What is Lucid Dreaming?
Imagine that you’re flying.
You can touch the clouds, feel the wind on your face, and smell the clean, fresh air.
Now, imagine being able to fly wherever you want.
You can go to the beach, the mountains, a different country. You can go as fast or as slow as you want. You can stop anytime to appreciate what you’re seeing or feeling and go whenever you’re ready.
That is lucid dreaming.
It’s about being conscious enough to realize that you’re dreaming and being able to control what happens in your dreams. You can think of it as a way to transform your dream into an alternative reality.
You can see, taste, feel, and smell every detail in your dream.
Lucid dreaming happens during REM sleep. It’s the fifth stage of sleep where your body, except your eyelids, becomes paralyzed. During REM sleep, the lateral prefrontal cortex of your brain is supposed to be shut down or asleep. It’s the area responsible for logic.
When you experience lucid dreaming, that part of your brain wakes up, enabling logic and dreaming to happen at the same time. As a result, your dreams become very vivid and almost like reality. It’s a lot different from your normal dreams where your self-awareness isn’t functioning, causing them to be fuzzy when you wake up.
What Does Lucid Dreeming Feel like?
Frankly, lucid dreaming feels the same as being awake. It’s just a bit different in that you know you are in a dream. And because you are aware that you’re dreaming, you have more control over what happens.
You can do whatever you want and you can become who you want to be. You can go beyond the limitations of possibility and experience your wildest fantasies.
Now, those things might sound all fun but you have to know that you can feel while you’re lucid dreaming. Although there won’t be any physical stimulus to cause those feelings, you can still feel because of how your brain is programmed.
Think of boiling hot water.
You know it’s hot and you know it will be painful if you touch it with your hands.
Now, if you touch it in your dream, you’d expect pain and that’s how you’ll feel- unless you know how to stop expecting.
And guess what?
You can also die in a lucid dream.
However, it’s not something you should really be frightened of since it won’t do you any harm in reality.
Just think of it as a video game where a character dies.
But, here’s the thing.
Although you won’t literally die from a lucid dream, you’ll feel every emotion and experience associated with death. You’ll feel a sense of panic, confusion or even pain.
Lucid dreaming isn’t tiring. Since your muscles are still paralyzed, it won’t deplete your energy.
Lucid dreams won’t make you feel emotionally or mentally exhausted either. In fact, it can make you feel energized and invigorated when you wake up.
However, there are two exceptions to that.
- The first is when you push yourself too hard in trying to experience lucid dreaming. It can impair the quality of sleep you’ll get and that can make you feel a little more tired.
- The second is if you are a perma-dreamer. You’ll find lucid dreaming tiring because you’ll have a hard time shutting your brain at night as your lucid dreams engulf you.
Has Lucid Dreaming Been Scientifically Proven?
Yes. The concept of lucid dreaming isn’t new. In fact, it has been around since the 1800s.
Aristotle was probably the first person to write about the concept of lucid dreaming, although he didn’t have a name for it then. Tibetan Buddhists have been practicing it in the form of dream yoga while Native Americans consider it as a passageway to the spirit world.
The term lucid dream came in 1913. It was coined by a Dutch psychiatrist named Frederik van Eeden who claimed that there are several types of dreams. In his study, he recorded all of his dreams, including his thoughts after waking up.
Most of those dreams were about flying.
In recent years, more and more people started learning about lucid dreaming from Stephen Laberge. He is a psychophysiologist who leads the Lucidity Institute. He holds workshops to help people learn how to use lucid dreams to handle grief and improve creativity.
Now, you’re probably wondering: Is there proof of lucid dreaming?
Formal research on lucid dreaming started in 1975. The first one was conducted by Keith Hearn, a British parapsychologist. He was the first person to suggest that not all muscles become paralyzed during sleep.
His proof was Alan Worsley. The lucid dreamer managed to move his eyes left and right eight times to signal his lucid state and Hearn discovered that those movements happened during REM.
Hence, his research established that lucid dreams are real and they occur in the REM stage of sleep.
His research was later verified by Laberge who confirmed that lucid dreamers could use their eye movements to signal the start of lucid dreaming to researchers. Laberge is also the person whose name relates to the induction of lucid dreaming through a device called the DreamLight.
In 2009, a study was undertaken to examine the changes that happen to the brain of lucid dreamers as they experience the phenomenon. Held in a sleep laboratory at Frankfurt University, Romain Holzmann, Ursula Voss, and two others found really interesting facts about the brain physiology during lucid dreaming.
