who dreamt they were sitting next to Mother Theresa. They wondered if they might be dreaming, thinking isn’t Mother Theresa dead? They then concluded that she was obviously right next to them and therefore alive, and that it wasn’t a dream!
Are lucid dreams related to psi phenomena?
There are differing views on this. Some people claim to have organized shared dreams or precognitive dreams through lucid dreaming. Others say these are simply created in the brain like any other dream, something like self-hypnosis.
How long does it take to learn how to dream lucidly?
This completely depends on the person and circumstances. Some people have a lucid dream just a few nights after learning about it (without any specific effort), while some people can take months! If you don't get enough sleep or feel too stressed after work to try techniques, then it may take a long time, especially if you expect it to. It will also depend on how much effort you put in. However, everybody has the ability to dream lucidly.
I think I do this naturally. Does this happen?
It is quite rare to have regular lucid dreams naturally, although most people have had a lucid dream at some point in their lives. If you want to increase the frequency of your lucid dreams, carry on reading through the book; otherwise, skip to the Using section to get some ideas for your dreams.
I had a dream, was I lucid?
In general, a lucid dream is defined as a dream in which you know you are dreaming at some point, regardless of anything else. Even if you were lucid one second but lost your lucidity, it is still technically a lucid dream.However, this can be a little misleading. Sometimes you dream that you fall asleep and have a lucid dream! This is often thought of as a sign that you will have a proper lucid dream soon, as your mind is thinking a lot about lucid dreams.
Try using this table:
Signs you were lucid
Doing a reality check which gave a positive result
Attempting to stabilize the dream (see the Using chapter)
Attempting to fly, walk through mirrors, etc. immediately after realizing you are dreaming
Waking up as soon as you realize that you are dreaming
Remarks to dream characters that you are dreaming
Signs you weren't lucid
Dreaming that you dreamt
Having an unusually poor recall for that dream after you became lucid
Not recognizing illogical parts of the dream as a dream
Attempting to fly, walk through mirrors, etc. without success
Treating dream characters as you would real people*
* However, some people may have lucid dreams and deliberately choose to treat dream characters as if they were real. In fact, it can be intriguing to have real conversations with dream characters, such as physics or philosophy discussions - you may discover they know more than you do!
Possible dangers of lucid dreaming
There is no current evidence of lucid dreaming being abnormal or unhealthy in any way. However, there may be some more or less minor side effects associated with having lucid dreams. Please don’t let this scare you away from this wonderful experience; rather, remember that with dreams you are dealing with your own subconscious mind and recklessness is not recommended.
Lucid dreaming can be used for different purposes. Some may want to try it just for fun, using it as a "safe drug", or a personal virtual reality machine. Having fun is a fully valid application of lucid dreaming. However, be careful not to be addicted to this way of escaping your waking life. If you find that you are spending more time asleep than actually needed, or that you are thinking more about lucid dreams than your real waking life, take a look at your life: if you're accomplishing the goals you have for yourself, and/or are content with the state of your life, there's likely no cause for alarm. If you see that your life needs work, you might take a break... or, you might use the tools of lucid dreaming to explore what needs to be done in your life.
Most people have never even heard of lucid dreaming, much less ever experienced it. Some people are also less than open-minded and receptive to new ideas. Don’t be surprised if someone considers this whole phenomenon “weird” or “crazy” (which it is not). Don’t preach, either; it’s not your job to convince anyone.
Often people who spontaneously lucid dream, especially children, may find it surprising that not everyone does. They may even start thinking that they are the only people in the world who have lucid dreams. If they’re worried, the best support is to let them know that they’re not alone.
Lucid dreaming may weaken the borders between waking and dreaming, the conscious and subconscious mind, reality and fantasy. This might lead to problems of a dissociative nature. Probably the most common form of dissociation involves having problems distinguishing your waking memories from dream memories. Everyone who recalls at least one dream will have to sort out their dreams from reality in the morning. This can really be a problem for those who have previously had zero recall and, due to lucid dreaming, have had a major uptake in recall. Now, suddenly, they have all these excess, illogical memories to sort out. This is unlikely to be a major problem, but may be a big annoyance. An example is when you have actually misplaced an item, and "find it" in a dream. If you cannot distinguish dream from reality you will now think you know where that item is, perhaps even placed it where you felt sure to find it later, but when you awake it will not be there.
However, there are signs that you should watch for that indicate a bigger problem may be developing. Lucid dreaming in itself should not cause these to appear in a waking state:
Ability to ignore extreme pain or what would normally cause extreme pain Absorption in a computer game, television program or movie Remembering the past so vividly one seems to be reliving it Finding evidence of having done things one can’t remember doing Not remembering important events in one’s life Being in a familiar place but finding it unfamiliar Seeing oneself as if looking at another person Other people and objects do not seem real Looking at the world through a fog or haze Not recognizing friends or family members Finding unfamiliar things among one’s belongings Finding oneself in a place but unaware of how one got there Finding oneself dressed in clothes one doesn’t remember putting on
If this has happened, and there is no other cause (e.g. drugs), take a break from lucid dreaming for a while. In fact, take a break from anything fictional for a while, at least until symptoms stop. In addition, you may consider avoiding experimentation with lucid dreaming if you have some form of schizophrenia.
PLEASE NOTE: The following possibilities are controversial and have not been proven.
Controversial: Accidentally encountering “spiritual” entities
This depends on your worldview. If dreams are a creation of your brain and nothing more, you don’t need to worry about spirits or anything similar. If you want to be on the safe side, treating objects in your dream decently and politely won’t do you any harm.
The book "The Art of Dreaming" by Carlos Castaneda has a lot to say on this subject.
Controversial: Creating bad habits or becoming a control freak
When lucid dreaming, you have the option to control the dream world in ways that are impossible in the waking world. You can, for example, make objects appear or disappear, or make people act according to your will. Some people believe this may lead your subconscious to desire this kind of control in the waking world, where it’s highly inappropriate. Also, you might be tempted to apply dream-world solutions to waking-life problems instead of actually facing them; for example, just willing bad things to go away or escaping or destroying them by superpowers. Again, this is probably more of a problem if you are not mentally stable at the outset of your dreaming process.
