What happens when you die during a lucid dream? This is a question that people commonly ask about lucid dreams. In a lucid dream, it’s like the dreamer’s brain awakens and the dreamer can control and change what happens in the dream.
Questions about death in lucid dreams are probably due to the 2010 science fiction action movie Inception. In fact, many lucid dream misconceptions relate to that movie. Maybe it should have been called Misconception! At one point in the movie, the characters talk about dying in a dream; more specifically, what would happen if they were shot. A character explains that dying in a dream strands you there for years, or even decades.
Dying in Lucid Dreams
But actually, if you die or kill yourself in a lucid dream, you’ll just wake up. Nothing bad can happen to your physical body, because lucid dreaming is all in our minds. It’s a commonly-held belief that dying in our dreams will somehow cause us to feel pain, or prevent us from waking up, or increase our likelihood of actually dying.
But that’s a myth.
Nothing in lucid dreams could really harm us physically. Dying in a dream just wakes you up. You may wake up in a sudden or shocking way, and you may not feel very good. But you will not be harmed. It’s the same as waking up from an intense bad dream or very bad nightmare. You may feel sweaty or shaky, and your heart rate may skyrocket, but you will not be hurt.
So dying in a lucid dream is nothing to worry about. Things you do that are exciting or emotionally charged in a lucid dream will just give you that sweaty, heart-pounding awakening.
Pain and Lucid Dreams
If you’re injured or die in a lucid dream, it may feel painful in the moment. Pain is almost all in our minds, so we can feel pain in lucid dreams. It’s one of the scarier things about practicing lucid dreaming, but don’t let this make you feel like you should avoid the experience. It will always be part of it. But much like in waking life, you don’t constantly fear pain, do you?
Just focus on remaining lucid, and you’ll be far less likely to be injured in your dream. Staying lucid makes it less likely that you’ll be hurt. You just have to tell yourself that it’s not real and that it doesn’t actually hurt. You’ll only have problems if you begin to lose lucidity and fade into a normal dream.
Suicide and Lucid Dreams
If you kill yourself in a lucid dream, it’s the same as dying or being killed: you will wake up pretty quickly. If you’re lucid and you know you won’t really hurt yourself, you may experience the closest possible thing to the Inception movie. If you try to commit suicide but you understand that you can’t really hurt yourself because you’re lucid dreaming, you can feel like you’re trapped in the dream. This doesn’t happen often, and it usually doesn’t occur with beginners. If you’re a more experienced lucid dreamer, it’s just an annoying thing that happens sometimes.
It feels like you’re stuck because you’ve gotten so good at lucid dreaming and staying in dreams that you’re unable to break out of the dream. It’s easy to escape, though; you just have to wait a few seconds (or minutes at the most) and keep your eyes closed. You’ll usually wake up fairly quickly if you just keep your eyes closed.
Lucid Dreams and Time
It’s worth noting that when we dream lucidly, it feels like more time is passing than it actually is. This is because our hyper-alertness causes time dilation. When we dream, it’s more difficult to keep accurate track of passing time, so it feels like we’re dreaming for longer than we actually are.
Many people have experienced lucid dreams in which they’ve either died accidentally or gotten killed by somebody else in the dream. Some argue that lucidity implies total control over the dream, so getting killed means the dreamer wasn’t actually lucid. But there’s a lot we don’t yet know about lucid dreaming. Sometimes even if we’re lucid, we’re not in total control of all of the things that happen.
You’re not be required to be in control of anything for the dream to be considered a lucid dream. You can have dreams in which you’re in control of nothing, and dreams like that are scary. These are lucid nightmares, and they’re quite terrifying! You’re aware you’re dreaming in a lucid nightmare, and you understand that it’s not real, but you’re not able to control anything. So if anything bad happens, you’re just that much more aware of it. It feels like you’re trapped, which is one of the worst possible experiences when it comes to lucid dreaming.