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Is lucid dreaming dangerous? The short answer is no.
Lucid dreaming it’s not dangerous.
Even though lucid dreaming is generally safe, it is important to mention some possible dangers of lucid dreaming and risks that are connected to it.
The dangers of lucid dreaming are:
- Experiencing realistic feelings such as sadness, pain, or anxiety
- Difficulties to recognize what is real and what is a dream
- Using lucid dreams to escape the reality
- Experiencing sleep paralysis
- Feeling mentally exhausted after a lucid dream
- Experiencing a lucid nightmare
Find how to prevent experiencing any of the risks, especially if you are a lucid dream beginner.
Let’s observe the dangers of lucid dreaming, plus a few more questions:
What are the dangers of lucid dreaming?
Can you die in real life from a dream?
Can you die from lucid dreaming?
Can you get stuck in a lucid dream?
Is lucid dreaming addictive?
Are lucid dreams tiring?
Can you have a lucid nightmare?
FINAL THOUGHTS: The dangers of lucid dreaming
Find a video summary of the article at the end of this post!
1. What are the dangers of lucid dreaming?
Overall, lucid dreams are not dangerous.
However, like almost anything in this world, there are some small risks, that you might take into consideration, including:
Experiencing realistic feelings such as sadness, pain, anxiety
Negative feelings like that can occur in a dream state, exactly like in our daily life.
The thing is that if you are a beginner, you will be aware that you are dreaming, but controlling the dream might be still a bit hard.
So, you won’t have full control over it, which might end up in not the best lucid experience.
Difficult to recognize what is real and what is a dream
You might get confused about whether a given memory was a dream or it really happens.
This is not common, however, it is a possible experience, especially if you suffer from borderline personality disorder, or similar mental disorders.
Such conditions will make it hard to know what is a dream, and what is real, and it is possible that lucid dreaming increases the dream-reality confusion.
If you are afraid that you can have difficulties to tell the difference between dreams and reality, the best thing you can do is to have a dream journal.
Writing your dreams down can always remind if something happened in your dream or in the reality, and it is a fantastic way to distinguish dream memories and real memories.
Using lucid dreams to escape the reality
Escapism is intentional detachment and distraction from the real world.
If you use lucid dreaming to escape from the real world, can’t harm you.
Escapism is healthy if it is used in the norms.
However, if you are doing it too much, it can be harmful to your productivity and personal growth.
The only thing you should be careful if you use lucid dreaming to escape the reality and enjoy yourself is simply not letting it go too far.
Otherwise, you might end up dissatisfied with your real life, and to literally start living only in your dreams, by putting all of your energy and goals towards the fantasy world in your head.
Experiencing sleep paralysis
Sleep paralysis is actually a normal and natural process. It happens every night to keep us from acting out our dreams.
Can lucid dreaming lead to sleep paralysis?
Let’s be clear about something – lucid dreaming itself doesn’t cause sleep paralysis!
It is mostly about your personal sleeping and living habits. This condition can occur during periods of sleep deprivation, stress/anxiety, etc.
It is important to mention that SOME lucid dreaming methods may cause sleep paralysis.
Let’s go through them, very quickly:
Dream Initiated Lucid Dreams (DILD): they shouldn’t involve sleep paralysis
Wake Initiated Lucid Dreams (WILD): this is the one that often involves sleep paralysis, but it is also a very effective way of becoming lucid
(it keeps your consciousness awake while your body is falling asleep)
Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams (MILD): shouldn’t involve sleep paralysis except if you are doing it wrong
Finger Induced Lucid Dreams (FILD): there is a chance that this method causes sleep paralysis
2. Can you die in real life from a dream?
Dying in a dream is something that a lot of people are worried about.
But don’t worry, because one thing is certain – you won’t die in real life if you die inside a lucid dream. That’s for sure.
The possible outcomes are – you might wake up in your bed, or inside of another dream.
The ‘‘If you die in a dream you will die in the real-life” is just a myth.
How can you actually die for real while being aware of the fact that you are in a dream – meaning, that it is only in your head?
