Lucid dreaming is the scientifically proven method that allows you to become conscious while you’re dreaming, to give you control over your dreams. It is a heightened mental state that allows you to experience everything in your dreams as authentically as you would experience them in reality. With lucid dreaming you can: fulfill any fantasy, overcome personal issues such as phobias and past traumas, and more.
Everyone has the potential to dream lucidly, but only a small percentage of people actually take the time to learn how to harness its power and use it on a regular basis. With lucid dreaming, you are still getting a restful sleep, but your brain is awake inside the dream, allowing you to control what you dream about, and what you experience in the dream.
Teaching Yourself to Lucid Dream
Throughout the day, ask yourself if you are dreaming, and do “reality checks” when you remember. When you practice this, you will automatically remember it, even when you’re dreaming, and do it.
Invest in a dream journal to keep near your bed – and write down your dreams immediately when you wake up. If writing is not ideal, keep a tape recorder near you and speak the details of the dream. This will help you learn common elements of your dreams, and trains your brain to focus more energy on remembering your dreams.
Become aware of your own sleep schedule. This allows you to create a sleep schedule more conducive to lucid dreaming. Research shows taking a nap within a few hours of when you wake up is the best time to have a lucid dream – as they are more strongly attached to the REM sleep cycle that occurs right before you wake up.
Stephen LaBerge’s Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreaming (MILD) Technique
With the MILD technique, you teach yourself to lucid dream by following these steps:
- Set your alarm clock to wake you either 4 ½, six, or 7 ½ hours after you fall asleep. When the alarm clock wakes you, try to remember as much of your dream as you can.
- When you have remembered all you can, go back to bed, imagine that you are back in your last dream, and becoming aware of the fact that you are dreaming. Once this thought process has sunken in, go back to sleep.
- If wild thoughts are stopping you from falling back to sleep, starting the imaging process once more, and then try again. If you think it is taking a long time, don’t worry. The longer this process takes you, the more likely it will sink in, and the more likely you will experience a lucid dream.
The Wake Back to Bed Technique (WBTB)
With the Wake Back to Bed Technique, which is considered the most successful technique, you should:
- Set an alarm to wake you up five hours after you fall asleep.
- Fall asleep.
- Once you wake up, stay awake for an hour and keep your mind completely focused on lucidity. Do not allow your mind to wander.
- Use the MILD technique to go back to sleep.
Finger Induced Lucid Dreaming (FILD)
After you’ve been asleep for a while, wake up. When you wake up, think about finger induced lucid dreaming. Relax and allow yourself to start going back to sleep. Move your first two fingers up and down as though you are playing a piano. You should move your fingers so little that you can feel the muscles contract, but not enough to move the piano keys. Focus your thoughts entirely on this movement and don’t think about anything else.
After about 25 seconds, do a nose pitch reality check using your other hand. If you can breathe while your nose is pinched, congratulations you are in a lucid dream. If not, repeat the steps.
Wake Initiated Lucid Dreaming (WILD)
Allow yourself some time to meditate so that you are in a calm yet focused state. You can do this in several ways, including counting your breaths, imagining climbing stairs, imagining yourself free falling through space, etc. Lie on your bed and focus your awareness on the back of your head at the point where it touches your pillow. Allow your inner voice shut off and then imagine sinking into your pillow as your body is nearly asleep.
Shift your awareness out of the body while trying to hold onto the awareness as much as possible. This allows your body to sleep while you pass lucidly into the dreamworld.
Modified Look at Hands Method
This method is a modified version of Gritz’s “Looking at Your Hands”.
As you get ready to go to sleep every night, sit in your bed and give yourself a few minutes to relax. Look at your palms for about 30 minutes. Say out loud, “ I will dream about…” along with the details of whatever it is you want to dream about. Continue to say the phrase over and over as you look at your hands. After half an hour, or whenever you get tired, let yourself fall asleep.
Whenever you wake in the middle of the night, look at your hands and repeat whatever it is you wanted to dream about – using the same phrase you used at the beginning of the night when you tried to induce lucid dreaming.
Tips for Lucid Dreaming
- Before going to bed, determine what you want to achieve in the lucid dream.
- If you are experiencing sleep paralysis, which is not dangerous, wiggle your toes or swallow.
- When attempting to recall a dream when you wake up, try not to move. This may cause the dream to fade from memory.
- If unable to remember the dream itself, focus on recalling the feelings you experienced. Focusing too hard on trying to remember the dream will make it impossible.
Lucid dreaming does not happen overnight. For effective lucid dreaming, practice is necessary. Some people will be able to learn lucid dreaming easier than others, but everyone is capable of it.