are very dirty in the head like me then u would have loved it LOL ;) ;) ;). and to anyone wondering if they should try and have a lucid dream THEY SHOULD. I wasnt even trying to have a lucid dream either i just went to bed at 8 pm instead of 12-2 am so it was longer than less than 5 hours of sleep so i think i had time to figure out how to control it or something. ( im just typing nonsense to me so LOL)
alex on May 01, 2018:
I'm Alex and im 13 and I'm thinking on doing lucid dreaming . should I do it? In your opinion
Justin Aptaker (author) from United States on April 15, 2018:
Thank you for writing me! I recommend first that if you are anxious about much during your waking life (like I was about hell etc), that you first embark on a spiritual/psychological path to resolve your anxieties. Learn meditation and mindfulness. Learn about Carl Jung's theory of "individuation" and "shadow-work". Next, I recommend that you don't practice lucid dreaming just to have fun. If you practice it, practice it as a way to learn more about yourself, about your mind, and about the universe. And third, if you're very anxious about this happening, you may want to wait to practice lucid dreaming until you focus more on my first suggestions. But if you do continue to practice right away, I suggest you don't worry about this happening, or really even think about it. If it does happen, you can always stop lucid dreaming, like I did. And the less you worry about it happening, or think about it, the less likely it is to happen :-)
Kai McKinzie on March 31, 2018:
Im only 12. My first lucid dream was last night. It wasn't scary yet. I am very anxious too. When I finally do start lucid dreaming regularly, do you have anything to recomend to avoid this?
hannah byron on February 22, 2018:
ive had this experience from a young age. i used to be scarednow over time if i have one i think im special as not many people have this happen to them. Ive had some creepy experiences when im half awake(lucid) but now remain positive to the experience and see it as a learning curb
Xenon on December 10, 2017:
I regularly had Lucid dreams but one time I actually thought it was real.
I was scared like hell
Jaydon on October 15, 2017:
So the easiest way to not have these nightmares is by adding "I'm safe to the pre bed time thoughts" never think of negative ones. Also experience the world and only allow things to change when you want it too, like think stuff only will change when I will them to in your dream. Lastly stay in control you are your mind your subconscious is your tool. Use it right. Using it wrong is like trying to use a screwdriver on a bolt.
Penny on August 26, 2017:
I don't really understand all of this. And on top of that I am trying to understand what my nightmare means it is so vivid it is like I am there. Can someone help me?
Kayo on August 24, 2017:
I think you astral projected, it wasn't a dream. I've tried to consciously lucid dream for years, and I've never experienced sleep paralysis or astral projection, but I believe that lucid dreaming and astral projection are completely different. In lucid dreams you explore the conscious mind, but in astral projection you explore the astral realm. The astral realm can manifest your thoughts and emotions, so if you think of a red monkey, then it will appear. The red monkey you saw could've either been a thought that turned into fear, or it could've been a real demon chaseing you in the astrals. This is what I think happened, but you don't have to believe or disbelieve anything I said.
Sari on February 22, 2016:
Am a frequent Lucid Dreamer - Yes I can control my dreams to the result if it had happened in real life, I would had died. I would say some of the dreams are beautiful - the colors the smell. Other dreams are pure hell - yes it can be controlled but the speed is like a spinning ball in your head and you have to force it to slow down - wake up with a terrible headache. Am against those who would like to learn Lucid Dreaming - mine came on naturally a number of years ago. No, don't try it. Just my advice... Happy Dreaming...
