Instigator / Pro

Lucid Dreams Are Useful For Practical Life


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Contender / Con


Pro Argues: Lucid Dreams Are Useful For Practical Life
Con Argues: Lucid Dreams Are Not Useful For Practical Life

Important Definitions:

Lucid Dream: A lucid dream is a dream during which the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming [1].
Useful: Effective; helping you to do or achieve something [2].
Practical Life: Practical life is an area in the Montessori philosophy that encompasses, well, skills practical to everyday life [3].


Definitions are not to be twisted during the debate. Let's enjoy.

Round 1
Given the definitions above, I will start off with my opening arguments.

Since the topic in hand is an objective claim, my arguments will encompass a number of scientific studies and statements backing it up.

To refute my arguments and eventually to win this debate, Con then has to provide counters of same magnitude in scientific communities.


Therapeutic Use. As far as practical uses go, therapeutic improvement is one of the essentials for human life. Lucid Dreaming has long been used for that purpose and that too rightfully. Below are some of the uses as we know of-

  • LD Therapy. Nightmare; although may sound casual to some, is indeed a medical issue that many people struggle with. Such recurring nightmares might just affect a healthy life very easily. Dr, Denholm Aspy from University of Adelaide, Australia introduced "Lucid Dreaming Therapy" to challenge such recurring nightmares from happening. According to him, using in therapy to avoid nightmares is the best use of the art of lucid dreaming [1]. In an interview with Medical News Today (MNT), Dr. Aspy states,
“If you can help someone who’s having nightmares to become lucid during that nightmare. Then that gives them the ability to exert control over themselves or over the nightmare itself.”

“[L]et’s say you’re being attacked by someone in a nightmare. You could try to talk to the attacker. You could ask them, ‘Why are you appearing in my dreams?’ or ‘What do you need to resolve this conflict with me?'”

“Some people take on superpowers or special abilities, [so] they can fight back against the attacker. And then you can also try to escape, so things like flying away, or even doing techniques to deliberately wake up from the nightmare.”
  • Overcoming Phobia. Dealing with different types of phobias has always released a demand for therapeutic interference. Luckily Dr. Aspy indicated towards this aspect of LD as well. He means,
“If a person has a particular phobia, then their lucid dream environment […] provides an interesting opportunity to do things like exposure therapy, where you gradually expose yourself to the thing you’re afraid of, in an attempt to gradually overcome that fear.”
The reason behind this idea originated from the intrinsic nature of LD itself. Because it almost ensembles reality in an alternative fashion, the patient may motivate himself to create his own discomfort zone and deal with it personally. In a recent study of 2016, the idea came floating back as the article suggested a positive relationship between LD and overcoming mental fears [2].

Psychological Uses.  People (most probably Con will be one of them) complaining about lack of empirical evidences to prove a scientific point of LD need to research with a more non-skeptic and open mind. Because ever since Dr. Stephen Laberge made it possible to scientifically and biologically track down the act, numerous studies have taken place from the late 80's to prove some psychological connection as well which has brought me up for my second argument. One of those studies proved that LD may be a profound state that fuels the psychological growth in a person and promotes his overall well-being [3,4].   Laberge himself conducted a study where he considered LD  as an indicator for well-being and psychological growth [5]. Elevated self-confidence with sound mental health has also been figured as a result of LD [6]. Even from a social perspective, lucid dreamers have been experimented to be more pragmatic and bold [7]. Those involved in regular LD have also been known to be more durable and resisting when it comes to traumatic stress [8].

Psychopathological Uses. It is critical to acknowledge the issue of depression and mental health. Apparently, LD has been vastly researched in terms of facing the medical aspect of it as well. In fact a very recent study (2018) directly correlates LD with a broad spectrum of psychopathological symptoms and finds that those having more LD are prone to less such symptoms [9]. Post-traumatic stress or PTSD is also a major issue in the type of society we grow up in. Another recent study links PTSD affected patients having less nightmares with increased LD control [10]. A neurobiological study reveals that LD patterns in a patient might account for a very important window to assess the condition of a schizophrenia [11]. Thus, LD can not only strike to be a therapeutic approach but also attain the evaluation of a prognostic factor.

