I was talking with one of my friends the other day when she randomly asked me if you can get stuck in a lucid dream. I thought that was an interesting thing to ask.
So can you get stuck in a lucid dream? The short answer is that no, you can’t. The slightly longer answer is that it can seem like you’re stuck. This happens because time works differently in our dreams to how it usually does when we’re awake. In this article, we’ll go over how all of that works, and what to do to wake up from your dream if you do feel like you’re stuck.
Before we can demonstrate why you can’t get stuck in a lucid dream, we need to know what a lucid dream actually is.
What is a lucid dream?
So what is a lucid dream? In short, a lucid dream is nothing more than a regular dream in which we’re conscious and in control. There’s nothing mystical or spooky about it. Or at least, nothing more mystical or scary than everyday life.
In a sense, even if you could get stuck in a lucid dream, it would be an awesome place to be stuck. You’d be in control of the entire universe. There would be no limits other than your imagination.
Now, I’ve had people ask me whether you can get stuck in a lucid nightmare. They worry that something horrible will happen and they’ll be trapped there for all time.
And it’s certainly true that just as we can have nightmares, we can also have lucid nightmares.
Here’s the thing though.
When we’re having a regular nightmare, there’s not a lot we can do about it other than endure it.
With a lucid nightmare, you’re in control. Which means that you can simply reshape the nightmare into the dream of your dreams. Or wake yourself up.
So if we can reshape our lucid dreams on a whim, or even wake ourselves up, what might it mean to be stuck in a lucid dream?
What does it mean to be stuck in a lucid dream?
A lot of the notions that people have about getting stuck in a lucid dream come from pop culture. There’s a common plot device where someone is dreaming, and they wake up, only to later realize that they’re still dreaming.
Sometimes the story even ends with them thinking they’re finally awake, only the audience knows better.
In lucid dreaming, this thinking you’re awake when you’re still dreaming is known as a false awakening. It happens from time to time. The solution is remarkably easy: Just perform a reality check every time you wake up. Once you’ve built the habit of doing this, you will always know.
Or at least, you’ll come as close to knowing as is possible. Unfortunately, because we can hallucinate when we’re fully conscious, we can never be 100% certain whether we’re awake or dreaming.
Read more: Dangers of Lucid Dreaming
So given that lucid dreams are nothing more than regular dreams in which we’re awake and in control, how can we become stuck?
How can you become stuck in a lucid dream?
There are basically two ways.
Are we in a coma?
First, the possibility always exists that we’ll somehow fall into a coma. This has nothing to do with the fact that the dream was lucid. It’s just something that happens to people when we experience various things. I’m not a medical professional, but from what I gather it usually involves some form of physical trauma.
So let me ask you a question.
If you were in a coma, would you rather be awake and in control of your own universe? Or drifting around in a fog that could take on any shape like regular dreams tend to?
I know which one I’d prefer if it was me.
Are we experiencing large amounts of time?
The other thing that can happen is that we end up experiencing a very large amount of time in our dreams. This is not the same thing as a lot of clock time passing in the waking world.
I won’t go into the details of exactly how time distortion happens here. The important point is that our minds are capable of causing us to experience a lot more time than we measure with our timepieces.
I’ve guided people into hypnotic realities where they’ve experienced 50 years in the space of a few hours. I’ve heard reports of people experiencing 1000 years or more in minutes.
My friend that I mentioned in the opening paragraph went on to talk about how she had experienced an entire lifetime in a dream.
That’s the way that time works inside our minds.
When we’re awake in the waking world, we’re tethered to how fast things happen out here.
In our dreams, no such limitations exist.
Here’s the thing though.
People spend large sums of money and vast amounts of time trying to live just a little longer. If you are lucky enough to get caught in a dream where you’re in total control for an entire lifetime or more…
There’s not really any way it can be bad, right?
The same amount of time still passes in the waking world: Just one night of sleep. That’s all.
