Many of our viewers have expressed interest in lucid dreaming. Since this mysterious topic is still such an enigma today, we couldn’t wait to explore it with you! For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, lucid dreaming is when the individual is fully aware that they are dreaming while they are asleep. This is beneficial, because it allows you to have a certain degree of control over what happens in your dream when you know you are in one. Lucid dreaming can especially come in handy when you have recurring nightmares, have a desire to speak to loved ones who have passed away, or when you want to problem-solve creatively. Sounds cool, right? Psych2Go shares with you 7 steps that can help you lucid dream:
1. Keep a dream journal
Even if you don’t fully remember all the details of your dreams, it’s good to get in the habit of writing what you can recall. You can start off by jotting down fragments of sensory information that stood out to you. Who was in your dream? What were they wearing? Were there particular scents or fragrances that you remember? What was the environment like? Did you hear any music? What emotions did you feel? One perspective that may be helpful to adapt is to consider your dreams a memory that you’re stepping back in time with. When you get in the habit of writing down what you remember, you can start to look for dream signs or patterns, which can be a tool to analyze your thoughts.
I remember having many peculiar dreams during my teenage years. I was particularly fond of the strangeness —how everything seemed to blend right in with one another —and all the mixed emotions I was feeling. I didn’t want to lose them completely, so I made the effort to blog what I remembered and turned it into storytelling. Each time I wrote about my dreams, I liked how there wasn’t a need for things to make sense right away. As I get older, I find that there is often a demand from others to have answers or explanations for my actions. Writing about my dreams was my way of rejecting reality for what it was. Pure escapism. And I guess I just wanted to hold onto that for as long as I could.
Auto-suggestion is when the dreamer suggests to themselves that they will have a lucid dream right before they fall asleep. This serves as a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more you expect yourself to participate in lucid dreaming, the stronger the likelihood is. During auto-suggestion, the dreamer suggests that they will lucid dream while they are relaxing and work on clearing their mind before they fall asleep. Have you ever tried this? Psych2Go thinks it’s a great beginner’s step to take. You are what you think, after all.
3. Mnemonic induction of lucid dreams (MILD)
Mnemonic induction of lucid dreams (MILD) is done right before the dreamer falls asleep. The sleeper rehearses the dream and imagines that they will be in it. Then, they say the following phrase: “The next time that I dream, I want to remember that I’m dreaming.” It’s similar to auto-suggestion with the aspect of the self-fulfilling prophecy, but includes a mantra that they repeat before they fall asleep. According to a study at the University of Adelaide, researchers found that participants who used the MILD technique and said their mantras five minutes prior to falling asleep had the best rates of lucidity; whereas, participants who took longer to fall asleep were less likely to lucid dream using this method. If you have trouble falling asleep in general, we encourage you to do something relaxing before your bedtime and stray from using electronic devices that will only distract you.
4. Wake-up-back-to-bed (WBTB)
Wake-up-back-to-bed (WBTB) involves the dreamer waking up in the middle of the night before their usual wake up time and having them stay awake between half an hour to 2 hours before returning to sleep. This technique increases your alertness, and due to your natural sleep pattern, you will enter a REM cycle faster than you typically would. This, in turn, will help you lucid dream, because lucid dreaming occurs the most during REM sleep. From the sleep study, researchers have concluded that combining the techniques of both WBTB and MILD is most effective at generating lucid dreaming in a one week period.
5. Reality check
When the dreamer does a reality check, they ask themselves whether they’re dreaming while they are awake and look for signs in their immediate environment that indicate they are, in fact, awake. For instance, you can jump up in the air or check the clock. In real life, when you jump up, you will immediately come back down, but in dreams, you may stay in the air or float. And when you check the clock, the time will barely move in real life, but in dreams when you check it, the time may be drastically different each time. The intention of using reality checks is to help you recognize reality from dreaming more easily, but researchers from the sleep study discovered that it’s least effective when used alone. To ensure a stronger likelihood of lucid dreaming, we recommend combining it with other techniques.
Intention involves the dreamer imagining that they’re in a dreamlike situation and recognizing the dream right before they fall asleep. This technique can be helpful for those who experience recurrent nightmares. When you use this method, by taking part in lucid dreaming, it can help you switch over to a more favorable dream. Psych2Go doesn’t know for sure how effective this specific method is, especially if it is used alone, but being able to stray from recurrent nightmares seems like a great incentive to try it, don’t you think?
7. External stimulation
External stimulation used during REM sleep can influence one to participate in lucid dreaming. This is because the dreamer can rely on the external cue to remind them that they are asleep and dreaming. The most popular external cue people often use is a sleep mask. This is because it is directly in contact with one’s skin to remind the dreamer that they are asleep. By investing in a good sleep mask, you can increase your likelihood of lucid dreaming.
Do you find these steps helpful when you try to lucid dream? Psych2Go would love to hear your thoughts! Please be sure to leave a comment down below!
Aitchison, S. (2017, June 29). 7 Steps to Start Lucid Dreaming. Lifehack. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
Carr, M. (2017, October 15). How to Have Lucid Dreams. Psychology Today. Retrieved November 1, 2017.
How to Easily Lucid Dream Tonight! (Best Guide of 2017). (2017). Retrieved November 1, 2017, from howtolucid.com
How to Use Reality Checks to Lucid Dream Easily. (2017). Retrieved November 1, 2017, from howtolucid.com
Saleh, N. (2016, November 16). 8 Ways to Trigger Lucid Dreaming. Psychology Today. Retrieved November 1, 2017.