Can gaming make you a lucid dreamer?
A new study suggest that playing video games on a regular basis may help you gain control of your dreams. The term "lucid dream" refers to a state where the dreamer is aware that (s)he is dreaming and takes control of his/her actions and environment within the dream.
Jayne Gackenbach, a psychologist at Grant MacEwan University in Canada, states that "If you're spending hours a day in a virtual reality, if nothing else it's practice. Gamers are used to controlling their game environments, so that can translate into dreams."
The part of the article that really grabbed my attention was the one refering to nightmares:
"Finding awareness and some level of control in gamer dreams was one thing. But Gackenbach also wondered if video games affected nightmares, based on the "threat simulation" theory proposed by Finnish psychologist Antti Revonsuo.
Revonsuo suggested that dreams might mimic threatening situations from real life, except in the safe environment of dream world. Such nightmares would help organisms hone their avoidance skills in a protective environment, and ideally prepare organisms for a real-life situation.
To test that theory, Gackenbach conducted a 2008 study with 35 males and 63 females, and used independent assessments that coded threat levels in after-dream reports. She found that gamers experienced less or even reversed threat simulation (in which the dreamer became the threatening presence), with fewer aggression dreams overall."
Growing up, I had recurring nightmares and night terrors which went away over time. Mostly, I learned to control stress which made me less prone to sleep problems. However, I did notice that when I do have nightmares nowadays, they are often lucid and I can either take control of them or will myself to wake up. Apparently, this can be attributed to the fact that I play video games on a regular basis.
You can read the full article on this study on Livescience.