You know what they found out?
The coherence level of their test subjects was similar when they were fully awake and when they’re in the middle of lucid dreaming.
This explains why lucid dreamers can control their dreams like when they’re awake.
More recently, researchers from Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry have found a connection between lucid dreaming and the cerebral cortex, the part of the brain responsible for self-reflection and awareness.
They also found out how EEG and fMRI devices can be used to evaluate brain activity during lucid dreaming.
In their study and the EEG data they gathered, they found reactivation of several areas of the brain that are normally deactivated during REM sleep.
Now, this brings up another question…
Can Lucid Dreaming Be Used as Therapy?
Yes, induction of lucid dreaming can provide therapeutic value and there is research to back that up.
For example, in this study, lucid dreaming was used to alleviate recurring nightmares. When combined with Gestalt Therapy, this study established that it can also improve the quality of sleep and reduce the frequency of nightmares, particularly those related to post-traumatic stress.
Apart from nightmares, research also points to the possibility of lucid dreams improving your ability to perform tasks when you’re awake.
That is if you become lucid enough to perform specific tasks in your dreams.
You can think of athletes.
Athletes who mentally rehearse their performance actually improve their results. The same thing can happen if you practice lucid dreaming.
How’s that possible?
The answer is in the purpose of dreams.
Science suggests that dreams serve as a rehearsal for your waking hours.
For example, if you dream of a physical threat, it prepares you to deal with that threat once you encounter it in your waking hours. It enables you to process your emotions in relation to that experience.
When you dream of about a certain experience, like one where you’re scared, the emotions about that experience get stripped off through memory creation. Since you already know the experience, the emotions become inactive which make them less likely to bother you.
This is where lucid dreaming becomes valuable in decreasing anxiety.
Lucid dreaming makes your subconscious mind learn through experience. It’s something you can’t do when you’re awake because it’s too scary.
Now, listen, experiencing lucidity when you are dreaming can’t totally erase or cure your anxiety and fears in an instant. It can, however, help you reclaim your life and make your situation a lot easier to handle.
Is Lucid Dreaming Safe?
With all the good things you’ve just read about lucid dreaming, you’re probably wondering, is it safe?
For people who’re just starting out, it can feel intimidating. But, in reality, it’s actually perfectly safe. Most of the bad things you hear about it are just the result of a lack of preparation and awareness.
Let me give you some examples:
Sleep paralysis is a common experience for lucid dreamers. It happens when they enter the REM stage of sleep, the same stage where lucid dreaming happens.
Sleep paralysis is marked by your inability to move when you’re asleep. It’s your body’s way of preventing itself from acting out your dreams.
Now, since you retain consciousness when you’re lucid dreaming, you become fully aware of the paralysis. And when you partner that with the hallucinations and threatening feeling of the REM stage, it’s easy to feel terrified.
One way you can address that is to make yourself fully aware of the possibility of it happening. By knowing that it’s natural and expected, you’re less likely to panic.
Getting trapped in your lucid dream
This is a very common fear among first time lucid dreamers. They are afraid that they will never wake up and get back to reality.
If you are worried about the same thing, then consider this:
The feeling of getting trapped is something you shouldn’t really fear. A lot of people who have tried lucid dreaming experienced it as a result of false awakening.
It happens when a lucid dreamer attempts to wake up but remains dreaming.
Frankly, that feeling can be frightening but it is also a great way to explore altered realities.
If ever you feel trapped in your lucid dream, don’t fight it. Instead, use it as a way to test your control and explore your environment.
Feeling tired after a lucid dream
Just thinking about and playing your desired dream in your head may seem exhausting but it actually isn’t. In reality, inducing lucid dreaming can actually make you feel well-rested, particularly since it happens at the REM stage.
What makes the experience tiring is the effort you put into inducing a lucid dream.
If you pay too much attention to get to that state, the quality of sleep you’ll get can suffer and that can make you feel more exhausted.
Becoming unable to recognize reality from the dream world
Since lucid dreaming serves as a way to escape reality, a lot of people think that it can be addicting, particularly for people who have a hard time adjusting to the real world.
But, guess what?
Lucid dreaming isn’t like most types of addiction in that it’s not really that hard to stop. Distinguishing what’s real and what’s not isn’t a problem for lucid dreamers. In fact, they can do it without getting confused.
Now, there’s just one small issue.
If you are currently suffering from addiction or you are experiencing a mental illness, make sure to talk to your psychologist first before attempting to induce lucid dreaming.
