New research provides more evidence that the Wake-up-Back-to-Bed sleep protocol can help to induce lucid dreams, in which the dreamer is aware they are dreaming and can partially control the experience. The study has been published in the journal Dreaming.
“Research done in the sleep laboratory has shown that the Wake-up-Back-to-Bed (WBTB) technique can be very effective, even in persons who had not very much experience with lucid dreaming beforehand,” said study author Michael Schredl, the research head of the Sleep Laboratory at the Central Institute for Mental Health in Mannheim. “So, the simple question was does it work at home (without an experimenter who does the awakening, guiding the process, etc.)?”
In the study, 50 participants completed a daily questionnaire about their dreams upon awakening for five weeks. Once a week, the participants were instructed to set an alarm to wake up after about six hours of sleep, stay awake for a short period to examine dream elements from previously recalled dreams, and then go back to bed with the intention to become lucid if one of the elements appears in a dream.
The researchers found that the technique increased the probability to have lucid dream to 18%, compared to a 6% chance of having a lucid dream on nights when the technique was not used. Of the 10 participants who reported that they had never experienced a lucid dream before, 5 reported experiencing at least one lucid dream during the 5-week period.
“We were able to demonstrate that the technique carried out once a week can induce lucid dreams, even if it is not effectively as in the lab,” Schredl told PsyPost.
“We looked at probable side effects of this technique and found that it important to plan enough time in the morning for sleeping at least half an hour longer than usual, so no negative effects on the feeling of being refreshed occurred,” he added. “The question we could not answer was whether regularly performing WBTB nights can increase the chance of having a lucid dream also in nights not doing WBTB, i.e., a general training effect. We would expect that but were not able to show it for the five-week study protocol.”
The study, “Inducing Lucid Dreams: The Wake-Up-Back-to-Bed Technique in the Home Setting“, was authored by Michael Schredl, Sophie Dyck, and Anja Kühnel.