Lucid dreaming

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paciboy

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Hey, so earlier today i took a nap after my morning classes, and i had a lucid dream. For those who dont know, a lucid dream is where u realize u are dreaming and you can sometimes control and change the things around you. Lately ive been having them more frequently, and ive noticed they tend to happen more when i take a nap in the middle of the day.

Anyway, whenever i realize that im dreaming, i instantly try to make it AB related. sometimes it works, sometimes it doesnt. If i try too hard to change things i just wake up. But in the past ive been able to change my dream so that im wearing diapers and baby clothes. Today, i was able to change my dream so that i was wearing diapers and started to breast feed from a mommy, but then i woke up.

I was wondering if anyone else has similar experiences or advice on how to lucid dream better.
 

P9Kitty

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Never have been able to do that. I'm interested though. So I'll be sure to remember this if I ever realize that I'm dreaming.
 

Chanch0

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No, I don't have any tips, but here's some fun facts for you, lucid dreaming is a pretty rare thing, I think its like 2% of Americans have this skill, and let's see if I remember right, Bach was one, Einstein was one and I know that the guy who wrote the script and stuff for the movie "Avatar" was one. (he made himself write the movie and stuff while he slept and the actual movie was not what he thought he wrote). I have a friend who has this skill and he says that sometimes he can't tell if he's dreaming or not lol. :p


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ZakRoo

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my psych class was talking about this the other day. turns out, when you're lucid dreaming, you're not actually *fully* asleep.
you're asleep enough to be able to block out most/all outside interference, and that allows your still conscious mind to do... well, whatever it wants.
it's very similar to a trance.
it's also why you remember most lucid dreams- your mind is awake to store the memory of it in your brain, unlike REM where next to nothing gets permanently stored.

i'm not really sure if this is the same thing, but i can sometimes just lay down and go into a really deep relaxation, to the point where somebody could pinch me and i wouldn't even feel it. (i would feel it, but it's kind of a removed feeling)
when i'm in that kind of state, i can have the weirdest experiences. it's exactly like a lucid dream. it's great :D
 

coolguy

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I also sometimes have the ability to realize I am in a dream and can take control of it, it hasnt happened for a long time though and never involved those types of things. However I often have dreams about being seen by different people with my diapers and those dreams are usually embarrassing and when I wake up I was glad it was just a dream. Having dreams like this make me fear of sleeping in the same room as someone as I may talk in my sleep.
 

paciboy

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No, I don't have any tips, but here's some fun facts for you, lucid dreaming is a pretty rare thing, I think its like 2% of Americans have this skill

it happens to me like 2-3 times a month, so idk if i have the "skill." I heard that you can get better at it if you really try tho.
 
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If you really want to lucid dream I know a few sure fire ways :smile1:

If your over 21 : Stay awake at least 24 hours, If you like coffee drink lots it not only keeps you awake but helps with lucid dreaming later. After the 24 hour mark pick your alcohol of choice and get really drunk and fall to sleep, but make sure to set a alarm for 4-5 ( NO MORE! ) hours after you fall asleep, force yourself to wake up when it goes off and get up and about till your fully awake ( At least an hour usually, basically till your no longer tired ), then lay down and relax with your eyes closed, Valah! You can enter a dream state easy peasy and do whatever you want :smile1:

It works because, 24 without sleep starts to put you in alot of sleep debt, people who stay awake to long experience bad bad things like hallucinations and dream thoughts entering into there everyday waking state, so don't overdo it. add to that when you do go to sleep your mind now really really wants to dream since it hasn't ( people with a sleep debt enter a dream state faster whereas someone without it won't start dreaming for a while into the night ), but alcohol is a REM ( dream phase of sleep ) suppressor, so when you sleep it keeps you from dreaming, and once you wake up your mind will be pretty much starved for dreams, so you wake up completely ( so you won't fall asleep when you lay down ), and BAM! instant dream fun! :p

If your under 21 you can try the same thing but without the alcohol, and if you find you have trouble, like you fall asleep instead of dreaming, have your hand holding something that will be loud if you let go / drop it, so that way if you would have fell asleep, and wasted your time, instead the noise just wakes you up and you can try again right away :smile1: ENJOY FLYING WITH RAINBOW BUNNYS IN A CARROT FIGHTER JET
 

Zeek61

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Lucid dreaming is a very cool thing to say the least. When i was studying sleep this semester my lecturer told me about someone that utilised lucid dreaming to stop their bedwetting (yes, i did feel a little bit awkward in the class at that time). Basically, this particular girl hated wetting the bed and figured out that when she dreamed that she was going to the bathroom, she was wetting her bed. So, she took control of the dream where she needed to go to the bathroom and made it so there was always something in the way preventing her from going (i.e. someone else was using it or it was really dirty and not usable) and she stopped wetting the bed. So you can do some pretty cool things with lucid dreams. As said before, they aren't the norm in people however, you can train yourself to do it and it takes a long time to be able to achieve it. And a lot of people that only have lucid dreams often find themselves confused as to when they are dreaming and when they are awake.

However, i would not recommend what sherbet has said if you want to experience it. Sleep deprivation is NEVER a good thing to try and mixing it with alcohol is not a smart thing to do either. Plus, alcohol is not a REM suppressor but rather, prevents the REM-off signal from occurring which means you have the REM neurons firing during NREM sleep. This causes what is known as night terrors and from the reports i have heard of these, are not a nice thing at all (my lecturer told me about someone's night terrors where their skin was being peeled off piece by piece and they could feel the pain of it). As a side note, sleep deprivation increases your risk of a psychotic episode which is not something that is smart to do.

