|Dreams: Controlling Dreams
Have you ever been in the middle of a weird, scary or awesome dream and then suddenly said to yourself, "Okay, this is unbelievable. I've got to be dreaming." This sudden realization that you're in a dream, rather than your waking life, is pretty common. Certain people can even take this one step further: once they know they're dreaming, they can decide what to do next in the dream.
This ability to control a dream is called lucid dreaming (lucid means aware). People who experience lucid dreaming might wake up right after realizing that they're in a dream. In many cases, suddenly knowing that they're dreaming seems to be what wakes them up...especially during nightmares.
Some dream doctors think that it would be a bad idea to always take control of your dreams, even if you could. If our dreams really are a way to let our minds think differently and deal with information about life, then trying to control them would stop our brains from doing important work. Even if dreams are just play time for our minds, taking control might be like hogging the ball in a basketball game, never letting our minds get a chance to relax and work out all the stress of everyday living!