“When I was in rehab I was cursed with using dreams. I went to one of my conselours and told her how it effect me; I felt helpless, I felt guilty and worst of all, I felt scared. She began to explain to me the working of lucid dreaming.
“Lucidity means ‘moment of clarity.’ When paired with ‘dream,’ it defines how one is aware that they are sleeping thereby realizing that they are not experiencing physical reality. This alters the dynamics of dreaming by enhancing the perception of control. Once they are conscious within this state they will be able to change outcomes, people, places, things and heighten senses.
“With practice, I have been able to dream lucidly. I can get out of nightmares by flying away or manifesting someone to help. I can even request to be on a beach in Goa or see an old friend before I fall asleep and immediately have that desire fulfilled. Grant it, sometimes I am not so lucky, I may get there or see them and things go array but the beauty of knowing that it isn’t real allows me to at least attempt a quick fix. I do warn you that the excitement of the awareness may cause you to wake up— sometimes within the dream itself. Thats when things get confusing.
“I am also guilty of requesting types of using dreams in hopes that I will remember whats its like. The first attempt at this scared me so much because it all seemed too real. Where I experienced this high was in my own home, it all was so vivid that I literally could not tell that I was dreaming. That dream frightened me so much that before I go to bed I pray that I do not feel that ever again.” – I hope you find this useful. Please give it a try, you will be amazed at what you can do! Love, Robyn
Benefits of Lucid Dreaming to People in Recovery from Addiction
Those individuals who manage to break away from addiction face many challenges in recovery. If they fail to overcome these obstacles it will prevent them from finding real happiness; it will also increase their risk of relapse. Any technique that can help strengthen their sobriety is always going to be welcome. Lucid dreaming may be able to do this in a number of ways including:
- It gives them a safe environment where they can face their inner demons. If people become lucid in the middle of a nightmare they can make a decision to confront their fear. Those dreamers who do this usually report that their nightmare turns into a far more pleasant experience afterwards. When they wake up they will tend to feel like some inner conflict had been resolved. Such a cathartic effect is highly beneficial to people in recovery.
- People in the first few years of recovery can feel uncertain about the future; they may have no real idea about what to do with their life. Lucid dreaming allows them to come in contact with their unconscious desires and hidden aspirations. The individual can use this information to chart a new course in life.
- It makes it possible for the individual to use their sleep time productively. They can practice using their new coping strategies or other recovery skills.
Lucid Dream Dangers for Addicts
Lucid dreaming can be highly beneficial but there are potential dangers such as:
- Some people may be tempted to indulge in fantasies of using drugs or alcohol again. This is dangerous because it will weaken their resolve to stay sober. Relapse in a dream can lead to relapse in reality.
- It will be harmful if the individual becomes too obsessed with their dreams. They may use it as a means to escape reality; much in the same way that they once used substance abuse.
There is some concern that dealing with the unconscious mind can be potentially dangerous. The worry is that the individual will come across something that they are not yet ready to face. This concern tends to be overstated as most people only report positive outcomes from such contact with the unconscious mind in the lucid dream.
How to Dream Lucidly
Some people will achieve lucidity in dreams without ever making any special effort; they may not have even realized that it was possible to achieve lucidity beforehand. If the individual is trying to induce lucidity it can be difficult; at least in the beginning. Here are some of the techniques that have been show to be beneficial for promoting lucid dreams:
- One of the most popular techniques for inducing lucid dreams are reality checks. This method requires that people regularly check to see if they are dreaming throughout the day. There are many differences between the real world and the dreaming world, and the purpose of reality checks is to notice these differences. If the individual becomes accustomed to doing reality checks in the waking world they will automatically begin to do them when they are dreaming too.
- Wake-Induced Lucid Dreaming (WILD) is a far more involved technique. The goal of this method is for the body to fall asleep without the mind losing awareness. One way of achieving this involves setting an alarm so that the individual wakes up 6 hours after falling asleep. They then get up for about an hour. When the individual goes back to bed they will put all their focus on staying aware as they fall back asleep. This method is also known as the wake back to bedtechnique.
- Mnemonic induced lucid dreaming (MILD) also involves interrupting sleep. The aim here is to wake up during a dream; the person sets their alarm so that it goes off during the middle of REM sleep. Once they are woken up by the alarm the individual will try to recall their dream in as much detail as possible. They will then imagine themselves becoming lucid in this dream. As they fall back to sleep the person will focus their mind on achieving lucidity.
