A Guide To Lucid Dreaming

I’ve always had trouble remembering my dreams. In the morning, instead of rising with crisp post-sleep visuals, I’ll wake with almost no recollection of where my mind may have wandered to during the night. At the most, a fleeting emotion will flutter throughout my thoughts in the early morning hours, or the ghost of an idea or event that doesn’t seem quite real enough to have actually happened will stick with me throughout my day. Never the detailed, highly complex chimera described to me by a wistful friend or family member.

With my own dreams so often eluding memory, I was awestruck when someone close to me casually mentioned the ability to not just remember their dreams in vivid detail, but actually being able to control them consciously. And so my obsession with lucid dreaming began.

Lucid Dreaming

If you’ve never heard the term before, a lucid dream is a dream in which you are aware that you are dreaming. It sounds simple enough, but in scientific terms, a lucid dream must meet seven different points of criteria:

1) Awareness of the fact that you are dreaming
2) Awareness of the ability to make intentional decisions
3) Awareness of memory
4) Awareness of your own identity
5) Awareness of the environment in which you are dreaming
6) Awareness of the dream’s meaning
7) Awareness of the ability to concentrate and focus

Have you ever been in the middle of a dream before and suddenly realized you were dreaming? In the most basic terms, that’s a lucid dream. What’s more, once you know you’re dreaming and remain asleep, you’ll have far more control over what happens within the dream. So, how do you take the initial steps to not only remembering your dreams, but actually being able to control them? For some, like my friend, it’s second nature to want to explore and look around during a dream, but for others, like myself, who might have trouble even remembering where their mind went the night before, there are simple ways to train yourself towards lucid dreaming:

1) Get to know your sleeping patterns and adjust your schedule as needed. Obviously, getting enough sleep is key to dreaming (it’s been shown that lucid dreaming is connected to your REM cycle), you won’t have lucid dreams if you’re tossing and turning throughout the night. Ask yourself: When do you sleep the most soundly? When do you tend to have the most vivid dreams? I rarely take naps, but when I do, that’s when my dreams are the most vivid, so maybe it’s time to brush up on my nap game. If you sleep more soundly at night, make an effort to get a good night’s rest on the regular.

2) Keep a dream journal on your nightstand and write down everything you remember as soon as you remember it. This will help you to recognize patterns, recurring themes, and people and places that most often show up within your dreams.

3) Try the MILD technique (mnemonic induction of lucid dreaming). Set your alarm clock to go off about five hours after you’ve fallen asleep. When you wake, attempt to remember as much of your dream as possible in as much detail, then go back to sleep with the intention of starting up the same dream, only this time with lucidity. Meditate on the goal of being lucid as you fall back asleep, pushing other thoughts away.

4) Track your dream journal — notice if there are any reappearing signs, imagery, or people. Then, the next time you’re dreaming, try to notice if the sign reappears.

5) If you’re having trouble remembering your dreams, as I do, when you wake try to think backwards from what you remember. And don’t forget to write it all down.

6) While you’re awake, continually ask yourself if you’re dreaming. It’s been shown that repetition and our actions can affect our dreams – you may notice yourself asking the same question while you’re asleep.

Lucid Dreaming

7) Remember to do a reality check. To me, this is the craziest part of lucid dreaming: Once you become a pro at lucidity, you may have to do a reality check every now and then to make sure you’re not dreaming. Insane, right? To do this, you can keep something in your pocket, make a mark on your hand (an A for AWAKE), or even just look at your hands – if something seems off, like your hands are glowing, it’s a dream.

From those I’ve talked to that have experienced it, lucid dreaming is second nature, it’s just something that they do no different than any other dream. But for those if us who have trouble even recalling where their sub-conscious wandered during the night, these steps can help you to remember your dreams and take steps towards lucidity.

Have you experienced lucid dreaming? Any other dream phenomena? Please share in the comments!

Comments

  1. I have only had one lucid dreaming experience…I had freshly painted my nails red right before bed, and for some reason in my dream my hands caught my eye…my nails were pink in my dream, and that was what triggered me to realize that I was dreaming…I would love to have another lucid dream, I will have to practice these steps. Great post!

    http://www.thatkatiekat.com

  2. You guys always have the Coolest Posts!!!! I would LOVE to have lucid dreams!!! It would be so amazing to be able to “ask” your dream symbols – especially the scary ones – what they mean – do they relate to an issue that you are struggling with? Perhaps they provide an answer? Or perhaps your dreams can give you deeper insight into your unconscious? Perhaps a lucid dream can help stimulate your creativity? Give you story ideas for writing? ……………..I had one lucid dream before, but I need to do all of that stuff in order to have more. Thank you for sharing!!!