JUST HEARD OF LD on August 10, 2014:
I have always been able to go back into my dreams after waking,and dream of the same places..but for 3 years I've even Sleep Walked-and this is why I do it.Okay I'm in such a deep sleep-rem and I can't wake but I do this over and over somehow i step out of my body and when I do this i feel my feet touching the floor and all that i do is real(like when awake). I sleep in my living room and so in my dream I walk to the front door and I look back on the couch and I see myself sleeping-so I knowingly put myself back to where I am sleeping., i tell myself to get up and so I do and walk over to the front door and look back to only see myself sleeping..this process goes on and on and it's like I'm stuck.Like the one night when something was holding me from behind and it had it's arms wrapped around me-was spooning me.I tried to yell and move and struggled against this thing for a moment-then I tried to say "Jesus' but didn't quite get the words out-it must have sensed this and let go of me-as soon as it did this I rolled over onto my side and kicked out my leg at it..THIS IS WHAT I SAW----You know what a thick white vapor looks like as if a Genie coming out of a bottle? Well a vapor and then a nice looking man's face smiling at me for a brief second yet enough tht i got a good look-then they smile got really big sorta like that Joker on Superman and it's eyes turned black-manisfested!! and laughed at me then was gone.I look over where i was lying to see myself asleep-seems so real..repeat again of me trying to wake-I feel myself get up again and walk to the door(I have a latch on my door now so I won't go walking at 4am in my sleep)okay everytime I open a door I believe i step into a realm and i now know my soul travels..so I get outside and look up at the cloudy night sky and through the clouds i see a red sky. and hear God's voice-he has come to take us to heaven..crazy thing is God's voice is neither male nor female-like it changes,but is one person talking-and his voice is so loud! I walk out then I see this Giant walk across the sky going over me to this platform..what's strange is this giant's footsteps make a loud sounds as it walks over this invisable plank? BOOM CLANG-like as if this cant be God-I'm scared and I walk over across to where my neighbor friend lives and she's sitting outside with a small cooler and gym bag as if ready and waiting to go to Heaven.I'm confused and I look up and there's this ship-but more like a platform and it's maybe 500 yards up-but I see a vapor lady figure and she pours oil on top of my head and I think it must e annointing Holy OIL-OH MY!! then I feel this oil and it's soo real I whipe the top of my head and my hair falls out! Hair comes off in globs! Then I'm in front of my mom's apt. and she is standing out front with my 23 yr. old son and niece..by this time I realize these people who are now 3 standing ontop of this plank are here to exterminate us! They are huge and dressed in suits that look like HAZMAT? Is that what you call them? Okay my son who is physically in shape and in great health walks to me for I am not quite close to the apt. we try to run but this giant woman runs down on us in huge steps from this platform and she has some sort of gun -shooting my son in the lower back what looks like a blue dart ecept is really small-I'm standing next to my son and he's trying to look around and pull out this dart-I quikly yank it out and by this time the being with the gun is in front of us and tells me "NO" with it's gloved finger and it takes the dart out of my hand and sticks it right in the middle of my son's forehead-he now has a third eye.I am panicking..I wake only because i believe I heard myself breathing fast and hard!! So Real and scary-This is just one dream of many..My cousin told me today that this is called Lucid dreaming, but I have known for some time that I step into realms by experience...this is why i have a special latch on my door..
Anonymous on August 28, 2013:
I know this isn't totally on the subject, but I had the strangest partly lucid dream ever a few months ago... So it starts, and I'm in my Dad's old car. I have no idea what's going on and everything seems normal. So I don't think I'm dreaming yet, and then my brain suddenly tells me that I was never human, that I was an alien all along- without anyone saying. It also tells me that I can transform between my humanoid and alien forms at will. So I try this and I end up looking like a tall, red monkey. I'm quite confused at this point, and my Dad says to get out of the car. I get out and when I look back my Dad, Mom and my sisters are there, writing some sort of blueprint on my Mom's car, as my Dad's old car has now become. I look around and see that I'm in a plaza of shops that I often go to nearby my house. I also see a tall, green monkey alien and without anyone saying it I feel as though these alien monkeys have been among us all along and are overthrowing humanity, and I'm humanity's only hope. The green monkey jumps around and my oldest sister says "The green ones can jump really high." So I get an odd sense of foreboding at the presence of this green monkey, so I run out of the plaza, and this is where the dream starts becoming unstable, if it wasn't already. Suddenly I'm flying (along with my family...?) at a low altitude along a road near a bakery, and then the dream fades out... I say this was lucid because I thought of the plaza and the bakery and I ended up there. I wonder what else goes on in that part of my mind!
clanntack on July 15, 2013:
I one time woke up in a nightmare thinking about how I'm going to die I was very scared and was crying I know for sure I was awake because the only way to end my lucid dream was to go back to sleep this dreaming was very terrifying its only happens l like ten or eleven times once I also woke up thinking of the killer big dogs from hulk 1 they were trying to kill me . This dreaming was no joke.