One thing i wanted to point out is that we cycle through NREM and REM sleep throughout the night with a REM cycle being the last one before we wake up. With REM sleep, our brain wave patterns (on an EEG) are actually very similar to that of when we are awake and our brains are far more active during this time then during NREM sleep (this has been shown on a functional MRI and other tests too). Main reason why we don't remember dreams from the other periods of REM that we experience during the night is because of the fact that the brain has more important things to remember then dreams (our brains are VERY resistant to form new memories and will do everything it can to prevent the process of forming a new memory as it is a very energy intensive process). So remembering dreams isn't really that important. Not to mention, during the night when we are cycling through REM and NREM, when we reach NREM sleep, there is cycling of neuronal activity between the cortical regions and the thalamus and therefore, a process such as memory formation is not an easy thing to do. Even if it was committed to short term memory, it would be forgot before we wake up as there is no 'reinforcing' of the dream because you aren't aware of what you are doing. This is different in people with lucid dreams. Because they are aware, they are able to remember the dreams more easily as the structures in the brain involved in memory can be accessed properly. The other reason why we normally don't remember our dreams when we wake up is because once we are awake, our brain is thinking about a whole range of things and receiving many different inputs that it has to now process and this causes you memory of the dream you just had to fade. If you really want to remember you dream, when you wake up, don't move or open your eyes or anything and try to think about what you dreamt about last night. This will help you to remember dreams better as you are not bombarding you brain with inputs from everything else.

People who have lucid dreams, whilst they are in a trance like state, are still entering REM sleep and are not doing anything differently in their brain (in terms of visible functioning by imaging). This is the reason why some people that have lucid dreams, when they wake up can be temporarily paralysed (this is a natural thing that occurs to prevent us acting out our dreams during REM sleep but stops when we enter NREM sleep).

That being said, i do have periods where i have had lucid dreams and can easily control aspects. However, lately because of everything going on (mainly my exams) i haven't been remembering dreams because my brain is more active trying to remember what it needs to for my exam. (a clear example of why we don't normally remember our dreams). There ar a whole range of things that you can try when you lucid dream. One of the things that i have heard of is if you don't like something, try and make yourself spin on the spot a couple of times and you will end up in a different place. I haven't tried this myself as normally, i can just change where i am or what I'm doing based on how I'm feeling. I would never use my dreams to do work though. It sounds like a good way to get things done but i go to sleep for exactly that. Not to mention my lecturer told me of a story about a guy that hated going to sleep because he would work all day, come home and go to sleep and then dream he was working all day in his dream. So basically, he was always working. Not something i want to end up doing.
 

BabyBlue26

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If memory serves, I have lucid dreams quite often. about once every couple weeks. I love them. I would like to know more about the "temporarily paralyzed" part though. That happens to me A LOT. It is absolutely terrifying. I actually made a post about this very thing on another thread the other day.

What happens to me is, It will appear to me as though I am fully awake because I can see my room and nothing "dream-like" is occurring. However, my head..or at least my upper body feels completely paralyzed. This naturally freaks me the hell out. Especially because I am claustrophobic. So not being able to move is...Nightmarish. The more I try and get out of it, the more it resists and doesn't let me. Which then freaks me out more because I get upset that I am not able to wake up. I feel like its restraining me. The cruel trick is that I have to not struggle to get out of it. Which is REALLY hard when you are as upset as I am. It often makes me scared of sleeping.

There have even been occasions where I get out of it, but because I am still extremely tired, I pass out again, and am put back into paralysis. I honestly don't understand why I suffer so much from this. I am one of the best sleepers I know. I sleep healthy hours, It is deep enough that I am never disturbed by outside influences, and I haven't had nightmares in..god knows how many years. So I don't get it. You seem to know a substantial amount about this stuff Zeek61, I would be very interested to know what you think might be going on with me. It would be very helpful.
 
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Lucid dreaming is a very cool thing to say the least. When i was studying sleep this semester my lecturer told me about someone that utilised lucid dreaming to stop their bedwetting (yes, i did feel a little bit awkward in the class at that time). Basically, this particular girl hated wetting the bed and figured out that when she dreamed that she was going to the bathroom, she was wetting her bed. So, she took control of the dream where she needed to go to the bathroom and made it so there was always something in the way preventing her from going (i.e. someone else was using it or it was really dirty and not usable) and she stopped wetting the bed. So you can do some pretty cool things with lucid dreams. As said before, they aren't the norm in people however, you can train yourself to do it and it takes a long time to be able to achieve it. And a lot of people that only have lucid dreams often find themselves confused as to when they are dreaming and when they are awake.

However, i would not recommend what sherbet has said if you want to experience it. Sleep deprivation is NEVER a good thing to try and mixing it with alcohol is not a smart thing to do either. Plus, alcohol is not a REM suppressor but rather, prevents the REM-off signal from occurring which means you have the REM neurons firing during NREM sleep. This causes what is known as night terrors and from the reports i have heard of these, are not a nice thing at all (my lecturer told me about someone's night terrors where their skin was being peeled off piece by piece and they could feel the pain of it). As a side note, sleep deprivation increases your risk of a psychotic episode which is not something that is smart to do.

One thing i wanted to point out is that we cycle through NREM and REM sleep throughout the night with a REM cycle being the last one before we wake up. With REM sleep, our brain wave patterns (on an EEG) are actually very similar to that of when we are awake and our brains are far more active during this time then during NREM sleep (this has been shown on a functional MRI and other tests too). Main reason why we don't remember dreams from the other periods of REM that we experience during the night is because of the fact that the brain has more important things to remember then dreams (our brains are VERY resistant to form new memories and will do everything it can to prevent the process of forming a new memory as it is a very energy intensive process). So remembering dreams isn't really that important. Not to mention, during the night when we are cycling through REM and NREM, when we reach NREM sleep, there is cycling of neuronal activity between the cortical regions and the thalamus and therefore, a process such as memory formation is not an easy thing to do. Even if it was committed to short term memory, it would be forgot before we wake up as there is no 'reinforcing' of the dream because you aren't aware of what you are doing. This is different in people with lucid dreams. Because they are aware, they are able to remember the dreams more easily as the structures in the brain involved in memory can be accessed properly. The other reason why we normally don't remember our dreams when we wake up is because once we are awake, our brain is thinking about a whole range of things and receiving many different inputs that it has to now process and this causes you memory of the dream you just had to fade. If you really want to remember you dream, when you wake up, don't move or open your eyes or anything and try to think about what you dreamt about last night. This will help you to remember dreams better as you are not bombarding you brain with inputs from everything else.

People who have lucid dreams, whilst they are in a trance like state, are still entering REM sleep and are not doing anything differently in their brain (in terms of visible functioning by imaging). This is the reason why some people that have lucid dreams, when they wake up can be temporarily paralysed (this is a natural thing that occurs to prevent us acting out our dreams during REM sleep but stops when we enter NREM sleep).