Dreams of death can actually be insightful experiences about life, rebirth, and transcendence.
3. Can you die from lucid dreaming?
It’s surely possible to die in your sleep or inside of a dream, however, to be killed by a (lucid) dream in the real life – not really.
There is really no evidence that a lucid dream can kill you. After all, a lucid dream isn’t that different from a normal dream.
It is a dream, in which you are AWARE that you are dreaming.
Moreover, many people are reporting that they have dreams in which they are dying.
But the most common outcome is – waking up.
4. Can you get stuck in a lucid dream?
Being trapped in a dream forever is simply science fiction, possible in the movies.
Becoming lucid in a dream, whereafter you are unable to manipulate or wake up from – in other words, feeling stuck in a dream is something that you shouldn’t really worry about.
This concern is unnecessary because as we mentioned those dreams aren’t that different from normal dreams — they’re just much more vivid.
By becoming better at lucid dreaming, you can even wake up on demand.
By closing your (dream) eyes and saying out loud “WAKE UP!”, you should be able to wake up from the dream.
5. Is lucid dreaming addictive?
There might be some very rare, and extreme cases, in which someone can feel addicted to lucid dreams.
But for the majority of people, lucid dreams are not addictive.
For example, if you stop to lucid dream, you will not experience the uncontrollable psychological desire or the irrepressible addictive need to lucid dream again, and again.
Undoubtedly lucid dreaming is highly enjoyable, and you will want to do it more, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to live without it.
Lucid dreaming is more of an actual hobby.
It is exciting, and it is possible to crave for more lucid dreams.
But, that won’t make you a lucid dreaming addict, unless you start sleeping for half of your days, in order to experience lucid dreaming.
THAT might be definitely dangerous.
6. Are lucid dreams tiring?
Imagine that you have a lucid dream in which you are flying around, running, exploring, etc.
The fact that our muscles are paralyzed while we sleep, and that everything happens in our mind, makes the physical energy exhaustion illogical.
But what about mentally exhausting?
A study explored the concerns on is it possible that frequent lucid dreaming can lead to disrupted sleep.
It is possible to wake up tired, if you have long, multiple, very vivid and active lucid (or non-lucid) dreams.
Especially if they are emotional or anxiety-producing dreams.
The thing is that if you LUCID dream, and you are able to control it, you will do pleasurable things and the chances to experience emotionally anxiety producing dreams is small.
But if you are still not able to control the dream, it is also possible to experience emotionally draining dreams, even when you are lucid.
Another aspect is that some lucid dreaming techniques require waking up during the night and performing them.
The effort to experience a lucid dream can cause tiredness, so if you decide to use some of these methods, use them carefully.
It is possible to disrupt your sleep, if you often perform lucid dream techniques, that require waking up in the middle of the night.
If you sleep less than 7 hours, you might suffer from sleep deprivation, which makes these types of techniques, not the best option.
The last point is the so-called “perma-lucid dreamers” or natural lucid dreamers. They are people who dream consciously every night, and they assume that everyone does it.
You might think that is something amazing and it is a truly a gift.
However, some of them often complain of feeling tired and overwhelmed.
This is due to the fact that they lucid dream every night, they can’t rest properly because they cannot simply turn off their minds at night.
Unfortunately, this is an under-researched topic so there are not any scientifically proven answer.
So, finally, it all adds up to this:
The types of lucid or non-lucid dreams that are full of emotional energy, confusing and psychologically disturbing, can be tiring and mentally exhausting.
7. Can you have a lucid nightmare?
It is possible to experience a lucid nightmare, however, the good news is that lucid nightmares are really unusual to happen.
Most of the lucid dreamers are not coming across any terror at all.
The thing is that, often, if we shift a lucid dream into a nightmare, we lose awareness and control, even if had it before.
Similar to any nightmares, the chances to experience it is higher in the moments where you’re particularly stressed.
Also, if you have experienced a trauma of any kind, you might also find yourself in lucid nightmares.
On the other hand, in one study, college students reported that realizing they were dreaming in a nightmare helped them feel better about 60% of the time.
