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Articles > Gaming August, 27, 2015

Being A Gamer Helps Me Control My Dreams

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Last night I had a dream I did not enjoy. In it I was having a conversation with a particularly irrational person who insisted on things that were so illogical that I simply thought to myself: “This is impossible, I’m just going to wake up now because there’s no point to this conversation”. So I did.

‘“hardcore” gamers … are more prone to lucid dreaming than the average person. Could this be true?’

When I woke up, I realised that by telling myself to wake up I must have been aware of my dreaming state. A lucid dream in other words. How long had I been aware of the fact that I was dreaming? The whole night? I kept thinking about the subject of lucid dreaming as I stared up at the ceiling unable to fall back asleep. Eventually I got up. Some late-night (or rather early-morning) browsing of the Internet showed me that “hardcore” gamers  (characterized in part by regular playing sessions of more than 2 hours, several times a week) are more prone to lucid dreaming than the average person. Could this be true? It’s a captivating thought indeed.

Psychologist Jayne Gackenbach and her colleagues found many effects that gaming seem to have on our dreams in their research. These effects all speak of an enhanced experience of control. For an example the ability to toggle between first and third-person point-of-view is far more common amongst gamers as well as taking charge over, and even enjoying, frightening dreams which would intimidate and scare others.

What they also found was that “hardcore” gamers are much more likely than their peers to experience lucid dreaming. After seeing that gamers and lucid dreamers exhibited similar traits (like intense focus and “superior spatial awareness”) in their waking lives, 125 gamers and non-gamers were surveyed on how often they experience lucid dreams. Gackenbach found a strong association between gaming and lucid dreaming.

Aristotle said “Often when one is asleep, there is something in consciousness which declares that what then presents itself is but a dream”. A lucid dream is just that, a dream in which you find yourself aware of the fact that you are dreaming. So why is this more common amongst gamers? We are obviously used to switching between alternate realities by immersing ourselves into the games we play. When we then enter the world of dreaming, do we then recognize the signs of fiction and fantasy more easily than others?

It is indeed an intriguing idea and the philosophical implications of this is fascinating to me.

Have you ever experienced lucid dreaming? Do you do so often or is it a rare occurrence? Let me know in the comments below.

By Noctua

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  1. Scott Sefdon

    Love lucid dreaming, I encounter so many different experiences and things. I get them that often that iv actually started a little log of all the dreams that I have and reading back at them, pretty funny

  2. trevor philips

    Too much counter-strike. i always turn nightmares into action films – i am always a normal person turned counter-terrorist who foils several attempts a year… in awesome ways… sometimes its hard to create whole plot shifts without waking up for real.

  3. levi brownrigg

    this has happened to me before i do think it is true that gamers controle there dreams i have done it aleast 7 times now most off the times the dreams im having are not good.

  4. Ardi Perman

    Its true and i can control my dream..hahaaa…

  5. Liam

    Definitely a rare occurrence but when it happens its not as vague as what it seemed to be with you, when its a lucid dream you know for certain that you’re dreaming and wouldn’t need to debate wether or not you had know the whole night. That being said there are layers of lucidity, at least, I think there is. Layer five would be full control over your dreams, you know you’re dreaming and so do your dream characters. (you don’t ALWAYS have control). Layer four, dream characters are unaware that they are part of your subconscious, this is fun because trying to explain to a dream character that they are part of another’s subconscious and only exist within the dream can be quite interesting. Piece of advice though, never look in a mirror in dreams or anything that will show your reflection, dont know if its just me, but I always see some weird, scary looking demon-type creature.

    There are easy methods to increase the likelihood of spontaneous lucidity in dreams even further. For example a dream journal, remembering your dreams is key in order for you to be able to identify dream signs. For example, a dream sign for me is that I’m not using my crutches since in reality I’m using them most of the time.
    Another is reality checks. Do them periodically throughout the day, ask yourself, “where am I? How did I get here? What am I doing?” Look at your hands to see if there are any abnormalities such as having an extra finger, or look at a clock to see if it is blurry or not (often in dreams anything that displays time is often blurred, a phenomenon I cannot explain). This will translate into your dream world and when you notice and abnormality you’ll revel in joy and say “aha! I am dreaming” And boom now you’re lucid. Dont get too excited though that’ll wake you up.