That being said, i do have periods where i have had lucid dreams and can easily control aspects. However, lately because of everything going on (mainly my exams) i haven't been remembering dreams because my brain is more active trying to remember what it needs to for my exam. (a clear example of why we don't normally remember our dreams). There ar a whole range of things that you can try when you lucid dream. One of the things that i have heard of is if you don't like something, try and make yourself spin on the spot a couple of times and you will end up in a different place. I haven't tried this myself as normally, i can just change where i am or what I'm doing based on how I'm feeling. I would never use my dreams to do work though. It sounds like a good way to get things done but i go to sleep for exactly that. Not to mention my lecturer told me of a story about a guy that hated going to sleep because he would work all day, come home and go to sleep and then dream he was working all day in his dream. So basically, he was always working. Not something i want to end up doing.

The only bad thing sleep deprivation causes is extreme tiredness, and things associated with it such as it not being a good idea to drive, its a real common misconception and a person did a study of this to prove that it has little short term effects besides concentration and memory and no long term effects on health or mental state. Also people are way to caught up, even in scientific circles, on dreams and brain-waves, when not realizing the chemical aspect of it. Alcohol IS a REM suppresant, and if taken when one should be having an REM cycle it will inhibit it and cause REM rebound almost instantly afterwards, and its not just REM and brainwaves here, alcohol inhibits the release of chemicals such as serotonin and increases, though indirectly, choleric activity in the mind thus keeping one from not only dreaming, but being concsious during when one would dream.

The main CHEMICAL and not "brainwave" cause of sleep is inhibition of choleric chemicals and increase of serotonic and dopamine ones, as one looses sleep, say through deprivation, the mind has no way to continue to produce these natural cholerics and thus has an anti-choleric effect, which itself is the main cause of the inner sensory perceptions of sleep such as sight and hearing and whatever. If you look up studys on chemical depletion of dopamine you'll see that it causes hallucinations exactly akin to extreme sleep deprivation or what one might get in a half sleep half awake state, and even more so if you look at the effects of anti-chollerics chemicals, they cause one to enter a delerious state of dreaming while awake. of course non of these should ever ever be tried but thats just showing that theres more to sleep than simple "brain-waves" and "brain-wave cycles". You actually said "are brain waves are similair in dreams as when we are awake" and this is true, but obviously were not in a same state of mind are we? So there must be something else going on, and there is. And you say that people who have lucid dreams are not showing any different REM brain waves then normal sleep, which is true, but when one has REM rebound the anti-choleric aspect shows it self in the thalamus, thus increasing vividity of imagination and creating a dreamscape, but not inhibiting serotonin or dopamine recepters in the same area thus leaving one concious while one dreams and being able to form working memories of the events.

So is sleep deprivation bad? No, its a common misconception, and there are many studies on this, tho chronically it can effect health or in excess it can effect ones acute homeostasis and health but that is usually regained after a good nights rest. As long as one doesn't drive or have obligations there is no harm in it. As for alcohol consumption, of course thats bad for you, but the dangers and health risks are well known for the most part.

---------- Post added at 02:06 ---------- Previous post was at 02:04 ----------

If memory serves, I have lucid dreams quite often. about once every couple weeks. I love them. I would like to know more about the "temporarily paralyzed" part though. That happens to me A LOT. It is absolutely terrifying. I actually made a post about this very thing on another thread the other day.

What happens to me is, It will appear to me as though I am fully awake because I can see my room and nothing "dream-like" is occurring. However, my head..or at least my upper body feels completely paralyzed. This naturally freaks me the hell out. Especially because I am claustrophobic. So not being able to move is...Nightmarish. The more I try and get out of it, the more it resists and doesn't let me. Which then freaks me out more because I get upset that I am not able to wake up. I feel like its restraining me. The cruel trick is that I have to not struggle to get out of it. Which is REALLY hard when you are as upset as I am. It often makes me scared of sleeping.

There have even been occasions where I get out of it, but because I am still extremely tired, I pass out again, and am put back into paralysis. I honestly don't understand why I suffer so much from this. I am one of the best sleepers I know. I sleep healthy hours, It is deep enough that I am never disturbed by outside influences, and I haven't had nightmares in..god knows how many years. So I don't get it. You seem to know a substantial amount about this stuff Zeek61, I would be very interested to know what you think might be going on with me. It would be very helpful.

Your a brave man :0 i've only had sleep paralysis happen to me once and I was terrified :sweatdrop: Being closterphobic like you said you are, I can't even imagine D:
 

StargazerBleu

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I have had these before.
Took a few to get the hang of it. Still am getting used to it but can control a good portion of it.

I usually try to bring it into a furry side, a few times to CF or BF.
Doesn't always work or not always completely. Tho I have been getting better at it tho.

Sometimes when in lucid dreaming I dont even think of those things and just try to control it the best I can how I want it to come out.
 

cgh

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It's very rare for me to lucid dream but when I have it's awesome. I tend to got all Dragonball-esqe with super powers and things :)
 

Zeek61

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I actually disagree with a few of the things that you have said here and i can explain why that is.

First thing is sleep deprivation actually does increase the risk of psychosis in people. This can be found on many different articles especially in psychological ones today and is actually one of the leading contributors to psychosis in teenagers (amongst other factors). Please note here that i never said sleep deprivation leads to psychosis. Rather, i said it is a risk factor of psychosis and it can be all that is required to trigger it in some individuals. The question is, are you willing to take that chance. I can tell you that this source is from one of my lecturers who is a psychiatrist and has dealt with this whilst practicing. And I'm sure i can find an article to show to you that this is also evident (mind you, it will be a retrospective study considering it would be unethical to force people to undergo sleep deprivation to see its effects). One thing we do know for certain is that sleep deprivation in other mammals actually can result in death of that animal, especially when there is loss of REM sleep. We have no idea why that occurs but logically, you cannot say there are any negative effects of sleep on us that are at least slightly longer term. Sure, we don't die if you have a small amount of sleep deprivation but there are widespread effects and we do not understand why sleep deprivation will kill many mammals but does not have the same effect in us. Plus, exactly as you said, i didn't mention all the hormonal changes that occur because of sleep deprivation (such as lowered growth hormone, increased adrenaline and cortisol levels amongst other changes as well and not to mention that a person losses the ability to thermoregulate their body). This was for the exact same reason that you said before, these can be reset after your REM sleep has been recovered from.

