Lucid Dreaming Research 1 – Time Required for Motor Activity in Lucid Dreams

Lucid dreaming research summary on a study that looked to find the relationship between time spent in a dream versus time spent while awake.

  • Published: 2020-06-24
  • Updated: 2020-11-18
  • 2 min read
Paper Title: Time Required for Motor Activity in Lucid Dreams
Authors: Daniel Erlacher, Michael Schredl
Published: 2004
DOI: 10.2466/pms.99.3f.1239-1242


The purpose of this study was to understand the relationship between the amount of time it took to complete two specific tasks (counting and deep knee squats) in a lucid dream as opposed to waking life. It was hypothesized that there would be no difference in the time needed to complete the two tasks in both the dreaming and waking states.

Participants and Procedure

The participants consisted of five experienced lucid dreamers, ranging in ages from 26-34. They were each tasked with going through a procedure that had them first, count from 21 to 25, then do 10 deep knee squats, and lastly, count from 21 to 25 once again. Using left-right-left-right eye movements, the participants would mark the start of their lucidity, the beginning of each of the tasks, and once they completed all of the tasks. After finishing the above mentioned procedure (maximum of two times), they would wake themselves up.


After 15 nights, the participants succeeded in having a cumulative total of 11 lucid dreams and completed the procedure 14 times (during three of these lucid dreams, the procedure was completed twice each time). Due to a participant not following the procedure correctly, two intervals of counting, and three intervals of deep knee squats were excluded from further analysis.

The mean durations and standard deviations of time were calculated for the first counting, squatting, and second counting intervals, for both, waking and dream states. Results shown in the following table.


By the end of the study, the results concluded two things. First, there is a direct correspondence between the time in a lucid dream and time elapsed during wakefulness. This means that if someone counted five seconds while in the dream, five seconds would have elapsed in the real world. Secondly, performing activities that require motor function (squats in this case), require more time in a lucid dream than in the waking state. For example, if it takes you 18 seconds to do 10 squats while you’re awake, it could take you 24 seconds to do those same 10 squats while you’re in the dream state.

  1. Erlacher, D., & Schredl, M. (2004). Time Required for Motor Activity in Lucid Dreams. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 99(3_suppl), 1239–1242. doi:10.2466/pms.99.3f.1239-1242