Conscious control of your dreams may be closer than you think.

Imagine spending six years of your life leading intergalactic space missions, daubing canvasses that eclipse Picasso’s, solving maths conundrums that stumped Fermat, punctuated by regular sex with a bevy of the planet’s most desirable others.

Then promptly forgetting about all of it.

Welcome to the arcane world of dreams, an often delicious, sometimes frightening netherland that occupies us for a twelfth of our lives before wafting away into a traceless ether. Imagine now that you could control your dreams, decide what happens in them, remember them better, in short bring conscious will to bear on them.

The prospects are tantalising – once you get past your disbelief.

Incredibly, hard science is supporting the seemingly implausible idea that you could be conscious in your dreams, a phenomenon known as lucid dreaming. And while some people do report spontaneous lucid dreams, researchers are gathering data on how we might do it intentionally and reap benefits beyond mere recreation.

But could that meddling come at a cost, and isn’t it all just too good to be true?

“I think lucid dreaming is real,” says Dr Erin Wamsley, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Furman University.

“By lucid dreaming, I mean that while a person is having a dream they can know that it is a dream and that they are asleep,” says Wamsley, a respected neuroscientist with a Harvard post-doc.

Read the full feature in the Age newspaper here

lucid dreaming