Next, you said that alcohol is a REM sleep suppressor which, as i said previously, is actually inaccurate. You rightly said that alcohol affect dopamine and serotonin however, alcohol (as far as i have been able to see) and cannot see where you managed to find that alcohol affects acetylcholine. So if i have missed that somewhere, i would like to see a source for that information (mainly for my own reference, not because i want you to prove to me. i like to see a source for information that i cannot find myself.). Some of the other areas that alcohol affects are GABA (mainly used as an inhibitory pathway in the brain), adenosine (responsible for alertness and this is what caffeine targets to keep you awake; that is, maintaining adenosine levels in the brain to maintain alertness) and norepinephrine (basically, adrenaline but this is a neurotransmitter form of it). Therefore, alcohol's effect is on the person's ability to fall asleep and the ability to turn REM off. This is because of the fact that serotonin is known to promote sleep and as alcohol increases its level, means the person is more likely to fall asleep. Couple this with the fact that the inhibition of adenosine by alcohol means that there is a loss of the excitatory area and this causes initiation of sleep.

You are right to say that problems with cholinergic (this is the correct way to spell it just as an fyi) neurons will affect the ability of someone to enter into sleep. This is because cholinergic neurons are in the pre-optic hypothalamic nucleus and are labelled as REM-on neurons because they initiate REM. However, alcohol (again, as far as i have been able to see; see links below to confirm) does not affect cholinergic neurons. Therefore, there is not an issue with entering into REM. However, alcohol's effect on adrenergic (these neurons use norepinephrine which is the neurotransmitter form of adrenaline) neurons affects the locus coeruleus nucleus as these neurons are adrenergic. These neurons are not responsible for initiation of REM but rather, inhibit the REM-on neurons. This means that they are REM-off as they are responsible for turning the REM neurons off during the sleep cycle. There are other neurons that are responsible for controlling REM-off however, they do not use a neurotransmitter that alcohol affects.

Also, i think you have been confusing my explanation of the sleep cycle with my explanation of changes in neurotransmitter release. The fact is that there are two phases of sleep that we undergo which are called REM (Random Eye Movement) and NREM (Non-Random Eye Movement). Initially, studies of sleep were only conducted using EEGs to watch the patterns of electrical signal across the brain. In NREM, there are several phases and these correlate to how deep you are sleeping. The phases are 1, 2, 3/4 (and yes it is called 3/4 not 3 or 4 or three quarters as these two phases are so close that they cannot be differentiated between). When we first go to sleep, we enter into NREM first and begin in phase 1, progressing then to phase 2 and then to phase 3/4 (being the deepest sleep that occurs). After phase 3/4, we progress back to phase 2 and then enter into REM sleep. This pattern continues throughout the night cycling through from NREM to REM then back to NREM. However, as the night progresses, we do not go as deep into NREM phases. Each of these phases can be seen on the EEG as they have characteristic electrical signal patterns. However, i was not using this as an explanation as to alcohol's effect on sleep, merely a bit of background information. That being said, i was trying to describe the transition between NREM and REM that we know about so far without being super complicated about it (this time i described the structures and neurotransmitters that are used). Plus, i needed to mention about NREM and REM due to the fact that if the REM-off neurons do not function as they are supposed to, shutting down the REM neurons, then it will cause night terrors in people (because for some reason what we cannot explain yet dreaming during NREM seems to be associated with horrific dreams of torture and other really terrifying things for an individual). I do want to mention here that drinking alcohol will not necessarily cause night terrors in everyone but it has been reported to occur (the source for this was from medscape and i can find the link again if you want me to) However, as alcohol is metabolised and will be cleared from the body before the end of sleep (usually, if the person hasn't consumed too much alcohol) then the effects that it has on the brain will begin to stop. So hopefully this will clear up what i was trying to say before.

@BabyBlue26, paralysis can occur to people regardless of if they are able to lucid dream or not and can even be induced as well. Basically, what you are experiencing (as far as i know) is problems with the parts of the brain that are responsible for causing paralysis during sleep. This problem isn't exclusive to people who lucid dream but is something that has been noted to occur with for a number of individuals. I did have to look this up for you as i wasn't exactly sure how the whole process of sleep paralysis occurs (when i studied sleep, my neuroscience lecturer didn't go into much detail about sleep paralysis [or maybe she did and didn't put it in her lecture notes, I'm not 100% sure] but rather just the region that is involved in it and what neurotransmitter is used). Neurons of the locus coeruleus (which use norepinephrine; again similar to adrenaline but this is a neurotransmitter) are responsible for causing paralysis of your body. I did look a bit further into the sleep paralysis and from what i have read, it appears that there is a desynchronisation between the cortex and the thalamus (whereby the cortex awakens before the thalamus does). However, i believe this is still a bit of an area that is not really that well understood. One thing that i did find interesting though is that people who experience paralysis when they wake from sleep can often have the paralysis disappear if there is some kind of stimulus that occurs (i.e. someone touches you) and this is believed to stimulate the thalamus and cause it to wake up. That may be something that you can see works for you. As for actually helping you long term, I wouldn't know what to suggest. I do know for a fact that having sleep paralysis is not a sign that there is something wrong with your brain. But there may be something that can be used to treat it (maybe ask your doctor next time you need to see them).


Just as a side note, this is the place i got my reference for alcohol's effects on neurotransmitters
http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh21-2/144.pdf (this is from 1997)
Alcohol's Effects in the Brain (from 2008) - this one confirms what the source above says


-edit-
I did find that it says alcohol affects acteylcholine action (it was on wikipedia so i cannot find an explanation of it at all) but i cannot source whether is it has inhibitory actions or excitatory actions on acetylcholine. This is because found an article that showed that depending upon the receptor subtype, alcohol will cause excitatory effects on the majority of acetylcholine BUT on one subtype causes inhibitory effects. I have not been able to source whether this one subtype of receptor is involved in sleep. Therefore, i still stand by what i said. If you can source more information, that would be great.
 