How Do You Safely Lucid Dream?
After getting to know the potential negative effects of lucid dreaming, the next thing you have to learn is how to avoid them.
How exactly can you do that?
The first and most important thing you need to do is to make your mind understand that everything is just a dream and that you can always safely wake up in your bed.
You have to realize that there’s nothing that can hurt you while you are dreaming. Even the scariest and most violent nightmare won’t be able to harm you.
Although lucid dreaming is both exciting and thrilling, you should refrain from obsessing over it. Doing so can affect your overall experience.
Instead, try to turn it into a habit. This way, you can add it to your routine without turning it into an obsession.
10 Amazing Benefits of Lucid Dreaming
Ever since the movie Inception was released, the concept of lucid dreaming has become even more popular. In that movie, the characters were able to control their dreams and turn them into their own reality.
Now, while that sounds like a really great experience, there’s more to lucid dreaming than just making you feel fascinated. It offers a lot of benefits that can dramatically change your life.
Let me explain.
1. Decide what your dream about
This is probably the most fun thing about lucid dreaming.
Since you get to be in control of your dreams, you can do anything and everything you want. You can visit new places, try exotic foods, meet famous people or even go to space.
And the best part is that you don’t have to worry about anything. Nothing can go wrong because you can control what’s in your head.
You can choose exactly what you’ll dream about before you go to sleep. You can even change what happens while you’re dreaming.
2. Your memory will improve
Getting a good nights sleep is key to better memory during your waking hours.
Dreams can solidify two types of memories.
- The first is episodic memory. It’s the memory that enables you to learn new skills and master the existing ones you have already learned.
- The second is semantic memory. It’s your ability to retain facts.
The more facts and figures you’re able to remember, the greater your semantic memory is.
By inducing lucid dream and lucid sleep, you get to improve what you’ve learned through your waking hours while solidifying other memories as you sleep.
3. Improve your life skills
Compared with most people who practice key skills during their waking hours, you can improve your life skills faster.
Well, any experience you have in your lucid dream state can be transferred to your real life muscle memory. If you realistically rehearse something in your lucid dream, you get to improve that skill in real life.
As a result, you can be a better public speaker, driver, or cook!
4. Better Sleep
Contrary to what most people think, lucid dreaming isn’t physically and mentally exhausting. It’s actually the other way around.
When you enter a lucid dream state, you enter true relaxation and that gives you a better and more blissful sleep. You’ll feel invigorated and you’ll have more energy to go through your day.
5. Creativity boost
If inspiration seems too elusive, you can use lucid dreaming to get your creative juices flowing. It can allow you to tap into your deep levels of thinking, enabling you to remember everything in your subconscious mind.
If you are a musician, you can create songs and melodies in your dreams. If you are a painter, you can find ideas in your dreams which you can use in real life.
6. Stress relief
A lot of people use lucid dreaming for stress relief.
Some of them act out scenes where they are fighting and winning over the negative people in their lives. Others, meanwhile, engage in sexual activities or act out their sexual fantasies in their lucid dreams for stress relief.
Since your brain thinks and works differently when you are lucid, you’ll be able to view your problems in a different way. You can come up with solutions that you wouldn’t have thought of while you were awake.
And because you are in control of your dreams, you can test out a few solutions to see if they will work.
8. Overcome your fears
If you have phobias or nightmares, you can use your dreams to face and overcome them. You can start slowly experiencing those phobias so you can find a way to conquer them.
Now, here’s the thing:
Lucid dreaming won’t make you overcome your greatest fears instantly. However, it can help you be less afraid of them.
Lucidity means becoming more aware.
When you reach that state where you’re highly aware of your mind when you are dreaming, you also become more aware of what’s on your mind when you’re awake. This can give you more peace of mind and save you from a lot of trouble since you’ll be more in control of yourself.
10. Control over your life
The power of choice is one of the best things you can earn from lucid dreaming.
When you are lucid in your sleep, you have the power to change how your story unfolds or how it ends. You have control over what happens. You can change your mind and make choices.
This type of empowerment is beneficial to your daily life. It can transform your mind so you can get better control over your life.
How to Start Lucid Dreaming
Learning all the great benefits you can get from lucid dreaming, you’re probably on the edge of your seat right now, waiting to get started.
And that’s exactly what we’ll do.
In this section, you’ll learn the exact steps to start lucid dreaming.
1. Remember your dreams
Remembering your dreams is a critical step to inducing lucidity in your dreams. If you can’t remember them, you’ll have a hard time tapping into those dreams in your sleep.
