Can learning to lucid dream promote personal growth?

A lucid dream occurs when a dreamer knows that he or she is dreaming while continuing to dream. Many people practice lucid dreaming to promote personal growth, including enhanced creativity and self-esteem. However, such benefits are evidenced by anecdotal reports and correlational studies rather than controlled experiments. Further, this existing evidence is confounded by the fact that most lucid dreaming procedures involve two supporting practices—dream journaling and a mindfulness exercise called reality checking—that may be independently associated with personal growth. Our study asked whether successfully inducing lucid dreams leads to personal growth above and beyond journaling and mindfulness using an experimental design. In a sample of undergraduates (N = 32), we assessed psychological well-being and personal growth longitudinally and compared participants assigned to lucid dream training to a group that only learned journaling and mindfulness practices and a third group that did not learn any techniques. We found no significant differences between the groups on indicators of personal growth on average. However, successful lucid dreamers had higher life satisfaction and self-esteem, as well as lower stress the day after lucid dreaming, compared with unsuccessful lucid dreamers. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)