Have you ever found yourself wondering what lucid dreams are? Perhaps you don’t ever remember your dreams? Don’t worry, you’re not alone- many people don’t remember their dreams and the fact is, we all dream, every single night!
Lucid dreaming is a state of consciousness during dream sleep where you become aware that you are dreaming or you have a conscious awareness that you are dreaming. Some people call lucid dreaming conscious dreaming. During a lucid dream, you are also able to consciously direct or decide where you want your dream to go. If you have never had a lucid dream then you will need to train your brain through persistent repetition (or habit), to develop the necessary neural pathways associated with this new skill. Lucid dreaming is a refined state of consciousness.
What’s in it for me, I hear you ask? For starters, you can do whatever you want in lucid dreams. Also, studies of lucid dreaming have shown that it can be an effective technique for reducing the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety, depression and many other physical ailments. Putting in the time and effort to rewire your brain will pay off and with consistent application of the skills below, you will be lucid dreaming in no time!
Tips on how to lucid dream tonight:
Tip # 1 Expose yourself to a range of lucid dreaming material
The quickest way to start lucid dreaming is to expose yourself to lucid dreaming information such as reading books, watching videos and tutorials. There is plenty of information available online about techniques and tricks to help you get into a lucid dreaming state. This will put you in the right frame of mind to heighten your chance of lucid dreaming straight away.
Tip # 2 Start a dream journal
The main focus here is to start to get into the habit of remembering your dreams. Dream journals are used by many people as a way of remembering the important images, feelings, characters in dreams. Journaling trains your psyche to start recalling dreams. You don’t have to write a novel in your journal, you can also use mind maps, illustrations or artwork if that’s easier for you than describing something.
The significance of documenting your dream is that over time, you will be able to tell if you are having a recurring dream or recurring themes in your dreams. These are known as ‘dream signs’. By being able to spot them in your waking state, you will be better equipped to recognize these signs in your dream state. The repeated practice of these skills leads to lucidity.
Remember, your ability to recall your dreams will increase surprisingly quickly once you are focused on them.
Tip # 3 Perform reality checks
Performing reality checks several times per day while you are awake and conscious, will train your mind to develop an awareness of being in a dream state.
What is a reality check and how do I do this when I’m awake?
Well, you could use a technique such as looking at something like a clock, looking away and then looking at the clock again. If you aren’t dreaming, the clock will look the same. If you are dreaming when you look at the clock again, it will have changed. This builds awareness of your dream state and is a technique that can be useful in lucid dreaming.
Another technique people use is to push the index finger of your right hand into the palm of your left hand. If you are dreaming, you will be able to push your finger through your hand. If this happens you will know that you are in control of your dream. Or, another effective technique is to count your fingers. If you are in a dream state, you will have more fingers than usual, or they may be different colors- there will be something ‘unreal’ or distorted about them.
Reality Checks condition the mind to become more aware of itself, particularly in the dream state. You will need to try a few to work out which technique works best for you.
Over time you will develop an awareness that during a dream, you are dreaming. If you’re looking for one of the best ways on how to lucid dream tonight, do reality checks every 30 minutes for an entire waking day.
Tip # 4 Wake Back to Bed (WBTB) and Finger Induced Lucid Dreaming (FILD)
WBTB is a technique used to stimulate your conscious brain at a time when you would usually be experiencing Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. What’s so special about REM sleep you ask?
REM sleep is important due to its restorative function during our dream cycle. With a reduced REM sleep phase, you will wake up feeling tired, groggy or unable to focus. It is also the phase in our sleep cycle where most dreaming occurs and dreaming is thought to assist with processing emotions, information, stress, and memory.
To initiate WBTB you will need to go to bed and allow yourself to sleep for around six hours. This is when your longest period of REM sleep should occur. Set an alarm clock to wake yourself up after five to six hours (this will vary depending on how long you usually sleep), get up out of bed and make yourself stay awake for around 20 – 30 minutes. After you have been awake for 20-30 minutes apply the FILD technique below.