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RadioactiveSquirrel

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Lucid dreaming is a very cool thing to say the least. When i was studying sleep this semester my lecturer told me about someone that utilised lucid dreaming to stop their bedwetting (yes, i did feel a little bit awkward in the class at that time). Basically, this particular girl hated wetting the bed and figured out that when she dreamed that she was going to the bathroom, she was wetting her bed. So, she took control of the dream where she needed to go to the bathroom and made it so there was always something in the way preventing her from going (i.e. someone else was using it or it was really dirty and not usable) and she stopped wetting the bed. So you can do some pretty cool things with lucid dreams. As said before, they aren't the norm in people however, you can train yourself to do it and it takes a long time to be able to achieve it. And a lot of people that only have lucid dreams often find themselves confused as to when they are dreaming and when they are awake.

However, i would not recommend what sherbet has said if you want to experience it. Sleep deprivation is NEVER a good thing to try and mixing it with alcohol is not a smart thing to do either. Plus, alcohol is not a REM suppressor but rather, prevents the REM-off signal from occurring which means you have the REM neurons firing during NREM sleep. This causes what is known as night terrors and from the reports i have heard of these, are not a nice thing at all (my lecturer told me about someone's night terrors where their skin was being peeled off piece by piece and they could feel the pain of it). As a side note, sleep deprivation increases your risk of a psychotic episode which is not something that is smart to do.

One thing i wanted to point out is that we cycle through NREM and REM sleep throughout the night with a REM cycle being the last one before we wake up. With REM sleep, our brain wave patterns (on an EEG) are actually very similar to that of when we are awake and our brains are far more active during this time then during NREM sleep (this has been shown on a functional MRI and other tests too). Main reason why we don't remember dreams from the other periods of REM that we experience during the night is because of the fact that the brain has more important things to remember then dreams (our brains are VERY resistant to form new memories and will do everything it can to prevent the process of forming a new memory as it is a very energy intensive process). So remembering dreams isn't really that important. Not to mention, during the night when we are cycling through REM and NREM, when we reach NREM sleep, there is cycling of neuronal activity between the cortical regions and the thalamus and therefore, a process such as memory formation is not an easy thing to do. Even if it was committed to short term memory, it would be forgot before we wake up as there is no 'reinforcing' of the dream because you aren't aware of what you are doing. This is different in people with lucid dreams. Because they are aware, they are able to remember the dreams more easily as the structures in the brain involved in memory can be accessed properly. The other reason why we normally don't remember our dreams when we wake up is because once we are awake, our brain is thinking about a whole range of things and receiving many different inputs that it has to now process and this causes you memory of the dream you just had to fade. If you really want to remember you dream, when you wake up, don't move or open your eyes or anything and try to think about what you dreamt about last night. This will help you to remember dreams better as you are not bombarding you brain with inputs from everything else.

People who have lucid dreams, whilst they are in a trance like state, are still entering REM sleep and are not doing anything differently in their brain (in terms of visible functioning by imaging). This is the reason why some people that have lucid dreams, when they wake up can be temporarily paralysed (this is a natural thing that occurs to prevent us acting out our dreams during REM sleep but stops when we enter NREM sleep).

That being said, i do have periods where i have had lucid dreams and can easily control aspects. However, lately because of everything going on (mainly my exams) i haven't been remembering dreams because my brain is more active trying to remember what it needs to for my exam. (a clear example of why we don't normally remember our dreams). There ar a whole range of things that you can try when you lucid dream. One of the things that i have heard of is if you don't like something, try and make yourself spin on the spot a couple of times and you will end up in a different place. I haven't tried this myself as normally, i can just change where i am or what I'm doing based on how I'm feeling. I would never use my dreams to do work though. It sounds like a good way to get things done but i go to sleep for exactly that. Not to mention my lecturer told me of a story about a guy that hated going to sleep because he would work all day, come home and go to sleep and then dream he was working all day in his dream. So basically, he was always working. Not something i want to end up doing.

Oh God I HATE sleep paralysis... I used to have it all the time! It's horrible, you can't move, and it feels like you can't breathe... Sometimes I can move my hand a tiny bit, but it is extremely difficult... I know people say you should relax when it happens, but I can't, I mean how in the world are you supposed to relax when your lungs are on fire? o_O
 
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I actually disagree with a few of the things that you have said here and i can explain why that is.

First thing is sleep deprivation actually does increase the risk of psychosis in people. This can be found on many different articles especially in psychological ones today and is actually one of the leading contributors to psychosis in teenagers (amongst other factors). Please note here that i never said sleep deprivation leads to psychosis. Rather, i said it is a risk factor of psychosis and it can be all that is required to trigger it in some individuals. The question is, are you willing to take that chance. I can tell you that this source is from one of my lecturers who is a psychiatrist and has dealt with this whilst practicing. And I'm sure i can find an article to show to you that this is also evident (mind you, it will be a retrospective study considering it would be unethical to force people to undergo sleep deprivation to see its effects). One thing we do know for certain is that sleep deprivation in other mammals actually can result in death of that animal, especially when there is loss of REM sleep. We have no idea why that occurs but logically, you cannot say there are any negative effects of sleep on us that are at least slightly longer term. Sure, we don't die if you have a small amount of sleep deprivation but there are widespread effects and we do not understand why sleep deprivation will kill many mammals but does not have the same effect in us. Plus, exactly as you said, i didn't mention all the hormonal changes that occur because of sleep deprivation (such as lowered growth hormone, increased adrenaline and cortisol levels amongst other changes as well and not to mention that a person losses the ability to thermoregulate their body). This was for the exact same reason that you said before, these can be reset after your REM sleep has been recovered from.