Andrew from Canton, Ohio on March 23, 2013:
That sounds like a sleep paralysis. Most people who get a sleep paralysis say they saw dark and scary figures. I've had a few during failed attempts at lucid dreaming.
allan on November 16, 2012:
hope i posed in the right place,tho was hoping for a quick response. posted on anuva website this morning but had no reply. lucid fallse awakenings have never happened to me b4 tho im not sure lucid dreams have, iv had that old hag b4 tho n was raped the next time after it :L
allan ingram on November 16, 2012:
Hi, i just had worst experience ever. In dream i woke up with a slight pain in my side and got out of bed then noticed my intestines were hanging out my initial thought was id been stabbed in my sleep and rolled around losing my intestines out the wound. Then i i woke up checked my phone and it was 11.06am. I felt pain again checked and nothing so went about my day except its a day id remem. I was in a store were people started being hacked to pieces by boobie traps and pople were butchering others. I tried getting away but got killed. Then i woke up checked fone 12.14. Had pain checked and instestines out then my wall disapeared n they was tied to a car which drove and pulled them out as it weent over a cliff i remem lungs and stuff ripping out as i gurgled and died. Then i woke up agen out again. I tried scooping em in n held them as i walked out door i saw a knife tbis time prepared to defend my self as i was approached in a corriedoor i killed sum then a cook with a clever sliced me in pieces and as i waited or the peace my body started curling up and going stiff. Then i woke up checked fone its 12.06 check myself slight pain no guts lying in bed im scared kept checking ova and ova incase but iv been up now half hour after lying it out in bed coming to terms. Still not sure if sumfings going to happen tho and u sed if u doubt ur still dreaming. My heads fuzzy and im second guessing everything around me
Trey on November 12, 2012:
I you rise from your body, stay near it so demons cant get to it.
This is an OBE dream.
Trey on November 12, 2012:
You are having an OBE dream ( Out of Body Expereince )
Elizabeth on September 20, 2012:
I know I'm repeating what some others have said, but what you have described is NOT lucid dreaming. It is astral projection. Have you seen the movie Insidious? You are basically describing fears based around that practice as seen in the film.
LUCID dreaming is when the subject KNOWS they are dreaming and controls it. Lucid dreaming is fearless because the subject is in control at all times. Is something scary were to appear from your imagination, you would 1) know it was a dream and 2) immediately banish it, or conquer it.
Lucid dreamers do not typically float above themselves or see themselves sleeping. Lucid dreamers typically find themselves automatically within a dream and start there. Seeing yourself while sleeping is astral projection. THAT can be scary, if you are a newbie or haven't mastered it (particularly if a child). Lucid dreaming is never scary. Astral projection can be out of control, but lucid dreaming is defined by control.
Sydney Hruskova on August 24, 2012:
I am a natural lucid dreamer, ever since i can remember i have always been able to control my dreams. but they always end up horrific. and when it does i still have control over minor details in the dream, but the overall lucid nightmare is being controlled by something or someone else. i have pretty much the same lucid nightmare every night. how can i stop this cycle?
Jimren from philippines on June 23, 2012:
thanks for keeping us well-informed. I think I 've been practicing it unknowingly.
Steve on June 11, 2012:
First, I have never had to train myself(or mind for lucid dreaming)..always came naturally and im 33 years old now and have also noticed them turning into nightmares....REALLY HORRIBLE NIGHTMARES...a few nights ago i had the worst dream of my life and woke up crying like a child and lasted for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours. I will not reveal the content of the dream but it was lucid and it was a nightmare but lost all control within. These are getting worse over time for me and almost scare me to not sleep( feel like im in a freddy movie LOL). no but seriously its real and don't know if there are sleep studies or something alike I can participate in.. anyone know anything how to make it stop...only way I figured out so far is to drink and pass out..Thanks
Anonymous on June 07, 2012:
Hi I'm _____
I want to do a lucid dream, I'm twelve and I want to try it but not a nightmare, I want to make a world with me and my crushes future, and I get skinny and everyone likes me, so should I do it it's kinda creeping me out.
Hicks on June 04, 2012:
When you do things like that, you're entering another realm. So yes Demons will overtake your "dreams" whenever they can. That can eventually lead to them permanently taking over your "dreams" and your REAL life (possession). It might be fun for a little while, but don't dabble in the Occult. Believe it or not this is Occult phenomenon. Satanists Lucid Dream all the time in an attempt to contact Satan and or Demons personally. Please be careful with this type of thing.