Keep this in mind: The more you remember your dreams, the closer you are to inducing lucid dreams.
So, how do you recall your dreams?
Keeping a journal is a great way. However, if you feel like writing is too tedious, you can use an audio journal instead.
You should keep it near your bed so you can record your dreams without having to turn on the lights and writing the details.
Keeping a regular sleep schedule can also help. Try your best to go to sleep at the same time everyday to give your brain a cue on when to get to your dream states.
2. Practice reality checking
This is a great way to train your brain to differentiate reality from your dreams. Once you are able to perform routine reality checks throughout the day, it’ll become easier for you to bring that habit into your sleep.
To do that, you can read texts and numbers while you’re awake. You can also look at your watch a few times through ought the day to remind yourself that you’re actually awake.
Another tip is to test out the rules of physics. For example, try to touch the wall or jump off the ground.
In reality, your hand won’t push through any solid object and gravity will bring you back to the ground.
Tip: Be consistent in practicing reality checks. They can only take a few seconds each day but they can tremendously help in your journey to mastering lucid dreaming.
3. Identify your dream signs
These are signs that tell you that you’re dreaming. It can be a person or an object that you frequently encounter in your dream.
For example, if you frequently see Marilyn Monroe in your dreams, you can use it as a cue to ask yourself if you are dreaming because, obviously, Marilyn Monroe is dead.
4. Start having lucid dreams
Once you’ve made reality checks and recalling your dreams a habit, you’re ready to start having lucid dreams. In fact, you can start experiencing the phenomenon even without trying.
As a newbie, however, you should expect failures and mistakes and those things can get in the way of you achieving the full benefits of lucid dreaming.
Now, before you learn the best ways to avoid them, let’s first talk about the common mistakes people commit in inducing lucid dreams.
What are the Top 5 Mistakes of Lucid Dreamers?
Errors in mastering lucid dreaming can be frustrating. It feels like no matter how much effort and time you invest in perfecting it, you just can’t make it work.
You’re probably starting to wonder what’s causing those pitfalls.
To answer that, here are 5 of the most common mistakes of beginner lucid dreamers.
1. Not getting enough sleep
Lucid dreaming generally happens in the REM stage. For a lot of people, that final but important sleep cycle often gets lost in the sound of alarm clocks rushing them off to work or infants crying incessantly to be fed.
Not being able to enjoy and experience the REM stage means losing your chance of inducing lucidity in your dreams.
Solution: To make sure you get enough sleep, try your best to get to bed earlier than usual. This can give your brain enough time to enter REM stage earlier. It can help you experience lucid dreaming for a longer time, too.
2. Not being able to stabilize dreams
Experiencing lucid dreaming can be euphoric, particularly to first-time lucid dreamers. It’s exciting and it can trigger a lot of adrenaline-fueled emotions.
Unfortunately, these kinds of emotions can easily wake you up. It’s one of the most common reasons why lucid dreamers complain that the experience only lasts for a couple of seconds.
If you don’t wake up, you’ll find yourself stuck in what’s called semi-lucid state. In this state, you can still control yourself but you won’t be able to manipulate your dreams or your thoughts.
Solution: Once you realize that you’re lucid dreaming, try to remain calm. Don’t get too excited and avoid running around and hugging all the characters in your dreams. Just smile and enjoy the experience.
3. Trying too hard
Mastering lucid dreaming isn’t really that easy. Even if you apply the best techniques and tips, you won’t be able to fully experience it if you don’t know how to apply them with accuracy.
You can’t just shoot all your bullets and hope that one of them hits the target.
That’s just wasting resources and it can really, really be frustrating.
Keep your process as slow as possible. Don’t rush in trying out every technique possible. Instead, just focus on a few techniques and really concentrate on them.
Find meaning in your practice and develop a sense of mindfulness and self-awareness.
4. Not fully committing
Trying to induce lucid dreaming for the first time can be hard. In fact, it’s possible that you won’t see any dramatic results in the first few days.
The problem with that is that people always look for instant gratification. If they don’t see or experience any result, they’ll just quit.
Remember that mastering lucid dreaming can take time. Some people start experiencing it in just days while others take months.
So, before you start, ask yourself if you can fully commit. Expect that the process can take time and patience.
Remember, lucid dreaming can be a lifelong ability.
5. Not knowing the true meaning of lucid dreaming
Honestly, this isn’t really a mistake but it’s something that can stop you from fully achieving the benefits of lucid dreaming. A lot of people fail at this.