Next, you said that alcohol is a REM sleep suppressor which, as i said previously, is actually inaccurate. You rightly said that alcohol affect dopamine and serotonin however, alcohol (as far as i have been able to see) and cannot see where you managed to find that alcohol affects acetylcholine. So if i have missed that somewhere, i would like to see a source for that information (mainly for my own reference, not because i want you to prove to me. i like to see a source for information that i cannot find myself.). Some of the other areas that alcohol affects are GABA (mainly used as an inhibitory pathway in the brain), adenosine (responsible for alertness and this is what caffeine targets to keep you awake; that is, maintaining adenosine levels in the brain to maintain alertness) and norepinephrine (basically, adrenaline but this is a neurotransmitter form of it). Therefore, alcohol's effect is on the person's ability to fall asleep and the ability to turn REM off. This is because of the fact that serotonin is known to promote sleep and as alcohol increases its level, means the person is more likely to fall asleep. Couple this with the fact that the inhibition of adenosine by alcohol means that there is a loss of the excitatory area and this causes initiation of sleep.

You are right to say that problems with cholinergic (this is the correct way to spell it just as an fyi) neurons will affect the ability of someone to enter into sleep. This is because cholinergic neurons are in the pre-optic hypothalamic nucleus and are labelled as REM-on neurons because they initiate REM. However, alcohol (again, as far as i have been able to see; see links below to confirm) does not affect cholinergic neurons. Therefore, there is not an issue with entering into REM. However, alcohol's effect on adrenergic (these neurons use norepinephrine which is the neurotransmitter form of adrenaline) neurons affects the locus coeruleus nucleus as these neurons are adrenergic. These neurons are not responsible for initiation of REM but rather, inhibit the REM-on neurons. This means that they are REM-off as they are responsible for turning the REM neurons off during the sleep cycle. There are other neurons that are responsible for controlling REM-off however, they do not use a neurotransmitter that alcohol affects.

Also, i think you have been confusing my explanation of the sleep cycle with my explanation of changes in neurotransmitter release. The fact is that there are two phases of sleep that we undergo which are called REM (Random Eye Movement) and NREM (Non-Random Eye Movement). Initially, studies of sleep were only conducted using EEGs to watch the patterns of electrical signal across the brain. In NREM, there are several phases and these correlate to how deep you are sleeping. The phases are 1, 2, 3/4 (and yes it is called 3/4 not 3 or 4 or three quarters as these two phases are so close that they cannot be differentiated between). When we first go to sleep, we enter into NREM first and begin in phase 1, progressing then to phase 2 and then to phase 3/4 (being the deepest sleep that occurs). After phase 3/4, we progress back to phase 2 and then enter into REM sleep. This pattern continues throughout the night cycling through from NREM to REM then back to NREM. However, as the night progresses, we do not go as deep into NREM phases. Each of these phases can be seen on the EEG as they have characteristic electrical signal patterns. However, i was not using this as an explanation as to alcohol's effect on sleep, merely a bit of background information. That being said, i was trying to describe the transition between NREM and REM that we know about so far without being super complicated about it (this time i described the structures and neurotransmitters that are used). Plus, i needed to mention about NREM and REM due to the fact that if the REM-off neurons do not function as they are supposed to, shutting down the REM neurons, then it will cause night terrors in people (because for some reason what we cannot explain yet dreaming during NREM seems to be associated with horrific dreams of torture and other really terrifying things for an individual). I do want to mention here that drinking alcohol will not necessarily cause night terrors in everyone but it has been reported to occur (the source for this was from medscape and i can find the link again if you want me to) However, as alcohol is metabolised and will be cleared from the body before the end of sleep (usually, if the person hasn't consumed too much alcohol) then the effects that it has on the brain will begin to stop. So hopefully this will clear up what i was trying to say before.

@BabyBlue26, paralysis can occur to people regardless of if they are able to lucid dream or not and can even be induced as well. Basically, what you are experiencing (as far as i know) is problems with the parts of the brain that are responsible for causing paralysis during sleep. This problem isn't exclusive to people who lucid dream but is something that has been noted to occur with for a number of individuals. I did have to look this up for you as i wasn't exactly sure how the whole process of sleep paralysis occurs (when i studied sleep, my neuroscience lecturer didn't go into much detail about sleep paralysis [or maybe she did and didn't put it in her lecture notes, I'm not 100% sure] but rather just the region that is involved in it and what neurotransmitter is used). Neurons of the locus coeruleus (which use norepinephrine; again similar to adrenaline but this is a neurotransmitter) are responsible for causing paralysis of your body. I did look a bit further into the sleep paralysis and from what i have read, it appears that there is a desynchronisation between the cortex and the thalamus (whereby the cortex awakens before the thalamus does). However, i believe this is still a bit of an area that is not really that well understood. One thing that i did find interesting though is that people who experience paralysis when they wake from sleep can often have the paralysis disappear if there is some kind of stimulus that occurs (i.e. someone touches you) and this is believed to stimulate the thalamus and cause it to wake up. That may be something that you can see works for you. As for actually helping you long term, I wouldn't know what to suggest. I do know for a fact that having sleep paralysis is not a sign that there is something wrong with your brain. But there may be something that can be used to treat it (maybe ask your doctor next time you need to see them).


Just as a side note, this is the place i got my reference for alcohol's effects on neurotransmitters
http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh21-2/144.pdf (this is from 1997)
Alcohol's Effects in the Brain (from 2008) - this one confirms what the source above says


-edit-
I did find that it says alcohol affects acteylcholine action (it was on wikipedia so i cannot find an explanation of it at all) but i cannot source whether is it has inhibitory actions or excitatory actions on acetylcholine. This is because found an article that showed that depending upon the receptor subtype, alcohol will cause excitatory effects on the majority of acetylcholine BUT on one subtype causes inhibitory effects. I have not been able to source whether this one subtype of receptor is involved in sleep. Therefore, i still stand by what i said. If you can source more information, that would be great.

lol all of that just went over my head :sweatdrop: you seem to have a lot of theories to try to estimate how experiences will be, I just have a bunch of experience that I try to find theories to explain :smile1: "sleep deprivation is bad", hasn't been for me. "alcohol isn't a rem suppresor", has been for me. "serotonin supports sleep", do you mean melatonin? high amounts of serotonin keep you awake, drugs that release this actually make it near impossible to sleep, and since I have natural higher levels of this, I sleep less, so in my experience this is wrong.
you sound very intellectual but I'm not sure if its all talk and no experience, I on the other hand am a complete idiot but i am pretty experienced and knows what works flawlessly for me so why not suggest it?

to be a little more simple, so i don't come off mean, i said X method works to get Y effect, it works for me and everyone who i've suggested it to who has tried it, i try to explain X method getting Y result by theory Z, you say my theory Z is wrong and suggest it must mean X will not get Y result because of that, which is obsurd, to quote Eli Stover "And they say they know the chemical theory of happiness, although the very person who claims to have discovered it suffers from severe depression, his theorys not bringing him an ounce of joy. I on the other hand have no idea what is the cause of happiness in the brain, but I know my passions and what make me happy, the smile on my face being the only scientific proof i need". pragmatic much? If doing X gets result Y and i fail to create a valid theory Z to explain it does not negate its proof in itself. A philosopher can theorize away and even say the lightning bolt which killed his wife never truely existed, but that doesn't bring her back.
 