sonykkid on April 21, 2012:
hi I lucid dream all the time and I think I was lead, I didn't realise that they could be so scary all I heard was that you would have fun. I started learning about lucid dreaming and in about a week I had my first lucid dream, after a while I could have lucid dreams when I wanted, all of a sudden they started to turn, I would get a feeling of lieing in bed and could feel my body but I was trapped in the dream, another thing is false awakengins I am cringing just thinking about it, I was lieing in bed after a lucid dream and my body was covered in eyeballs, it was so scary, I no longer get lucid dreams and I am much happier and don't mind going to sleep anymore. before I would be scared knwoing that I would get a lucid dream, but now I can still have lucid dreams but they are less scary. Good hub
asdf on April 14, 2012:
WTF short poems, i came here looking for answers, this is happening to me and i want it to stop
Jordan on April 12, 2012:
Ive had very similar experiences and they also began at a very young age. I do not have a lucid dream and I have never read about any such training; however I can can usually control lucid nightmares. It is possible to think of anything evil and still become unharmed. I can either close my eyes and eliminate the thought, my body will then relax. The other option being; create a new, basic environment, close your eyes and instantly open your eyes to the new, safe place. I often choose a place with endless space, theres nothing there, but white emptiness. The first time I went there, was not out of choice. I was slipping into a lucid nightmare and somebody took me to this blank place and lectured me. The only time however I cannot control a lucid nightmare is when the devil enters my dream. Perhaps this is due to the Hierachy I have in my subconscious, the devil being the ruler of the underworld. Astral projection though is something I struggle with, I have no element of control and I have genuinely experienced it 600/700 throughout my life. The pain is real, but no matter how much of my flesh is eaten, burnt, cut away, how much blood I loose, how much I struggle for breath.. I cannot die. I have no element of control whatsoever in the astral plane, yet I plan to. I believe the trauma from when I used to experience it as a young child prevents me from enjoying the experience. I know when I'm there and I prepare myself for whoever it outside my door
Zong on April 08, 2012:
okay, so lets say you're having a lucid nightmare, can't you just think about a happy place, wouldn't your dream turn into a park? Because I remember at age 12 I had many nightmares, like my grandmother head on the side of my bed. I also had one dream where I was a ghost, not sure if it was lucid or dream, but I know it was scary. I was floating and I was backyard, then I saw the mirror we had backyard. I looked into it and saw my own reflection, except not my body, but a ghost. I woke up after that. SO was that a OOBE or just a dream? I'm not sure. Nevertheless, I can always think of a power ranger coming to my rescue and saving me. Now I'm 17 I learn more about these lucid dream. I want to control them, but of course reading your article. I'm having second thoughts.
perfumer from California on April 08, 2012:
Hey guys, there is no such thing called lucid nightmare.
Because if are lucid, you know that you are dreaming. So why should someone be afraid when they know for sure it is just a dream. All you need to do is just wake up or better yet why not face the charater or the situation?
Christian2737 on April 08, 2012:
I want to lucid dream but I'm scared i might have a lucid nightmare
kiyomi on April 05, 2012:
hello, im maricris. i think im a lucid dreamer. im just 14 years old but i experience such thing since i was 13. i always dream the same thing, but i know what's happening to me that i even can control myself. when i was 13, i dream everyday and i know that it is happening to me.. my dream was always like this,, i will wake up between 2 to 4 p.m (im really awake on those times) ofcourse after you woke up, you'll go and return to your sleep right? then this is where my lucid dream come starts.ill return to my sleep. i 'm already sleeping but in my dreams, i will hear a girl, shouting. my position in my dreams was the last position and what the last thing i did before i return to my sleep. when i hear this girl shouting, my body will be paralized, i think she is a ghost in my dreams, then i will feel like she's trying to get me in a way that a wind was like trying to swallow me.. then i'll pray, I know what i'll pray, then i'll wake up after that, very tired, sweat comes out of my body.. my last position in my dreams will be the position when i wake up.. i don't want to be a lucid dreamer because of this and i have fear of sleeping because of this :(((
perfumer from California on March 29, 2012:
Once you become fully lucid in your dreams, you know your nightmare is not real, it is just a dream. A nightmare can not be a lucid dream.
tdp on March 26, 2012:
i have only ever had lucid dreams on accident some scary others were good. I too was raised in a religious home and with the one time i had an out of body experience i was pushed out only to be shown that my kitchen was over run by demons. At this time my brother got out of bed (we shared a room with a bunk bed and he was on the top bunk)and went to the bathroom and came back and looked down at me and i told him to get in bed and he did not answer I knew he heard me cause i was at the edge of the bed and we were face to face. He back into bed. I then was pulled back down into my body with the ability to still see a demon only now it was hovering over me. I was a teenager at the time so i knew the theory for casting demons out so i said in the name of "jesus you must leave" the demon then went flying out the window as if it were sucked out of the house.I snapped back to and layed awake a few minutes praying and rebuking what had just happened. the next morning i asked my brother if he heard me tell him to lay down, he told me no and said that when he went to the bathroom i was laying down on my back in bed with my eyes wide open. that is why i personally am against forcing yourself into that realm. i belive it opens you up to be possessed and it can be very difficult to get back in after that happens. so word to the wise is not to force it if it happens it is for a reason kinda like a warning. I want to hear peoples opinions after reading this. please heed my warning and don't force it.
