Sunday, December 6, 2009

My dream is to become lucid.

  1. During the day repeatedly ask 'Am I dreaming?' and perform some reality checks whenever you remember. With practice, if it happens enough, you will automatically remember it during your dreams and do it.
  2. Keep a dream journal. This is perhaps the most important step towards lucid dreaming. Keep it close by your bed at night, and write in it immediately after waking. Or you can keep a recording device if you find it easier to repeat your dream out loud. This helps you recognize your common dream elements (people from your past, specific places, etc.), and also tells your brain that you are serious about remembering your dreams!
  3. Learn the best time to have a lucid dream. By being aware of your personal sleep schedule, you can arrange your sleep pattern to help induce lucid dreams.

    • Studies strongly suggest that a nap a few hours after waking in the morning is the most common time to have a lucid dream.
    • Lucid dreams are strongly associated with REM sleep. REM sleep is more abundant just before the final awakening. This means they most commonly occur right before waking up. (Sleep-onset REM is a symptom of narcolepsy. If you have lucid dreams right after falling asleep, you may wish to consider seeking medical advice from a sleep medicine specialist. However, there are studies which show people can recall dreams after being awakened during non-REM sleep).
    • Dreams usually run in 60-minute (Weiten Psych book 2004) cycles during sleep. If you are working on dream recall, it may be helpful to try waking yourself up during one of these cycles (interrupted dreams are often the ones we remember).
  4. Try Stephen Laberge's mnemonic induction of lucid dreaming (MILD) technique.

    • Set your alarm clock to wake you up 4 1/2, 6, or 7 1/2 hours after falling asleep.
    • When you are awakened by your alarm clock, try to remember the dream as much as possible.
    • When you think you have remembered as much as you can, return to your place of rest, imagining that you are in your previous dream, and becoming aware that you are dreaming. Say to yourself, "I will be aware that I'm dreaming," or something similar. Do this until you think that it has "sunk in." Then go to sleep.
    • If random thoughts pop up when you are trying to fall asleep, repeat the imagining, self-suggestion part, and try again. Don't worry if you think it's taking a long time. The longer it takes, the more likely it will 'sink in,' and the more likely you will have a lucid dream.
  5. Immerse yourself in the subject of lucid dreaming. For example, you can look on lucid dreaming websites, watch movies with lucid dreaming (eg. Abre los Ojos), read books about it, etc...
  6. Try marking an "A" (which stands for "awake") on your palm. Every time you notice the "A" during your waking hours challenge whether you are awake or asleep. Eventually you may see the "A" in your sleep and become lucid.
  7. Get into the habit of doing reality checks. Do at least three reality checks every time something seems out of the ordinary, strongly frustrating, or nonsensical, and that habit will carry on into your dreams. In a dream, these will tell you that you are sleeping, allowing you to become lucid. In order to remember to do reality checks in dreams, you need to establish a habit of doing reality checks in real life. One way to do a reality check is to look for "dream signs" (elements that frequently occur during your dreams, look for these in your dream journal), or things that would not normally exist in real life, and then conduct the reality checks. When these actions become habit, a person will begin to do them in her or his dreams, and can come to the conclusion that he/she is dreaming. Some tactics include:
    • looking at a digital clock to see if it stays constant;
    • looking at a body of text, looking away, and then looking back to see if it has changed;
    • flipping a light switch;
    • looking in a mirror (your image will most often appear blurry in a dream). But be careful because your image in a mirror can appear extremely distorted and disturbing, and may lead to a nightmare instead of the happy lucid dream you were planning to have.;
    • pinching your nose closed and trying to breathe;
    • glancing at your hands, and asking yourself, "am I dreaming?" (when dreaming, you will most often see greater or fewer than five fingers on your hand);
    • jumping in the air; you are usually able to fly during dreams
    • poking yourself; when dreaming, your "flesh" might be more elastic than in real life; a common reality check is pushing your finger through the palm of your hand;
    • Bite your arm. In a dream, you shouldn't be able to feel your bite.
    • Try leaning against a wall. In dreams, you will often fall through walls.
  8. Prolong lucid dreams by spinning your body in the dream (suspected of prolonging REM), and rubbing your hands (prevents you from feeling the sensation of lying in bed). Take care while spinning. Remind yourself even as you spin that you are dreaming, as you will find yourself in a completely different location when you stop spinning and may lose lucidity otherwise.
  9. Be Pro-active about your dream. Have a goal in mind and try to accomplish it.
  10. Listen to Binaural Beats. Binaural Beats are often used to induce lucid dreams, and many assure this method dramatically improves success rate. Theoretically, listening to Binaural Beats lowers brain frequencies, triggering different effects such as relaxation and dream induction.

A Modified Version of Castaneda's "Looking At Your Hands".
  1. As you prepare for sleep each night, sit in your bed and take a minute to relax. Softly look at the palms of your hands and repeat to yourself, "Tonight while I dream, I will see my hands and realize I'm dreaming."
  2. Continue to repeat this affirmation, "Tonight while I dream, I will see my hands and realize I'm dreaming," as you look at your hands. Do not be concerned if your eyes cross or you begin to get tired.
  3. After five minutes, or once you feel too tired or sleepy, turn off the light and go to sleep.
  4. When you wake during the night, gently recall your last dream. If you did not see your hands, remind yourself of your intent to see your hands in the next dream.
  5. With consistent practice of this affirmation each night before sleep, you will suddenly see your hands pop up in front of you when dreaming, and consciously realize, "My hands! This is a dream."

