Results of the survey on lucid dreams (2014)

Dieser Post erschien ursprünglich auf www.blucid.de

Eine deutsche Version dieses Posts ist hier zu finden.

During the second half of 2014 the first survey on BLucid was conducted. The goal was to answer some basic questions, like the length and frequency of lucid dreams and what activities are common in lucid dreams. The survey was first conducted by Daniel Erlacher in 2004 on klartraum.de (in German). The results of the 2004 survey can be found here (German).

The Questionnaire

For the reissue of the survey, the following changes were made to the questionnaire:

  • On the gender question the option "other" was added.
  • In Question 8 ("How did your lucid dreams largely occur?") the word "largely" was added.
  • For Question 13 ("Estimate in percentage which of the two states you are usually in when you have a lucid dream.") instead of two input fields a slider was used to prevent answers that would add up to more or less than 100 %.
  • The e-mail address was not requested as part of the survey.
  • All other fields were mandatory.
  • Questions that only had to be answered if certain answers were given in previous questions were only displayes if applicable.
  • The questionnaire was divided into four pages.
  • The questionnaire was translated to English. The English version was online simultaneously to the German version and additionally contained a question for the country of the questionee.

The questionnaire (German and English) is attached to this summary.


The questionnaire was online from 4.7.2014 to 10.1.2015. The survey was promoted on different lucid dreaming related websites, blogs and webforums, especially in the communities www.klartraumforum.de (German) and www.reddit.com/r/LucidDreaming. Ca. 67 % of all answers were likely from readers of Reddit posts (at least 39 %), of which one was "stickied" for about two months.


A direct comparison with the survey results of 2004 is not reasonable because the two questionnaires were disseminated differently. Participants in both surveys were not representative samples anyway.

In total the survey received 1021 complete answers. Two answers were ignored for the analysis because all input fields have been filled with random characters. For the analysis of the individual questions more answers were excluded when marked accordingly (e.g. entered "n/s"). In these cases the total is stated in brackets.

All charts in this summary can be enlarged with the link below them if the page is viewed on a large enough screen.

Personal Data

The age ranged from 11 to 66 years. The mean age was 21 years. The mean age of those who had a lucid dream at least once was 22 years. More than half of the respondents was between 15 and 19 years old.

74.78 % of the respondents stated to be male, 23.65 % to be female. 1.57 % chose other. The majority of male participants can be accounted for by the fact that the survey was distributed strongly on websites with predominantly male readers (demography of Reddit users).

Of those who stated their current occupation (907) about half were students and half were working. Among those who stated their profession (525) professions in IT were noticeably frequent (ca. 20 %). This too can be accounted for by the strong distribution of the survey on Reddit.

The German questionnaire was answered 253 times. Of the 766 answers to the English questionnaire the overwhelming majority (55.35 %, 393 occurances) was from the USA. The following chart shows the distribution of countries without the USA.

General Questions on Dreams

In this section general questions about dreams and their frequency were asked. The questions can be seen in the table below. The scales were recoded according to the following map in order to obtain units in frequency per week respectively month (cf. Erlacher & Schredl, 2004)).

Dream recall frequency:

  • almost every morning: 6.5
  • several times a week: 3.5
  • about once a week: 1
  • 2-3 times a month: 0.625
  • about once a month: 0.25
  • less than once a month: 0.125
  • never: 0
  • All other questions:

  • several times a week: 18
  • about once a week: 4
  • 2-3 times a month: 2.5
  • about once a month: 1
  • about 2-4 times a year: 0.25
  • about once a year: 0.083
  • less than once a year: 0.042
  • never: 0

    Question Mean Value
    How often do you remember your dreams recently (several months)? 3.79 ± 2.31 per week
    Did you have nightmares recently (several months)? 1.15 ± 2.93 per month
    How often do dreams affect your mood during the day? 3.66 ± 5.71 per month
    How often do you get creative ideas from your dreams? 1.77 ± 4.12 per month
    How often do lucid dreams occur for you? 2.88 ± 5.38 per month

    The mean dream recall frequency of the respondents is shown in the following chart in blue. The black line shows the fifth-order moving average. The variations in the older ages are supposedly due to the small number of respondents of the respective age.