Some people believe that experiencing many artificially induced lucid dreams often enough can be very exhausting. The main reason for this phenomenon is the result of the lucid dreams expanding the length of time between REM states. With fewer REMs per night, this state in which you experience actual sleep and your body recovers becomes infrequent enough to become a problem. This is just as exhausting as if you were to wake up every twenty or thirty minutes and watch TV. The effect is dependent on how often your brain attempts to lucidly dream per night. If you enter into a routine of attempting to lucidly dream, you may cause recursive lucid dreams that occur at each state change.
Controversial: Inability to stop
If you have trained your mind to the point where it can step over the boundary without conscious effort, you might find it difficult to stop. Do not become alarmed if you have trouble stopping the process of lucid dreaming, it is possible to get out of the habit. As long as you truly expect to stop having lucid dreams regularly, you will. You just need to stop any further attempts to lucid dream, and within a few months the lucid dreaming will go away by itself. Remember; do not be alarmed if, even with your attempts to stop, you experience further lucid dreams. It might take a while to break the habit. If you have real concerns, it may be advisable to talk with your doctor or therapist regarding appropriate treatment, including medication.
Controversial: Undesirable false awakenings
One of the advantages of having lucid dreams is being able to change a dream or wake up if things are not turning out as planned. But sometimes, while trying to leave a dream, you'll get "stuck" in a series of false awakenings. A false awakening is when you seem to have woken up but are actually still dreaming. For example, you may find yourself waking up in your room. But once there, new things will start happening—for example, someone might visit, or you might wander outside because of an odd noise, or there might be objects all over the place. Then you might realize you're dreaming, but "wake up" immediately, and the cycle repeats until you eventually do wake up or else dream about something different. This happens mostly with nightmares or when your body is very tired, so your attempts to wake up cause false awakenings. It's a good idea to get in the habit of doing a reality check just after waking up so that you'll realize when this happens and become lucid.
When this happens repeatedly in the same night, it can be very tiring and often frightening. Not only can the belief of being fully awake in your room while being exposed to unusual situations be scary, but you also may start fearing you won't be able to actually wake up. And, depending on the content of the dream, since all your dreams tend to start in your room, you may fear what could happen once you actually do wake up. But this is not a very common situation. Once you are lucid, it is usually easier to wake up or lose the dream than it is to keep dreaming.
I can do astral projection, should I learn how to dream lucidly?
Possibly not. If you often enter a “dream world” after having the experience of leaving your body, that is basically the same as the method called Wake-Initiation of Lucid Dreams. Keep in mind that many people believe that “astral projection” or “out-of-body experiences” are actually lucid dreams. Whether these are real psi phenomena are or the creative product of your dreaming mind, learning to dream lucidly will expand the variety of your experiences.
If this is so similar, why learn lucid dreaming and not astral projection?
Here are some reasons:
Lucid dreaming is something that everybody can understand. Most people have already had a lucid dream. No single theory about astral projection is accepted even in the astral projection community. If you are prepared to spend money, there are some gadgets to help people dream lucidly. Usually, they will give a light or sound signal shortly after the REM state is detected. Hypnosis tapes usually focus more on self-improvement and you cannot decide what to do with your hypnotic trance. If you don’t believe in psi phenomena, you will likely be much more comfortable reading books about lucid dreaming than those on astral projection. If you have to keep stopping and thinking "but that's not possible", there's always the danger that your feelings of skepticism will affect the way you think about lucid dreaming and make it much harder for you to do. You would be sleeping anyway, so it doesn't take up waking time. You'll be able to use this Wikibook to your advantage!
Lucid Dreaming - Dream Recall
It is important to improve your dream recall. While it is possible to have a lucid dream without remembering it, becoming familiar with your dreams will also increase your chances of becoming lucid in one. It is worth getting your dream recall up to a few dreams per night for exactly that reason.
First, a quick reminder about how often and for how long we dream. We have REM dreams approximately every 90 minutes of sleep, and while they start off at about 10 minutes, they increase in length to over 45 minutes. If you wake up while you are dreaming, you have roughly an 80% chance of remembering what you dreamt. Therefore, try setting an alarm clock to 4½, 6, or 7½ hours after you think you will fall asleep. This should wake you up directly from a dream.
The most important part of improving your dream recall is keeping a dream journal (a.k.a. dream diary). You could use an office notebook, artist’s sketchpad, an online journal, a sheet of paper, or even a Dictaphone — whatever seems natural to you. Here are some general tips for keeping your journal:
Write all your dreams and only your dreams Write down everything you remember about the dream. Phrases, colors, feelings, everything. Write it down in the morning. Sketch pictures into your notebook to help you remember symbols, places, faces, or whatever you think you will forget about your dream over time.
Ritualise your diary Using a dedicated pen in a special color helps to make keeping your journal more of a ritual. You might want to copy out rough notes into a neater dream diary later on in the day. This helps engrain the dream in your mind.
Try to go to bed early enough to ensure that you wake before your alarm clock rings. In the time you get, mull over any dreams you had and do a reality check. You may want to keep your eyes closed for as long as possible, particularly if you wake up near the sunrise. Try to use a notebook which holds a pen and scribble down whatever you can with your eyes still closed. Stay in the same position and run your dreams over in your head a few times before jumping out of bed. After you have remembered your dream, move to a different position (with your eyes still closed) than you normally sleep in, and try and remember other dreams. The position that you are in may help your brain remember what dream you had while sleeping in that position.