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Lestat

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Not sure if this could be ture or not. I had Paralysis dreams Untel I started taking Medication for Seziures. At age 27. Now when they put me on Generic medications I had the Same Paralysis during a seziure. Mybe you two should ask a doctor.
 

Zeek61

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That is the thing about the brain that makes it so difficult. Currently, all knowledge is based on theories and so it is difficult to say this is exactly what happens. I have stated what i have understood from my neuroscience lecture on sleep but again, I'm sure there are flaws. Not only that but every person is unique too. So whilst sleep deprivation here and there might not be a problem for you, for other people it can set of a wide range of psychological problems. It is highly variable.

I just want to ask though, how do you know that alcohol is a REM suppressor for you at all? Is it just because you do not get any dreams at all? or is there some other way that you are explaining it. As said before, not all dreams in REM are remembered so it might be this fact that you are using to show your point. Unfortunately, that is a rather unreliable method of measuring REM sleep. Realistically, the only way to know if you actually get REM sleep or not is to hop yourself up to an EEG and watch your brain patterns for the night.

The sleep deprivation one is a highly variable things. That is why i said it was a RISK FACTOR (caps only for emphasis not for anything else). In this case, it is exactly like in genetics if you have a gene that predisposes you to cancer doesn't mean you will actually get cancer. Your risk is higher because of the fact that that gene is present but there are people with cancer genes who never develop cancer. This is because of the fact that there is a lot more going on then just this and hence, it is a risk factor for cancer. The same applies to sleep deprivation. It is a risk factor only for psychosis. And again, just because you haven't slept at all for several days straight doesn't mean you are going to have a complete psychotic breakdown but the risk is there and it does need to be considered.

Other thing is you did correctly point out that i mistakenly said that serotonin promotes sleep. You are right that serotonin actually promotes wakefulness and i did accidentally write the wrong thing. What i meant to say was serotonin is what is used to turn REM-off. Therefore, alcohol affects the ability of a person to exit REM sleep and this is what causes REM neurons to be active during NREM sleep. When this happens, night terrors are what occur. Sorry about that but i think my thoughts skipped a bit of what i was going to say and ended up writing something that was inaccurate there. So thank you for pointing that out. I was trying to point out there that alcohol has a two part effect on sleep. The first being that it makes it really easy to enter into sleep (due to reduced adenosine functioning mostly) and the other effect is night terrors (again, which i said have been reported as i found out on medscape) which is due to the inability of a person to turn REM neurons off (because of inhibition of one of the REM-off areas of the brain). Like i said, simple slip of my train of through. After all, i am still human :).

Im not saying that the effects that you are feeling are wrong its just that sleep (and everything else to do with the brain) is very complicated and researchers still don't know how it all works or why it works like it does. For you, that is the results that you get but i was merely pointing out that the reasoning of why that is happening for you isn't exactly accurate. What i have said is based on the majority of people and likewise, there is a widespread difference between individuals. The signalling pathways are definitely all the same in people but other factors that affect sleep can work differently. Clearly, alcohol works differently of you then for others. This is evident in the fact that you haven't said you get night terrors from having alcohol when you sleep (not saying you do it all the time, but clearly you have tried it). In other people, consumption of alcohol before bed can cause night terrors. This is just one aspect that is variable.

Also, just wanted to point out, you said you weren't sure if i had the experience, but i can guarantee you that i am pretty experienced when it comes to sleep :p (after all, I've slept every night since i was born). :) However, any philosopher is able to realise that there is a clear difference between theory and the practicality of things (as I've said just before). as you highlighted in you example of theories are called theories for a reason. Until they are fully proven (something which we cannot say about the majority of anything to do with the brain) there will always be discrepancies.

Finally, (my posts are always super long of which i apologise for) there is also an endocrine regulation of sleep which i have not gone into detail about (mainly because it is even more complex and doesn't directly affect sleep, but affects the biological clock triggering you to sleep, therefore it is an indirect way to affect sleep). What you are experiencing may actually come from this as I'm not 100% sure about the details of it. In my neuroscience class, we were not expected to understand it but had to be aware that it was there. I could always look into it and let you know but i would not be as sure of what i learnt from it as what i have stated above (as i learnt this from my neuroscience class where i was able to ask questions about things i wasn't sure about). The only thing i can tell you is that from this, i know for a fact that the endocrine regulation is able to increase the amount of NREM a person experiences (normally occurs when someone gets sick or has an infection and want to sleep all day).
 
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That is the thing about the brain that makes it so difficult. Currently, all knowledge is based on theories and so it is difficult to say this is exactly what happens. I have stated what i have understood from my neuroscience lecture on sleep but again, I'm sure there are flaws. Not only that but every person is unique too. So whilst sleep deprivation here and there might not be a problem for you, for other people it can set of a wide range of psychological problems. It is highly variable.

I just want to ask though, how do you know that alcohol is a REM suppressor for you at all? Is it just because you do not get any dreams at all? or is there some other way that you are explaining it. As said before, not all dreams in REM are remembered so it might be this fact that you are using to show your point. Unfortunately, that is a rather unreliable method of measuring REM sleep. Realistically, the only way to know if you actually get REM sleep or not is to hop yourself up to an EEG and watch your brain patterns for the night.

