It takes less than an hour to prepare to have a lucid dream tonight, so why not give it a try. The amazing benefits of lucid dreaming are becoming more clear, as the popularity of dream awareness and control is growing fast.
What is Lucid Dreaming?
Lucid dreaming is when you become so self-aware during your dream that you realize you are, in fact, dreaming. As well as this, some dreamers can go on to have an element of control over what happens in their dream.
From its name, you would think lucid dreaming refers only to dreams that feel particularly realistic or that you remember clearly.
While this is true, in part, there is far more to the notion of lucid dreaming, which is becoming increasingly popular among all age groups.
This consciousness while dreaming creates heightened perceptions and sometimes stronger emotional feelings during the dream. It has been mentioned in history, as far back as Aristotle, and is a feature of some Hollywood blockbuster movies today.
There is proof that lucid dreaming is real and if we can learn to control our dreams, we might be able to avoid nightmares as well as more fully enjoy living daydreams.
While some people often claim to remember their dreams, it would seem lucid dreaming happens by chance; however, there are some steps you can take to increase your chances of having lucid dreams more regularly.
STEP 1: Prepare Your Mind
The first thing you need to do is envision and believe you can have a lucid dream tonight.
You need to put into your mind the idea that you are going to dream and be aware of doing it.
You can’t just lucid dream anywhere, even if you have an extremely powerful mind. Meditation and visualization can take you out of your current environment, but to have the best chance of a lucid dream you need to arrange your bedroom to help you.
Total relaxation is vital, therefore it is best to either sleep alone or make sure your mattress is designed so that excessive movement on your partner’s side will not affect you.
Lucid Dreaming Preparation Tips:
- Write down any pressing worries down on paper or in a journal
- Take a shower or bath- getting clean and feeling fresh can help
- Prepare your room – make sure it is a clean and comfortable environment
- Get rid of distractions – silence phones, turn off things that may interrupt
- Uses binaural beats – relaxation music designed to relax and enhance the mind
- Take a natural sleeping or lucid dreaming supplement like melatonin.
- Kindly ask roommates or family members to help by reducing noise.
When you are ready, start by laying in a comfortable position in which you won’t have to adjust often.
TIP: Laying on your back seems to be the best position, if possible.
Throughout the following steps, the whole goal is to keep your mind focused even as your body is falling asleep.
STEP 2: Use Mantras and Meditation
Linked to the use of mantras, using meditation techniques is a helpful way to help your body achieve a state of relaxation similar to sleep while awake. This will help link the boundaries between your conscious and unconscious mind.
Practice breathing techniques and visualization to make sure your body is fully relaxed and your inner eye is given the freedom to explore.
A mantra is words or sounds repeated to help concentration or meditation. Some experts recommend using a mantra just before you go to sleep to will your mind into being aware during your dreams.
For example, you could try repeating to yourself: “I will be aware in my dream tonight”, or “I am going to have a lucid dream”. Preparing your unconscious mind to interact with your reality can help you to engage more fully in your dreams.
You could also try counting down from 100 or 50, but while inserting the mantra after each number.
For example, “100, I am going to have a lucid dream, 99, I am going to have a lucid dream”.
You can do this until you fall asleep. Just remember to do it calmly and try not to force it. Believe in it and take it slow.
While in this meditative state you can be painting and focusing on a dream you want to have.
Mindfulness meditation is a bit different from regular meditation because the objective is to become the observer. You’ll want to lay or sit in a comfortable place, close your eyes, and breathe slowly.
Make sure that your focus is directed towards your deep breathing. It is okay if a thought naturally enters your mind. Acknowledge it, but do not interact with it.
Then, refocus back to your breathing. By doing this as a practice, you will eventually find that you can think more clearly and rationally. Dreams will be less chaotic, drama-filled, and easier to control.
You don’t want to ignore or avoid any thoughts that come up during meditation because it creates greater resistance.
STEP 3: Practice Reality Testing
Experts suggest that we need to build in regular reality tests throughout our day in the hope that we may reenact these reality tests while we dream. This will help us become aware of when we are actually dreaming.
The old fashioned “pinch yourself” technique might work for some, although you might want to avoid anything that could wake you up.
Instead, think about trying to read something, like words in a book or on a poster, in your dream. In real life, you will be able to read normally, but in your dream, the letters and words could be jumbled up.
Other tests could be as extreme as trying to fly or trying to pass your hand through something solid, even another part of your body.
Make sure you practice these reality tests throughout the day, about once an hour or so. This way, it will become second nature for you to try them out while you are dreaming and suddenly become self-aware during your dream.
Throughout the following steps, the whole goal is to keep your mind focused even as your body is falling asleep.
STEP 4: Learn to Recognize Your Hypnagogia
This is a crazy word, I know, but this can be the most critical part of learning to lucid dream.
When you are falling asleep you should pay attention to your hypnagogia.
