Have you ever had a dream, in which you realized that you are dreaming?
A few years ago I never experienced this.
But I learned about it and I was extremely interested in how to learn it.
I remember talking with friends about it and reading forums and blogs with stories of people who had it.
I really wanted to learn it, so I read everything I could in order to get one step closer to becoming AWARE that I am dreaming.
In this article, I will teach you the MOST important things you need to know in order to start.
We will cover the following:
1. What is lucid dreaming?
– Is it something new?
– When does it happen, and what is it like?
– Is lucid dreaming proven?
2. What is the use and purpose of lucid dreaming?
3. Concerns and risks
4. The 11 Best Lucid Dream Triggers and Techniques
5. FINAL TIPS
1. What is lucid dreaming?
Usually, when we dream, we are not aware of this fact.
Even though the dreams are quite often extremely weird and unrealistic, we realize that it was a dream right after we wake up.
You may think ” God, how I didn’t realize that I was dreaming… everything was SO strange…”
Lucid dreaming is when you become conscious while you are in your dream. It is the (possibly sudden) realization that you are dreaming.
Sometimes, this realization comes with control over the dream story, but not always.
Is lucid dreaming new?
Odd enough, the concept of becoming aware in your dreams is not something new.
The very first evidence of lucid dreaming appears by the Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle.
In one of his treatise, called ”On Dream” he mentions an example of self-awareness during a dream state.
Moreover, the Dutch author and psychiatrist Frederik van Eeden came up with the term ‘lucid dream’ in 1913.
When does it happen, and what is it like?
Usually, lucid dreaming appears during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep – the stage of our sleep cycle, where most of our DREAMS occur.
Lucid dreaming often happens just before waking up, or in the very early morning hours.
It can also happen when going to sleep, especially if you practice some of the induction techniques, before falling asleep.
Furthermore, some people are natural lucid dreamers. Luckily, it can be learned for almost everyone, exactly like any other skill… I’ll tell you how, in just a few minutes!
As for how does it feel… Well, it will be different for everyone.
I remember my very first lucid dream. It was such a weird (in a good way!) sensation.
I was having a period of very vivid dreams, in which I was flying, almost always.
I couldn’t understand how I cannot figure out that I am dreaming, because the flying was re-occurring so often.
One early morning, I had this dream where I started to fly and then it hit me… I was dreaming! O M G.
I was so excited but then I started falling down. I didn’t want to smash myself in the ground so I thought “What should I do?“.
Then I remembered how Iron Man is flying with the help of his costume and that he has ”fire” coming from his feet.
I magically started to have the same ”fire” from my feet and I started to fly like crazy! It was so cool, but then my alarm ringed and killed all the fun 😀
But I will never forget this.
Is lucid dreaming proven?
Yes, lucid dreaming is completely real and proven through various studies.
I mentioned some of them in this article, so feel free to find out more about the scientific investigations.
2. What is the use and purpose of lucid dreaming?
Lucid dreaming is an incredible and learnable skill that has a wide range of potential applications.
Some of the uses (except having an insanely fun time, while you sleep!) are:
– Lucid dreaming for overcoming your nightmares
By learning how to be aware in your dream state you can overcome your nightmares.
So how can you switch a bad dream for a better one?
Since you will be completely aware, that you are in a dream, you can do it by:
– reminding yourself that you are safe
– by playing a character
– by changing the dream
– or even by causing awakening
– Explore our own inner world with full awareness
Your dreams have limitless potential and boundless in every sense of the world.
Furthermore, we can all agree that the dream world is a mysterious realm, with a lot of unknown things that are yet to be explored.
Just try to imagine what you can discover once you get inside this world!
– Lucid dreaming as a productive/creative tool
You can erase, rearrange, and create anything in a mere snap of a finger! This will allow you to play inside your head.
A lot of amazing creations were actually designed in the dream world.
For instance, Einstein imagined riding on a light beam that drove his special theory of relativity.
Another great example is Paul McCartney (from Beatles), who created the entire melody for the hit acoustic song Yesterday in a dream.