Rudy on March 25, 2012:
Thanks to u guys im not gonna mess with that lol
Justin Aptaker (author) from United States on March 24, 2012:
Sorry I can't respond to everyone individually. I think it is important to note a few things about my experiences: 1. I was very young (11-12 years old). The mind is still at a very formative stage this early in adolescence, and is thus likely to be more volatile, 2. I have a very anxious-type personality, 3. I was raised in an EXTREMELY religious environment, which would explain the appearance of demons and so forth in my dreams, 4. I DID overcome the cycle of nightmares and false awakenings after a week or two of sincerely wanting to stop lucid dreaming (and praying that I would stop), 5. In my early adulthood (19 years old - 28 years old) I have experimented with lucid dreaming off and on, and have NEVER again experienced the sort of horrific things I experienced with it as a child. As an adult, I've always managed to keep my lucid dreams more or less under control (granted, I still don't dabble in it very often, out of a caution born from my early experiences).
Efrem on March 19, 2012:
Thanks now Im scared tolucid dream
Estelle on March 17, 2012:
I didn't know about sleep paralysis, but I don't think that is my problem because I have no trouble to move during my nightmares... I can even cry or usually I assume the foetal position, I guess it's because I feel more secure... i know I could just wake up, but when I'll be awake, I'll still remember everything so I'm still in anguish...
or maybe Ethan, you weren't talking to me but someone else (I didn't read all the comments hehe, my bad ^^') but thanks for the note though, I didn't know something like sleep paralysis existed... Must be very nerve-racking.
ethan on March 17, 2012:
I believe what you have experienced is sleep paralysis where ur body lock itself in a position where to protect ur body from doing anything that u do in ur dreams. And u are in the state of sleeping in ur physical body and awake in ur mental mind. i heard all u have to do is to clench ur fist if possible.
Estelle on March 16, 2012:
Funny... i didn't know anything about Lucid dreams until I talk about my nightmares to one of my friends.. i'm kind of trap in those every night. I know i'm dreaming, still, everything is so realistic and what's more I know that once I'll be awake, I'll remember everything. Problem is, what I fear happen in front of me... Like someone I truly cherish having a car accident etc... And knowing it's a dream doesn't help me at all because all I want is just to avoid seeing those awful things, I don't care if it's real or not, I just don't want to see them. I think I never had normal dreams (unless I'm really exhausted and confused and sleep because I can't stand anymore not because it is time to). when I was young I had those in which I could fly and visit my school and my town from the sky... But I think everything turned bad when I was about 8 or 9... Since then I'm having trouble to control my fears. This year it's even worse because I just turned 18 and I'm leaving on my own, I just can't sleep anymore, I'm too afraid to see my boyfriend being smashed by a car or my parents having a plane crash or whatever. Do someone know how to stop lucid dreaming? I really don't want to play with my subconscious.. It's painful and I'm afraid of the results.
Joe Brand on March 01, 2012:
I think fear is the killer. As soon as you feel it, your connection to your dream, or projection is broken (or worse - nightmare). I am still trying to get past it myself, but understanding the block, is a good start. I've had some breakthroughs by reminding myself of this prior to sleep.
kayleigh on February 12, 2012:
I've had about 3 Lucid dreams. My First was a NightMare. I was in the middle of the Ocean, ( I knew I was sleeping an I wanted to go to the ocean) suddenly I started thinking of Dorothy and the witch. Suddenly the sky turned dark, an there was a house floating in the ocean. I was drawn to it. Suddenly the ugliest human grabbed me an put me in the washing machine. I Couldn't breathe an felt like suffocateing. I begged myself to wake up!! But I didn't. Suddenly I was in my neighborhood. Frozen to the road. HELP, I tryed to yell but my voice was cracky.suddenly I turned my head, a person in a petsmart uniform was there. He kept throwing things at me. Then his eyes turned Green an I was sucked into them. Then I woke myself up. I've learned to Become Unlucid now, I just sleep an hav random dreams.
helper on January 31, 2012:
I think if you buy the full lucid dreams fast track edition books it does say that they will teach you how to turn ur lucid nightmares into lucid dreams so that should help and as i want to learn how to lucid dream soon this story has now got the idea of hell and devils in my head now i am gonna probly think about as i dream as i wasn't going 2 before so this story could be a good thing or a bad thing I don't no!