If you can’t remember anything, allow your mind to wander through events of yesterday or issues you’ve been thinking about. These may be a link to your dreams. Throughout the day Keep a small dream diary notebook with you all the time. It is quite easy to remember a dream in the day and then forget it by the time you get home. Even if you only get a fleeting feeling of some dream during the day, note down as much as you can remember about the dream and what triggered the memory. Think about your dream or dreams throughout the day, and ask yourself “What did I dream?” several times. Often, you only get a good answer to this an hour after you woke up. You can try to remember your dream by “back-tracking” — start from the moment when you wake up, and try to remember what you were doing before that. You may even be able to reconstruct your dream to the beginning. If you find that many of your dreams are about certain items, such as cars and painting, then, if you cannot remember your dream in the morning, think about whether it contained your specific dream signs, in this case, cars and painting. You can even make a “dream lexicon” — a piece of paper with common dream items written on it, so you can read it every time you wake up.
Also, use the autosuggestion technique to improve your dream recall (see the full description of the autosuggestion technique in the next chapter).
Once you have a lot of dreams in your diary, you can start looking through it for dreamsigns. Common ones include flying, running to chase something, and being in an old house. However, it could be anything, such as crouching, skateboarding, or having one shoe missing! Try to look for these dream signs in real life and always do a reality check when you notice them.
I sometimes remember more dreams than the time I was asleep could allow. How is this possible?
You may have had several dream scenes within a single dream period or some memories could be from past nights.
It is also possible that dream time doesn't strictly correspond to real time. Days may pass in a dream during a single night's sleep. Dreams which seem to last for hours while you have them have sometimes been found to actually have a duration of only a few minutes. There have been accounts of people having lucid dreams lasting years: Robert Monroe reported having a lucid dream that lasted a hundred years.
You might also be having a memory that was not an actual dream, but peeping in your dream circuitry that should remain shut when you are awake. Thus, these memories could be not dreams from the past, but ongoing subconscious experiences.
In what order should I write my dreams?
It is usually very hard to tell if the dreams you dreamt happened in the order you recalled them. Generally you should write them in the order you remember them, or in a random order. If you dream that you told somebody about a previous dream that happened the same night, then that previous dream probably came before the other one (though the “previous dream” could have been a false memory)
Lucid Dreaming - Induction Techniques
There are some things which are common to many techniques and these will be handled first.
Waking up and getting to sleep
Firstly, you need to know how to wake yourself up and then to go to sleep just 10–60 minutes later. Probably the easiest method is a fairly quiet alarm clock. You can put it on the other side of the room to force you up. However, you could also use the MILD technique (see below) to try and wake yourself up immediately after your dreams. This should also help with your dream recall. You might want to drink lots of water or some tea, which is a diuretic . However, you might just wake up in the morning feeling very uncomfortable! Also note that the diuretic effect of tea comes from caffeine, which may affect your ability to sleep, and which means that herbal teas will not work as well.
If you have trouble getting to sleep in the first place, don't drink water for about an hour before you think you'll turn your lights off. Try drinking water an hour or more before, to stop you from needing to use the bathroom right when you try to or become lucid. Avoid caffeine and sugar before bed, however, depending on your sensitivity to it, caffeine can stimulate the mind, but not the body, and so it can help to make you lucid. Exercise during the day for thirty minutes or more is a good way to make your body tired and ready for sleep at night. Be sure, however, to exercise more than three hours from bedtime, as it stimulates the body. The morning or afternoon is the best time to exercise.
If it still takes very long for you to fall asleep, you can take advantage of this by reading books about lucid dreaming before going to sleep. This could greatly increase your chances of getting a lucid dream. You definitely need a light next to your bed to read until you're too sleepy to carry on, as getting up to turn the light off can often wake you up fully.
Reality checks are a method of discerning between dreams and reality. It is extremely important to perform these. One could say they are the “keys” to lucid dreaming. It is also extremely important to make sure that you expect these to produce dream results — you accept your reality, even when it is a dream. It would be counterproductive to expect real-life results in a dream, as the outcome of a reality check can be modified by the placebo effect. It won't affect outcomes in real-life (unless you have a mental illness), but you will probably have a higher success rate in dreams.
So here are some reality checks. You should be familiar with the entire list even if you only use a few.
Can you breathe through a tightly shut nose?
If you're swimming, can you breathe underwater?
When you jump, do you float back down?
Do sentences change when you read them? Read, turn away and repeat it to yourself, and then turn back and read it again. Do this twice.
Do you have perfect vision? This only works for people who have at least slightly blurry vision in the waking world. Alternatively, if you have perfect vision in the waking world, you may have blurred vision in the dream world.
Are your hands a strange colour, have too many fingers (sometimes they disappear and reappear when you try to count them!) or have other abnormalities? Can you push your finger through your other hand?
Does your watch or clock tell a reasonable time? Are you even able to read the time off it? Sometimes clocks have the wrong number of hands or have strange symbols. Note: Digital clocks often work better for this reality check.
Are you able to fly (just visualise it), unlock doors, or use other magical powers? Try to change the shape of your body, or walk through a wall, window, or mirror.
Does a light switch work?
Do you look normal in a mirror?
Can you see your nose with one eye closed?
Are you able to remember how you got here, why you are here and what happened an hour ago? This is not always a reliable reality check!
Choose a few reality checks which you will do regularly. Keep doing reality checks until you are convinced that you aren't dreaming. You should always carry out more than one reality check. If you find that it is not a dream, look around you and think of what would be different if it was a dream. If you do this it will make it more likely that you will do a reality check in a dream.
Apart from doing reality checks throughout the day, you also need to do a reality check immediately after you wake up. This helps you become lucid in false awakenings, when you begin to act out the following day in a dream.
If you have trouble bringing reality checks into your dreams then before going to bed imagine yourself in a dream, noticing odd details and doing a reality check. Then do a reality check in real life. If you do this a few times before bed you will find that you will do it more often in dreams.
If you are in a situation where you cannot do a reality check, such as at a public speaking, try to do one as soon as possible. You can do some reality checks very discreetly, such as feeling your fingers to make sure you have five. If you start to say “well, I can't do a reality check now” you should not be surprised when you make this mistake in a dream!