    ………….The Weaver Of Words………………
    http://www.averyfairytale.wordpress.com

    ………..give me 15 words and I’ll tell you a tale………………………………

  3. After studying dreams on my own for years I am now able to lucid dream about once a month. I have certain triggers I have found from the patterns of my dreams, for instance I dream a lot that my teeth are falling out, I used to hate it but now that I’ve linked it as one of my triggers I love when I dream my teeth are falling out because it automatically snaps me into lucidity. Also, to check that I am really dreaming when I thinkbobam, I will stick my finger in the middle of my hand and push as hard as I can, when dreaming your finger will go through the middle of your hand , no problem. It’s wild! I encourage fellow lucid dreamers to try that one;) my favorite lucid dream, I’ve only been able to get to this point once, was when I realized I was dreaming, I started changing the environment I was in. I closed my eyes and said I want flowers everywhere and all of the sudden flowers started appearing everywhere, I would shout out a color and they would turn different colors until eventually I was standing in a rainbow colored flower field. It was the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced and I strive to get back to the point to where I can control my environment ! Just wanted to share:) happy dreamin everyone!

  4. I always have lucid dreams but even in them i dont take risks- killing the buzz.. I was standing at a frozen cliff and i counted my fingers (there were 8 fingers) i thought it’s a beautiful lucid dream but i didnt jump -just watched over silvery bright mountains… I’m afraid of forgetting to do reality check and mix it with real life. i wish i get some advice about it..

  5. An interesting post to read, but thought you might be interested to hear of lucid dreaming from a different perspective…

    Many people like yourself, are captivated by the idea of lucid dreaming and try to achieve this when they’re sleeping. For me, I don’t achieve lucid dreams, I suffer from them.

    My whole life I have battled various personal things that have happened over my few 19 years. When I moved to Uni this year, being on my own seemed to open my mind up to all the problems I had ignored for so many years, and this is when I began to lucid dream. I prefer to call mine, lucid nightmares. I am aware that I am dreaming, very aware, I can control what I do, but not what others around me are doing, nor can I control my surroundings. For lack of better words, my lucid nightmares contain, violence, rape, murder, torture. But just as you said, I am completely aware that I am dreaming, therefore the dream feels real, but I cannot get away with it. It got to the point at uni where I would wake up most mornings around 4/5 am, in panic attacks, hyperventilating, still scared because I still wasn’t sure if I was dreaming or not because they were so vivid. I am somehow able to tell at for example, 3 in the afternoon if I am going to be lucid. Its something about my mind set that unfortunately I couldn’t stop, and I would be so terrified to go to sleep later that night. About 4 months ago I got put on anti depressants as a result of everything.

    I haven’t come to your page to comment telling you that you’re wrong or scare people, I just thought you might be interested to hear a different perspective about it. Its uncommon to have what I have, and for the people that have beautiful lucid dreams where they create their own fantasy world, I envy you a lot!

    But if you or anyone else want to know more about my experience with lucid dreaming, please get in touch with me, I’d love to get my story out and just warn people to be a little cautious about this as well.

    http://secret-diaries-of-a-textiles-student.blogspot.co.uk/

    Thank you so much for reading, this is not something I talk about often,

    Jade x

  6. I had lucid dreams frequently (about 6/7 times fortnightly) a few years back, but it was strange, as technically they were night terrors too. I would get up from my bed (in my dream) and begin exploring my room, when things would go wrong, people would interact with or attack me. It’s very strange, I would remember telling myself to wake up.

    If you’re interested in this sort of stuff, look up “uncanny”. It’s an incredible emotional state which this fits perfectly into!

  7. I have mixed up lucid dreams. I have good ones on specific days: Tuesday Thursday and Saturday. Bad dreams on: Monday Wednesday Friday Sunday… Its getting very annoying and I cant get out of the routine! If you have any suggestions in at tumblr: Cuddlybear64 I also play mc so maybe we could chat in /msg (Don’t hate me or complain about minectaft/mc because I’m here to sort the problem out not how much you hate mine craft). I don’t want to say what my bad lucid dreams are because they can upset or scare people. -Lumen P.S I just thought I should say my view of lucid dreams.

  8. I have mixed up lucid dreams. I have good ones on specific days: Tuesday Thursday and Saturday. Bad dreams on: Monday Wednesday Friday Sunday… Its getting very annoying and I cant get out of the routine! If you have any suggestions in at tumblr: Cuddlybear64 I also play mc so maybe we could chat in /msg (Don’t hate me or complain about minecraft/mc because I’m here to sort the problem out not how much you hate mine craft). I don’t want to say what my bad lucid dreams are because they can upset or scare people. -Lumen P.S I just thought I should say my view of lucid dreams.

  9. I lucid dream without even noticing it until I wake up. I never really noticed I could do it until one particular dream. I can not remember the first part of the dream, only the part in which I manipulated. Essentially the first half of the dream lead to me being shot and killed. But then I lead myself into an “in-between” and I talked to myself. Of course I did not want to pass away, so I asked my unconscious if I was dead. Then I responded with something along the lines of, “You can wake up, you’re dreaming.” I woke up totally calm, yet totally confused. Since then there have been situations in my dreams in which I have been able to manipulate. I can manipulate the people and situations and tell myself to wake up. While lucid dreaming is cool, its also completely eerie.