Conclusion. At this point, I end my R1 arguments by compiling some peer reviewed evidences and backing up my claims with them.  A set of social and psychological skills that one may achieve through lucid dreaming has been put on display which not only appeases with Pro in his premise but also covers a part of conservation of survival instincts of human beings.



"I stood in the mysterious yet welcoming open air. I saw the gigantic glass tubes coming in from the right with a white wall, along with transportation devices within them, leading into two elevators. A robotic but hyper-modern female voice spoke, synchronizing with the pix-elated font that showed green words: "THE NEXT TRAIN ARRIVES IN", trailing from right to left in a black monitor above the elevators. It seems that there are also escalators and stairs nearby." -- 9spaceking, "SERENDIPITY" lucid dream Entry 

Thanks pro. I will now remark why LD's are not useful for practical life. 

1) Negative Effects
Those that can consistently LD at a high rate are remarkably rare. Even among other lucid dreaming practitioners, even my seemingly mediocre 20% LD rate is godlike. The LD induction rate is very difficult to actually achieve, and hence, be useful. One study remarked: " We conclude that lucidity should not be considered as necessarily suggestive of well-being; LD may be positive or negative, depending on lucidity characteristics. Additionally, deliberate LD induction may harbor negative long-term risk."

Another research backs this up by saying nightmares can be prevented using other incubation and therapy techniques, while many LD methods (especially "wake Back to bed", which may disrupt the sleep cycle), are risky and can cause adverse health effects. "In this opinion paper, we draw the attention to the possible adverse effect of LD on sleep and health. There are several reasons leading to fear that LD, and especially training to increase LD frequency, may be detrimental to normal sleep and notably to the sleep-related regulation processes". So it seems that LD's are not all fine and dandy. Mastering control is also very important in LD's, because lucid nightmares can be extra scary if you are aware but don't have enough ability to release yourself from the pain and suffering within the dream. 

Even if you LD fine and well, the natural effects of normal dreaming are to be praised. An expert looks within normal dreaming and finds that because we treat them as real we have the "Search activity". (" Their disadvantage is that due to the separation from the dream events that are in lucid dreams accepted as rationalized dreams, not as real stories where the dreamer acts like in wakefulness, their ability to restore SA is decreased until they are not displaced by the normal non-lucid dreams accepted as real stories.") While good at stopping nightmares, once you start having good dreams, it can be difficult to surpass the "nothing is real" idea. Many think that because it is a dream, nothing matters. It requires an exceptionally bright mind I find, in order to absorb yourself into the dream, and accept that despite it not being real, you can still enjoy the activity. Keeping your goals in mind and keeping a positive mindset, all while stabilizing the dream, are all very difficult and hard for Pro to back up overall. 

2) Inconsistent
Even though my personal rate of 20% LD's (and half of them being good quality in terms of story line and experience), many others have failed to reach my level of Lucid Dreaming. In order for pro to win, he has to prove for the majority of people Lucid Dreaming can be useful. As another expert study tells us, "There is however a problem preventing most of the population from enjoying LD: spontaneous LD is not frequent. About 50% of individuals have experienced at least one lucid dream in their lifetime, and only 11% report having two or more lucid dreams per month...Reviews highlighted that none of these induction techniques were verified to induce LD reliably and consistently." Notice how Pro has not noted just how often you can actually access this. It would be like saying lottery is useful to practical life because you can get one billion dollars from winning. Well, if you do not "win", you're just wasting time and effort for nothing. So this is also a problem.

These two points alone put a lot of doubt in Pro's argument, while LD's *can* be useful to reduce nightmares, compared to other methods, it's dubious, especially since you can't LD on command, the realism of dreaming is long lost, and the long term risk of sleep deprivation can be an issue.
Round 2
Thanks seldiora!