Which reality checks are best?
When selecting reality checks, the most important properties of a reality check are reliability, speed, and discreetness.
The reliability of each reality check is how likely you are to recognise the dreamsign's results as showing that you are dreaming once you do them in a dream. It changes for each person but some reality checks are overall more accurate than others. The figures in the table above are rough only and differ for each person. It is important for a reality check to be fast. It wastes dream time if you have to search around for a book or (perhaps worse) a mirror. Plus, it could also give your subconsciousness more time to produce real-life results, especially if you believe that the check will give real-life results. Last of all, a reality check should be discreet; that is, it should not draw too much attention to you when you do it in the waking world. Suddenly jumping in the air or trying to walk through a wall as a reality check could cause much embarrassment!
On the table above, these are scored out of 5.
I have trouble remembering to do reality checks throughout the day. What reminders can I use?
You are lucky to have an interesting day and forget about lucid dreaming! It isn't advisable to explicitly write “reality check” or “lucid” on your hand, as this could create an overdependence on this reminder, which may not exist in a dream. However, you might want to just draw a dot or small circle on your hand. This should be enough to remind you to do a reality check.
Try putting a little label on your clock, mobile phone, or watch, reminding yourself to do a reality check. (Some weird colours will make it more noticeable and it will take longer for you to get used to it and ignore it.) If you check these regularly during the course of your waking day, you will be doing lots of reality checks.
A simple coffee mug with a reminder such as "Are you dreaming?" printed on it or random alarms can also serve well, but try not to become too dependent on them. Another technique is to write down three things you do regularly in a day. Examples include hearing your name, going through a doorway, turning on a TV, beginning to read a book, or seeing a stranger. In the morning, choose three such events and intend to do a reality check whenever they happen in the following day.
I did a reality check in a dream but it said that I was not dreaming. What went wrong?
Some reality checks work perfectly for some people and awfully for others. These are mostly the light switches one and the hands one. If you find that the light switch works or that your hands are perfectly normal, you need to change to a different technique.
I did a reality check in a dream but I didn't quite realise I was dreaming. What went wrong?
An example of this is looking into a mirror and seeing some huge boils or a grey mist on your reflection and not realising that you are dreaming. This is rare if you actually intended to look into the mirror as a reality check. You need to be more careful when doing your reality checks in real life or pick more reliable reality checks which show more obviously that you are dreaming. Also try to pick reality checks that are easy to do. For example, don't pick the Time RC (Reality Check) if you never wear a watch, and don't pick the Mirror RC if you hardly look in the mirror or you know that you won't find a mirror in your dream.
When you read through these techniques, remember that different techniques work for different people. There is no “best technique” and most techniques could be used to have 2–5 lucid dreams every night! You could have several lucid dreams in a night, but you will not know it unless you remember them!
However, you will probably want some advice as to which technique you should try first. A major choice is whether you want to use a method which starts from a dream or a method which starts from being awake.* If you master a technique which starts from being awake, you are able to have lucid dreams wherever you can sleep. For other techniques, you have to rely on your luck to give you lucid dreams after you have done your technique.
Here are some advantages and disadvantages for specific techniques:
Summary: Wake after some sleep and then return to bed.
Advantages: Simple. Can be very reliable, especially when used with other techniques
Disadvantages: Disrupts sleep cycle
Best for: People who want to strengthen other techniques, or who wake up in the middle of the night anyway.
Summary: Let yourself genuinely believe that you'll become lucid—without intending to become lucid—so that you really will.
Disadvantages: Less effective than some other techniques (such as MILD)
Best for: People who are highly susceptible to hypnosis or who don't have the energy for other techniques.
MILD (Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams)
Summary: Fall asleep while focused on your intention to remember that you're dreaming.
Disadvantages: Can be boring
Best for: People with a good prospective memory (remembrance of future intentions).
WILD (Wake-Initiation of Lucid Dreams)
Summary: Keep your consciousness while falling asleep and go straight into a dream.
Advantages: Lets you truly induce lucid dreams at will
Disadvantages: Can cause frightening experiences. Can take long to master
Best for: People who want to reliably have lucid dreams.
VILD (Visual Induction of Lucid Dreams)
Summary: By repetitive visualisation, incubate a dream in which you do a reality check.
Advantages: Also lets you induce lucid dreams at will. Works extremely well for some people...
Disadvantages: ...but not very well for others. Visualizing can keep you awake
Best for: People who have good visualisation skills.
CAT (Cycle Adjustment Technique)
Summary: Adjust your sleep cycle to encourage awareness during the latter part of your sleep.
Advantages: Requires relatively little effort other than adjusting your sleep cycle. Is very effective
Disadvantages: Requires you to wake up early on some days. You're only likely to get a lucid dream on every other day (though this could easily be more frequently than with other techniques)
Best for: People who have a very regular sleep cycle.
Remember, it'll help a lot to have your recall up to at least one dream a night before attempting these techniques.
* The usual acronyms in forums for this are DILD (Dream-Initiated Lucid Dream) and WILD (Wake-Initiated Lucid Dream). All the techniques that induce WILDs are described under WILD on this page.
Rated green. This technique has been successful in scientific research and/or is part of a commercial book about lucid dreaming.
WBTB stands for “Wake-Back-To-Bed”.
Wake yourself up after 4 to 6 hours of sleep, get out of bed and stay up for anywhere between a few minutes to an hour before going back to bed. It's preferable that you do something related to lucid dreaming during this time (such as reading about lucid dreaming), but it is not required. This is best combined with other techniques; many people have amazing results with a MILD/WBTB combination. The WBTB technique significantly increases your chance of a lucid dream, and using MILD (see below) in conjunction with it puts you at good odds if you're planning to sleep an hour or more after your WBTB session. However, you might need plenty of sleep time and therefore you may only be able to use it on weekends.