Lucidity was seven times more likely to make nightmares better than worse.
So, when you have a nightmare, the possibly unrealistic and fantastic events might spark lucidity, which will help you to actually overcome the nightmare!
8. FINAL THOUGHTS: The dangers of lucid dreaming
All of these lucid dreaming dangers are very unlikely to occur, however, they are possible.
If you are in a good physical and health mental state, you shouldn’t worry about experiencing these things.
The fact that you are HERE right now, learning about these dangers, means that you will be completely prepared.
If it happens that you run into some of them, you will know what’s happening, and what to do.
If you experience some of these unpleasant situations multiple times, you should try to find out what is the reason behind and to stop practicing lucid dreaming for a while.
Now you should be relaxed, and knowing how to start learning how to lucid dream safely!
In order to do that you can check some of my best articles for inducing a lucid dream:
I’ve only had one or two lucid dreams so far, and they were both short, so I’m pretty new to this. If I were to gain control of lucid dreams eventually, would I be able to make it not lucid on command (so that I get some real sleep if my brain insists on lucid dreaming)?
Yes! I can control when I have Lucid dreams! But I’ve also been having them for years now. Since I was 3 actually
Hi I’m really nervous to begin! I have never even had a dream I could move in etc.. it scares me slightly but I really want to begin! Any tips on how to do it like staying still saying stuff etc…?
Hi Philipps, it is individual and different for everyone. I can’t say for sure, but if you put a lot of effort and you become a skillful lucid dreamer, then, you will be able to do that.
I’ve been Lucid dreaming controlably for years. I only just found out that this was Lucid dreaming this morning. So, I have no idea how I did it XD. I just remember when I was little I had a nightmare, then I wished I could turn off my dreams so I couldn’t have nightmares. Then after that, I could control when I did or didn’t have a dream and what the dream was about. I have no ideas on how I did this, but I’ve never experiexed any of the side effect that could possibly happen. I just know that I only have dreams when I think up a crazy plot before I go to bed. On that note, could you use Lucid Dreams to torture yourself if you had as much control as I do? I’m not going to think about that for now, but this was an interesting discovery about myself. Thank you so much for helping me furthur research this matter.
Same goes for me. I thought lucid dreaming was some mental disease and was curious what it was. Then I discovered there are people that don’t have control in their dreams. Scary lol.
I sometimes dream in pure visual effects and i can punch trough it to make a new effect. Like the old school windows media player effects, but bunnies, creatures and whatever I want can appear in the effects 🙂 but usually i have a “regular” dream with a story and stuff. Often I have to redo a part, because it’s not consistent with the laws of that dream or I have a better idea. Yeah, I’m a perfectionist in my dreams xD
Hi Luna! That’s cool, you are a natural lucid dreamer. 🙂 I’m not sure I understand your question right – you want to torture yourself?
I have had lucid dreams since was a child, I have been able to get good control over them most of the time but can never shut them off. I can have multiple lucid dreams in one night and definitely wake up exhausted. I have had re-accuring lucid dreams that when I’m in them I remember I had them before and am able to change the outcome from what happened the last time I was in the lucid dream. The only thing that has helped me as an adult to lessen the lucid dreams so I could get better rest is marijuana.
To me it is frightening. I know that the experience is just a dream and that I can control whatever I want. That’s a good thing. But at the same time I am thinking “I am actually in bed right now, and likely my body is paralyzed, even if in this dream I am running, jumping or even flying. What if I am stuck here, and I can’t wake up! Maybe this is the Doorway to Death? Then I begin to panic, which wakes me up, sort of. Half the time it’s only “waking” to yet another dream, ie I say wow that was an interesting or scary dream, not knowing that am STILL dreaming. All in all would be happier if this lucid dreaming did not happen as often as it does.
The same happens with me….i tend to believe that oh yess i have escaped from that horrible dream…emding up knowing that i am still dreaming. This loop went like 5 to 6 times…and then i was confused even after actually waking up.
