People who have frequent lucid dreams score better in tests that measure insight, a new study has found.

Christopher Nolan's epic movie Inception (2010) popularized the concept of lucid dreaming by suggesting that dreams can even be used to steal corporate secrets. Several small studies have tried to explore this mysterious state of consciousness.

The present study was conducted by the researchers at the University of Lincoln, UK and was based on a small group of 68 participants aged between 18 and 25 years. The participants had experienced various levels of lucid dreaming with some saying that they have never had lucid dreams, while others saying that they have been "awake" during the dreams at least few times in the past month.

The researchers gave each participant a set of 30 problems that tested the person's insight. The researchers found that lucid dreamers solved 25 percent more insight problems than their non-lucid dreamer peers.

"It is believed that for dreamers to become lucid while asleep, they must see past the overwhelming reality of their dream state, and recognise that they are dreaming," said Dr Patrick Bourke, Senior Lecturer at the Lincoln School of Psychology,

"The same cognitive ability was found to be demonstrated while awake by a person's ability to think in a different way when it comes to solving problems," Bourke said in a news release.

The study, "Spontaneous Lucid Dreaming and Waking Insight", was published in the American Psychological Association's journal, Dreaming.

The research on lucid dreaming has several challenges. Few people in the world can actually lucid dream at will and that too, in a controlled setting such as a sleep-lab. Also, researchers can never be sure whether or not a participant is actually lucid dreaming.