Effectiveness of motor practice in lucid dreams: a comparison with physical and mental practice

J Sports Sci. 2016;34(1):27-34. doi: 10.1080/02640414.2015.1030342. Epub 2015 Apr 7.


Motor practice in lucid dreams is a form of mental rehearsal where the dreamer can consciously rehearse motor skills in the dream state while being physically asleep. A previous pilot study showed that practice in lucid dreams can improve subsequent performance. This study aimed to replicate those findings with a different task (finger-tapping) and compare the effectiveness of lucid dream practice (LDP) not only to physical but also to mental practice (MP) in wakefulness. An online experiment was completed by 68 participants within four groups: LDP group, MP group, physical practice (PP) group and control (no practice) group. Pre-test was accomplished in the evening, post-test in the next morning, while the practice was done during the night. All three practice groups significantly improved their performance from pre-test to post-test, but no significant improvements were observed for the control group. Subjective sleep quality was not affected by night practice. This study thus corroborates the previous findings that practice in lucid dreams is effective in improving performance. Its effects seem to be similar to actual PP and MP in wakefulness. Future studies should establish reliable techniques for lucid dream induction and verify the effects of LDP in sleep laboratory conditions.

Keywords: finger-tapping; lucid dream practice; lucid dreams; mental practice; motor learning.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Dreams / psychology*
  • Female
  • Fingers / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Skills*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Practice, Psychological*
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Wakefulness
  • Young Adult