Lucid Dreams can happen whenever regular dreams happen. When we sleep we go through a number of different cycle of consciousness, delving deep into our psyche and ‘resurfacing’ a number of times. There are typically around four or five major dream periods in a single night, approximately an hour and a half apart, but getting close together as the night progresses. Each period can contain multiple dreams, so there is plenty of opportunity to make the most of our dreams.
When we start training our dream recall, we can find ourselves becoming more conscious and even waking up in the periods in between cycles of sleep, where before we were unaware. This gives us an excellent opportunity to record dreams we would otherwise forget, furthering our dreaming memory, but not just that… It helps us to become lucid because we are becoming conscious at just the times which are most conducive to lucid dreaming!
Lucid dreams usually occur at around these times because we are far closer to our waking consciousness and able to activate our conscious mind more easily. Not only may we find ourselves becoming aware or fully lucid just prior to waking in these periods, they are also the times in which lucid dream induction can be the most effective. With practice you can re-enter the dream you just had consciously or instigate a new lucid dream through your intention, with little or no break in consciousness as you do so!
What are currently recognized as dreaming periods are the REM (rapid eye movement) portions of sleep. What is generally not known however is that we dream and have other experiences at deeper levels of the psyche that aren’t usually fully consciously remembered. Some of these are formless or imageless interactions. The information and experiences we have on these levels is translated into dream imagery at levels closer to our waking consciousness, and this is what is recognized as REM dreaming.
In other words, we still dream in non-REM periods, but these dreams are trickier to remember directly the deeper we go, because there the information we receive is usually too vast for our conscious minds to contain. So we translate it in symbolic form through the image-laden medium of REM dreams. And yet, as we stretch our dreaming attention and conscious capacity, we are more likely to remember more information from these levels, which is more akin to a direct knowing.
The confusion that REM periods and dreaming periods are exactly synonymous is one that has come about through the scientific study of dreaming from outside observation. But by recognizing that REM is associated with the scanning of dream imagery, it is easier to see that those non-REM periods of sleep are not necessarily ones of ‘unconsciousness’ but quite the opposite, they are periods of superconscious activity that escape our conscious focus, imageless ‘dreams’ of a magnitude that is mind-blowing to glimpse!