    It can also be triggered by dream characters themselves. I remember one time I was dreaming and this guy was talking to me (I had just watched a vid on youtube about lucid dreaming before falling asleep) and he said, (I wasn’t lucid at this point) “does anything seem weird to you?” And I was just oblivious and said no, he replied with “look at the sky, look at the earth and everything around you” and I was just like what? And he said, “you’re dreaming mate” and I instantly became lucid but at that moment the guy who told me lost HIS lucidity and it turned out to be The Doctor (from Doctor Who, the one that came in 2006). Just a weird experience I find lucid dreams very fascinating. Speaking to your subconscious is another good trick but this is already long enough.

  6. Abubakr Mahmood

    I believe this is true. I, even though I do not play as much games as my friends, do get lucid dreams. They have also previously told me about themselves experiencing such dreams.

  7. balraj Panesar

    i agree

  8. Rachel Hutchings

    Yes this is so true. most of my dreams take place in the world of the game i have been playing (Mass effect lately lol) The one i had last night was weird i was driving my dads old motorhome through space and Garrus attached thanix cannons to it so i went on a pirate hunt. I was aware i was dreaming because as you said it was just so ridiculous but i was like hey this motorhome is familiar ans safe to me (even if it had about had it) it’s a little strange because i knew i was dreaming and was thinking i should probably wake up but this dream is to awesome.

  9. Aimee Kemp

    both my partner and me play games daily in our free time and both have lucid dreams although he seems to have more control over his than I do

  10. Stina Teesaar

    I have been able to control my dreams quite easily for a long time and I have searched about the topic as well. Often times it is the gaming aspect that makes the most sense. I do play a lot of games and I am pretty sure it is one of the biggest factors that help me control my dreams.

  11. matteo framba

    To the writer.
    This is a good question: I have played a lot but unfortunately i have never had a lucid dreaming. I think it would be a great world where you can do everything!!
    I hope to find it out in the future.

  12. Matt

    I have lucid dreams very, very regularly and am definitely a hardcore gamer. I can tell myself to wake up and enjoy nightmares like you said. There’s an interesting article in the December 2011 issue of New Scientist (you might not be able to access it though) about lucid dreaming that you might want to read. It says about how lucid dreamers can improve their real life skills in their dreams but sadly I don’t have quite that much control over my dreams.

  13. Kamil Krzyszowski

    I play a lot, but never experienced lucid dream

  14. Benedict Chambers

    ‘…and even enjoying, frightening dreams which would intimidate and scare others.’

    This is kind of interesting because whenever I am dreaming and things start to get scary I just immediately open my eyes. I’m not sure this is the same thing though I do play games a lot.

    I find that I don’t usually ‘control’ dreams so much as I consciously observe them. Like a few days ago, in a dream I transformed (without thinking or choosing to) into a bat to escape a house through a chimney and thought ‘This is so cool, I’m a freaking bat!’

  15. Kiran Chacko

    I would call myself a hardcore gamer…but I have never experienced lucid dreaming,. Probably because i just fall asleep from playing too much.

  16. Fred Parker

    I’ve never thought about it before but, now I do, I can safely say I have regular lucid dreams. I love games and it’s one of my biggest past times (much to the dismay of my parents) and I find myself able to get myself out of bad situations in dreams. On regular occasions, I’ve had the typical falling dream and I am able to simply, think my way out of it. I find that, in most dreams, I can control the outcomes of some actions. I have had tug-of-war battles with my dreams were I can’t seem to change anything, but I am aware of it. I don’t dream lucidly every night but maybe 1/2 nights a week, others I cannot recall so maybe even more, who knows?

  17. Milton Moyo

    Once I think I experienced lucid dreaming. However ever since I don’t think I have. I have looked up methods and videos on how to become a lucid dreamer however, it just seems like a long process and takes time to get into it. Also I fear the trouble of sleep paralysis. Gaming I love though!

  18. Ashley Roberts

    The weird this with me and games and dreams is that if I’ve played all night I seem to continue the game into my sleep. It’s very weird, whereas if I come off a few hours before I sleep I don’t shout in my sleep and my gaming mind is put to rest.

  19. Francesca Mundy

    I’ve lucid dreamed twice over the space of several years, but I’m not a dedicated or “hardcore” gamer. My boyfriend livestreams and games regularly, however he almost never remembers his dreams.

  20. Tochi Last name

    I’ve wanted to try lucid dreaming, but I’ve never gotten there yet. At least i know that playing more games will help me get there.

  21. Jack

    My dreams are a pretty dangerous place, lots of them are pretty messed up. I’ve been keeping a dream journal though, and at least it’s an interesting read…

  22. abiy alfarizi

    last night i had dream that i was walked on the beach with my squad and we got ambushed

  23. Meg Palmer

    I once had a dream that Handsome Jack from Borderlands made me kill puppies for him. Them puppies were douchebags in all fairness