Now, I will start off my second round with an argument of my own and end with a rebuttal against my opponent.


Physical Uses. Many people are quite skeptical of the idea that LD may even impose an effect on one's physical abilities. At this point, I'll have to confess that there is no scientific consensus to prove that the claim is actually correct. However, there have been many such researches where it turned out that lucid dreamers do indeed have an edge in nailing a physical activity in real life that they have practiced in their dreams before. It may seem weird but I've got both empirical and independent studies to back me up here.

Empirical Researches
Let's start with the man who seems to have started it all in scientific field- Dr. Stephen LaBerge. According to him, even sleep lab experiments in Stanford University found that practicing  simple activities like running, walking, singing or having sex in a lucid dream pertains to responding with the same neuronal activity inside the brain as in the waking state [1]. So, it's only obvious that performing a particular activity in a dream activates the same part of the brain when one's engaging in that activity in real life. That has to correspond with the neuronal memory of brain and eventually with real improvement in that activity. Besides, in terms of neuroscience, I've already provided empirical studies that prove association of LD with the mental and clinical health of an individual in my R1 argument. A similar study related LD with "creativity" in a profound sense [2]. In context, a very recent study of 2017 aimed to test any significant effect in motor skills of lucid dreamers basing on lucid dreams and the result returned with retaining the hypotheses as the active lucid dreamers showed improvement in those motor actions in reality [3].

Independent Researches
The most famous study in this regard is possibly the one done in Harvard University under Dr. Daniel Erlacher. The participants in the experiment were asked to practice tossing a coin in a cup two meters away in their lucid dreams and in real life in separate groups. The study concluded with a statistical significance as participants practicing only in their LD showed a 8% improvement in the given task. When asked to defend this research, Dr. Erlacher remarked,

"This is definitely not mainstream research. There are some people who say that dreams are nonsense and aren’t worth investigating. Critics say that you can’t really be sure people are dreaming, and some of the field studies we’ve done—including the coin toss study—haven’t yet been replicated in a sleep lab. But there is substantive research here. It has been well established that athletes who mentally rehearse an activity can improve their performance, and it makes sense that dreams can achieve the same effect."
He admitted to conducting another study in the same premise that further confirms what LaBerge had articulated about neuronal response in LD being the same as in reality. A simple knee bending exercise when duplicated in LD provided the same physiological and neurological check as in reality [4]. Dr. Erlacher quotes regarding the experiment,

"In one experiment we asked participants to dream about doing deep knee bends. Even though their bodies weren’t moving, their heart and respiration rates increased slightly as if they were exercising. So your brain is responding to the dream movements in similar ways, and that allows you to use dreams as a simulation. You can learn from that."
 All of these researches indicate towards the Pro's premise Lucid Dreaming is indeed useful and a powerful medium to experience practical life with as much efficiency as possible. I will stretch my argument to an end with a fantastic quote from former New York Times bestseller author and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss-

  “I only trained with [John Smith - World Wrestling Legend: 2-time Gold Medalist, 4-Time World Champion] 45-60 minutes per night while I was lucid dreaming. I went on to have my best career season, which culminated with a more than 20-0 record before the national championships […] I’ve since used lucid dreaming to accelerate skill acquisition, reactivate forgotten languages in less time, cultivate zen-like present state awareness and decrease needless stress.”   

Con provided a couple of arguments that doesn't hold the fort for him. I will address them both very briefly because I have nothing much to work with.

1. Negative Effects

Con tried to attribute some of the negative medical effects to lucid dreaming on which I agree completely. In fact, I can cite more sources and studies than Con did in terms of disadvantages of LD. But that in no way contradicts Pro's premise of LD being useful. Con has suggested to use alternatives to LDT to battle nightmares but hasn't refuted it's effectiveness. Having an adverse effect doesn't necessarily negate usefulness of something and that's a known fact. So, unless Con comes up with something decisive to defend his premise that LD is NOT useful, his arguments fall pale.