- There are a number of devices that are believed to help people become lucid in dreams. One gadget involves wearing a special type of cover over the eyes. This monitors for rapid eye movement, and when these occur the device directs flashing lights towards the eyelid. These lights can notify the dreamer that they are asleep. Binaural beats are also believed to help some people achieve lucidity in their dreams.
“I don’t need to tell you how important sleep is or how different it can be now that your clean and sober. But I can tell you that theres a great way to record and control your sleep. With the smart phone app, Sleep Cycle, you can keep track of what you do during the day and before you go to bed, what time you sleep, wake up and how you feel when you do. It will store the data from your sleep and create calculated graphs and charts that show you what methods work and how well you are sleeping. This app detects when you fall asleep and when you hit REM by using motion detectors on your phone, mean while waking you up at the best time in the morning based on your peek of consciousness. You will start to feel more refreshed when you wake up and make a note of what works best to get the perfect nights rest! I have been using it for a week and I am beginning to notice quite a difference in what works and doesn’t when it comes to my sleeping habits. Check it out for yourself! It costs only $1.99, check out the description below for more information!” -Love, Robyn
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- Sleep Cycle monitors your movement during sleep using the extremely sensitive accelerometer in your iPhone.
- Sleep Cycle then finds the optimal time to wake you up during a 30 minute window that ends at your set alarm time.
- Look at the screenshots for recommended iPhone placement.
As you sleep you go through different phases, ranging from deep sleep to light sleep. The phase you are in when your alarm goes off is critical for how tired you will feel when you wake up.
Since you move differently in bed during the different phases, Sleep Cycle can use the accelerometer in your iPhone to monitor your movement and determine which sleep phase you are in.
Sleep Cycle wakes you when you are in your lightest sleep phase.
Sleep Cycle was developed using proven sleep science and years of research and development.
- Waking up made easy! Sleep Cycle analyzes your sleep and wakes you in your lightest sleep phase.
- Detailed sleep statistics and sleep graphs for every night.
- 15 carefully selected, high quality, alarm melodies.
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- Background mode – set your alarm and exit Sleep Cycle – sleep analysis will continue in the background
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Ability to charge your phone by the bed
Ability to place your iPhone according to the instructions (see screenshots)
Written for Recovery Magazine on January 7, 2009 by Emily Battaglia
Individuals who are recovering from addiction often experience significant sleep disturbances. Some of these problems persist only for the first few months in recovery, some for years after abstinence begins.
Scientific studies have recorded the major sleep difficulties experienced by recovering individuals. One small study, conducted by the University of Michigan’s Department of Psychiatry, found that individuals in recovery may experience problems related not only to actual sleep patterns, but also to their perception of their sleeping patterns. The study, published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, made a thorough evaluation of sleep, sleep perception, and alcohol relapse among 18 men and women with insomnia who were in the early stages of alcohol recovery.
The study also indicated the importance of seeking help for sleep disturbances while in recovery. Lead author Deirdre Conroy, Ph.D., a fellow in the University of Michigan Addiction Research Center, commented on the findings:
“What we found is that those patients who had the biggest disconnect between their perception of how they slept and their actual sleep patterns were most likely to relapse. … This suggests that long-term drinking causes something to happen in the brain that interferes with both sleep and perception of sleep. If sleep problems aren’t addressed, the risk of relapse may be high.”
Research has shown that individuals recovering from addiction to substances other than alcohol are also at elevated risk for sleep disturbances. For individuals in recovery, sleep disturbances present a unique problem. Individuals in recovery cannot utilize medicinal aids to alleviate sleep problems without possibly undermining the entire recovery process. Recovery experts recommend some of the following strategies to help individuals in recovery address sleep-related problems:
- Seek help! Sleep disturbances can be complex and physically devastating. Don’t let a problem that may be outside of your control undermine your efforts at good health and sobriety.
- Establish a pre-bed routine and follow it each night. This will help to signal your brain and body that it is almost time to sleep.
- Don’t engage in any sort of stimulating activity for at least two hours before bedtime. This includes any activity that heightens wakefulness, including exercise, high-energy conversations, video games, and other similar activities.
- Don’t overeat. Overeating, especially at dinner can contribute to difficulty falling and staying asleep.
- Don’t do anything in bed except sleep. Watching TV or even reading in bed can send mixed signals to your brain and body. Reserving your bed for sleep will help train your body to go to sleep.
- Avoid coffee and cigarettes for at least three hours before bed. For some, caffeine may need to be avoided after noon.
- Try setting aside time each evening to write about your concerns in a journal. This may help you process issues that are weighing on your mind before you go to sleep. Going to bed with an unburdened mind and clearer thoughts may reduce unpleasant or anxious dreams.