How do you know that you are awake right now?
This might sound like a strange question, of course you’re awake right now. You know what being awake feels like, just like you know what being asleep feels like, right?
This is a crucial element of lucid dreaming – recognizing that you’re asleep and taking control of your dream environment as a result. This requires you to have a level of self-awareness that, unless you’ve put real effort into it, you are very unlikely to have.
In this article, we’re going to go through how to check if you’re awake using what is called ‘reality checks.’ Through reality checks, you will become more aware of your conscious state and of the world around you. Then, when you’re dreaming, you’ll be more prone to looking for irregularities in your surroundings and in your internal consciousness.
What are reality checks?
Reality checks are exercises that we do when we’re sleeping that prove that we are asleep. To be able to perform a reality check when we’re dreaming, we must be able to remember to do them. That’s why it’s important that you do them throughout the day, as this will ensure that they are at the forefront of your mind and easier for your sleeping consciousness to carry them out.
I recommend that you choose a couple of reality checks and incorporate them into your daily life. Set a timer throughout your day, find something that triggers you do them or find some other method that works for you to ensure that you to remember to do the reality check.
When you think that you may be asleep, perform a reality check. It will highlight to you if you are actually dreaming, allowing you to be able to start manipulating your reality. Then, enjoy your lucid dream!
Watch this video that goes through the 10 best lucid dreaming reality checks:
If you’d prefer a written guide then continue reading…
I’ve put together this guide to reality checks so that you can find out some great, tried, and tested reality checks for you to get into the habit of using today!
1. Press your fingers into your palm
This is a great reality check, as it is something that you can do discretely. So no matter where you are or what you’re doing, you can practice this reality check with ease.
You probably make your hand into a fist numerous times a day without noticing, like when someone says something that irritates you, to knock on a door or when you pick up a mug by the handle.
Try pushing your fingertips into your palm right now. You’ll notice that you feel the pressure of your fingernails on the skin of your palm, the feeling of skin on skin. Now try to push your fingers through your palm.
You can’t, right?
If you’re in a lucid dream, your fingers may actually push through your hand to the other side, or you might not feel the sensation of your fingers on your palm. Either way, you will notice that the experience seems unusual or impossible.
2. Try to Read
This is another reality check that is easy to do wherever you are. We are constantly surrounded by text on signposts, on our phones, in books… writing is everywhere.
Notice how you are reading this blog post right now. You recognize the words, the sentences, the paragraphs. Now look away, and look back.
If you’re awake, the text will remain as it was when you looked away. It should be clear and easy to read, and the text shouldn’t have changed or moved.
If you’re in a dream, however, the text will appear fuzzy or blurry and may be harder to read. Another possibility is that the text will have shifted, and no longer resembles what you read the first time. Generally, if the text has changed in any way that you would not expect to happen in the conscious world, there’s a good chance that you’re dreaming.
3. Bite Your Tongue
Ever bitten your tongue by mistake? If you answered no, congratulations. However, if you’re like the majority of folk, you know the unbelievable pain that comes with biting your tongue.
Don’t worry though; I’m not about to advise you to inflict pain on yourself.
If you’re awake and bite down gently on your tongue, you can feel the sensation of your teeth digging into your tongue. It shouldn’t hurt, but you should definitely be able to feel it. Your tongue is, after all, a powerful muscle that is highly receptive to sensations.
If you’re dreaming, however, biting your tongue either won’t hurt or won’t hurt as much as it would when you’re awake.
This is a great method that you can use throughout your day. Especially if you frequently end up in situations where you feel the need to bite your tongue to stop you from saying something you shouldn’t.
4. Read a Clock or Watch
We all spent time in elementary school learning how to tell the time from the position of the hands on a clock face. Though we may not have to use this skill as much in our modern lives with a digital clock on our smartphones, it’s not a skill you forget.
You’d think that reading a clock face would be just as easy when you’re asleep. However, this is actually not true. When we’re sleeping, clock faces don’t stay static like they do in real life. Instead, they become blurry or fuzzy, or the time changes when you look away and look back.
If you generally wear a watch in your day to day life, this can be a great reality check for you. If you do wear a watch, try to get into the habit of thinking about how long it is until you will be going to bed to attempt to lucid dream, as this will keep the idea of lucid dreaming in your mind throughout the day too.
