The lucid dreaming athlete

Erlacher, Daniel; Stumbrys, Tadas; Schredl, Michael (July 2015). The lucid dreaming athlete. In: Proceedings of the 14th European Congress of Sport Psychology - Theories and Applications for Performance, Health and Humanity. Bern, Switzerland. 14.-19.07.2015.

Mental practice is the cognitive rehearsal of a physical activity in the absence of overt physical movements (Richardson, 1967). It is a well-established technique in sports and several meta-analyses demonstrated that mental practice significantly improves performance, albeit to a smaller extent than actual physical practice. A novel and relatively unknown type of mental rehearsal is motor practice in lucid dreams (Erlacher, 2007). Lucid dreams are dreams in which the dreamer is asleep but aware that he or she is dreaming and often can influence the dream plot (LaBerge, 1985). This ability to be aware in the dream state and deliberately perform actions while physically asleep opens up opportunities to use lucid dreams for sports practice, for example, to consciously rehearse specific motor tasks without waking up (Tholey, 1990). In this talk, anecdotal reports, questionnaire studies, as well as qualitative and quantitative experiments will be presented which underpin the possibility of practice in lucid dreams. For example, in one experiment it was shown that practice of a sequential finger tapping task during lucid dreaming led to superior performance as compared to mental (visual & kinaesthetic) imagery, a physical execution and a no-practice control condition. While only a limited number of athletes have lucid dreams on a frequent basis (Erlacher et al., 2011-2012), there is a wide range of techniques that can be used for lucid dream induction (Stumbrys et al., 2012), yet none of them has been verified to induce lucid dreams reliably and consistently. This is one the main challenges facing lucid dream research in general. Future studies should establish reliable techniques for lucid dream induction and examine the effects of LDP in controllable sleep laboratory conditions.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Abstract)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW)
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW) > Movement and Exercise Science

UniBE Contributor:

Erlacher, Daniel


700 Arts > 790 Sports, games & entertainment




Daniel Erlacher

Date Deposited:

19 Aug 2016 12:43

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:57


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