If you feel from experiments with this technique that you are sleeping too deeply in order to become lucid then instead try returning to sleep somewhere other than where you usually sleep, e.g. on a couch, a different bed, or even on the floor; or maybe change the way you sleep, e.g. try sleeping with a lighter blanket or reversing the orientation of your body while in the bed (that is, swapping head and feet). Do this in order to teach your body that these different surroundings mean you want to have a more conscious sleep rather than a deeper sleep. In the beginning, different surroundings will also make you more alert, which can heighten your level of consciousness during sleep.
I am sometimes awake for very short times, but cannot pull myself together enough to get up and out of bed. What can I do?
Put a bright piece of paper on the wall or ceiling so that you will see it when you wake up. Other stimuli could be a hot water bottle, a light turned on under your bed, or an alarm clock. A good technique is to place an alarm clock out of arm's reach so that you are compelled to physically get up from bed and turn it off. If this is still insufficient to restore consciousness, try making a note of your intentions to remain awake and place the note on your alarm clock. After you get a lucid dream with this method, you'll find it easier and easier to get out of bed because you'll have more motivation.
Rated green. This technique has been successful in scientific research and/or is part of a commercial book about lucid dreaming.
This technique describes how to use autosuggestion to have lucid dreams. It can be especially effective for people who are highly susceptible to hypnosis, but for most people, MILD will probably be more effective.
As you're falling asleep, suggest to yourself that you will have a lucid dream either that night or in the near future. You can use a mantra (such as “I will recognize that I'm dreaming”) if you want, but make sure you don't try too hard to get a lucid dream. Instead of putting intentional effort into the suggestion, try to genuinely expect to have a lucid dream. Let yourself think expectantly about the lucid dream you're about to have, but be patient if you don't get one right away.
You could also use autosuggestion to improve dream recall. Just use the technique as described above, but instead of suggesting that you'll have a lucid dream, suggest that you'll remember your dreams when you wake up. You could also use a mantra with this, such as “When I wake up, I will remember what I dreamt”. Just be careful not to put too much intentional effort into the mantra — try to genuinely expect to remember your dreams instead.
Rated green. This technique has been detailed in Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming by Stephen LaBerge.
MILD stands for “Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams", or sometimes, “Mnemonically Induced Lucid Dream". The MILD technique was developed by Stephen LaBerge, and is described fully in his book Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming.
With the MILD technique, as you're falling asleep, you concentrate on your intention to remember to recognize that you're dreaming. Repeat a short mantra in your head, such as “Next time I'm dreaming, I will remember I'm dreaming”. Think about what this means (i.e., that you want to remember that you're dreaming—in the same way you might go to a grocery store and suddenly remember that you need bread), and imagine that you're back in a dream you've had recently, but this time you recognize that you're dreaming. For example, imagine yourself flying and realizing that it's a dream because you're flying. Keep repeating and visualizing the mantra until you're sure that your intention is set in your mind or you fall asleep. If you stop repeating and visualizing the mantra, then still try to make sure the last thing in your mind before falling asleep is your intention to remember to recognize that you're dreaming.
In general the MILD technique can be practiced when you first go to bed at night, or after you have awakened from a dream during the night. If you practice the MILD technique after you have awakened from a dream during the night you should first run through the dream you have awakened from in your mind to ensure that you remember it. Some people find it helpful to jot down a few notes about their dream in their dream journal.
Once you have committed the dream to memory, go back to sleep following the steps above, except this time visualize the dream you just had. Run through the dream until you encounter a dreamsign that you originally missed. Now instead of missing the dreamsign in your visualizations recognize the dreamsign and become “lucid”.
Repeat these steps until you have fallen asleep, hopefully you will find that you have reentered the dream that you just had and will recognize the dreamsign you marked earlier and become lucid.
Rated green. This technique has been successful in scientific research and/or is part of a commercial book about lucid dreaming.
WILD stands for “Wake-Initiated Lucid Dream”, or “Wake-Initiation of Lucid Dreams” to refer to any technique that involves falling asleep consciously. These techniques are similar to self-hypnosis. Some people believe that WILDs are not actual dreams, but are instead astral projection. Various detailed resources are available under that moniker.
For most people, they are far easier to induce in the early morning after waking up or in afternoon naps, as the sleep cycle will continue with a REM period. Once you are experienced with inducing WILDs, you can try to induce them at other times.
For WILDs to occur, it is best for your body to be completely relaxed. When you go back to bed, lie down comfortably. Now tense and relax your body, starting from your shoulders and working downwards, then back up to the face. This (or similar relaxation, meditation, or trance techniques) should make your body feel slightly heavy and relaxed.
There are many different ways to induce WILDs, but they all involve doing something to keep the mind awake as the body falls asleep. A few techniques are detailed below.
If you pay attention to your physical body while using these techniques, then you will likely enter sleep paralysis (which usually happens after you're already asleep) without losing conscious awareness of your body. You will get a tingling and buzzing sensation (this might be unpleasant). These sensations might be so strong that you feel that you will die (e.g., you might feel a choking sensation), but don't worry, this is perfectly safe! In fact, this process happens to you every time you sleep, you are just not conscious during it. Sometimes you can simply wait until you fall asleep straight into a lucid dream. However, if you don't fall asleep, and you become completely paralysed (with the exception of your eyes), don't try to move. Imagine your dream hand (or spirit hand if you prefer) going up and leaving your physical hand behind. Now you should have two separate bodies, a dream one and a real one. Control your dream body only — if you control your real one, you will wake up. Now you can try to roll out of bed into your dream world (alternatively, you can get up and walk through a mirror, or sink into your bed).
Try not to think about anything for more than a second or two by constantly switching your attention. This simulates your thinking patterns when you are about to fall asleep. Once you have done this for long enough, the images and sounds begin to take momentum on their own (this is called hypnagogic imagery) and get very strange and illogical. You should enter a dream at about this point and you will probably become lucid quickly. Otherwise, you will eventually realise you have entered sleep paralysis consciously (see above).
