Believe it or not there can be a few side effects of lucid dreaming, here is a list of them, and what you can do to FIX each side effect.
Although it’s normally a skill which improves your life, there are instances where you can experience an annoying side effect, and this could even put you off lucid dreaming for good. No one wants that, so let’s look at some of the side effects of controlling your dreams, and how to combat them.
1: Becoming addicted
It seems you can appear to be ‘addicted to Lucid Dreaming’ specially in the first stages of you discovering this skill. It can take on something of an obsession leaving you always reading about it and wanting to learn more.
This isn’t always a bad thing, but it can leave you unfocused on other things like your love life, work and social involvement. If all you’re thinking about is the next dream, or what the last one meant then you may find it difficult to connect with other things in waking life, and the people in your life.
The fix: Dream big, live big!
By achieving wild things in your waking life, you somewhat reduce the obsession with the dreaming world. Lucid Dreams are a well known form of escapism, and if you’re not very happy with your current waking life, it may be easy to fall into the obsession of a new, dream world. Go and do the things you love in waking life, and use the dream world to just explore and have fun.
2: Interrupting your sleep
The common technique for dreaming called the ‘wake back to bed technique’ involves as the name suggests waking up pretty early (disrupting your natural sleep pattern) and then going back to bed (further changing your sleep pattern).
This is bad. It’s also, unfortunately, a REALLY good way to have Lucid Dreams, and as such people find they’re addicted to inducing them in this way. Because it works so effectively and reliably, people find themselves just sacrificing healthy sleep to have wild Lucid Dreams.
The fix: Find other ways to lucid dream
There are other ways! Lots of other ways in fact to induce a Lucid Dream, you don’t need to give up sleep in order to control your night life. Here are some other techniques which don’t require you to change your sleep pattern too much, or wake up at silly times:
- Using mnemonics to naturally have lucid dreams: This works fairly regularly actually!
- Dream induced lucid dreams where you get the dream itself to induce a lucid dream. This is similar to the MILD technique
- Just using reality checks alone: If you do the right, and regularly enough, you’ll naturally have lucid dreams whenever you sleep!
3: FALSE MEMORIES
This is the big bad side effect of lucid dreaming. If you asked a group of dreamers what the worst side effect is, this would be it. When you’re Lucid, your brain is in the state where it’s conscious, but not FULLY conscious.
Because you’re able to remember the dreams you have in this state, and you’re also able to make DECISIONS consciously in this way, you can have lots of false memories. Instances where you think you’ve done something in real life, but in fact it was just a dream.
We know someone who had a Lucid Dream in which they cheated on their partner, and later looked back on the event and actually thought they’d done it! It’s a scary situation and can leave you feeling confused and anxious.
The fix: Reality checks and a DIGITAL dream journal
The best way to combat this side effect of Lucid Dreaming is to constantly reality check during the dream to make sure you’re dreaming, and keep a digital dream journal. What this means it to have a file or spreadsheet on your computer and set it up to record dreams. You don’t have to do this every day, and we wouldn’t advise that, but make sure that you write up your paper dream journal entries every week or so. Why?
So you can SEARCH for a dream in this digital journal when you are confused by false memories. You’re able to instantly see all the entries about the memory you’re stuck with, and you can tell for certain whether it was real of a dream.
4: Somniphobia (Fear of sleep)
This is a very rare side effect, and usually only happens when people can’t actually lucid dream properly. If you can’t do it right, you end up just having normal dreams but slightly more vivid. This means that SOMETIMES you’ll lucid dream, but most of the time, you’ll just be more aware of your dreams AND NIGHTMARES.
The fix: Lucid dream the right way
This means you’ll have scary dreams, and be more aware of them, leading to a fear of going to sleep. It’s very unlikely, but if this does happen to you, make sure you very quickly realize it, and stop what you’re doing. Learn to lucid dream the right way, and optimise your sleep pattern.
5: Being exhausted and tired
If you only practice techniques that involve interrupting your sleep in the early hours of the morning, you’ll eventually burn out and feel tired and fatigued. You’ll start to feel like you have no energy and getting up and out of bed seems like a challenge.
This could be very problematic if you have a job or you need to be up at a certain time in the day, and you need to have mental strength throughout the day! The annoying thing is that all the most effective techniques involve doing that!
The fix: Moderation and meditation
You’ll find that if you just mix it up a bit, and for example, only do WBTBs on weekends, you’ll be fine. Just make sure that on the days when you need your sleep, you only practice techniques that are natural and don’t cut your sleep in half. For the times when you have more free time like weekends, then practice the more advanced ones like dream chaining and the FILD technique.
Also make sure you’re meditating every day as that will not only help you feel more alert and awake, but it will make it more likely you’ll naturally lucid dream as well!
6: Sleep paralysis
Sleep paralysis is the inability to move when you’re falling asleep. You’ll be awake, but you’ll be stuck to the bed and sometimes you’ll see a shadow figure (This is just a natural part of the sleep imagery you experience when drifting into a dream). This can be scary for some people, especially if you don’t expect or understand it.
The fix: Relax and expect it
Sleep paralysis is a natural part of all dreaming. We all do it every night but most of us aren’t aware of it, because we’re asleep while it happens. The body does this in order to stop us from physically acting out our dreams at night and hurting ourselves.
Just being aware of it and understanding why it happens will help you stop being afraid of it. In fact, sleep paralysis is the onset of dreaming, so really it should be an exciting thing for lucid dreamers, because it’s the start of your dream, so you know you’re about to become lucid!
7: Recurring false awakenings
A false awakening is when you dream about waking up, go about your daily routine and then after a few minutes you go back to your bed and realize you were dreaming about waking up. This can happen over and over again, to the point where you just don’t know if you’ve woken up for real or not.
It can be scary, and it can feel like you’re spending a lot of time just trapped in your mind, dreaming about waking up again and again. At least, that’s the horror story that’s painted by lots of people out there. The reality is slightly different.
The fix: Reality checking!
One of the BEST times to do reality checks, is actually when you first wake up, and for EXACTLY this reason. Lots of people have dreams about waking up (false awakenings) on a regular basis, which is what makes it the perfect time to do a reality check. A reality check done first thing in the morning it the most effective way to start having more lucid dreams.
It ensures that you always know for sure whether you’re dreaming or not, and it also means that every time you would have had a false awakening, you’ll instead have a lucid dream! Also, the myth that you can get stuck in your mind, waking up over and over again is just.. a myth!
Final thoughts on the side effects of lucid dreams
Lucid Dreaming can have some minor side effects, but as we’ve shown here, they are ALL fixable and with a little work you can make sure you don’t have any side effects at all. It’s nothing to worry about, and you shouldn’t let it put you off. There are pros and cons to almost everything in life, this is no different.
Like with most things, do it in moderation, and be sensible about it. If you do it right, and you don’t ALWAYS use a WBTB to have lucid dreams, or you don’t ALWAYS take supplements, you’ll be fine! The only one to really watch out for is the false memories effect!
Tools for avoiding bad side effects
Here’s some useful things for you guys to help avoid most of these side effects, and help you just have natural, healthy fun lucid dreams all the time!
- Learn the right way to lucid dream, otherwise you could be frantically practicing bad habits and learning things that will just give you nightmares, and no one wants that
- If you suffer from sleep problems, you can easily fix them by meditating, listening to binaural beats, and going through the natural insomnia buster or the sleep program
- Read through this article again, because there are some really powerful tips and tricks I’ve shared for stopping these side effects, that really do work