  • Lucid dreaming may be helpful for people who frequently experience nightmares, as it gives them a chance to take control of their dreams.
  • It is fun to fly in lucid dreams. To start flying try bouncing higher and higher after each step (while "walking" in the dream.) You can also try walking on walls or the ceiling, as flying for the first time can be intimidating if you are not totally convinced that you are dreaming. Many people experience flying as being very natural and very exhilarating.
  • Performing reality checks upon awakening can help you to detect "false awakenings" within dreams, wherein you dream that you have woken up, and thus lose lucidity.
  • If you have recurring dreams, then aspects of these dreams can act as reality checks. If you notice something happening that is part of a recurring dream, think to yourself, "this only happens in my dreams, I must be dreaming."
  • If you notice something happening that is impossible in real life, such as being able to breatheunderwater, this can act as a reality check to alert you to the fact that you are dreaming.
  • Do not get into the habit of saying "I'm obviously dreaming" or something similar in real life. This won't trigger a lucid dream in your sleep.
  • If you ask people in your dream "Am I dreaming?"... most of the time they'll say "No."
  • When recalling a dream upon waking, try not to move. Activating your muscle neurons can make it more difficult to access the parts of your brain that allow you to recall your dream.
  • If you cannot remember the dream, focus on the feelings that you felt. Trying too hard to remember the dream will only take your mind away from it. Chances are your mind will think of everything but the dream.
  • When you wake up naturally - that is, without an alarm - focus your gaze on the first object you see as you open your eyes. Look at the object; focus on it. That object will most often take the vague recollection of your dream to a placemark in memory where it is easier to recall details. A doorknob, a lightbulb, a set of car keys, or a nail in the wall, for example, will quell your urge to begin your day, and will help you to settle into memories of what you had experienced while sleeping.
  • Do not use a radio alarm clock. If you hear talking or a song, it will distract you and may clear the dream out of your head. If you have to use a radio alarm clock, don't think about what is playing and quickly turn it off. Alternatively, change the radio setting to a non-assigned frequency so the alarm creates static (white noise).
  • To end sleep paralysis (which is not dangerous) try wiggling your toes or swallowing. When you are insleep paralysis, your brain is sending a signal to the rest of your body to immobilize your muscles so you don't thrash around while you sleep. The larger muscles are usually more affected than the smaller ones. So trying to wiggle your toes tends to wake you up during a state of sleep paralysis.
  • Pre-determine what you want to achieve in a lucid dream while you are awake. When you become lucid in a dream, you will already know what you want to do.
  • It is a good idea to purposely wake a few minutes after becoming lucid, once you have experienced what you wanted to experience. This way, you can wake up with the dream very fresh in your mind, and have excellent recall. If you do not wake up, the dream may simply fade away into the night, and could be forgotten.
  • Some people find it helpful to take a low dose of caffeine (a caffeinated tea, for instance) shortly before sleeping. They claim that this keeps them mentally aware while the body is going to sleep. For other people caffeine may postpone or disrupt sleep.
  • Do not drink any fluids for one hour prior to sleeping. The last thing you want is to wake up from successfully lucid dreaming just because you had to use the bathroom.
  • As you get older, it will be harder to lucid dream, and it starts getting difficult during the teenage years of puberty.
  • Before you go to sleep, think really hard about getting up without actually doing so. You will be able to lucid dream at the beginning of your dream.
  • If you find the dream is not going how you want it too, "close your eyes" for a bit and then open very forcefully. It might not work the first time but you will eventually end up actually opening them.
  • Be careful about looking in mirrors- it can often help you determine that you are asleep, but be prepared; sometimes your face will look horribly distorted, which can cause you to freak out and wake up, or lead to a nightmare.
  • Try not to worry about what might happen in the dream. Try to remember it's only a dream, and nothing there can hurt you. If you worry a lot about the people in your dream attacking you, for example, quite likely they will.
  • Don't run around thinking "I want to have Lucid Dreams." That won't help you, however hard you may try. You should instead focus on what you want to dream.
"I want to dream that I'm Flying to Mars to meet aliens" or "I want to be an actor" makes sense for your brain but "I want to have lucid dreams" doesn't.


  • Galantamine used with Choline bitartrate or Alpha-GPC can dramatically increase your odds of becoming Lucid.
  • An Amino Acid Blend made up of 2000mg L-aspartic acid, 4000mg L-glutamine, and 300mg L-theanine can substantially increase your odds of having a Lucid Dream.
  • 5-HTP is the immediate precursor of serotonin, and can increase your odds of having a Lucid Dream.
  • Vitamin B6 can increase dream vividness.

  •  Wake-initiated lucid dreaming (WILD) -- where you maintain awareness as you fall asleep, and can carry awareness into the dream -- is likely to involve sleep paralysis and anxiety during the transition. It can also involve "hypnagogic hallucinations," or "hypnagogic imagery." There is no reason to be afraid, as Sleep Paralysis happens every night - you just sleep through it. Hypnagogia is just your mind. Remember that with lucid dreaming you are aware and can always wake yourself up if you feel overwhelmed.  

1 comment:

  1. I read well into the article, and was taking it very seriously.
    got to suggestions about +/- fingers, flying etc, and I now think it bogus. just doesnt seem psychological right.

    thankyou, though, for probing the insight. Im going to look further into this.