Another technique is to count up to 100 in your head, optionally adding (for example) an “I'm dreaming” between each number. Alternatively, you can imagine going down stairs, and, on every floor, reading the floor number from 100 down to 0. Try to make this image as vivid as possible — include not only what you see, but also what you hear, feel (touch the banister), and smell. At some point this image should continue into a dream or you will begin to get sleep paralysis as described above. It is easy to lose count, especially with counting up to 100 with an 'I'm dreaming' with each number. But you must think this: you are not going to sleep. Your body is, and you must concentrate fully.
This method might suit certain people, but not others. The idea is pretty much the same as the other WILD methods, which is to remain conscious while entering the dream state. In order to use this method, you must sleep in a perfectly quiet place. You need that to hear the tinnitus, which is the inner sound buzzing inside your ears. Lay down and relax as much as possible while trying to hear the sound. This method is best combined with the WBTB technique. When you are too tired, you will usually fall asleep too fast and it is difficult to remain conscious. By the time you realize that, the buzzing sound will increase in intensity. This might frighten newcomers, but be assured nothing bad is going to happen. No, you will not be deaf when you wake up; it's perfectly safe! It is just an effect caused by your brain trying to change mode, from listening to the ambient sound to listening to the sound of dreamland, which is not real sound but just electrical charge inputed to the part of the brain to create a sensation of hearing. By that time, you will enter the hypnagogic state. All you need to do is concentrate; do not be afraid or think of anything, just be still, and in time your dream body will float, separating from your physical body, and there you go, you arrive in the dreamland.
Slight Physical Discomfort
For the purpose of helping to retain your conscious awareness, slight physical discomfort is useful while performing any WILD technique. This prevents you from just drifting off to sleep. If you are lying down on your bed to do WILD and you are totally comfortable then your chances of going to sleep instead of remaining conscious are very high. The WILD technique relies on a form of deep trance induction, and many people who induce trances for other reasons rely on slight physical discomfort — for example the lotus position, or sitting in a hard-backed chair. Depending on your own preferences and your requirements of discomfort for success, you could choose from the following methods, arranged in ascending order of discomfort:
1.Stacking pillows so that you can sit up in bed — the discomfort is caused by not being in a normal sleeping position. 2.Lying down on a hard floor. 3.Lifting your forearm vertically upwards, with the rest of your arm resting on the bed. 4.Sitting in a hard chair.
Rated green. This technique has been successful in scientific research and/or is part of a commercial book about dreaming.
To incubate a dream about a specific topic, you should first think of a phrase that summarizes that topic (e.g., “I want to go to Atlantis.”). It may help to write the phrase down. If there's something you want to do in the dream, think of a phrase to summarize that too (e.g., “I want to watch Atlantis sink into the ocean.”). If you want to become lucid in the dream, then you should probably write something like “When I dream of [the topic], I will remember that I'm dreaming.” beneath your topic phrase. Immediately go to sleep and focus on your topic phrase. Visualize yourself dreaming about the topic and (if you want to become lucid) realizing that you're dreaming. If there's something specific you want to do in the dream, visualize yourself doing it once you become lucid (not very likely to work if you don't become lucid in the dream). Think about your phrase and topic (and intention to become lucid) as you fall asleep. Make sure that the last thing in your mind before falling asleep is your intention to (lucidly) dream about the topic you want to dream about. You might want to wake yourself up when the dream starts to fade so that you remember more of the dream; you can do this by ignoring your perception of the dream environment — the opposite of dream stabilization techniques (just make sure you do a reality check when you wake up to make sure you're really awake).
Rated green. This technique has been successful in scientific research and/or is part of a commercial book about dreaming.
Dream-chaining or “chaining dreams” is a method to re-enter your dream after you've woken up. It can work for lucid and non-lucid dreams, but you will probably want to enter your dream lucidly.
Once you wake up from a dream (if you don't think you were dreaming before you woke up, it may not work well) you should stay still and keep your eyes closed. It doesn't matter if you move a little or open your eyes, it's just that the less movement, sensory stimulation, and less time awake, the better. Ideally, it should feel less like you've woken up, and more like you've taken a 30 second break from dreaming. Once you're prepared to go back to sleep, close your eyes and either visualize yourself back in your dream, or use the “spinning technique” given in the next chapter to imagine yourself spinning back “into” your dream. Spinning is a little faster than visualization. Be sure to maintain the fact that you are dreaming (unless you don't want to be lucid), or you may lose your lucidity while falling asleep. Stimulate your senses (see the next chapter) as early as possible.
Rated yellow. There have been anecdotes from several people of this working.
VILD stands for “Visual Induction of Lucid Dreams”, or sometimes, “Visually Induced Lucid Dream”. This technique has been perfected by Peter Harrison, known as Pedro on the forums. You may wish to read the main thread about the technique. The version described here has been adapted slightly.
First, make sure you're relaxed. You can use the relaxing technique mentioned in the description of the WILD technique. You can also imagine your brain emptying out and becoming sleepier. If you have a hard time falling asleep quickly, it should help to read a book (preferably about lucid dreaming) for a while before you go to sleep, until you feel very sleepy.
Now, you need to visualise a dream which you had prepared earlier. Here's an example of a prepared dream:
I am in a red room with one door. A friend next to me asks me to show them what a reality check is. I do my reality checks (which show that I am dreaming), tell them that I am dreaming, and head towards the door.
Make sure you know exactly what the dream would be like, such as which friend, the exact words they say, and which reality checks you do. Reality checks that require no props, such as books or clocks, are recommended. Visualise this dream slowly three times, to make sure that you know every detail. Then, start going full-on and visualise the dream over and over. You should visualise the dream as though you are looking through your own eyes, not from a third-person perspective. If you find your thoughts drifting, ignore them and continue to visualise the dream continuously. You will need patience for this — don't just give up if you think it won't work.