Well, I hope you got the point.
Lucid dreaming can be used not only for having fun. Find out more amazing benefits of the use of lucid dreaming HERE!
3. Concerns and risks
Like everything, the lucid dream skill comes with some mild risks.
When saying risk, I don’t mean ”dying inside of the dream and then dying in the real world”, or ”stuck inside of a lucid dream”.
Don’t worry. We cannot die in real life if we die inside our dream. Or we won’t be stuck forever inside our dream world.
Our bodies are designed to rest a certain amount of time every night, so it is absurd to think that you can get “stuck” sleeping.
Do you want to know THE REAL ”risks”?
Experiencing realistic feelings
This can be very good – feeling happy, relaxed, light.
But what about if you experience realistic negative feelings such as anxiety, stress, sadness?
Nothing too bad can really happen. It will just be not the best experience. That’s one of the risks.
Remember that your state of mind is important when trying to lucid dream. So be sure you are in a good place, in your head!
Escaping from reality
Escapism is a distraction from the real world. It is not a bad thing!
If you use lucid dreaming to escape from the real world, it won’t harm you.
However, if you are doing it way too much, obsessively, it can be dangerous to your productivity and personal growth.
Certain mental health problems
For some specific health problems, it is best if people avoid lucid dreaming.
An example is: schizophrenia.
This condition can cause people to be unable to recognize the difference between some of their thoughts or anxieties and real-life events.
For a few more examples of lucid dreaming ”dangerous”, check this article, where we looked at more risks, closely!
4. The 11 Best Lucid Dreaming Triggers and Techniques
The most important things you should do is building a few NEW simple habits, and trying some of the most effective, proven techniques.
They will slowly but steadily get you to experience the amazing lucid dream world.
Please, be sure to check the final tips, since there are some very important points that you don’t want to miss out.
1) Start writing your dreams
Dream journaling is one of the BEST things that you can do! It is fun, easy and it will do a great job in increasing the vividness of your dreams.
Furthermore, you will be able to remember your dreams much more, which is another key factor in becoming lucid.
2) Reality checks
This is another simple one! Also, a study used this technique (plus two more that we will mention below).
The study tested the efficacy of three common techniques, and they all had extremely successful rates.
This technique is an action, which will confirm if you are in the dream world or in real life. It is a simple ”test” that will spark lucidity WHEN you do it inside your dream.
It is all about the intention and habit here.
When you constantly check your reality, this ”action” will start appearing in the dreams, too.
So, for instance, you can either just ask yourself “am I dreaming right now?” and be 100% aware of your surroundings at that particular moment.
Or it can be a physical check, where you will try to put a finger through your palm of your other hand.
In real life, your finger cannot go through your palm, of course… but what about in a dream?
There, everything is possible. And you will most likely be able to put a finger pass through your palm.
3) Wake back to bed (WBTB) technique
This was the second one that was included in the recent research.
The technique requires setting an alarm to wake you up, after about 5 or 6 hours of sleep.
So, if you go to bed at 11, you should wake up around 4-5 in the morning.
When you wake up, you should stay up for around 10-20 minutes.
The ”trick” of this technique is that when you go back to bed, you will immediately go into the REM stage – you remember that was the stage where dreams occur, and also lucid dreams.
By doing this, you are most likely to experience a lucid dream!
4) Mnemonic Induction of lucid dreams (MILD)
This was the third technique of the study that Dr. Aspy did.
The MILD technique is a very powerful way to induce lucid dreaming.
The mnemonic induction will be successful if you have the right intention and if you practice it, a lot.
The method is all about increasing your self-awareness when dreaming.
It works by programming your next dream, by imagining yourself in a lucid dream. It is also good for setting up pre-determined triggers, that will provoke lucidity.
The mnemonic induction operates quite simple – it uses something called ”prospective memory”.
That’s the ability to remember to do things in the future.
By repeating a phrase, such as “The next time I’m dreaming, I will remember that I’m dreaming“, you will set an intention, and ”program” your mind that will trigger a lucid dream.