Lucid dreaming isn’t just all about taking control of your dreams. It can help you know your true self and be more aware of how your brain works. You can even talk to your dream self.
Before you try to induce lucid dreaming, try to learn as much as you can about this experience. Know what you can get from it and how you can benefit from inducing lucid dreams.
10 Powerful Tips for Lucid Dreaming
Mastering lucid dreaming can take time and effort. It’s not something that you can perfect in just one day.
But, here’s the good news:
With the right tips and tricks, you can actually make the process a lot easier. Here are a few of the best lucid dreaming tips to help you out.
Read about lucid dreaming a lot
This is a great way to start your journey. Reading about lucid dreaming won’t just make you feel excited but it can also help you be more familiar with the process.
You can read books or search the internet about the best guides in lucid dreaming. Apart from that, you can also talk to your friends about it. Imagine what you’re going to do once you achieve lucidity in your dreams and how you can best treasure the experience.
Simply put, try to be as focused as you can about lucid dreaming.
Turn off all your gadgets before you go to bed
An hour before you go to bed, turn off all your gadgets and don’t look at any screens. You want to create as much sleep-inducing hormones as possible.
Turning off your lights can help, too. For some people, reading a book an hour before sleeping helps.
The types of food you eat have a huge impact on your mood, the way you think, and even your sleep. So, as much as possible, try to eat right.
Make sure the foods you eat can provide your body with the nutrients it needs to function well. Remember to drink lots of water throughout the day, too.
Remain still when you wake up
When you first wake up, just lay on your bed and think about your dream. Do it before you perform any reality check.
It might be difficult at first but once you get adjusted, you’ll find it getting easier and easier.
Get blackout curtains
Natural light can make it harder for you to sleep. It can wake you up in the middle of your lucid dream, too.
To make sure those things don’t happen, try to invest in blackout curtains. Make sure to turn off artificial light sources as well.
Tire yourself out
Spend all your energy throughout the day. You can walk, run, exercise or do anything you want as long as you make yourself tired. This way, you’ll slip into very deep sleep quickly and easily.
Utilize binaural beats
Binaural beats are great in inducing lucid dreams and altering brain states. They are very affordable and easy to use.
Apart from lucid dreams, binaural beats are also great in boosting creativity, energy, and self-confidence.
If you want to make the process a lot faster, you can try taking supplements. They can make it easier for you to enter your lucid dream state.
Melatonin and vitamin B6 are great choices because they can make your dreams more vivid. They can also boost your ability to recall them.
Now, before you go ahead and buy a lucid dream supplement, make sure you do your research first. Study what each supplement can do and what side effects you can expect.
You should also pay close attention to how they are made.
Believe in yourself
Don’t doubt your ability to experience lucid dreams. Everyone can experience them and everyone can learn them.
How Do You Stay Lucid in a Dream?
Waking up too early.
That’s probably one of the most annoying and frustrating things that can happen to you while lucid dreaming. Imagine finally dreaming about your favorite place or meeting a special person only to wake up after a couple of seconds.
Lucid dreams can collapse for several reasons but it mostly relates to inexperience. Since beginners don’t have a complete grasp on how to stay focused and calm during lucid dreaming, they often find themselves jolting awake from sleep.
How can you avoid that?
Below are some really helpful tips on how to stay lucid in a lucid dream.
This is really important and it’s something that you should instill in your mind early on.
If you find yourself lucid dreaming, don’t go running around in your dreams and feeling all excited.
Well, that kind of excitement is the fastest way to wake up and end your lucid dreaming.
Instead, remain calm. Focus on your emotions so you can concentrate on your dreams.
It can also help if you can develop a mantra you can use to affirm your dreams. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate speech.
A simple “This is a dream” can work just fine. The key is in saying that line calmly and repeatedly in your head.
Perform kinesthetic actions
While you are affirming yourself, it’s time to stimulate the brain.
Kinesthetics relate to physical actions and sensations. Performing them in your dream can stimulate your brain further, causing you to be more aware of your sense of self inside your dream.
You can touch your palms or rub your hands together as you remind yourself that everything isn’t real and that you are dreaming. You can also try spinning around.
Stephen LaBerge, a psychophysiologist who specializes in lucid dreaming, claims that this is one of the best ways to bring more awareness and prolong a lucid dream.
Now, although an expert backs that up, it doesn’t mean that it will readily work for you.
For some people, spinning during a lucid dream causes them to lose their dreaming vision. For others, it helps in transporting to other dream location.