When you actually dream this, you will not notice the difference — until you do your reality checks! Continue with the dream as you incubated it (e.g., remember to thank your friend!) before continuing through the door.
I tried to visualise the dream until I fell asleep, but I just stayed awake. What went wrong?
If visualising keeps you awake, the VILD technique is not the technique for you! You should use a different technique.
Rated yellow. There have been some anecdotes from at least one person of this technique working.
LILD stands for “Lucid Induction of Lucid Dreams”, or sometimes, “Lucidly Induced Lucid Dream”.
To use this technique, you need to have a lucid dream in the first place, but it can help you to get more later. The idea is to do something in your dream that will help you to become lucid the next time you are dreaming. For example, you could ask a dream character for help — ask them to meet you the next night and tell you that you're dreaming. If it works out the way it should, then the next time you are dreaming, the dream character will walk up to you and tell you that you're dreaming, and so you'll (hopefully) become lucid. There are many variations on this technique; you could set up signs in your dreamworld that remind you to do a reality check or eat lucid pills instead! This technique is not likely to be very effective, but it can work; it relies on the chance that you'll subconsciously induce the reminder (i.e., the dream character or sign or whatever you used) during some later dream, and become lucid because of it.
Note that LILD is best used in conjunction with dreamsigns and autosuggested non-lucid dreams. The basic idea as explained above is to have something in your dream that triggers the transition from normal dream state to lucid dreaming. To simply tell a character to tell you that you're dreaming the next time you fall asleep is usually not enough. There is no guarantee that you will dream about that character and there is no guarantee that your subconscious will believe the character enough to make you snap into lucidity (make you realise that you are in fact dreaming).
Now as this technique suggests, you must have some previous alternate means of having a lucid dream. Whatever technique you employ to get into this initial lucid dream state is not really important, but you should try to remember to use this technique (LILD) once you do get into a lucid dream state. Thinking of this before falling asleep (MILD) sometimes helps and usually takes many lucid dreams before finally remembering. Once you are in a lucid dream, make up a dreamsign. It can be anything. It can be an object. It can be food or a drink (that doesn't taste like anything). It's usually best to pick something that isn't quite right. Something that on the surface would appear normal in the real world, but that upon closer inspection is not quite right. Food or drinks are good as they can have no taste or not be refreshing in a dream. But try and pick something that you dream about a lot so that there is a better chance of you dreaming about this dreamsign later on. Now pick something else that only appears or happens in your lucid dream. It can be anything. If there's nothing in your current lucid dream, create something really strange. Something that could never be confused with the real world. Now mentally associate the dreamsign (food) with this unusual item or event that could never happen in the real world. But at the same time, this unusual item or event should equate to "lucid dreaming". When you see the unusual item, it should only make you think of when you have a lucid dream as this should be the only time you encountered it. So we have a 3 item associative link. Do all of the above while in a lucid dream.
The next time you dream about your dreamsign, your subconscious will think of the unusual item or event. The unusual item or event will make you think of lucid dreaming. The two combined impossibilites (1. dreamsign that cannot exist in the real world 2. item or event that only appears in lucid dreams) will make your unconscious try to make a decision on all this. This will make your conscious mind come to the surface and hopefully you will come to the conclusion that you are dreaming. Many times, you will not want to deal with it because you are too tired (that's why you're sleeping, no?) and fall back into a normal dream state. This is why it can take a few tries. Eventually, your subconscious will start putting clear signs in your dreams like billboards that spell out "YOU ARE DREAMING". But once it triggers, it is quite the realisation that an instant before, you had no real control over your actions and now you can do whatever you want. Another note... if it failed, you will usually know why. So next time, you can choose another dreamsign or slightly different technique or something more shocking. Once you get this working once, it is relatively easy to use over and over as the hard part just described is over with. Sometimes disassociative techniques are needed if used too much.
To sum up, this technique is a way to force a reality check while in a normal dream state where your subconscious has no choice but to come to the conclusion that you are in fact dreaming. Once your mind knows that you're dreaming, there will be no other conclusion than your conscious mind taking over. And this is what lucid dreaming is all about.
Rated green/yellow. There have been anecdotes from many different people of this technique working.
1.For one week, go to bed at the same time each night and get up 90 minutes earlier than you usually do. Spend those 90 minutes doing reality checks every 2–5 minutes. 2.Thereafter, on alternate days: follow the routine from step one, and set the intention to do your reality check routine at its regular time, while getting a full night sleep. This will cause the reality check conditioning to kick in during REM primetime.
Tibetan Buddhists practice what is known as Tibetan dream yoga. Probably the most time consuming way of inducing lucid dreams, it is also, according to the practitioners, the most rewarding. The basic practice is awareness. Awareness should be practiced while sleeping just as well as while being awake. Meditating on the question “who is aware?” might catapult you into a higher degree of awareness. Keeping this level of awareness is another matter. The Tibetans have developed many yogic exercises and disciplines to be practiced. Maybe the most interesting difference between Tibetan dream yoga and modern western methods of lucid dream induction is the Tibetan claim of the possibility to be aware during deep sleep, not only in the REM periods of sleep. For the reader who is interested in these methods a good start is to begin to regard all experience as a dream. After all, from the countless multitude of matter and radiation reaching our senses the nervous system tunes in only to a small fraction of this chaos. For members of the phalanx that believes we, more or less, create our own reality in the above sense this practice should feel natural. In general though, it's recommended to gain instruction from a teacher in the flesh rather than from books (like this one!).
Rated red. There have been no anecdotes found of these techniques working.
Many of these are combinations of other techniques with some addition or modification.
