In-Depth

Lucid dreaming allows students to control narrative

Whatever it is, it’s chasing you–and you know you won’t be able to get away. You keep running, but you hit a wall. You’re cornered. There is no way out. 

This may be a familiar, disturbing dream to some, but those who lucid dream won’t think twice. They can just dream a new narrative.

According to WebMD, lucid dreaming occurs when someone who is dreaming is aware of the fact they are dreaming, but the more common view of the term involves the dreamer being able to gain control over their dream. These dreams, like all dreams, occur during REM sleep, when your brain is most active. Lucid dreams occur during REM sleep because certain parts of your brain become more active, pushing you closer to being conscious and allowing you to gain more control over what’s happening. 

About 55% of people have experienced a lucid dream at some point in their lives, according to Healthline, but only 23% have them regularly. One of that 23% is junior Justin Zordan, who has had lucid dreams since he was 12. 

“There’s no real practice for it,” Zordan said. “There are times where I can cause it to happen, but it can be pretty difficult.”

Zordan’s lucid dreams are drawn from everyday events, and more recently he has been reliving old memories within his dreams, he explained. The amount of control he has on his dreams depends on the specific dream, ranging from controlling minor aspects to being able to change the dream completely. 

“One time I had this lucid dream where I had telekinesis,” Zordan recalled. “I started with small things and then with many things at once. I was able to fly and know what that felt like.”

Zordan said that he’s usually able to lucid dream but sometimes loses that ability due to extreme emotions or boredom.

Junior Claire Eline has also experienced lucid dreams since she was 5 years old. 

“It’s like a little movie in my head,” Eline said. “I just choose the option of doing a lucid dream and then I start where I left off, usually from the previous night. I have…vivid, story-like dreams.”

Eline explained that these stories in her dreams often include fantastical elements like superpowers and characters she creates. Every night she gets to choose whether or not she lucid dreams, usually choosing the lucid dream option unless she’s too tired to continue. 

“My lucid dreams are a lot more structured [than my usual ones] and make a lot more sense even if, you know, there’s more fantasy elements to it,” Eline said.  

She has also been able to keep a story running in her head for about a year, Eline said, but she has trouble carrying on these stories during the school year due to stress. 

“There was a while for like three months where I just could not physically get myself to lucid dream,” Eline said. “I would think about it, like ‘I want to lucid dream!’…then it would fall apart because I would keep waking up.”

Both Eline and Zordan expressed their enjoyment of their dreams, but both also advised that people shouldn’t try to force themselves to lucid dream because there isn’t a process for it. However, Healthline suggested that some techniques like keeping a dream journal and practicing reality while awake can be helpful. 

“A lot of people often ask me how to lucid dream, and honestly I can’t help them,” Eline said. “I would just say one thing that could definitely help you lucid dream would be to not overthink it, because if you constantly overthink it, it’s not going to happen.”

Sara Benedict
Sara Benedict is a staff reporter for The Torch. She is a junior at Bexley High School and this is her first year on Torch. She loves writing in her spare time and participates at theater at school.