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J Sports Sci. 2017 Dec;35(23):2365-2372. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2016.1267387. Epub 2016 Dec 22.

Improvement of darts performance following lucid dream practice depends on the number of distractions while rehearsing within the dream - a sleep laboratory pilot study.

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a Institute of Sports and Sports Sciences , Heidelberg University , Heidelberg , Germany.
b Central Institute of Mental Health, Medical Faculty Mannheim , Heidelberg University , Mannheim , Germany.
c Institute of Sport Science , University of Bern , Bern , Switzerland.


In a lucid dream, the dreamer is aware of the dream state and can deliberately practice motor skills. Two field studies indicated that lucid dream practice can improve waking performance in simple motor tasks. The present pilot study investigated the effect of lucid dream practice in a controlled sleep laboratory setting, using a pre-post design with dart throwing in the evening and morning. The experimental group practiced darts in lucid dreams. Because some participants were distracted during lucid dream practice, the group was divided into lucid dreamers with few (n = 4) and many distractions (n = 5). Change of performance was compared to a physical practice group (n = 9) and a control group (n = 9), showing a significant interaction (P = .013, η2 = .368). Only the lucid dreamers with few distractions improved (18%) significantly over time (P = .005, d = 3.84). Even though these results have to be considered preliminary, the present study indicates that lucid dream practice can be an effective tool in sports practice if lucid dreamers find ways to minimise distractions during lucid dream practice. Moreover, the study emphasises the necessity to investigate lucid dream practice experiences on a qualitative level.


Lucid dreams; darts; lucid dream practice; mental practice; motor learning

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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