Polyphasic sleep and lucid dreaming

Introduction

Polyphasic sleep has been used by people both as an introductory method to learn Lucid Dreaming and to enhance their prior skills. Because of predictable REM placed in naps and cores some have been able to become Lucid even without any prior experience! This article talks about what Lucid Dreaming is, what it’s benefits are, how it can be applied to polyphasic sleep and how to start practicing it!

What is Lucid Dreaming?

Lucid dreaming is being aware that one is dreaming during a dream. It is related to controlling dreams, called dream control, and remembering dreams, called dream recall. Lucid dreaming also requires another skill: being aware that one is dreaming. It is a core factor in controlling the dream according to one’s will.

This awareness for the interesting world of lucid dreaming has been cultivated in Tibetan Buddhism and few Western philosophers, but it has been scientifically verified that lucid dreaming exists during the 20th and 21st century.

Benefits of Lucid Dreaming

Controlling dreams seems like an impossible yet desirable quest as dreams are not restricted to the laws of physics and societal norms, meaning that one can do many activities that one cannot do in waking life such as having sex with a celebrity, flying without following aerodynamic laws, practicing a sport for preparation, and dealing with nightmares. Such achievable and grand promises sound weird in modern society since we can achieve such experiences with digital means, but there are many psychological and economic benefits to lucid dreaming.

  • Sleeping doesn’t have to pause your life: If one of the primary goals of polyphasic sleeping is optimal time management, then lucid dreaming shares that goal with polyphasic sleeping. Imagine that after one is aware that one is dreaming, one can prepare for a speech for the following day. When the body rests, the mind plays and works, and lucid dreaming allows a person to optimize that time.
  • Stress reduction: Lucid dreaming can reduce stress by the sheer fact that one can control dreams. It has been known in stress management that having a sense of control is correlated with low-level of stress, and if lucid dreaming induces the sense of control, then lucid dreaming is related to reducing stress. In fact, polyphasic sleeping can help reduce stress since it helps with time management, a factor in stress management. Not having enough time brings stress to people, so polyphasic sleeping helps people reduce stress by managing time. Since both lucid dreaming and polyphasic sleeping reduce stress, it would be wise to include them as tools for stress management. During adaptation polyphasic sleep will however increase stress, but this is only a temporary phase.
  • Self-discovery while sleeping: Lucid dreaming is all about exploring one’s psyche by using the subconscious psyche to produce wonderful experiences. The Johari Window, a theoretical model that represent the knowledge of self in relation to how the person and other people know the self, can be used in conjecture with lucid dreaming; everyone has an unknown area, a zone where one’s potentiality and authentic self lies within. Lucid dreaming is a tool for a person to discover one’s unknown area.

Disadvantages

While lucid dreaming offers many benefits, there are other factors to consider.

  • Increase condition of dissociation and schizotypy symptoms: The hallmark of lucid dreaming is testing if the current reality a person is in is a dream. Dreams feel like waking life, and a person practicing lucid dreaming must test if they are dreaming or awake. For people with schizophrenia, multiple realities are in conflict. Fortunately, there are methods of testing if one is in a dream and a mindset that accepts multiple realities.
  • Not having immediate results: Lucid dreaming offers grand promises, and people expect to have immediate results after investing in a short period. However, even spending hours on researching, it can be possible that a lucid dream does not come in the first month. It requires great patience and practice in order to achieve consistent rates of lucid dreaming.

How can I apply lucid dreaming to polyphasic sleep?

It should be noted that the relationship between polyphasic sleeping and lucid dreaming is still being explored and the optimal combination of the two is being worked on. However, the general rule of thumb is that REM sleep entails dreams, and dreams entail opportunity for lucid dreaming. Many lucid dreaming techniques, such as the Wake Back To Bed (WBTB) method, rely on you waking up in the middle of the night and then going back to sleep when you are already groggy. This is one reason why a polyphasic sleep schedule seems to help some people achieve lucidity. Some elements of polyphasic sleeping will assist lucid dreaming such as:

  • Allocating REM sleep: The hallmark of polyphasic sleeping is being aware of sleep mechanics. One can have a sleep schedule that places REM sleep in predictable places, which allows for high-level lucid dreaming (i.e increasing duration, vividness, control, and experience of a lucid dream).
  • Using naps for lucid dreaming: Naps can be used with lucid dreaming if a person has dreams in their naps. Many lucid dreaming techniques such as the Wake Induced Lucid Dreaming are enhanced due to SOREM that naps entail. Lucid dreaming offers an extra reward for sticking with the schedule.
  • A Schedule Dedicated for Lucid Dreaming: Historically, it has been known that manipulating one’s sleep schedule, the core of polyphasic sleeping, helps with lucid dreaming. This form of polyphasic sleeping has its historical roots in Stephen LaBerge’s Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming (1990) in the passage “How to Schedule Your Efforts for Best Results”. The schedule is known as Wake Back to Bed, or WBTB, and it is known to increase the chance of getting lucid dreams.