2. Inconsistency

Con claims that since lucid dreams are rare to experience, they are not useful at all. This one is far fetched as no one is forcing us to LD. Taste buds differ from person to person and so do medicines from disease to disease. Therapeutic systems don't solely rely on LD at all- it's an option and a useful one proven by studies. Those who are able to explore it should do so. Similarly, as for improving motor skills, most people don't need to lucid dream to practice something. But again, those who can and do are bound to feel the success as proven by researches. But to say, it doesn't have any credibility just because most people can't manage the art is rather fallacious. 

Evidential studies and researches presented in his premise so far by Pro should give him the edge over Con who rather resorted to disarrayed formation of his logic.



if something has a net neutral or negative effect, then it should not be considered useful. Every time you LD you risk both the negatives and the positives. To only look at one is absurd. Consider additional studies even show "Aviram and Soffer-Dudek (2018) demonstrated that those who reported engaging in deliberate LD induction had an increase in schizotypy and dissociative symptoms over the span of the following 2 months." Resonating with my idea of losing the true meaning of the non-lucid dreams. Even sources that agree with pro culminate towards uncertain results, even if having some correlation. Pro has not negated the fact that, if you cannot LD strongly (as only the intensity is related to Psychopathy, not the frequency) then his arguments fall apart and don't work, especially with sleep deprivation and health effects. If every time you had to treat your nightmare you had to feel like only sleeping 5 hours, then obviously this is not useful. The cost necessary for the benefit is very important to realize the true usefulness of lucid dreaming. My case stands.
Round 3
I have provided my arguments with enough scientific studies and so I will let them speak for me. In this round I will just rebut against my opponents R2 argument.


Lucid Dreaming is a practice; only a very exceptional one as it involves one's subconscious. To exact the benefit of LD one has to go through a certain routine just like with any other therapy. One has to consider the effects for sure whether it be negative or positive; but that doesn't take away the efficacy of the practice. Consider a muscle buildup therapy where overstretching the muscles by extensive exercises can cause more lethal muscle damage than good. But that doesn't mean that the therapy is not useful for the patient. Or take for instance, a psychological therapy where digging very deep may affect the mental structure of the patient. But nobody says that that kind of therapy is NOT useful.  

if something has a net neutral or negative effect, then it should not be considered useful. Every time you LD you risk both the negatives and the positives. To only look at one is absurd.
Pretty fallacious from Con who has been talking all negative about LD from the beginning. On the other hand, Pro has recognized both the effects in R2 & R3 and concluded how LD is still useful. Besides, Con hasn't proven how LD has a net neutral effect anyway and he can't possibly prove that by any means. As long as the negative aspect of LD doesn't outweigh the positive effects, one can never say it is NOT useful and so far, Con has failed to demonstrate any such issue.

Sleep deprivation, drowsiness or oversleeping- these are some of the accepted side effects of LD but lucid dreamers like me have long known to balance them out with proper techniques and more experiences by days. So, on balance, LD has proven to be more useful than harmful since the probability of frequency of the act is unpredictable. In fact, such infrequent practice actually keeps the harm effects to a minimal and thus proves my point that it is indeed USEFUL.

A famous blog called Healthline published an article- Lucid Dreaming which interestingly addresses all the risks of LD that Con suggested and still encourages us, with the exception of some (mental disorder patients), to perform the techniques in sleep with proper caution. Therefore, it is to be acknowledged again that having cautionary effects or risks doesn't render anything NOT useful at all.

With this, I rest my case with proper setting of my arguments where I proved from a scientific perspective how lucid dreaming is useful even with all the risk factors it imposes whilst Con decided to focus on only the negative aspect that doesn't contradict Pro's premise.

As practice for true debating, I waive this round.