London: It is the stuff of a Hollywood movie: a dream world that can be manipulated at will. But for more and more of us, lucid dreams are now becoming frequent, and a reality.
In 'Inception,' Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page stroll through a dream world where they are able to bend streets into the sky, walk up walls and destroy a cafe by the force of will.
While the plot of a lucid dream may not be as dramatic, the process is similar, the Daily Mail reported.
Someone having a lucid dream realises they are dreaming and may from then on 'direct' the action. Alternatively, they may simply 'watch' the dream unfold.
The sense of awareness makes it different from a dream that is simply extremely vivid and true to life.
Studies suggest that the number of people in the western world experiencing the occasional lucid dream has risen by 10-40 per cent since the 1980s.
Today, they are so common that about one in eight of us will have one in our lives. Despite this, little is known about what triggers them — or what is behind the rise.
Mark Blagrove, a psychologist who runs a sleep lab at Britain's University of Swansea, said, "People's abilities during dreaming are altering" as they become more adept at recognising they are able to control their dreams.
Research carried out at Harvard University in the US showed the brain to be hard at work during lucid dreams. In fact, the level of mental activity in some parts of the brain was similar to that of a person, who is awake.