Psychologists have long known that people can solve their problems at work and home by “sleeping on it.” Dr. Deirdre Barrett advises individuals to ponder questions just before falling asleep (Should I take this job? Should I marry that guy?) and then let the subconscious provide the answers. “I’ve known artists looking for inspiration who simply dream up a future show of their art and wake up with plenty of new painting ideas,” says Barrett. “More and more people are learning these techniques to control their dreams.”
Dr. Stephen LaBerge, for example, has pioneered a way of directing the sleeping mind through “lucid dreaming,” in which a sleeping person realizes he or she is dreaming while it is happening. In “lucid dreaming,” your dreams are like private movies where you are the star, director, and writer all at once. Lucid dreamers can use the experience for a variety of purposes: problem solving, developing creative ideas, and healing. A person may use lucid dreaming for everything from talking to his/her long-dead father to gorging on sweets. Moreover, a weak swimmer in the waking life may dream of diving to the bottom of the dream ocean without worrying about breathing (or his/her swimming skills). Most importantly, lucid dreaming is free and available to everybody.