How To Stop Nightmares With Lucid Dreaming

How To Stop Nightmares With Lucid Dreaming

Nightmares plague your mind and ruin your sleep, but lucid dreaming can help — if you can be brave.

How To Make Your Lucid Dreams Last Longer

Becoming lucid while you dream is actually the easy part, oneironauts. Now we're going to learn how to hold on to it and make our nightly adventures last. Welcome to Week Four of our Lucid Dream Workshop.

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Fight Off Nightmares by Facing Them Head On

Non-lucid dreamers are like young children still afraid of the dark because they believe monsters and ghosts are real, says Stephen LaBerge, PhD. But having a lucid nightmare is more like being an older kid who is still afraid of the dark, but knows there are no monsters and ghosts.

The fear is real still, but you know that it’s a silly fear — and one you can master. In fact, sometimes simply becoming lucid within a nightmare is enough to make it go away. You realise it’s just a nightmare, that it can’t really hurt you, and that you are actually safe in bed, so you don’t need to escape it by awakening.

If becoming lucid isn’t enough, you need to face the nightmare to stop it. Of course, it’s not enough to just know that what you’re afraid of isn’t worthy of fear. People who are afraid of public speaking know on an intellectual level that no harm will become of them if they speak in front of an audience, yet the fear persists. It works the same way in your dreams. The only way to overcome that fear is to face it, showing yourself time and time again that it’s not what it seems.

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So, you must control your fear long enough to find a creative way to dissolve the illusion completely. Here’s an example from one of my earliest lucid dream experiences (though I didn’t know that’s what it was at the time):

When I was about eight years old, I stayed up late one night and watched a Child’s Play marathon — the horror movies with Chucky the doll. After that, I had recurring nightmares for weeks. However, one night I made a lucid decision to take control of the situation. It wasn’t by manipulating the dream world, though, it was by reasoning with it (it being my own subconscious). I remembered that Child’s Play was a work of fiction and only a movie designed to scare people.

So I looked at Chucky as he chased me with a knife and I asked “What was it like to be in a movie?” The horror stopped, and Chucky was suddenly showing me around the set explaining how they did all the “movie magic.” After that, I never had a nightmare about Chucky again. Why? Because he wasn’t a scary monster anymore, just an actor who had a job to do.

Controlling a lucid nightmare and simply manipulating it to be something different doesn’t help you in the long run. It’s the same as choosing to run away from something over and over. You’ll be safe in the moment, but the fear will persist, and the nightmares will keep coming. You must accept it, confront it, and appeal to it.

Reasoning with my own sense of logic was the ticket for me, but it might be something different for you. Maybe you choose to give your monster a hug and say “I love you.” Perhaps you befriend the demon determined to haunt you and ask if it can teach you how to scare people too.

Or maybe the next time you have a public speaking anxiety dream, you strip down naked and play a trumpet terribly to prove that nothing you do up there can actually harm you. Be brave, get creative, and change the rules of the game. Remember, it’s your dream, not the monster’s.

Why Sleep Paralysis Is So Scary And What You Can Do About It

I don't mind bad dreams. When you wake up, the dream fades away. What utterly terrifies me, though, is when my brain wakes up but my body cannot move. That's sleep paralysis, and it affects anywhere between seven and 40 per cent of us.

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Assignment: Share Your Lucid Dream Experiences

If you have any great lucid dream stories, we want to read them! Share them in the comments below.

For further reading, check out Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming, by Stephen LaBerge, PhD and Howard Rheingold; Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self, by Robert Waggoner; and Lucid Dreaming, Plain and Simple: Tips and Techniques for Insight, Creativity, and Personal Growth, also by Robert Waggoner and Caroline McCready.


  • There is most certainly such a thing as lucid nightmares. They are described in extent in the book “The Encyclopedia of sleep and dreams”. You can become lucid in nightmares and it can go both ways, it can bring on stress in your daily life just as nightmares do, or they can become empowering moments in your life as you conquer your nightmares. I’ve conquered most if not all of my nightmares, which I used to have frequently. Drowning, being chased, flunking out of school, crashing my car. Once you learn to go lucid, you can face your fears head on and realize nothing can hurt you besides the stress you put on yourself. I now rarely get these nightmares at all anymore. Which is bitter sweet as they also allowed me to go lucid more often.

  • i have lucid dreams since i could remember, i still remember dreams when i was about 6/8 yo now i’m 31, is not that difficult, if you start in young age you can do amazing things with your mind in your dreams, in a certain way it can effect your life as well, btw nightmares are so easy to repel it will be the first problem that you will solve once you master your dream consciousness , but “things” that can effect your life (bad and good) still will show up in your dreams sometimes in an engimatic way sometimes not, it’s up to you to understand what your mind is trying to tell you, what’s their meaning and how to solve them in your life, with time it will be always more easy, but its really long to give practical example and explain here…
    btw sleep paralysis is one of the worst experience that you could have, now its about 8 years since the 1st episode but luckily not happen so often or at least now i solve it unconsciously
    if it could help try to move with all the strengh you have your fingerstips or your toes while trying to speak, all these keeping breathing deeply….yeah maybe it sound so colossal for who expirence the paralysis but with time you will even not notice it almost all.
    i’d like to find someone that have a high consciouness in their dreams i have alot of experiences to share

    • Same here, I’ve been lucid dreaming since childhood (although didn’t really find out what it was until later in life). At one stage as a kid I used to have recurring lucid dreams with the same monster type figure, it was then I learnt that I could pull myself out of any lucid dream I didn’t like at will within a second or two. I can still do it now, hard to describe how, I guess tightening something in my head maybe? The only downside is the very occasional false awakening (I think it’s happened once or twice ever) – scared the heck out of me when there really was something under the bed.

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