Lucid dreaming and negative effects on REM sleep

I am currently trying to educate myself in the realms of sleeping and dreaming. In Kelly Bulkeley’s An Introduction to the Psychology of Dreaming (1997), various explanations for the function of REM sleep are discussed. One of them is a hypothesis put forth by Francis Crick and Graeme Mitchison, which, if true, would have very serious consequences for lucid dreaming, at least if done too often. Here are some quotes of interest (page 62):

What I would be interested in is mainly further reading. Much must have happened since this hypothesis was put forth in 1983 concerning the function of REM sleep. If Crick and Mitchison’s hypothesis is true, it would mean that lucid dreaming is not equal to normal dreams when it comes to the functioning of REM sleep. Being conscious about dreams and remembering them would then have negative effects.

I do not want to be rude, but could people please refrain from discrediting the hypothesis purely on personal grounds? Anecdotal evidence is simply not worth much. Since dream interpretation and the remembering of dreams in very old indeed, it would not surprise me if there were studies conducted on their effect, but I have been unable to find any.

Ok, this isn’t personal…

You forget it, you don’t learn how important it was. If you forgot how to do addition, is it good or bad? If you forgot about the ‘monster under the bed’ you’d be less careful than if you hadn’t. Good or bad? :tongue:

Don’t forget. You’ll need the forgotten.

An interesting hypothesis, but to me it doesn’t ring true. Much of our dreaming entails that which we deny or repress in WL. These constitute blind spots. To then forget our dreams would be to compound the denial. It would act to affirm the old saying that “ignorance is bliss”. Would we rather limit and blind ourselves to who we really are or see?


I’m not sure if this can be considered personal, I hope not… :neutral: I will try to just talk about my experience with dreams without just saying I don’t believe lucid dreaming can be bad because I like to dream.

I think I’ve always remembered my dreams, without trying (not all, of course). I’ve only been trying more for the past 4-5 months. When I was younger I had a few lucid dreams as well. All this naturally. I don’t want to just say I don’t believe having LD’s and remembering dreams can have negative effects, but I just wonder why I would do this naturally then, without any conscious effort… I’d say if there were negative effects my brain would avoid remembering dreams somehow…

Just to put it simple, in my case, I have no reason to believe dreaming has effected my brain’s functioning. Actually, I’d say it has just done me good. My dreams literally make me more confident and happier.

It would be more valuable, though, to get the opinion of some that have mastered lucid dreaming and have them every night.

I don’t understand how he came to the conlsusion that REM sleep focucses on eliminating “potentionally damaging patterns of brain functioning”. Whatever that is.
In fact, I don’t think it’s even a real thing, and if it is, I don’t see how lucid dreaming is even possible. If the brain specifically targets certain “patterns” to eliminate, which it finds to be “potentionally damaging”, (and no other, harmless patterns), then dreaming would be completely automatic, based on the judgements the unconscious has made. And somehow this is translated into an experience, for some unknown reason. It doesn’t make sense.

And if we were “supposed” to forget it, is the brain incompetent? Does it fail to eliminate the patterns it specifically set out to eliminate? The function is thus not really effective. If the data was removed, it should be impossible to remember it, and the phenomenon of dreams would be unknown. As we know, it is well known all over the world.

And what about the experience? Why is there a dream? Does he mean to say that the whole dream is a “collage” of selected “patterns” pieced together to (sort of) make sense in a story form? What is the point of this illusion? Dreams may be random sometimes but mostly they follow a thread from start to finish. A trashbin of “potentionally damaging patterns” would not very likely seem like a coherent experience, even if it is a crazy coherent experience. There is no use for that at all if it is just a deletion process that will not be remembered.

Suffice it to say, I serisouly doubt his theory.

Are the “negative effects” also discribed in the book you read?

I agree with dreamster. For me my dreams have helped to know more about myself, my fears and hopes, etc, and to deal with them.

Quoting the article: “Regarding the fact that most of our dreams are forgotten, Crick and Mitchison say this occurs for the simple reason that dreams are meant to be forgotten”
For me it bears similar logic to say, for example that older people tend to forget more simply because old people are meant to have weaker memory. And because of that they should not try to improve their memory, but just let things go with a flow :neutral: