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The role of mindful acceptance and lucid dreaming in nightmare frequency and distress

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  • Sofia Tzioridou, University of Marburg, Radboud University Nijmegen
  • ,
  • Martin Dresler, Radboud University Nijmegen
  • ,
  • Kristian Sandberg
  • Erik M. Mueller, University of Marburg

A theoretical and empirical association between lucid dreaming and mindfulness, as well as lucid dreaming and nightmares has previously been observed; however, the relationship between nightmares and mindfulness has received surprisingly little attention. Here, we present the findings of two studies exploring the relation of nightmare frequency and distress with two components of mindfulness, termed presence and acceptance, as well as lucid dreaming. Study 1 (N = 338) consisted of a low percentage of frequent lucid dreamers whereas Study 2 (N = 187) consisted primarily of frequent lucid dreamers that used lucid dream induction training techniques and meditation. Across studies, nightmare-related variables showed a more robust association with mindful acceptance as opposed to mindful presence. Moreover, individuals with high levels of meditation expertise and practice of lucid dreaming induction techniques reported lower nightmare frequency. Finally, in Study 2, which consisted of frequent lucid dreamers, a positive correlation between lucid dreaming frequency and mindfulness was apparent. The present findings support the notion that wakeful mindfulness is associated with the quality of dreams and extend previous research by suggesting a disentangled role of the two facets of mindfulness in dream variation. This association remains open for experimental manipulation, the result of which could have clinical implications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15737
JournalScientific Reports
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2022

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