    Questions on Lucid Dreams

    The following definition of lucid dreams was used: In a lucid dream one is aware that one is dreaming, while dreaming. Thus it may be possible to wake up intentionally, to influence the plot actively or to observe the happenings passively.

    Lucid Dream Frequency

    242 of the respondents stated that they do not experience lucid dreams. Of the remaining 777 respondents 64.48 % were frequent lucid dreamers (cf. Snyder & Gackenbach, 1988: one lucid dream per month or more; 50.83 % including non-frequent lucid dreamers). The dream recall frequency was greater among frequent lucid dreamers than among non-frequent lucid dreamers.

    Emergence of Lucid Dreams

    The Majority (57.9 %) stated that their lucid dreams largely occured spontaneously. For 38.2 % lucid dreams largely occured through deliberate training and 3.9 % experienced lucid dreams largely in the course of an applied relaxation technique. The first lucid dream occured for most through application of a technique (34.5 %) or spontaneously (30.5 %).

    The mean age of occurance of the first lucid dream was 14.61 years ± 1.73 (n = 766). More than half of the respondents (62.4 %) experienced their first lucid dream at an age of 11 to 20 years. Almost half (48.7 %) had their first lucid dream less than three years ago.

    Lucid Dream Length

    The mean estimated length of lucid dreams was 14.29 minutes ± 18.36 (n = 746). Respondents referred on average to 20 ± 9.77 lucid dreams, whereby anomalies of 500 lucid dreams and more were ignored (n = 735). It is obvious that those with frequent lucid dreams also have longer lucid dreams. Frequent lucid dreamers dream consciously ca. 7.8 minutes longer compared to non-frequent lucid dreamers. It appears that the length of lucid dreams increases substantially with a lot of experience (50 lucid dreams and more). Between the time since the first lucid dream and the lucid dream length the connection is not as obvious.

    Lucid Dreams and Control

    Participants were asked to estimate how much percent of their lucid dreams are active and how many are passive according to the following classification.

    Passive: You try to let the dream proceed and act as if you did not come to the realization of your dream state. Active: After becoming lucid you spontaneously set yourself new tasks and put them into action.

    Lucid dreams in which the dreamer sets new tasks spontaneously after becoming lucid were more frequent (58.52 %) than those in which the dreamer acts passively.

    It was asked whether the lucid dreamers had ever tried to do something in a lucid dream that they had planned while awake. The majority of respondents (68.34 %) answered in the affirmative, whereby frequent lucid dreamers plan to do something much more often than non-frequent lucid dreamers. On average the respondents that have planned to do something in a lucid dream that they have planned in waking life have undertaken 19.68 ± 10.03 attempts (n = 523).

    Non-frequent lucid dreamer Frequent lucid dreamer Total
    No intent 130 116 246
    Intent 146 385 531
    Total 276 501 777

    1829 tasks have been stated, that dreamers have planned while awake to perform in a lucid dream. The actions have been divided into six categories:

  • Impossible Actions: Tasks that can not be performed in waking, e.g. due to physics
  • Interaction: Actions to interact with the dream, dream characters or other dream elements
  • Everyday Actions: Tasks that can be and are performed in waking as well
  • Dream-related Actions: Actions that are related to the experience of the dream or of past or future dreams
  • Body-related Actions: Actions that have to do with body movement or the physical feeling
  • Other Actions
  • The by far most frequent answer was flying (20.87 % of all occurrences). In the following table tasks that have only been mentioned once are not listed.

