Lucid Dreaming: Can It Be Used as a Source of Entertainment?

A lucid dream is a dream in which the dreamer is "awake" and aware that they are dreaming. In this article, we discuss possible applications of lucid dreaming, namely treating nightmares, enhancing sports performance, and lucid dreaming as a source of entertainment.

Key takeaways:
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    Lucid dreaming therapy is effective in reducing nightmare frequency among adults with chronic and recurring nightmares.
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    Lucid dreaming can effectively be used to enhance an athlete's sports performance, including motor skills, boost confidence, manage performance anxiety, and aid in injury rehabilitation.
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    Lucid dreaming is a vast source of entertainment and enjoyment, offering unique and immersive experiences otherwise unavailable in the real world.

Treating nightmares

Lucid dreaming has been mostly studied in its application to treating nightmares. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has included lucid dreaming in its recommendations for addressing nightmare disorders. The underlying concept is that when people become aware of a nightmare, they can recognize that the dream content is not real, thereby diminishing fear. Additionally, being lucid enables individuals to exert control over the dream or engage with the psychological aspects of the nightmare.

One case study and a small, controlled pilot study have demonstrated the effectiveness of lucid dreaming therapy in reducing the frequency of nightmares. Additionally, a study involving 32 patients who frequently experienced nightmares showed a slight advantage of combining lucid dreaming with Gestalt therapy compared to Gestalt therapy alone.

A very recent 2023 systematic review that included four randomized controlled trials, two case series, and five case reports concluded that most of the included studies found lucid dreaming therapy effective in reducing nightmare frequency among adults with chronic and recurring nightmares.

However, even though the first results are encouraging, to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the potential benefits of lucid dreaming for treating recurring nightmares and related disorders, as well as to investigate the neural mechanisms involved, further controlled experiments with larger sample sizes are necessary.

Enhancing athletic performance

Lucid dreaming can be a valuable tool for athletes looking to improve their performance and skills. Here are some ways in which lucid dreaming can be used for sports:

Skill enhancement

Within a lucid dream, athletes can experiment with different techniques, refine their skills, and explore new approaches without the physical constraints of waking life. They can push their boundaries, attempt challenging maneuvers, and refine their timing and precision. This dream practice can translate into improved skills and performance during waking sports activities.

A recent 2022 scoping review of evidence and meta-analysis that evaluated the effectiveness of lucid dreaming practice on waking task performance concluded that lucid dreaming could improve the waking performance of various motor tasks with an overall medium positive effect. Additionally, a 2023 review article that focused on lucid dreaming in sports science specifically concluded that experimental studies show promising performance improvements after lucid dreaming motor practice. Interestingly, several physiological parameters are similar during physical practice and lucid dreaming, including brain activity, eye movements, muscle activity, and autonomic responses. These findings further support the potential of lucid dreaming practice to enhance waking physical performance.

Mental rehearsal

Lucid dreaming allows athletes to rehearse their sport mentally in a vivid and controlled dream environment. They visualize themselves performing specific techniques, strategies, and movements, reinforcing neural pathways and muscle memory. This mental practice contributes to improved performance and confidence on the field or court.

Confidence building

Lucid dreaming can boost an athlete's confidence by providing opportunities for successful experiences and achievements within a dream state. By intentionally setting positive goals and accomplishing them in lucid dreams, athletes develop a stronger belief in their abilities, leading to increased self-confidence and mental resilience on the field.

Injury rehabilitation

For athletes recovering from injuries, lucid dreaming provides an avenue for mental rehabilitation. By visualizing and simulating movements and activities in lucid dreams, athletes maintain neural connections and practice physical movements without straining injuries bodies. This aids in the recovery process and facilitates a smoother return to sports.

Tactical decision-making

Lucid dreaming can be used to improve tactical decision-making on the field or court. Athletes can simulate game situations, strategize different plays, and experiment with various approaches within lucid dreams. This helps them develop a deeper understanding of their sport, enhance situational awareness, and make more informed decisions during live play.

Managing performance anxiety

Lucid dreaming offers a safe and controlled environment to address performance anxiety. Athletes can intentionally confront and overcome anxiety-related challenges within the dream state, practicing techniques to manage stress, maintain focus, and perform at their best under pressure.

It's important to note that while lucid dreaming can be a helpful tool for sports enhancement, it should not replace physical training, coaching, or other traditional methods of skill development. It is most effective when used as a complementary practice alongside regular sports training and preparation.

Source of entertainment

Even though it doesn't necessarily appear as an application, lucid dreaming can also be used as a source of entertainment and enjoyment, offering unique and immersive experiences.

Embarking on adventures

Lucid dreaming allows people to embark on thrilling adventures, explore fantastical dreamscapes, and interact with dream characters. They can fly, visit fictional worlds, or interact with dream characters and creatures. They can also have conversations with famous historical figures, interact with fictional characters, or even communicate with aspects of their subconscious mind. These encounters can be exciting, thought-provoking, and intellectually stimulating.

Creative exploration

Lucid dreams also provide a playground for creative exploration and extraordinary experiences. Lucid dreams can serve as a canvas for creative expression. Artists, writers, and musicians can use lucid dreaming to generate ideas, visualize artwork or stories, and find inspiration. People can paint imaginary landscapes, compose music, or create elaborate dream narratives that can be later translated into waking-life projects.

Simulating experiences

Lucid dreams can simulate desirable experiences that may not be feasible or practical in waking life. Subjects can engage in activities like skydiving, scuba diving, or participating in extreme sports within the safe confines of a dream. Lucid dreaming allows people to explore and enjoy various experiences without real-world limitations. In this manner, lucid dreaming serves as a less expensive, more immersive version of virtual reality. Lucid dreams provide a platform for customizable and personalized experiences that respond directly to a person's thoughts and intentions.


One of the most desired applications of lucid dreaming is nostalgic reminiscence. Lucid dreaming allows one to recreate and revisit memories with remarkable clarity. People can relive joyful moments, reunite with loved ones, or revisit significant events from their past. Lucid dreams provide a nostalgic and emotionally rich way to reconnect with cherished memories.

Challenges and goals

Some people also enjoy setting specific challenges or goals within their lucid dreams for entertainment purposes. These challenges can include tasks like summoning specific dream characters, visiting specific dream locations, or manipulating the dream environment in specific ways. Engaging in these challenges adds an element of excitement and achievement to lucid dreaming.

It's important to approach lucid dreaming as a responsible practice, respecting one's well-being and the well-being of others. As with any recreational activity, balance is key. Maintaining a healthy sleep schedule and prioritizing other aspects of one's life alongside lucid dreaming is essential for well-rounded entertainment experiences.

Lucid dreaming shows promise in treating nightmares and can enhance athletic performance. Lucid dreaming also serves as a source of entertainment, providing adventure, creativity, and the ability to simulate experiences. However, as with any practice or intervention, it is important to approach lucid dreaming responsibly, maintain a balanced lifestyle and, if in doubt, always contact a healthcare provider.

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