Perform a reality check
A simple reality check can help you be more grounded to your dream.
As soon as you realize that you are lucid dreaming, try pushing your fingers through your palm. In reality, obviously, your fingers won’t be able to go through your palm but you can do it in your dreams.
Apart from that, you can also try touching anything in your dream. It can be your dream hair, the grass of even the ground.
As you are performing a reality check, keep saying this to yourself: “I’m dreaming.”
Demand and want clarity
Lucid dreams give you more control, so take advantage of it. Your dream will oblige to whatever you say as long as you really mean it.
Shout “Clarity now!” or “I am lucid, make this dream a lot more intense!” and that’s exactly what you can expect to happen.
Now, remember this:
You are in control of your dreams. Refrain from saying anything negative because that’s exactly what’s going to happen.
Focus on the positive. Want it. Yearn for it. Expect it.
Solve simple math problems
To raise your lucid focus, try solving simple math problems. You don’t necessarily have to be too technical with this. You can do simple equations, like adding two numbers, to build and improve your consciousness.
Frankly, inducing lucidity and remaining lucid is a lot harder than withdrawing from it. If you are frightened about the idea of being awake in your dreams or staying there for a long time, this list of tips should come in handy.
You can use them anytime you want to back out:
If you want to stop lucid dreaming, just stop.
Stop whatever you are doing and just let go. The moment you’re no longer engaged in your dream, it will fade and you’ll wake up.
Fixate your eyes on a single thing in your dream
Lucid dreams happen on the REM stage of sleep. It’s where rapid eye movements happen.
If you fixate your eyes on a single point in your dream, it can stop your eyes from moving and that can cause two things.
First, it can make you lose interest in your dreams, causing you to let go of them. Second, stopping your eyes from moving interrupts the normal process your body undergoes when you’re dreaming.
Those two things can wake you up.
Give yourself a jolt
You don’t necessarily have to hurt yourself just to wake up from a dream. What you need to do is to startle yourself so you can wake up.
For some people, this can mean jumping off of a cliff in their dreams. For others, it can be as simple as yelling or running and catching something.
There will be times where you’ll find it hard to recall your dreams as soon as you wake up. Some may appear blurry while others remain forgotten.
But keep this thing in mind:
Remembering your dreams is critical if you want to master lucid dreaming.
Now, there are a lot of things you can do to improve your memory of your dreams. One of the most basic and important of them is to make sure you get enough sleep.
In the first 4 to 6 hours of your sleep, you experience a lot of NREM sleep to enable your body to rest and repair.
After such time, you’ll enter a deeper and longer period of sleep known as the REM stage. This is where lucid dreaming is more likely to happen.
If you don’t get enough sleep or if you fail to reach that stage, you’ll have a hard time experiencing lucid dreaming.
Once you’ve been sleeping enough and experiencing a lot of REM dreams, you need to keep a record of them every single day.
Spend at least 10 minutes each morning recalling and writing down your dreams. Do it before you get out of bed and make sure not to move right away.
If you move around or start doing other activities, it can affect the dreams stored in your brain’s short-term memory.
It can help if you can keep your notebook near your bed so you can write as many details as you can.
When writing, try to write in the present tense. If there are any unusual characters or symbols, make sure to write about them, too.
As a guide, you can write about the following:
- What you are thinking
- What you are feeling
- Any images you have in your head
Now, here’s a tip.
Instead of staring into space, you can choose a dream anchor. It can be anything you want- a lamp, mirror or even a pillow.
It should be an object that you can associate with your goal of recalling your dreams. Looking at it every morning and writing your dreams after should train your mind to associate it with dreams.
If that doesn’t sound appealing to you, staring out the window can help as well.
As much as possible, avoid drinking anything caffeinated at least 2 hours before you sleep. Caffeine has a way to mess up with your REM and your ability to remember your dreams. You should also refrain from drinking alcohol as it can decrease the amount of time you get to spend in the REM stage.
Another thing you can do to improve your ability to recall your dreams is to take B-vitamin supplements. The vitamins can boost memory and brain activity.
You can consider them as a shortcut to better memory.
Levels of Lucidity
Lucidity isn’t just about getting to a certain stage of your dream and taking charge. It’s a bit complex in that it exists in a spectrum.
Each level in that spectrum can affect the intensity of your dreams, how clear your thoughts are, the range of your control, and how long your lucid dream can last.
In general, there are four levels of lucidity. Let’s take a look at what each level means.