If you practice FILD regularly you will significantly increase your chances of falling straight into a lucid dream state.
FILD is most applicable after being awake for a short period of time. Lie flat on your back or side, droop one hand over the side of your bed, move your fingers up and down as if playing the piano, focus on your fingers and make sure you do not fall asleep! While you are doing this repeat over and over to yourself ‘I will have a lucid dream tonight’. Set your intention. If you don’t fall asleep, you have a very good chance of falling straight into a lucid dream rather than just going back to unconscious sleep.
Tip # 5 Meditation and the Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams (MILD) technique
Many lucid dream researchers have documented the effectiveness of developing a meditation practice to enhance the likelihood of attaining a lucid dream state. If you have never meditated previously, don’t despair! Your meditation routine can be as simple as just closing your eyes and focusing on your breathing, in and out. In fact, in many cases, it’s a benefit not having meditated previously as you have no experiences clouding your thoughts. You want to try to ’empty’ your mind.
To start with you are aiming for a meditation period of approximately 10- 15 minutes and you will need to focus on relaxing by sitting up during this time. Sitting up in bed is fine, as long as you don’t allow yourself to fall asleep! This practice will train you to focus your mind on one thought at a time.
Another very effective meditation technique that is commonly used to induce lucid dreaming is the Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams (MILD) technique called creative visualization. This practice trains your psyche to respond to a positive affirmation you say to yourself over and over, preferably before going to sleep.
An example of this is to repeat to yourself something like ‘I have good dream recall’ or ‘I am going to remember my dreams and develop the awareness that I am dreaming’. The possibilities are endless and you are in control of choosing an affirmation that works best for you. Once you have mastered this skill you will also be able to direct what you want to dream about.
To begin with, you could start with an affirmation that helps you remember your dreams and once you have established good dream recall, move on to affirmations focused on your awareness of being in a dream state. Once you have developed these skills, you will be able to control your lucid dreaming.
Tip # 6 Dream Initiated Lucid Dream (DILD) and Wake Initiated Lucid Dream (WILD) techniques
DILD, WILD, MILD, and FILD are all related. You could be forgiven for thinking you were reading a Dr Seuss book! I will explain the two terms above and how they will assist you to induce lucid dreaming.
DILD works by adding awareness to your dreaming. When you are already dreaming and something about the dream triggers your awareness that you are dreaming. Once you realize you’re dreaming you can do a reality check to make sure. Once you are sure, you can start to explore your dream, with consciousness.
WILD works by adding dreaming to your awareness. This is one of the most difficult lucid dreaming techniques to master. It refers to going from a physically awake state directly into a sleeping lucid dream state, without losing consciousness.
Once you master the WILD technique you will be able to choose when you go lucid and experience the most vivid of lucid dreams possible.
Tip # 7 Supplements
In addition to the techniques described above, many people use nutritional supplements to assist with the induction of lucid dreaming. Supplements have proven to be effective for enhancing dream recall, increasing the intensity of dreams and helping you to become more self-aware during a dream. There are many natural supplements you could try to assist lucid dreaming development.
Here are just a few of them:
- Mugwort: is a common herb used by American Indians for thousands of years in their healing and ritual practices, to promote good dreams,
- Valerian Root: is a sedative that helps you to relax and reduces anxiety,
- Galantamine: works to improve memory recall, increases dream intensity; and
- Huperzine A: is a natural compound that supports learning and memory by protecting neurotransmitters in the brain.
Can anyone lucid dream? Yes, most definitely! The more you focus on having a lucid dream, the more likely you are to achieve this state of consciousness however, you need to relax about it. If you become anxious about not having a lucid dream, the less likely you are to have one, due to being tense! Try to remain relaxed and calm about achieving a lucid dreaming state.
Just as learning any new skill takes practice, all types of lucid dreaming take practice also. Don’t despair if you aren’t successful straight away. With the implementation of some of the techniques outlined above and a good dose of persistence, you will get there.
So, what are you waiting for?! Start developing your lucid dreaming practice tonight!