Hypnagogia is some sensation or hallucination that may occur close to the time of falling asleep.
This can be a visual color pattern, an audible calm buzz, or just a dreamy sensation.
It can be hard to describe, but it can be helpful to identify and learn your own. Take notes of what you feel before sleep as well in your dream journal.
Hypnagogia can appear in swirling patterns you see before your eyes with your eyes closed, often just before you fall asleep. Sometimes, these twisting colors can be almost fluorescent.
Combining approaches will be really helpful here. Think about your breathing to keep yourself relaxed, and a mantra can also be useful.
As you watch your hypnagogia, begin to try to control the patterns.
Darkness is also important. Blackout blinds can be very effective, or you could use a comfortable eye-patch to keep out any potential unwanted light.
Think about merging a visualization into the patterns, either within the patterns themselves or beyond the patterns using your inner eye.
If you do this just before you fall asleep, you might begin to have some control over your dream or even begin to dream about the scene you have created.
It can feel quite easy to fall asleep at this stage, but that might not result in a lucid dream.
You need to keep your consciousness immersed in this state of near-sleep so fight hard to stay awake while giving your full concentration to the images in your hypnagogia.
Keep breathing gently. Try to begin to awaken the other senses – sometimes, the hypnagogia can trigger sounds as well as visual patterns.
STEP 5: Lucid Dreaming Techniques – Wake Back To Bed
“Waking Back to Bed” means waking yourself up in the middle of the night. The intention is not to get up, but simply to wake up and go back to sleep to alter your sleep cycle and give you a better chance of experiencing lucid dreams.
As your mind drifts in that semi-conscious state between sleep and wakefulness, the boundaries between sleep and reality become blurred and you have a stronger chance of being fully conscious in your dream.
You want your body to stay relaxed and in its sleeping position, if possible. It is best to learn to wake up with your eyes still closed and to keep them closed. Stay awake for a few minutes, and you have a higher chance of going straight into REM sleep and straight into a lucid dream.
Set an alarm to wake yourself up somewhere between 4-6 hours from when you plan to fall asleep.
You can name your alarm something like “Lucid Dream” to remember why you set it.
When you wake up you have a couple of different options:
If you are wide awake or need to use the restroom then it is probably best to get up for a bit. While you are up for a bit, remember to use the mantra and to focus on lucid dreaming.
It is good to stay up for about a half-hour but try not to exert too much energy. Stay calm and think about what you want to dream about.
You can then go back to bed and repeat the mantra and/or counting techniques just as before.
If when you woke up you were still sleepy, try not to move too much. Just shut off the alarm and go straight into the mantra and counting techniques.
Meanwhile, picture what you want to dream about and start forming the scene in your mind.
TIP: Many people believe in focusing on the third eye, or the space between your eyes on your forehead. This can be a great focus point for meditation.
STEP 6 – Stay in the Dream
The main goal of having a lucid dream relies heavily on the fact that you must first have a dream. All the preparation, relaxation, and meditation is designed to help you enter a deeper sleep in which you can have dreams.
Some people claim they never dream, but it is most likely that they simply don’t remember their dreams when they wake up. If you go through the normal cycles of sleep each night, it is impossible to avoid having at least some REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement), which is when dreams occur.
The hard part that takes the most work is learning to become aware while in your dream and being able to continue in that dream. Think about your mindset, and your desire to stay in the dream. Most people wake up a short time after realizing they are in a dream.
STEP 7 – Reflect in Your Dream Journal
Keeping a dream journal is highly recommended for those who truly want to learn to lucid dream.
Simply telling someone about your dream as soon as you wake up is enough to begin to etch it into your memory so that your dreams start to become a normal part of your life.
When you write down what you remember of your dreams, you find you begin to recall more and more each time. Very soon, you will be able to recall a number of dreams from the same night.
Think carefully and give yourself time to focus on small details, especially the senses. Try to remember specific sounds, feelings, and the characters in your dream.
Take notes of what happened in your dreams and what degree of control you had in it. How long did it take you to become aware that you were dreaming? What do you think you could do better next time?
It is best to start with these steps first and then worry about improving your lucidity later.
This is all about just developing your own habits and techniques first.
Some people can naturally lucid dream on a small scale. For most becoming lucid when you are dreaming, however, is still like a muscle that needs to be exercised to maintain or grow.
Tips for better lucid dreaming:
- Try different lucid dreaming supplements – supplements can work a little differently for each person.
- Keep track of your sleep patterns and the amount of sleep you are getting. Using a Fitbit or some other tracker can help you learn your sleep cycles and help make sure you are getting enough sleep as well.
- Learn more about sleep paralysis, which is closely related to lucid dreaming
- Read more and study more about lucid dreaming. Have fun learning about it too.
- Invite a friend to try lucid dreaming with you! You can share experiences and learn from each other along the way.