  10. Also for those who get their dreams confused with reality, a friend of a friend, an avid lucid dreamer, would look at his phone. Apparently when you dream you can’t comprehend numbers and letters, they are a jumble of nonsense. So if you could read you phone, it was reality.

  11. Great post! I have super vivid dreams and I always remember them, I could tell you what I dreamt about 5 nights ago in detail, it’s great but sometimes I get confused between things that actually happened and things that were dreams!

  12. This would be such a great thing to practice – even if you don’t make it all the way to the end goal of lucid dreaming, even if you just remember a few more of your dreams and are more in tune with their personal meanings. I’m thinking I’d be able to work through a few everyday problems, the kind that just sort of chew up mental power, if I could look at my dreams more closely. Will begin practicing these things this week! Thank you :)

  13. If you like a smooth fabric like silk charmeuse, Look for details in your second gown that make it really fabulous. The sweep train adds a glamorous finish to a floor length gown without looking overdone. the options can be narrowed down to a more realistic number. And nautical and natural themes are becoming popular for weddings. Except the important , You can look like royalty in gold or silver, Why do most brides wear wedding veils? And bridesmaids, Angela Merkel arrived in Beijing on the 30t

  14. I have lucky because I am a natural lucid dreamer :) Just need a little more practice. I have an lucid dream almost every night. Sweet dreams everybody :)

  15. I love creating my dreams. I don’t really know if mine count as lucid dreaming, because I do them when I’m just laying in bed and not quite asleep. Once I have it all set up, I can do whatever I want and go wherever I like. Then, once I fall asleep, I’m usually still in that dream, so I know I’m just dreaming! I love doing it. :)
    Thanks for this post! I really liked it! :)

  16. When I was little, I dreamt dreams that filled me with angst, confusion or boredom and I couldn’t handle them anymore and then I thought ‘I want to wake up! I want to wake up!’ and this means I knew I was dreaming if not at the entire process of the dream then those few moments where I said ‘No more of that!’ and I knew I had to wake up to get away from this dream! I remember one or two times I changed the surroundings of my dream if I am sick of it but that happens very rarely and I have so much conscioussness that I tend to wake up not long after it because I regain more and more consciousness by thinking this is a dream so eventually I wake up. I think that lucid dreaming can be very tiring because of that and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. Sometimes I make happen something I want to happen but usually it is unconsciously done! And then I think “Weird that happened exactly what I had in mind!”. But this is your dream you idiot!
    I usually don’t remember my dreams, sometimes I remember details and sometimes even more details but that’s usually the latter part of the dream just before I wake up or it may also be previous details that shocked me so that I can remember them. Often those bits I remember are either my subconscious trying to tell me something about my life and sometimes my remembered dreams are prophetic or happening. So I think there’s a reason I remember them! My grandmother watches prophetic dreams all the time mostly for myself and for others too. That’s the dreams she usually remembers. And the event she’s dreaming usually happens the very same day or the next day or it happened and she didn’t know it but she saw it in her sleep anyway! Sometimes it takes longer but definitely it happens! It’s weird!!!
    I think this experience of mine will also be interesting to you: When I was little I frequently dreamt that they were chasing me (monsters etc). I couldn’t see them but I saw their shadow or heard them or I just run because I knew something was chasing me I did not dare to look at. At one time I was so sick and tired of always running I thought “I am sick and tired of always running” (maybe I knew they were dreams at that moment I’m not sure) ” Whatever it is, I’ll deal with it and I don’t care what happens next!” . When I said that I faced my persecutors and they were cute children’s toys that welcomed me and smiled at me!!! Then I woke up and since then I’ve never seen drems like that again!!! :) With the exception of an occasional mass shooter who doesn’t want to kill only me but that’s rare!

  17. I had a lysis dream once, I realized I was dreaming, then opened a door and walked into a huge bakery! I love to cook so I just cooked and cooked. It was so much fun! It was pretty incredible!

  18. Eventually, this question will pop up within a dream, allowing you to
    become aware and enter a lucid dream. So why
    sit down on the sidelines, considering that this may all be hokum.
    To become lucid this fashion, you must recognize that you’re dreaming when.

  19. One of my most recent and strange dream incident, I was having a nightmare that there were millions of spiders crawling up my sheet very quickly towards my face and I quickly woke uo thinking they were real and rapidly brushing off and throwing my sheet around, This was all from 1-2 years ago and I still remember the whole thing crystal clear. They were brown spiders about the size of a nickel, including the legs. The sheet I had asleep and awake was a yellow sheet with red flowers I currently have. Has anybody else ever had an experience like this? If you have, please post an additional comment to mine telling me about it. I am curious! Thank you! :) -Kate

  20. Lucid dreams can really be weird and scary at first. It takes some time to balance self-awareness and the world of dreams. I’ve got some tips for those who are just starting and those who want to further explore. Feel free to drop by my site :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.