It’s basically a bonus.
If you do manage to get stuck that way, my advice would be to try to figure out how so you can do it more. And if you want the cheat code, the process inside my book The Self-Hypnosis Formula was specifically designed to cause large amounts of time distortion.
How can you become unstuck if you think you’re stuck?
So you’re inside a lucid dream and you decide that you’ve become stuck. What kinds of things can you do to get out of it?
Well, the first thing to consider is that you probably don’t want to.
As I mentioned earlier, people spend vast amounts of resources trying to live just a little longer. If you’re lucky enough to become stuck inside a lucid dream, it is a gift. You’ve basically granted yourself an extension on your perceived lifetime.
When this happens, the best approach is to simply enjoy it.
If you really want to get out of it, there are essentially two things you can do.
Tell yourself to wake up
That’s really all there is to it. Inside your dream, shout to yourself to WAKE UP. This might not work the first time, or even the second. But guess what!
If you keep on doing it, sooner or later, you will wake up.
And when you wake up the first time after telling yourself to do so, it creates a hypnotic anchor inside your mind.
This in turn makes it easier to wake up the next time.
Each time you do this, the anchor grows stronger, until you can wake yourself up from your dreams at any time simply by telling yourself to do so.
It doesn’t even have to be the phrase wake up. You can use any word or symbol that you choose, so long as you intend for it to wake you up. The only constraint on anchors is that they are something that we can perceive inside our minds.
That said, I strongly recommend making it something congruent. Like the words wake up. If you don’t make it congruent, sooner or later you’ll run into that anchor in your dreams and promptly wake up when you don’t want to.
And that leads to bad sleep.
If you’d like to know more about anchoring in general, I cover it in detail in my book Artful Hypnotic Anchoring.
The other method of waking yourself up uses the same basic process, only oriented slightly differently.
Transform your dream
So you’ve realized that you’re stuck in a dream where you’re in total control of the entire universe, and for some reason you want to wake up. If you’ve not yet built the wake up anchor we covered in the previous paragraph, there’s a process you can follow.
Here’s what you do.
First, find somewhere inside your dream to lie down. It’s your dream, so just summon a bed if you have to. Or find a comfy spot anywhere.
And decide that you’re going to wake up.
Then start at the top of your dream head and scan down through your dream body to the tips of your dream toes. As you scan down through your body, notice all the parts of your body that represent dreaming.
Everything we experience has some kind of physical representation inside our bodies. And this is every bit as true in our dreams as it is in the waking world. Perhaps even more so.
All you have to do is notice all those parts of your body that represent dreaming. It could be anything at all. It’s your representation.
Maybe you’ll notice that your left hand is twitching. Or perhaps your heart is beating slightly fast. Maybe there’s tension in your belly.
Whatever it is, notice all of those physical sensations as you scan.
Then when you get to your toes, scan back up to your head again.
Next, allow your awareness to expand outwards so that it encompasses all of your body at once.
Then do nothing. Simply hold that awareness and allow it to transform. Be curious.
It typically takes less than three dream minutes to complete the entire process.
And when the transformation is complete, you wake up.
You can’t get stuck inside a lucid dream.
And even if you did get stuck, it’s a lucid dream. You’re either in a coma, in which case a lucid dream is an awesome way to spend your time. Or you’re sleeping normally, in which case you’re still going to wake up when you normally would have.
You just get to experience more time.
In a universe over which you have total control.
If you’d like to know more about lucid dreams, I go into them in detail in my book Lucid: How to Start Lucid Dreaming Even if You Never Remember Your Dreams.
I’ve designed it to be a complete introduction to take people from not even being able to recall their dreams to having vivid lucid dreams on-demand and recalling them in detail.
And I’ve left out the fluff, so that you can read the book, implement the processes, and start having your first lucid dream as quickly as possible.
If that sounds like something you’d like to have happen, go and check it out right now.