5. Try to Fly
Who can honestly, hand-on-heart, say that they haven’t wanted to fly like a bird, a plane, or Superman? One of the very best things about lucid dreaming is that you get the opportunity to do things that you can’t do in the real world – like flying!
This reality check is probably best done when you’re on your own, but no judgment from me if you want to try this out in a public place. You do you.
For this reality check, you need to stand up and try to push yourself off the ground with your arms stretched out in front of you. Then, try to lift off from the ground.
If you find that you manage to hover or raise yourself off the ground, then congratulations, you are lucid dreaming, and you can fly around to your heart’s content. If you find that you’re still not able to fly, then I’m sorry to say that you are, actually, awake.
We all know the fundamentals of jumping, right? Like, the higher you jump, the harder you hit the ground.
When we’re dreaming, however, we don’t get the hard thump that we get when we’re awake. In fact, it might seem like you float to the ground, landing softly, or that you’re able to jump higher than you can normally.
This reality check is not one that you get many opportunities to practice during our daily lives. However, you can find a room that you go into that you always jump in, like your bedroom. This will trigger your mind to associate certain rooms that you may encounter when you’re dreaming with jumping.
7. Examine your hands
We all know the phrase, “I know it like the back of my hand,” and for this reality check, you will actually need to know what the back of your hand looks like.
Well, not the back of your hand specifically, but rather your hands in general.
When we’re sleeping, it’s not uncommon that your hand will change color, gain or lose a finger, or become blurry. Genuinely.
This reality check is great for trying when you’re out and about, when you’re typing, or when you’re really trying to memorize what the back of your hand looks like.
Though we don’t generally pay a lot of attention to what our hands look like, try to focus on your hands when they are in your eye line. This will get you into the habit of examining your hands when you’re awake, so when you see your hands when you’re sleeping, you’ll be more likely to do this check.
8. Look in a mirror
Mirrors are designed to reflect a completely clear and unaltered version of what they’re pointed at. So unless you have a funky mirror or spend time in a house of mirrors, you can generally trust what is captured in the mirror frame.
This isn’t the case of dream mirrors. Reflections in our dreams are generally fuzzy, unclear, or may be capturing something else entirely.
This reality check can be done in the morning and evening when you’re brushing your teeth, when you’re doing your make up (if you are so inclined), or in any other circumstance that you’re faced with a mirror. Try to learn to associate mirrors with reality checks and lucid dreaming, so you will learn to check it when you’re asleep.
This check is generally best combined with another reality check, as a distorted reflection in a mirror does not always mean that you are dreaming.
This reality check is another that can be done discretely, though I would recommend that you maybe shouldn’t do it around others, as you may come across a bit rude.
If you shut your mouth and pinch your nose shut, can you breathe?
Of course, you can’t. But if you’re dreaming, you absolutely can. Our bodies aren’t limited by physical realities when we’re dreaming, meaning that you can do things that are impossible when we’re awake. Obviously, there are more exciting things to try than this, but it’s a start!
For this reality check, it is important that you go into it with the idea that you will be able to breathe. Your mental state dictates your dreams, so if you believe that you can’t breathe, then you will not be able to breathe. This is another reason why I would recommend that you always try at least two reality checks.
10. Ask Yourself If You’re Dreaming
This might seem like the most obvious reality check on the list, but this is a nice simple exercise that you can do anywhere and at any time. Simply ask yourself, “Am I Dreaming?”. If you are awake, you will have no doubt about the answer.
If you are asleep, however, this might cause you to do a double-take and examine your surroundings more closely.
This reality check is best used in combination with another check, and it is generally a good idea to try at least two different reality checks when you believe that you’re asleep. This will ensure that you are actually dreaming without disturbing your body or waking it up if you are close to a state of lucid dreaming.
I hope that you have found a reality check or two on this list that you think will work for you. Remember, it is important that you find checks that you will remember to do throughout the day. If possible, try to couple your reality checks with places or situations that you often find yourself in when you’re dreaming, as this will increase the likelihood of your sleeping self remembering to do the check.
It’s a good idea to try out a few different reality checks, and find one that suits you and your daily routines. Now, go forth and become a master at reality checks so you can have some fabulous lucid dreaming experiences in the future.