Mindfulness will teach you how to be more conscious and aware of your surroundings, and of yourself, in general.
Why this is important?
Simply because by having higher awareness during the day, you are increasing the chance of recognizing when you are dreaming.
Luckily, I have covered also this topic, plus easy meditation guide for lucid dream beginners, that you can find right HERE!
6) Wake Initiated Lucid Dreams (WILD)
So, as the name suggests, you will try to induce lucid dreaming while being awake! You will go to your bed and then you should do the following:
Step 1: Lay down comfortably (preferably) on your back.
RELAX completely, for about 10-20 minutes.
Step 2: Observe your hypnagogic state.
After some time, you might start seeing some funky stuff.
Don’t worry this is called hypnagogia or “hypnagogic hallucinations“, which is the transitional state from wakefulness to sleep.
Step 3: Create a dream scene.
Now is the moment where you should start thinking more intensively about your dream landscape.
Step 4: Mind Awake / Body Asleep.
Your body should be already asleep, but your mind needs to be active and awake!
You need to prepare mentally and to practice it in order to learn how to stay conscious while your body falls asleep.
Step 5: Stabilize your lucid dream.
Now is the ideal moment to stabilize your semi-lucid state, otherwise, you risk to get too excited and to wake up.
For instance, you can do a few reality checks for maintaining the dream.
This is just a brief description of the WILD technique! It is extremely effective, but you should give it some time. For a bunch of TIPS and Q&A – read the full guide here!
7) Binaural Beats
Binaural Beats are special sounds that stimulate and changes your brain state.
They can affect our dream, sleep, relaxation… what is more, they can also induce a lucid dream state!
They work by playing two different tones of frequencies at the same time, separately to each ear.
In order to trigger lucid dream with binaural beats you should:
1) Lay down comfortably.
Put your headphones, play the binaural beats and relax.
(tip: place an eye mask to avoid any kind of light)
2) Have an intention.
Have lucid dreaming affirmations and repeat them silently in your mind. Also, you can visualize, for instance, your dream scene.
3) Focus on the sound and relax.
Leave your mind to wander. Try not to move your body at all.
4) Optional: Perform a technique, such as WILD
After at least 15-20 minutes, perform the chosen from you lucid dream technique!
For more details and free binaural beats samples – check this article!
8) Induce lucid dreaming with… sleep paralysis
Do you remember in the WILD method the part “Step 4: Mind Awake / Body Asleep”?
Well, sleep paralysis is when your body is falling ”asleep”. It enters a stage called REM atonia. But your mind is still awake.
It can feel horrible since sleep paralysis often comes with scary visuals, BUT…
Did you know that sleep paralysis is a guaranteed gateway to lucid dreams?
Yep… that’s true! So, you can simply use sleep paralysis to enter your dream world.
The only thing to do here is to:
1) Lay down in your bed, (preferably meditating) and waiting for your body to fall asleep, while you keep your mind awake.
2) At some moment, you will feel that your body is paralyzed, but DO NOT FREAK OUT.
The breaking point is exactly that moment!
3) You should stay completely calm, repeating:
- I am safe.
- This is only a dream.
- I will have a lucid dream now!
The intention and staying relaxed is the most important part.
4) After you skip this step, you will be in your dream world!
More tips and information on how to do it: here!
9) Good sleep hygiene
It sounds basic, but trust me, if you have any kind of problems with your sleep, you should fix them first!
The truth is that good sleep will increase your chance of becoming aware in your dream!
Some important aspects you should know about are:
– Sleep schedule
As I mentioned, we dream during REM sleep. REM sleep gets longer as the night goes. If you sleep good and deep, you will experience longer REM sleep, i.e. more dreams.
Have a sleeping schedule, and always try to sleep at least 7-8 hour per night.
Darkness sends signals to your brain, and when your body senses total darkness, that means that it’s time for bed.
And so, the darker the room is, the easier is to fall asleep. What is more important – total darkness increases the production of the sleeping molecule – melatonin.