The sleep deprivation one is a highly variable things. That is why i said it was a RISK FACTOR (caps only for emphasis not for anything else). In this case, it is exactly like in genetics if you have a gene that predisposes you to cancer doesn't mean you will actually get cancer. Your risk is higher because of the fact that that gene is present but there are people with cancer genes who never develop cancer. This is because of the fact that there is a lot more going on then just this and hence, it is a risk factor for cancer. The same applies to sleep deprivation. It is a risk factor only for psychosis. And again, just because you haven't slept at all for several days straight doesn't mean you are going to have a complete psychotic breakdown but the risk is there and it does need to be considered.

Other thing is you did correctly point out that i mistakenly said that serotonin promotes sleep. You are right that serotonin actually promotes wakefulness and i did accidentally write the wrong thing. What i meant to say was serotonin is what is used to turn REM-off. Therefore, alcohol affects the ability of a person to exit REM sleep and this is what causes REM neurons to be active during NREM sleep. When this happens, night terrors are what occur. Sorry about that but i think my thoughts skipped a bit of what i was going to say and ended up writing something that was inaccurate there. So thank you for pointing that out. I was trying to point out there that alcohol has a two part effect on sleep. The first being that it makes it really easy to enter into sleep (due to reduced adenosine functioning mostly) and the other effect is night terrors (again, which i said have been reported as i found out on medscape) which is due to the inability of a person to turn REM neurons off (because of inhibition of one of the REM-off areas of the brain). Like i said, simple slip of my train of through. After all, i am still human :).

Im not saying that the effects that you are feeling are wrong its just that sleep (and everything else to do with the brain) is very complicated and researchers still don't know how it all works or why it works like it does. For you, that is the results that you get but i was merely pointing out that the reasoning of why that is happening for you isn't exactly accurate. What i have said is based on the majority of people and likewise, there is a widespread difference between individuals. The signalling pathways are definitely all the same in people but other factors that affect sleep can work differently. Clearly, alcohol works differently of you then for others. This is evident in the fact that you haven't said you get night terrors from having alcohol when you sleep (not saying you do it all the time, but clearly you have tried it). In other people, consumption of alcohol before bed can cause night terrors. This is just one aspect that is variable.

Also, just wanted to point out, you said you weren't sure if i had the experience, but i can guarantee you that i am pretty experienced when it comes to sleep :p (after all, I've slept every night since i was born). :) However, any philosopher is able to realise that there is a clear difference between theory and the practicality of things (as I've said just before). as you highlighted in you example of theories are called theories for a reason. Until they are fully proven (something which we cannot say about the majority of anything to do with the brain) there will always be discrepancies.

Finally, (my posts are always super long of which i apologise for) there is also an endocrine regulation of sleep which i have not gone into detail about (mainly because it is even more complex and doesn't directly affect sleep, but affects the biological clock triggering you to sleep, therefore it is an indirect way to affect sleep). What you are experiencing may actually come from this as I'm not 100% sure about the details of it. In my neuroscience class, we were not expected to understand it but had to be aware that it was there. I could always look into it and let you know but i would not be as sure of what i learnt from it as what i have stated above (as i learnt this from my neuroscience class where i was able to ask questions about things i wasn't sure about). The only thing i can tell you is that from this, i know for a fact that the endocrine regulation is able to increase the amount of NREM a person experiences (normally occurs when someone gets sick or has an infection and want to sleep all day).

Night terrors occur with chronic alcoholism or acute "binjing" ( or however you spell it ) because it suppresses REM function so much that when you finally do go to sleep you are likely to start dreaming during NREM thus having the body be paralyized and other effects of nervous system deppression you experience during NREM. And I said it works for me, and most everyone whos tried it how i've said, its not very good to assume it will or will not work just off theories, try it for yourself and then try to explain the results, instead of trying to explain the results of something you have not yet experienced. Once again I will say that science is pretty bad in this aspect since the whole subject is so subjective, you say "the brain is such a mystery and complicated" or whatnot, and of course it is, but just from my own experimentation and studies i've learned more than alot of science can teach because they view the whole subject objectively when thats only half the equation.
How do I know alcohol supresses REM for me? firstly, because I have been experimenting with this so long I know when it is being supressed or not, and when it is extremely active. You may think science and literature and studies can help alot, and of course they can, but only so far, for example, can you find any literature on willing onself into a sleep state, and, overcoming sleep paralysis, being able to dream while completely awake and mobile? Being able to induce a state of hypnagogia so that one can control these hallucinations, that are, in touch sight and hearing, indistingquishable from the objects of normal everyday sences, ie being able to hear music and sounds or sights and objects that are just as real subjectivly as material items? and yes I have tested with a brainwave mesuring thing, well my friend really because he didnt belive me.

as for risk factors, nearly anything anybody does will be a risk factor for something, you like to jog? healthy mostly, but for some, especially really inactive people, sudden intense activity could actually be a health risk, caffeine can be a big risk factor for some people, nearly anything you can think of, and risk factors are highly controversial in and of themselves anyway since they themselves are variables among variable, why argue if violent video games will make people go bananas? were talking science not questionable statistics.

theres alllloottt of stuff you can't learn from a textbook is all im saying, and if your basing your argument on opinions and facts that you've not directly experienced we minus well be debating wether or not a cat daydreams of being an astronaut? you say "very well and good your methods work for you but not for everyone" yeah, of course not, but if a farmer was to grow amazing juicy fruits, big and ripe, when alot of other people might only occationaly grow one or two by accident, if someone were to tell him "yeah it might work for you but not for everyone", when all hes doing is using aggriculture than that man would be silly if he didn't at least try, and even if it didn't work for him you can argue with that delicous orange juice, when you say "it might work for you", well yeah it might work for you to, try and stop theorizing, and if it doesn't, be scientific about it, you have to say "he does X method and gets Y result, and i do X and dont" and just adjust the variables of yourself and get your own X method, theories are fun and all, but get boring and stale if not based of experience or experiment, after all, all science is based on observations made of experience or experiment, and if you lack that, then its all just empty words.
 

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I manage it a couple times a month. The key for me is reconizing something so I know it's a dream. For me clocks tend to change rapidly and this tends to tip me off. I tend to just see the extent of my powers when I realize it. I do magic, raise mountains out of the ground and other things. Of course it seems to me once I realize I'm in a dream it tends to end quickly but that might just be because time flys when your omnipotent.
 
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