Lucid dreams are when a dreamer suddenly realizes that they are dreaming. Although many people prefer lucid dreams to all other types, some people find that lucid dreams are too intense or too strenuous to have repeatedly. Some dreamers (such as this writer) often wake up with a headache after a lucid dream. It is unknown why lucid dreams may bother some people but not others.
Check the Herbs and Supplements You Are Taking
There are some herbs and “natural” supplements that have been known to produce especially intense nightmares, even in the safety of a lucid dream. Although the dreamer may be aware that everything that is happening is only a dream, he or she can still be witness to frightening images, sounds and even physical pain. Just stopping the herb or supplement may help stop lucid dreams or at least their intensity. These herbs and supplements include mugwort, yarrow and melatonin.
Check Medications You Are Taking
In the last ten years, nightmares or unusual dreams are being listed as side effects on medications such as antidepressants, sleep aids and anti-seizure medications. Check your medication patient form to see if your medication lists any such side effect. If that does not work, as your doctor if any of your medications may be causing lucid dreams. If your doctor does not know what a lucid dream is, just call it a nightmare or unusually vivid dream.
Many people report having a lucid dream after they fell asleep woke up and then fell asleep again. Lucid dreams are mostly remembered in the couple of hours before the sleeper has to wake up. If the person is able to sleep through the night, then the odds of remembering dreams (whether lucid or not) are very slim. In order to help get a more relaxed sleep, darken the room, keep the room cooler than the rest of the house and sleep alone if possible.
Warning About Self-Medication
One reason alcoholics turn to alcohol as a coping mechanism is that alcohol helps make people forget their dreams. Although self-medicating in this way to eliminate bad dreams can be tempting, the cure is far worse than the ailment. Some people also find recreational drugs help them forget their dreams, but again, the cure is far worse than the ailment.
Most people who have lucid dreams do not want to stop having them. But for others, lucid dreams can be disturbing. In order to help reduce memory of any type of dream, check your diet and medicine cabinet for herbs, supplements or medications that can cause unusual or frightening dreams. Sleeping for long, uninterrupted stretches can also help decrease dream memory and may help to improve overall health.
The Art of Dreaming. Carlos Casteneda. HarperCollins, 1994.
Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming. Stephen LaBerge, Ph.D. Ballantine Books, 1991.
Sleeping, Dreaming and Dying: An Exploration of Consciousness with the Dalai Lama. Wisdom Publications, 1997.
Lucid Dreaming for Beginners. Mark McElroy. Llewellyn Publications, 2007.
Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self. Robert Waggoner. Moment Point Press, 2009.
Author also has had lucid dreams since her teenage years.