When I was a child I learnt how to awake from a nightmare. Throwing myself or turning round speedily would usually do it. As an adult I have recently become interested in lucid dreaming as it happened quite naturally as a child. I am hoping to be able to learn more about this. I am not at all worried about dangers.
When I Lucid dream… I can always tell myself “wake up!” And I can wake up right then and there… I usually do that when I’m about to die in my sleep or if they get too scary… My dreams are so realistic its crazy sometimes, I just like the fact I’m able to control myself in the drew and I can wake up from it whenever I need to.
I’ve wanted to try to practice it but every website is different and some say to never some say its not dangerous but one way to try to practice it is that if every dream you have you flip or toss a coin into a cup and when you wake up you flip a coin into a cup and do that daily you should slowly gain more control Idk how it works but yea.
I would add you can get stuck in lucid dreams. I do it relatively regularly and it’s always terrifying, even when I know what is happening. I “wake up” over and over again in the same position in my bed. I get up, walk around, and do something until I realize I am still dreaming. I scream, “Wake up,” but I don’t wake up or I “wake up” again in my dreams. If I know there is someone in the house with me, I will try to call their name, thinking if I can yell at them in the real world, they will wake me up. This has never worked and often the noise gets caught in my throat, so in my dream I am both struggling to scream and wake up. I have never met anyone else who has had this experience, but I am a deep, deep sleeper as well as being a natural lucid dreamer, so it may be rare.
Hi, Sarah. I also experienced the same way.
I have never had a Lucid Dream ever before in my life and I am quite nervous to begin so please can you help me out on how to have my first ever Lucid Dream?
I am the exact same way Sarah!!! It terifies the crap out of me and I don’t know what to do!!!
Hey Sarah. That is a false awakening and I have a whole article about it. You can read it here: http://luciddreamsociety.com/false-awakening/
I hope it can help you!
When I lucid dream I know my unconscious is awake and I can see myself as I stand up, is it okay to be scared when I can see my house but it’s a little distorted and the ceiling is vaulted and dark and I feel an evil presence…?
Hey Amber. I recommend you to read the following article; it might give you some deeper insights: http://luciddreamsociety.com/is-astral-projection-real/
I have lucid dreams almost every night and I do nothing to put myself in a lucid dreaming state. It is exhausting because even though I am sleeping it feels as if I am awake and simply watching my dreams. I mean to research this, but haven’t taken the time to do so.
Do you have any idea why this happens? It was cool at first but it is physically and mentally draining at times.
My thing is that I watched this Youtuber that said a long time ago he had a lucid dream and now he sees freaky stuff all the time. This is what concerns me because it sounds horrifying and I don’t want to go through that. Can this really happen to you and will it ever stop?
I have been lucid dreaming since I was 4 because I used to have lots of nightmares. Now I am a teenager, I have sleep insomnia and only sleep around 4-6 hours, I lucid dream every night, and I wake up exhausted
I keep having dreams where I cannot move in them yet I know I’m in a dream I try to wake up yet I can’t and I just feel an undeniable stress on my body in my dream? It’s honestly terrifying
Same In my nightmares I being tortured Nd I wake up with the pain
I’m glad I came across this. I’ve been thinking I’m having sleep paralysis…But I’m never In my room it’s always somewhere else… I’m totally conscious tht I’m dreaming. It freaks me out n I do everything I can to wake up usually ending up with false awakenings. I never feel a bad presence or see scary things.. I just see my “surroundings” n can feel my husband next to me. I fight to get out of it and when I do it feels like it’s pulling me back in. I guess I need to train myself to be more positive so I won’t keep having these negative experiences.
I really was confused if I was really doing lucid dream of not.. But I could say that I don’t use methods to try lucid dreaming by I end up having consciousness inside my dream.. That I’m fully aware that I’m dreaming..
i was lucid dreaming all along! i never knew what it was lol! btw can i tell the time in my dream like know about how long i have been in there?