Many people have been able to become lucid regularly simply from getting REM in their naps with no prior experience. This means that polyphasic sleep is potentially an easy way to get introduced to lucid dreaming. When choosing a polyphasic sleep schedule with the purpose of improving one’s lucid dreaming skills, a key point should be noted. As shown in the Polysurvey 2018 results and analysis, most REM filled naps occur in the morning, and only some during the afternoon. Because of that, different schedules make more sense to attempt than others, as shown below:

  • Due to the unpredictable sleep architecture on nap-only schedules, these should preferably be avoided as long-term schedules for the lucid dreaming benefits. For short-term benefits, Uberman and Naptation can work, but after a while SWS filled naps are going to become more and more prevalent, thus replacing REM naps and removing most of the lucid dreaming benefits.
  • Dual core and Tri core schedules are great options because they have a whole core placed in the REM peak (with the exceptions of dual core 3 and 4, but they have several naps in the REM-heavy area instead). Several people have noted that they achieved very long, intense dreams in the REM cores on these schedules.
  • With the Everyman schedules, the best options will most likely be Everyman 2, with 1 nap in the REM-heavy area, Everyman 3-extended, with 2 naps in the REM-heavy area, Everyman 3, with 2 naps in the REM-heavy area, and Everyman 4-extended, with 3 naps in the REM-heavy area. Each nap in the REM-heavy area has a great potential for containing REM sleep.
  • The best Biphasic schedule would be Segmented, with one core located in the REM-heavy area. The other Biphasic schedules, Everyman 1 and Siesta are less likely to give lucid dreaming benefits, because they have no sleeps placed in the REM-heavy area. Still, around half of all people manage to have their nap on Everyman 1 contain REM sleep, but that is highly dependent on when the nap is placed, the later the nap, the lower the chance for consistent REM sleep.

In order to figure out which schedule is best suited for your life, you are recommended to reach out to experienced people who can help you design schedules.

I’ve chosen to try lucid dreaming – what now?

It is highly recommended not to spend money when beginning lucid dreaming. There are online sources that give free information on lucid dreaming. That said, there are a lot of methods to inducing lucid dreams, so it is easy to get overwhelmed. The best advice for all methods is to remain persistent and consistent with a particular method and always include reality checks to every method.

  • Polyphasic Sleep Discord: In the Polyphasic Sleep Discord, there is a dedicated chat called #dreaming containing links with essential information on lucid dreaming.
  • Dreamviews: Dreamviews is a lucid dreaming community that has articles and threads on various lucid dreaming techniques and factors.
  • Lucid dreaming wikibook: a wikibook with good information on the subject
  • Lucid Realm: Lucid Realm is a Discord server dedicated to lucid dreaming. They provide live communication in case anyone has questions in need of answering.
  • /r/luciddreaming: this is mainly used for sharing anecdotal experiences.
  • Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming by Stephan LaBerge: If you want to purchase a book on lucid dreaming, there is no better book than Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming. Stephan LaBerge is the scientist that verified the scientific existence of lucid dreaming, and he provides a solid and scientific grounding for lucid dreaming in this book. LaBerge’s newer book, Lucid Dreaming: A Concise Guide to Awakening in Your Dreams and in Your Life, reduces a lot of material presented in Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming. This is a vice as the newer book does not provide any exercises compared to his older book.

Resources (available in #dreaming pins on the Discord):

That’s great and all, but how do I get really started?

Common Lucid Dreaming recommendations are: get dream journal, do reality checks, and implement an induction technique. The following points are less known but offer additional guidance on your progress towards lucid dreaming:

  1. Start recognizing dreams: When starting a dream journal, check off when at least one dream after waking up has been recognized. Next, check that 1 dream per day is achieved. If this process stagnates one possible step is using auto-suggeation, which entails telling yourself that you will have dreams before going to sleep. Record in the dream journal after waking up from a sleep regardless if a dream is remembered or not. This introspection allows the assertion of the number of dreams you have. If there are no dreams, there will be no lucid dreams.
  2. Rehearse going to sleep and waking up: Lucid dreaming demands good habit formation and maintenance skills. Not being able to write down in a dream journal other than simply “I can’t” is prone to degrade the ability to do lucid dreaming. To prevent this from happening, do two things when going to sleep:

(1) tell yourself that you WILL recall a dream or get a lucid dream, and

(2) tell yourself that you WILL write down in their dream journal. For both, visualize having a dream and writing it down in the journal.

  1. Start doing reality checks: Reality checks enable the person to test if they are in a dream in both the waking life and in the dreaming life. In fact, practicing reality checks in the waking life transfers to dreaming life if done consistently. Choose 2 reality checks that suit you from the internet and do them at least once per hour. For both, visualize yourself actually doing the reality checks. For example, if you are using a reality check where a finger is pushed through the palm, do it physically and visualize it happening despite the fact that the laws of physics do not allow it to happen. Use this link to get familar with reality checks (https://www.dreamviews.com/wiki/Reality-Check-Tutorial).
  2. Have a reality check tally: create a physical reminder that record the progress. This is essential to remember doing them and improving.
  3. Get familiar with induction techniques: The two primary induction techniques that all other induction techniques expand from are Mnemonically Induced Lucid Dream (MILD) and Wake Induced Lucid Dream (WILD). Use these links to get familiar with them. It should be noted that the WILD technique should not be used on cores dedicated partially or fully to SWS.
  4. Use Excel: Excel or Google Spreadsheet can be used to record all the reality check tallies that have been done in a month after some progress is made. It can also be used to record how many dreams and lucid dreams have been had in a month. Data collection is one of the best ways to keep track of progress in lucid dreaming, as it is with polyphasic sleeping.

These six points set the foundations for lucid dreaming. Three things are needed, a dream journal, a reality check tally, and a data collection program like Excel. Visualization as a tool for habit formation and maintenance is also required. Being able to be consistent with these six points allows the further development in lucid dreaming. Having prior experience in lucid dreaming without using these six points from polyphasic sleeping is possible. If that is the case these points can be used to further enhance the polyphasic sleeping and lucid dreaming skills together.

Main author: Neo Henry

Page last updated: 11 August 2019

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