When you’re dreaming, time slows down, and you’re able to experience hours of content in minutes.
You’ve probably heard this rumor many times or perhaps even experienced it yourself. You wake up from a dream that feels like it lasted a lifetime. How realistic is it? Does time really work in a different way while you’re dreaming? And what about Lucid Dreams – can you expect hours of entertainment from a single conscious dream?
The scientific evidence
In some recent studies, scientists have been able to establish communication with the person while they were Lucid Dreaming. It was as good a time as any to finally figure out the question of time perception in a dream.
Contrary to popular belief, time perception appeared similar in the dream world compared to the real one.
When scientists communicated with the dreamers, they responded in real-time, and the response time was similar to what you would expect if a person was asked a similar question while they were awake.
Furthermore, in other studies, researchers asked the participants to count while being in a dream. The results showed that time perception does not differ in a Lucid Dream.
However, the fact that certain dreams appear to last a lot longer than they actually do remains. How can this be explained?
Memory and entertainment
If you were ever bored in your life (it’s hard to imagine anybody that hasn’t), you know exactly how long the day could feel. However, when you remember such a day in retrospect, it’s as if it passed you by in an instant.
In contrast, the days you spend doing exciting activities are filled with memories and adventures, and so, in retrospect, the day seems to be way longer.
Something similar happens regarding dreams. If the dream was not particularly interesting, it quickly fades from your memory (unless you write it down in the dream journal) and neither feels long nor short.
On the other hand, the dreams you do remember are often burnt into your memory. These are the dreams where a lot of exciting stuff happens, resulting in various feelings and emotions.
Due to the nature of dreams, you can experience a vast number of events spread out across different landscapes. You also meet a lot of people and entities. That’s a vast array of occurrences, all happening in minutes.
You’ll never experience anything similar in the real world – those types of events usually happen over hours or days. Thus, your rational mind concludes that the dream lasted for a lot longer than it actually did.
Now, where does that leave you with regard to Lucid Dreaming? Will it feel as if it lasted longer?
Yes and no.
Similar to the real world, all of the exciting stuff you’ll be doing in a Lucid Dream will probably even feel shorter. However, you can be sure that when you recall your Lucid Dreaming voyages, they’ll feel long and adventurous.
Good luck, Dreamer!