How to Lucid Dream
Dreaming really is something else. Your mind concocts stories, images, and ideas all from a part of your brain you didn’t realize even paid attention during the waking hours of the day. Your subconscious is hard at work when you’re asleep while the rest of your brain shuts down and recuperates.
Some people have more vivid dreams than others. This is just a fact of life. Some people report that they don’t even dream to begin with. Although that’s not true, they just don’t remember anything they dream about.
That leaves us with the worst and best type of dreaming there is: lucid dreaming. Many people can lucid dream without trying and this can be a good and a bad thing. However, there are other people who wish they could lucid dream. If you’re of the latter, you’ll soon find out how you can lucid dream with ease.
What is Lucid Dreaming?
The question you probably have right now is a simple one to answer. What is lucid dreaming? This type of dreaming isn’t really unlike normal dreaming. You have a dream and wake up to remember it as something (usually) strange.
The difference with lucid dreaming is that when you’re in the dream, you recognize it as a dream. You are aware that it’s all just a dream while you’re dreaming. When lucid dreaming, you also can have some control over the dream. When you realize it’s not real, you can start taking the reigns to make your dream anything you want.
Why Would You Want to Lucid Dream?
This also begs the question, why on earth would you even want to lucid dream? The truth is, there are a lot of reasons to lucid dream. Here are some of the most common reasons a person would want to have control over their dreams.
- To escape reality the way you want.
Real life can sometimes be really hard. We work all day long and don’t get nearly enough time to just relax and do the things we truly enjoy. This can be remedied by lucid dreaming. If you want to take a vacation but don’t have the time in real life, lucid dreaming is a great way to do so while getting your sleep at the same time.
- To prevent nightmares.
I have the worst nightmares ever. I wake up crying or terrified and so to combat those, I decided to learn how to lucid dream. Now, lucid dreaming came very naturally to me as I already had some level of control over my dreams – even the scary ones. So now if I start having a scary dream, I simply change it, or force myself to wake up to discontinue it.
- To be able to do something you can’t in real life.
There are a lot of things we’re not able to do. I can’t sing or do anything flexible and I seem to do those a lot in my lucid dreams because I enjoy having that ability. Other people may have been paralyzed in an accident and want to dream about walking again. Lucid dreaming is a great way to help them control those things.
How to Lucid Dream
Finally! We’re getting to the good stuff. If this all sounds like something you want to get into, then you’re ready for the how-to. Just remember that this won’t always be easy and you have to practice for a long time before it’s something you do automatically.
- Record your dreams right when you get up.
This is especially helpful if you’re someone who forgets them really easily. In order to be able to lucid dream, you have to remember your dreams. Tracking them in a journal the second you get up is a perfect way to train your brain to hold onto those memories.
- During waking hours, do reality checks.
This is the most common way to start lucid dreaming. Every few hours during the day, stop and do reality checks. Jump in the air, clap your hands together, look at a clock and check the time and think to yourself, “am I dreaming?” When you do this enough, you’ll start doing it in your dreams and you’ll realize that you are actually dreaming.
- Before sleep mantra.
Before falling asleep, tell yourself that you’ll be dreaming. Tell yourself that you’ll have a lucid dream. Oftentimes, this will force your brain to be in control once you finally get to your dreaming state. If there’s something specific you’d like to dream about, you can also repeat, “I will dream about_____” over and over again to make sure it happens. Once you realize you are dreaming of what you wanted to be dreaming of, it’ll become a lucid dream.
- Be aware of reoccurring elements in your dreams.
If you’re someone who remembers your dreams well, then start thinking about reoccurring elements. Things that repeat in your dream often. Some people have clocks everywhere in their dreams. Others have a specific person there who isn’t around in real life. Any of these key elements that you can recognize in a dream will help you realize that you are, in fact dreaming. So make sure to write down your dreams daily, then go back through and see if there are any repeating things.
- Get a light alarm clock.
We all know that an alarm clock, people talking, and different elements from the outside world can leak into our dreams. This is also true with light. If you want to lucid dream, buy an alarm light that you can schedule to turn on at certain times. Set it for a few hours from when you fall asleep to 90 minutes after you fall asleep. When you’re in REM sleep and the light turns on, you may realize – while dreaming – that things got brighter and that it’s your light. This will help you realize you’re in a dream and you can then take control of it.
- Make sure to get plenty of good quality sleep.
You need to be in REM sleep in order to lucid dream. That means you have to make sure you get into that cycle. If you suffer from low quality sleep, it usually means you’re not reaching REM or you’re not staying there long enough. You have to get to sleep at a specific time each night because sleeping on a schedule helps regulate your REM sleep. So sleep at the same time every night so you can get your body that REM sleep so you can start to lucid dream.
- Concentrate on what you want to dream of before you fall asleep.
This works for some and not others. However, if you get into the habit of shaping your dreams before you fall asleep, it could help your mind actually dream of those things when you fall asleep. The most important thing is to do this every single night. Even if it doesn’t work for a whole week, repeating this process will force your brain to start taking you seriously. So picture it, imagine it, and focus really hard on it until you’re sleeping.
- Meditate before sleeping.
Much like concentrating on your dream before falling asleep, meditating can help you dream about the things you want. But you have to meditate and do it the right way if you want it to help. Research how to properly meditate and practice this daily before bed. Not only will it help you clear your mind of everything but what you want to dream about, but it’ll also get your body ready for sleep and thus, giving you a better night of sleep filled with more REM cycles so you can lucid dream more often.
- Practice staying calm when you realize you’re dreaming.
The thing that wakes most people who want to lucid dream is the fact that they actually succeeded. When you’re in a dream and recognize it, you often get really, really excited about this. This doesn’t just happen in your dream. Your body in real life is getting really excited and it can wake you up. And this makes it hard to get back to sleep and into your lucid dream again. So when you realize you’re in a lucid dream, practice staying calm. When you realize it, do something with your body that keeps you relaxed. Rub your hands together, blink three times, take two deep breaths. This will calm your body in real life so you don’t wake up.
- Practice this every single night.
Until you can lucid dream on command, you’ll have to practice a lot. You can’t just practice a night here and there and expect to have it mastered within a few weeks. You have to do things every single night that will allow you to take control of your dreams. Repetitive behavior that leads to lucid dreaming is your best bet to succeed with it. And don’t give up!
Tips and Tricks to Make the Most of Lucid Dreaming
Here are some other tips and tricks that are known to increase lucid dreaming. Not all of these will work for everyone so be sure to try them a few times before giving up.
- Sleep on your belly.
This position has been known to increase dreaming in general, but specifically lucid dreaming. For some reason, sleeping on your stomach makes your dreams more vivid and strange and therefore, easier to recognize as actual dreams. So if you want to lucid dream, try falling asleep on your belly and staying asleep this way.
- Eat sweets before bed.
We all know the old tale about eating sugar before bed causing nightmares. But I think the truth is that eating sweets before bed increases dreaming in general. And since you have to dream a lot for lucid dreaming to work, this is a great option. However, this may not work for everyone. Others can’t have salty foods before bed if they don’t want crazy dreams. Try different methods and see which gives you the most outrageous dreams.
- Play video games before bed.
This is one of the best ways to induce lucid dreaming. Since your brain is already hardwired after playing video games to take control of a different reality, when you slip into a dream, it’ll probably look and feel like a video game. Therefore giving you the control over the whole thing. Any type of videos games will work, but ones where you’re wandering about a different reality have the best chances of inducing lucid dreams.
Training your brain to dream a different way isn’t an easy thing to do. Some of us are lucky to have lucid dreams by nature. Others have to work hard and follow all of these tips in order to make it happen.