The field of lucid dreaming, and its surrounding communities, can be quite excitable. And for good reason: the promise of lucid dreaming for advancing consciousness research and clinical applications is a big one. But it's important to keep in mind that many of these promises are a tall order. So you need to keep a level and “lucid" head whenever new research perspectives come out.
While no academic text is ever perfect, I was disappointed to see a regurgitation of some poor quality lucid dreaming research in the latest edition (2017) of a respectable textbook for clinical sleep researchers, Principles and Practices of Sleep Medicine (6th edition).
This chapter fossilized skewed and sensationalized claims about lucid dreaming further: It reinforced the claim that the lucid state is characterized by frontal activation of the 40 Hz frequency band (gamma brainwaves), and can be induced through transcranial (40 Hz) electrical stimulation.
This leads the field and future generations astray from what was the actual evidence.
But alas, the authors—now teamed up with the University of Wisconsin-Madison—seem to have redeemed themselves in the new lucid dreaming chapter in Handbook of Sleep Research (2019). They now provide a portrayal of these studies that is much more accurate and reality-based, showing hopeful growth in regards to these and more lucid dreaming topics.
Check out the gallery below for snippets from these chapters. Compare for yourself what was said about lucid dreaming, gamma waves, and lucidity induction through transcranial stimulation technologies.
Think you can see the differences? Let me know in the comments. After all, sharpening your ability to precisely and accurately discern what is the true reality—whether you are awake or asleep—will make you a better lucid dreamer in the end, don’t you think?
Baird, B., Erlacher, D., Czisch, M., Spoormaker, V. I., & Dresler, M. (2019). Consciousness and Meta-Consciousness During Sleep. In H. Dringenberg (Ed.), Handbook of Sleep Research (1st ed., Vol. 30): Academic Press.
Dresler, M., Erlacher, D., Czisch, M., & Spoormaker, V. I. (2017). Lucid dreaming. In M. H. Kryger, T. Roth, & W. C. Dement (Eds.), Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine (6th ed.). Philadelphia: Elsevier.