Higher doses of melatonin CAN help you to lucid dream (find out more about it in our ”final tips”).
Be sure to use blackout curtains or an eye mask to block out any kind of light.
– Peaceful & quiet atmosphere
Noise can easily interrupt your sleep, and you don’t want that!
The easy solution here is to use earplugs or a white noise machine – a tool that masks the external sounds when trying to sleep.
10) Recognize your dream signs
Do you remember the story of my first lucid dream? The one that I was flying?
Well, I realized that I was lucid dreaming BECAUSE of my reoccurring flying dreams.
So, a very good way of triggering lucidity is by observing your dreams.
Review your dream journal, and try to find:
1) Do you have repetitive themes, such as flying, running from a monster, exploring landscapes?
2) Do certain people show up inside your dream?
By knowing what you dream the most, you will be able to recognize easier that you are dreaming.
Simply said, figuring out your dream signs will help you to identify when you are in your dream world.
11) The hypnagogic induction technique
This is an exciting method to examine the field between consciousness and sleep.
Most likely you already experienced the hypnagogic state.
When you close your eyes, complex patterns start to move around your field your closed eyelids.
But maybe you didn’t know that this can be manipulated and that the imagery can lead directly to lucid dreams.
Step 1: Lay down and close your eyes.
The goal here is to relax completely.
The tricky part is to not fall asleep but to give the signals to your body that you are about to do so. Try to rest your mind and completely empty it.
This can take up to 20-30 minutes. With time, you will be able to reach the hypnagogic state within a few seconds or minutes.
Step 2: Observe your hypnagogia.
After some time, you should start seeing the funky shapes and patterns, moving around. Try to actively look for specific shapes, for example, think about circles, or squares.
With practicing this technique, you will master how to create more complex shapes, places, and even people.
Step 3: Dreaming begins
Soon after that, you will end up dreaming.
It is possible to lose awareness for a short period of time, but then you should be able to remember that you are dreaming!
5. FINAL TIPS
1. Dream oneirogens (dream supplements)
A oneirogen is any substance, practice, or experience that promotes or enhances dream states.
The following dream oneirogens will help you to create a better ground for lucid dreams:
/for more info, click on them to find full articles about the substances/
We produce it naturally and one of the main jobs of the hormone is to regulate night and day cycles.
If you take it additionally, it will help you to sleep deeper and better, which will provide longer REM sleep.
More REM = more dreams!
Taking supplements that raise ACh levels, such as galantamine will increase the awareness of your brain while dreaming.
This will improve your lucid dream experience, by simply maintaining your consciousness, while dreaming.
Blue Lotus has long been connected with an improved ability to enter and be aware of your own dreams.
It also helps you to become aware that you are dreaming, and to be able to control your actions and surroundings in your dream world!
The mysteries dreaming herb which was proven that increases dream clarity and vividness!
2. Take it easy
Even though this article is filled up with different techniques, please, do not try ALL of them at once…
Also, don’t expect that they will work after 1 day of trying.
As I said, lucid dreaming is exactly like any other skill – it needs practicing and consistency.
Without these two, the chances of experiencing a lucid dream are very little.
Pick not more than 2 things, or if you are extremely motivated, try with 3 techniques, that can fit together, such as dream journaling, reality checks and WILD.
Don’t experiment with other things, for at least 2-3 weeks.
The chances of keeping new habits active are higher when you start implementing them, one by one.
If you start doing all of these induction techniques, you will most likely give up very fast.
Taking it easy doesn’t mean not trying more than one technique!
There are certain combinations, that work extremely well.
The important thing is to STICK to a few combinations and methods for at least 2-3 weeks.
Some very good combos you might want to try are:
- Reality checks and dream journaling
- WBTB and WILD (it is actually another lucid dream induction technique, called DEILD)
- WILD and Binaural Beats
- The hypnagogic induction technique and Binaural Beats
- Any of the techniques with any of the dream supplements
- Meditation with any of the techniques
- The good sleep hygiene with any of the other techniques