I have had a few lucid dreams that I have had complete control of. my most memorable one I was about 6 years and I was in some sort of misty and fogged up home. I was like, “this isn’t my room…” then I was like, “holy poop I’m in a nightmare! It’s time to end this,” and I would rush out of the house and it was like a whole different reality. It turns out I had a fear of being alone in the dark, and I had ultimately conquered it, my therapist said. The therapist was for my parents getting divorced, not the lucid dream. So now I haven’t been having lucid dreams for awhile and I want to get back in it.
I have lucid dreams every night, (very exhausting). Most are very emotionally tramatic. I can not control these dreams, but I know I can wake up when I tell myself to wake up. Some of these topics of yours I can related to but to other i think are bull****. I can’t stop these dreams, I can’t not make a happy ending, they are very emotional tolling on me. I do wake up emotionally exhausted and sometimes crying. I try to explain this to my doctor but they don’t understand. Yes, I am on meds for bipolar, anxiety, depression, ptsd, insomina. But no med out there helps. But my current doctor and past doctors agree if I have a restful night sleep it could control my mental problems. Yes, I have seen many therapist but my dreams never change. I am constantly haunted by these emotions in dreams and in real life.
I discovered lucid dreaming about 8 years ago. Would naturally lucid dream every night, in the span of 5 minutes I would be able to detect a glitch in the dream and trigger awareness. I got more and more proficient at it to the point that i no longer even needed to detect glitches, i could just feel it. I would feel it was a dream without any external help or effort. Was constantly tired, but it was ok, it was a great experience.
Stopped being fun when i got the ‘it is a dream feeling’ and trigger while presumably awake.
I’ve been questioning my reality ever since. Stopped acting out on the lucidness of dreams since then. I just stopped questioning.
Time frame and remembering things doesn’t help either. I’ve been stuck in a dream before for over 21 years before i woke up. Was born a baby, grew up, learned a language, 21 years later surprise! it was a dream.
I miss lucid dreaming. But I don’t want to get to doubt this reality at that level again. It’s not funny.
Ps. Yes. I know i sound like a nutcase. But. Anyway. It can be fun.
Go for hypnotherapy.
That, or at least pretend that the dream is real, lie to yourself that it’s real so you can at least rest.
The dreams will eventually stop.
But no. 1 is hypno-therapy. I had the same issue when i started. Bumped into other shit afterwards, but hypnotherapy solved what you’re describing.
@A., that sounds really disturbing and I wish I knew how to help! But if it’s worth anything to hear this: You’re in some kind of real place right now, real enough that I am a separate person from you. Even if there turn out to be more levels of awakeness above this–which many religions assume there sort of are–your experience here still matters. It’s shaping who you are, as well as anyone whose lives you touch.
I got to this page looking for help with almost an opposite problem. I am a split personality who never intended to get stuck in our body. The world my family lives in may be only a dream compared to Earth, but it is real to us and I need to go home. I don’t care very much about controlling our inner world, although I know it’s possible and the split personalities who can do it well are very respected inside. I care about 1) getting out of the way so the rest of us can use our body effectively, 2) moving into a more appropriate environment for someone of my experiences and mental age, and 3) stopping all the destructive sleepwalking I do in our dream-world when I go inside non-lucidly. Seriously, I have done some really stupid things in there that I would never have done conscious! Car accidents, fistfights, property damage that almost destroyed a public school…it’s no wonder my peers have started sending out search parties whenever I fall asleep!
Unfortunately, I haven’t had much success at lucid dreaming my way home yet. The reality check stuff usually just makes my hands disfigured or my immediate surroundings warped, and whenever I do finally get lucid it only lasts another moment before I wake up or have a memory blackout. The waking induced lucid dreaming technique sounds like my best bet because it’s similar to how we used to switch when I wasn’t stuck, but I haven’t done it successfully yet. It is really physically uncomfortable! Sometimes I’ve given up after over an hour of discomfort turning into pain. Last time, I just ended up falling asleep normally, but woke up with incoherent nightmares and my body covered in hive rashes. (It was a stressful day already, so that may not have been the technique’s fault.) I feel like it should be easier for me to lucid dream than unsplit personalities because I actually belong in the other place, but instead it seems insanely hard! I don’t understand.