There are various methods of quitting smoking, many of which adopt the technique of a gradual decrease of nicotine intake until eventual halt. Nicotine patches are one of these, but beside the obvious advantages of a method that makes stopping a damaging habit a little bit easier,the patches can also come with a bonus blessing, or a curse, depending on how you look at it. If you’re among the folks who enjoy sleeping, consider it a journey to the land of subconscious, keep a dream journal, or are generally interested in what you see behind closed eyes, then the potential of more insight into your sleeping mind might be of interest to you. In this article we will discuss the relationship between nicotine patches and lucid dreams, or an overall alteration of your level of awareness during vivid dreams. And if this connection grabs your attention, tune in for intriguing facts on the nature of dreams, how they are affected by outside stimulants, and the numerous possibilities therein.
Nicotine Patches: How Do They Work? *
Simple enough. The patch goes on your body (a hairless, clean, and dry spot), and nicotine is absorbed into your skin as long as you have it attached. Because this is a form of nicotine replacement therapy, you have to first discuss with your doctor the safe amount that your system can tolerate. If you’re not much of a heavy smoker, and your patch provides you with a greater amount of nicotine than your system craves, it can be not only counterproductive, but also rather dangerous. The idea of the patches though is that you immediately get rid of every other harmful ingredient you inhale through cigarette smoking (or tobacco chewing), and are only left with the nicotine; eventually, you can gradually lessen your nicotine intake, and are already halfway through to quitting because the cravings are not as intense or as crippling. It works for a lot of people.
Nonetheless, people who choose this method are likely to have their nicotine patches on 24/7. That is, you wear it in the workplace, at home with your family, in outings with friends, and , of course, during your (hopefully) 8 hours of sleep. That is where your experience with nicotine differs. A regular smoker introduces nicotine into their system at all possible occasions, except for this one: sleep. You can’t smoke a cigarette while sleeping, no? But now you can have a strong stimulant running through your blood while also dozing off. And the effect is very very interesting.
What Is Lucid Dreaming? *
Have you ever had a dream where at some point something or another grabs your attention as bizarre or irrational, and suddenly you are fully yourself, fully aware that you are dreaming? For most people, that is when the dream ends. You have this brief moment of lucidity and then you wake up. For others though, you stay a little bit, fully conscious, your analytical abilities are intact. You’re capable of perceiving your surroundings as if they were real, you can notice the details and remember them, and you can even, with varying degrees, alter them.
Lucid dreams are the simple man’s entry ticket to Wonderland. Usually, during sleep, your conscious mind is resting, and a dream is played before you as if a movie you are watching, or acting out minus free will. Regaining consciousness during a dream means you get free reign of your subconscious space. You have all your mental capacities, with which you navigate wakefulness, except you can use them now to navigate the dream world. It’s like waking up in a parallel universe and getting the chance to explore and understand it before you are sent back home. And if you are lucky, you get the ability to manipulate your surroundings too. You can create your own universe to your liking. Can be quite fascinating.
Because the human brain is complex and interesting, it can be malleable if you possess the right tools. Those with enough experience in lucid dreaming can use their dream time to study what their brain is trying to tell them. Senses are sharp and the details are startlingly real. It’s almost difficult to tell the difference between the real world and the world your brain built for you in a dream. Besides, you are basically in the lands of magic. You can have supernatural abilities: you can fly, move things, introduce new characters, meet your idols; the possibilities are endless.
What Nicotine Does *
While lucid dreaming can be induced with various natural methods (including practice, manipulating your sleep cycle, and training yourself to to pick up on the subtle signs that you are dreaming), nicotine can also be key. The science behind it is simple. In wakefulness, nicotine boosts your alertness. It does just that in dreams too.
Once consciousness kicks in, it’s not always guaranteed that you’re in for a smooth ride on forward. Users of nicotine patches have reported having very vivid dreams where time extends and reality is subject to your imagination. It can be very interesting but it can also be scary. Some users have had disturbing nights of ongoing dreaming, some have felt as though they were stranded between sleep and wakefulness, and some have had episodes of sleep paralysis.
Sleep paralysis is a state in which your body remains asleep (and thus unmoving), while your mind is fully awake. If you’ve never experiences such a state before, keep in mind that it can be unsettling. The simplest explanation of it is that you’re back in the real world but you have brought your dreams back with you. So for the entirety of it (which is minutes at most) you can be subject to hallucinations and an overwhelming sense of paranoia and fear. That can be unpleasant.
Regardless, the choice is yours. If nicotine patches are your quitting method of choice, be prepared for the possibility of a drastic change in the nature of your sleep. Be it vivid dreams, lucid dreams, sleep paralysis or nightmares, if exploring your subconscious and the realms of your sleeping mind interests you, you can have a lot of fun with it. If not, then you better steer away or tread carefully. Either way, you’re safe. For nothing and no one can hurt you in Wonderland anyway.