Danielle on January 23, 2012:
I think I had a lucid nightmare too! But I never have lucid dreams I tried to have them but they never happen. I rarly have dreams. And I Havnt had a nightmare sense I was 6 or 7. I'm 17 and I just had this horrific dream.
First it was me looking at myself and I was staring back at me( it was kind of like looking in a mirror ) and the girl looking at me which was me keeping saying "I am not affrad to die" with confidence. But in the dream there was an eerie feeling like spooky. And next thing I was laying on my back looking up into a bright tube like thing and it was sucking me up. I actually felt me moving up fast and heard shaking and vibrating on the sides of my ear. I felt like I was being abducted by aliens, but then I realized I was dreaming and I opened my eyes as hard as I could and I awoke in absult fear. I believe it was a lucid dream because it was so clear. I have anxiety sometimes and this dream left me shaking for about an hour. What do you think about my dream?
jasz on January 17, 2012:
Woah this Kinda scared me.. im JUST learning to lucid dream and i can controll it for like two seconds then it turns back into a normal dream where i cant do anything. I only want to lucid dream to make up beautiful places, and experience things i couldn't normally. I only taught myself for fun, and excitement... Should i keep doing it?
Justin Aptaker (author) from United States on December 22, 2011:
Yes, lucid dreaming is one way to transition into an out-of-body experience. However, I don't consider those lucid dreaming experiences I described to be actual OOBEs. I have had many real out-of-body experiences, and they feel much different. In an OOBE, I am much more conscious, and the feeling is much more physical. There is a powerful, full-body vibration, like my whole body is a tuning fork vibrating at a high pitch. Furthermore, there is always a physical struggle to distance myself from my body during a real OOBE. It's as if my body is a powerful magnet pulling me back into it, and I have to struggle with considerable mental energy to pull myself away from it. These elements--the loud vibration and the straining to distance from the body--are missing from the lucid dreaming experiences I've mentioned, and so I don't consider them to be real OOBEs.
LittleMonkeyFace from Germany on December 21, 2011:
what you described about lucid dreaming, for example "leaving your body and been able to see it" it's sounds more like astral projection. you may not have the answer but I will ask anyway, can your lucid dream change into an astral projection?
Lars on December 20, 2011:
We have a true talent at lucid dreaming here!
Great story, loved reading it.
Makes me think..
I can make a point here.
There is a difference between knowing you're dreaming and controlling your lucid dream and/or nightmares..
Practice makes it very possible to control an Aware dream and overcome nightmares.
It could be extremely difficult to people suffering anxiety disorders and OCD, these people find it hard to not think about disturbed or fearful things..
I often read about these people having nightmares.
I'm not saying you have those kinds of difficulty's but you wrote you had an anxious personality.
matthew on December 16, 2011:
when you said something about floating out of your body and looking down. wouldn't that just be you having a out of body experience
scott on December 12, 2011:
It's funny how lately I have had dreams where I know I'm dreaming and try to take control of them but always seam to end up losing control after a few mins. I've told my gf about it and she seams to think I'm weird lol I would like to b able to control my dreams but after reading your article I'm not so sure
stylezink from Atlanta, GA. on October 19, 2011:
Wow, great hub! When I was a teenager living in Hawaii there were many myths about the islands. I think I had a great fear that some may be true. I think that's where my fear seed was planted that caused my repeated nightmares just like you described. I would have control and everything would be fine then like you said all of the sudden things would turn ugly and dark.. I would tell myself to wake up and think I was awake looking at my room just as it was..but in my experience there would be a dark figure that would appear over me and let me know I was still dreaming I would yell but I had no voice I would try to move and like you would lie there paralyzed. It would try to suffocate me and I felt like I couldn't breath, I remember I would tell myself to wake up this is only a dream. Just as I was about to die I would wake up and really felt like I had a hard time breathing. It was so real and scary! That dream happened so often too! I hated that reoccurring nightmare.
I wonder if others have experienced the same. I've only recently began researching lucid dreams and it is a very interesting topic.
AlyzaLewis from The Land of Narnia on March 24, 2011:
Strange, I've never had any such experience as yourself. Of course, whenever I think of anything in a lucid dream, even in an attempt to control... it always seems that either the exact opposite or nothing at all happens. I've never had a lucid nightmare.