Level 1: Non-Lucid Dream
Non-lucid dreams are the dreams you experience on a regular basis. It’s created by your subconscious which explains why they mostly relate to your innermost desires, fears, and problems.
They are often loose which can make it hard for you to determine any distinct pattern. They are illogical but extremely powerful.
In this level, your consciousness is at its furthest which can make you feel helpless as you don’t have any control over your dreams. You’re not even aware that you are dreaming so you accept what you experience as real.
Level 2: Semi-Lucid Dream
In a semi-lucid dream, you experience a low level of lucidity but it’s a bit more complex.
In certain dreams, you’ll experience extreme lucidity while in others, everything will be hazy. There are dreams where you’ll be aware that you are dreaming but you won’t have a complete hold on how events unfold.
Frankly, at this stage, things can feel like in a limbo. It can even be overwhelming for some people.
But, the good news?
It’s a good start in realizing your potential in taking control of your dreams.
Level 3: Fully Lucid Dream
In this level, you are in full control of what happens in your dreams. And because you are in charge, you can use your dreams to fulfill your wildest fantasies and long-time aspirations. You can even use it to solve problems or practice a skill.
Here are a few examples of what you can do in a lucid dream:
This is probably one of the best things you can do in your lucid dream. You can really soar as high or as low as you can. You can feel the wind on your face and even touch the clouds.
To fly, simply imagine having energy blasting from your feet, pushing you upwards. You can change directions by manipulating the energy from your feet.
Teleport to places
With lucid dreaming, the places you can get to aren’t limited to the world map. In fact, you can visit outer space if you want.
For teleportation, jumping and spinning around are two ways most people use to get to a new dream place.
If you are fascinated with history, lucid dreaming can help you explore different cultures and civilizations. You can interact with people from a different time and experience their way of life. You can even meet people from the future.
Meet and interact with famous people
Whether it’s a singer, actor, painter or scientist, you can meet anyone in your lucid dream. You can interact with them anytime and in any way you want.
Practice a skill
To perfect something, you have to consistently practice it and lucid dreaming can help you with that. You can practice your job interview, speech or your dance performance. You can also improve your cooking, painting and writing skills by doing them repeatedly in your dreams.
Be another character
If you have been thinking about what it’s like to be your sister, brother or some popular person you know, you can use lucid dreaming to find out the answer. You can also utilize your dreams to know a person better so you can relate to him better.
Some people transform into another creature in their dreams. They become their favorite animals, fairy tale characters, and superheroes.
Communicate with long-lost loved ones
Although it won’t technically connect you with your relatives, lucid dreaming can help you communicate with them. You’ll be able to tell them how you feel and what you are thinking about them. Your loved ones will be able to answer based on what you know and what you remember about them.
This is a great help in relieving feelings of guilt, remorse, and sadness. It can help you ease any negative emotions associated with their departure.
Live your dream job
We all have our own dream jobs. However, there are tons of factors that prevent us from getting hired for those positions. With lucid dreaming, you can be a doctor, artist, engineer, nurse or a policeman. You can even be the star of your own movie or be a singer in theaters.
Eat an exotic food
For most lucid dreamers, all their senses work in their lucid state. This means that it’s possible for you to taste food as well.
Now, the fun thing is that you can taste any food you can imagine. You can try out foods from other countries and you can even eat foods that are out of this world.
You can create and taste foods that only exist in your dreams, too.
The strength of their taste and flavor, however, will depend on how aware you are in your dreams. The more aware you are, the stronger the taste, texture, and smell you’ll experience.
One important note:
Tasting something in your dream can take a lot of focus and control. If it’s your first time to test it out, don’t feel bad if you don’t get it right away.
Now, the list doesn’t end there. Here are a few more ideas you can try:
- Overcome your fears
- Try out a solution to a problem
- Be the lead star in your own movie
- Have sex
- Have a talk with nature
- Perform in public
- Solve a problem
- Drive as fast as you can
- Talk to your dream self
- Make time slower
- Go through solid objects
- Become a billionaire
- And so much more!
Achieving full lucidity in your dreams can’t happen overnight. In your first few tries, you can gain full lucidity but only for a few seconds.
Level 4: Dissolving the Dream
There’s a much higher level of lucidity than your lucid dreams. Tibetan Buddhists experience it through Tibetan Yoga.
The idea of dissolving a lucid dream is somewhat the same as waking up. The difference is that instead of waking up, you look past everything that’s happening in your dream to focus on your awareness.
If you are regularly experiencing lucid dreams, this level will make a good exercise for your brain.