    Categories (Occurrences) Stated Actions (Occurrences)
    Impossible Actions (863) fly (382), travel somewhere (60), teleport/change location (49), walk/pass through object (43), do magic/super power (38), make something appear (36), make someone appear (29), shapeshift (29), change envirement/dream scenary (24), telekinesis (23), control elements (fire and/or water) (18), bereath underwater (16), reenact movie/TV/video game scene (15), be someone or something else/be differently (13), time travel (10), OOBE (8), manipulate weather (8), manipulate time (8), change own size (7), fly to space (6), morph/transform something (5), float (4), meet self (3), zoom-view (3), relive event (2), bring something to live (2), transform someone (2), create portal (3), change gravity (2), be invisible (2)
    Interaction (466) Sex (149), talk to somebody (121), meet somebody (79), talk to self/subconscious (26), ask question(s) (24), fight (23), tell dream character they are part of a dream (9), kiss somebody (8), murder (7), harm somebody (5), flirt (2), observe someone (2), control people (2), telepathy (2)
    Everyday Actions (245) eat something (25), look at something (19), train/practice/rehearse something (15), create/build something (13), feel something/touch something (11), meditate (11), read (10), make music/play musical instrument (10), view self/look into mirror (10), learn something (7), destroy something (7), speak (7), gain information (6), do math (6), find something (5), drink something (5), solve problem (5), speak foreign language (4), motorbike (4), listen to music (4), write (4), scream (3), recall something (3), sing (3), walk through door (2), design something (2), ride bike (2), walk around naked (2), solve puzzle (2), stay calm (2), pet animal (2)
    Dream-related Actions (134) prerform reality check (26), explore/research dream (18), end nightmare (16), stabilize/stay lucid (16), revisit dream (10), manipulate dream envirenment (9), wake up (8), increase lucidity (8), find dream guide (8), conduct experiment (6), prevent dream characters from disappearing (2)
    Body-related Actions (65) sport (21), run (16), jump (8), free fall (5), swim or dive (5), jump out of window (3), ride animal/dragon (3), hurt self (3)
    Other Actions (56) create art (13), overcome fear (8), have an adventure (7), heal (7), shoot gun (3), suicide (3), cause chaos (2), experiment with senses (2)

    The survey participants were asked to estimate in how many percent of the lucid dream they could remember their intent and in how many percont of these cases they could perform the planned action. 67.89 % of the attempts to perform a planned action in a lucid dream were remembered. 67.22 % of the remembered intents were performed successfully.

    In the following table the stated obstacles in performing planned tasks in lucid dreams are listed ("Name reasons why you could not fulfill your tasks in lucid dreams (e.g. premature awakening, dream does not allow it, etc.)."). The obstacles were devided into five catagories:

  • Obstancles from the dream: The dream situation did not allow for fulfilling the task or the dream intervented.
  • Waking: The dreamer woke up before the planned action could be performed.
  • Mental Obstacles: The dreamer felt incapable of performing the planned action.
  • Problem with lucidity: Lucidity was lost or was insufficient to perform the planned action.
  • Other Obstacles
  • The by far most common obstacle for lucid dreamers is waking up prematurely. Reasons that were stated only once are not listed here.

    Notes for the obstacles and planned actions: The questions contained examples (flying, talking to dream characters; premature awakening, dream does not allow it), which could have lead to more of these answeres because they were remembered more easily. 3 of the 4 examples are the most frequently mentioned answers. The actions and obstacles could have been grouped and categorized differently. Some rather describe the motivation behind an action than others, that name only an action. Some answers are more detailed, while others only state a category (e.g. "magic"). Because these answers are very diverse text answers and the tables only give an overview, a direct comparison of the grouped answers is not possible.

    Categories (Occurrences) Stated Obstacles (Occurrences)
    Obstacle from the dream (337) Dream did not allow it (133), Didn't work/Nothing happened (52), Distraction (50), Dream ended or false awakening (31), Dream took a different turn (27), Dream character interfered (22), Preventing dream physics (12), Dream interfered (6), Died (3)
    Awakening (314) Premature awakening (307), Being woken (7)
    Mental obstacles (189) Strong feeling/emotion (53), Didn't recall (correctly) (43), Lack of motivation/Something different was more interesting (34), Doubt/Lack of confidence (33), Lack of concentration (12), Lack of fantasy/Didn't know how (8), Mental blockage (4)
    Problem with lucidity (170) Lack of control (63), Lost lucidity (60), Lack of lucidity (24), Dream was instable (23)
    Other Obstacles (50) Different result/Not satisfied (19), Problem with perception (13), Limited or no movement possible (9), Wrong attempt (5), Too deep sleep (3)