What Are The Best Lucid Dreaming Techniques?
Being conscious during your dreams and taking control of what happens there is one of the most fulfilling things you can do with your mind. However, for someone who’s just starting out with lucid dreaming, this can really be intimidating.
How do you control your dream? How do you stay lucid?
The answer is in finding the best lucid dreaming techniques. They are developed to help improve your awareness of dreaming and your ability to control it.
If you need help in getting started, below are some of the best techniques that work for most people.
Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams (MILD)
If you are looking for a technique that doesn’t require too much effort, the Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams is the one for you. It was developed by Dr. Stephen LaBerge and is known to be one of the simplest methods available.
It utilizes prospective memory or the ability to remember to perform a future task. It basically prepares you to remember that you are dreaming while dreaming.
- After you wake up naturally from a dream, recall it several times until you’ve memorized it.
- While returning to sleep, say this to yourself: “Next time I’m dreaming, I’ll remember I’m dreaming.” Like a mantra, keep repeating that to yourself.
- Now, imagine that you are in your dream. However, this time, you need to see yourself becoming aware.
- Repeat the steps until your intentions are set or you go back to sleep.
Reverse Psychology Lucid Dream Technique
If you have ever been on a diet or tried quitting smoking, then you’ll be able to relate to this technique too well.
When you are dreaming, many of your higher functions are muted because your prefrontal cortex isn’t active while you sleep. As a result, you become more primitive and instinctual. When you are in those states, you are more likely to act on impulse and break rules.
Based on this technique, hacking those aspects of dreaming can increase your chances of going lucid during a dream. But first, you need to create a desire or a habit that can never be satisfied during your waking life, slowly encouraging your dreaming mind to give in to the temptation.
- Find a durable container that has enough room to contain several items. You can choose a large locket or a small box as long as it can fit your bedside table.
- Get the help of a friend. Entrust the container to him along with some cash and ask him to buy several items he knows you’d like.
- Tell your friend to store everything inside the container and seal it. Make sure to remind him not to tell you what’s inside.
- Take possession of the container and store it near your bed.
- During the day, take out your container and imagine what may be inside. Make it clear to yourself that the only time you’ll know what’s inside is when you’re dreaming.
- Do this again before you go to bed and keep your container on your bedside table while you sleep.
Wake Back To Bed (WBTB)
The Wake Back To Bed technique is one of the best methods you can try if you’re just starting out with lucid dreaming. You can do this every single day or just on weekends and you’ll be able to see results immediately. You won’t have to do any visualization or meditation.
With this method, you’ll be stimulating your conscious brain at the time you’d be experiencing REM sleep. And when you do return to sleep, you’ll be able to dive right into REM sleep from consciousness which means you can induce one dream after another.
- Get to bed and try to get as much as 6 hours of sleep. Set an alarm clock to wake you up.
- After six hours, get out of bed and try to do something that can make you fully alert for 20 to 60 minutes.
- Now, go back to bed, relax, and plan your next lucid dream as you fall asleep.
Wake Induced Lucid Dreaming (WILD)
The Wake Induced Lucid Dreaming is a powerful technique that lets you experience lucid dreams at will. It’s a technique where you keep your mind awake while the rest of your body goes to sleep.
Well, not really.
The main idea of this technique is to stay focused and concentrated on staying awake while your body goes into sleep paralysis. It’s the state where your body becomes paralyzed and your temperature drops.
In essence, this means your body is sleeping. However, since your mind is focused, you’ll be able to stay awake in your dream, thus inducing lucid dreams.
Start an hour before you go to bed. During this time, make sure that you don’t eat, drink, watch TV or use any digital media. Use this time to relax your mind and body. You can read old notes, try meditating or do some deep breathing exercises.
- Lay down on your bed and get comfortable. Stretch out your muscles, sort your pillows and make sure your room is at the right temperature.
- Try not to move and start relaxing your muscles to the point that they go limp. Relax each part of your body.
- Visualize colors and shapes until you feel yourself falling asleep. You can start with a circle or any shape you want. Imagine it appearing and disappearing. Change its size or color or make it move and spin around in your mind.
- Now, you can start imagining a more complex image. Say, for example, a beach. Do your best and try to see all the details.
- Start putting yourself and your awareness into that setting. Look around and take a good look at every single thing around you. Listen to what’s going on and get a good feel of everything. Don’t just imagine but allow yourself to experience.
- Move around and interact with the environment. By this time, your body should be asleep but your mind remains awake.
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