Inducing dreamsigns - You can become lucid by trying to induce specific dreamsigns to watch for during your dream. You can use autosuggestion (see above) to associate a specific dreamsign with doing a reality check, or you can just get used to doing a reality check whenever you encounter the dreamsign while awake. Some dreamsigns you can use: Thirst - Avoid drinking for very long. Wake up later in the night and put salt on your tongue or eat chili to make you even thirstier. Fill a glass of fresh cold water and take it with you back to bed. Hopefully, you'll dream of getting something to drink. False Awakening - Set your intention as you fall asleep to wake up in the middle of the night. If you're a heavy sleeper, you'll hopefully dream of waking up in the middle of the night. If you're a light sleeper, you're probably more likely to really wake up. Bladder - Drink large amounts of water before going to sleep. You should dream of having to go to the bathroom. You may wet your bed! This technique should be used carefully, to avoid the possibility of water intoxication
Chakra - Use Chakra ('third eye') meditation to help you fall asleep. Use with the WBTB technique.
Conditioning - Strictly punish or reward yourself after a dream where you failed to realise you were dreaming or when you do have a lucid dream. This could increase motivation but not necessarily cause lucid dreams in itself. Cognitive psychology, however, states that this punishment/reward system is very counterproductive, because it ties our self-esteem to the outcome of the endeavour. The opposite of this system would be to see each attempt, including those that fail, as another step towards success.
Food and drink
There are various foods and drinks that you can consume which seem to have some effect on sleeping and dreaming. Note that for most of these there is no explanation or scientific study of how they work, and some may simply be placebos.
Don't go overboard with the consumption of any of these, as overdosing could have nasty effects (well, milk should be safe unless you're allergic). Don't experiment without accumulating enough knowledge first. The authors in no way encourage the use of legal or illegal drugs.
The amino acid tryptophan, which can be found in warm milk amongst other sources, is a precursor for the hormone serotonin, and has been proven to help you fall asleep. Vitamin B6 and others of the B group are important for neuronal functions. Melatonin is another hormone with neuronal effects.
5-HTP or L-5-HTP is a supplement that is related to serotonin, which some claim has induced lucid dreaming on approximately half the nights it is taken.
Caffeine is useful in WILD Techiques as it helps the mind stay focused and think vividly. Please notice that caffeine is an addictive substance and may have negative effects on your health.
Dissociatives and hallucinogens can be used to create a (more or less) lucid dream-like state, though whether or not these help with lucid dreaming is debatable. The authors do not recommend use of these substances for induction of lucid dreams, nor do they urge the breaking of any applicable laws.
Certain drugs are known to trigger hallucinations and bouts of lucid dreaming which have the potential to turn disastrous. A person going through all this needs to go to get treatment before things spin out of control.
Some dissociatives and hallucinogens are Amanita muscaria, Ayahuasca, DMT, DXM, Ketamine, LSD, Mescaline, Morning glory seeds, Psilocybe mushrooms, Salvia divinorum in higher doses
There are various gadgets you can use to become lucid easily. They generally detect when you are in the REM state and then provide a light and/or sound signal. This signal is supposed to be adjusted so that it doesn't wake you up but does enter your dream. The signal is then recognised as showing that you're dreaming, and you become lucid.
The most well-known device is the NovaDreamer from the Lucidity Institute. However, this product is no longer produced. Be sure to check for recommendations for devices from lucid dreaming forums such as those at Dreamviews.
A similar device is the DreamMaker. The DreamMaker works very similarly to the NovaDreamer but without the Dream Alarm feature, which worked to wake the dreamer in the middle of the REM state. This device comes with a mask, a circuit board with adjustable controls, the batteries needed to operate it, a short owner's manual, a lucid dreaming workbook, and the Stephen LaBerge book Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming. The circuit board is supplied completely ready to use, but you have to insert insert the batteries and put the circuit board into the mask yourself.
An alternative is the Kvasar. The Kvasar costs about $20 in raw materials, but needs to be constructed by somebody skilled in electronics as it is not sold commercially. It can also be hard to operate.
Another do-it-yourself alternative to commercial dreaming masks is Nate True's Lucid Dream Mask, which does not bother with difficult-to-calibrate sensors and just uses a timer for flashing lights, and has (ostensibly) competitive results with all of the former gadgets.
The owners of Wellness Tools, who makes the DreamMaker, and Kvasar have not had friendly relations; see DreamViews.com.
There are many programs for your computer that can assist with lucid dreaming. These can give out verbal cues while you sleep, or assist in doing your reality checks:
Liquid Dream II is available for Windows. It can be used as a dream journal, a dreamsign list, and many other things. One of its more notable features is that you can have it play a voice each time you enter a REM sleep period. Gnaural is a multi-platform programmable binaural-beat generator. Gnaural is released as free software under the GNU General Public License. (For a browser based demo, see Gnaural Java)) Brainwave Generator is available for Windows. It works by playing binaural beats into your ears, changing your brainstate. Reality Check is available for Windows. It works by appearing on your computer screen at random times to remind you to do a reality check. SBaGen is available for Windows, MacOS X, and Linux. It works by playing binaural beats into your ears, changing your brainstate. Neuro-Programmer is available for Windows. This is powerful software that creates binaural beats and can work in conjunction with special goggles to induce certain mental states. LucidWeaver is available for mobile phones and PDA that support Java (J2ME). It includes a Dream alarm with sound cue which can be adjusted to a personal REM-sleep cycle for improving dream recall and lucidity training. Randomized reality tests can be set and it can be used as regular alarm clock.
Remotehypnosis.com has a hypnosis mp3 that can help you achieve lucid dreams.
Lucid Dreaming - Using
Once you are able to dream lucidly, you may find that it is difficult to stay in the dream; for example, you may wake instantly or the dream may start “fading” which is characterized by loss or degradation of any of the senses, especially vision.
Don't worry if you wake immediately after becoming lucid. As you gain more experience of becoming lucid, it will come as less of a shock and you’ll be less likely to wake up. Make sure you do a reality check to be sure you’re not still dreaming.
You can avoid more gradual fadings by stimulating your senses. This means listening for sounds, feeling around with your hands, and paying attention to what you see and smell. The idea here is to load your senses with stimulation from the dream so that your senses cannot shift to the real world. If you close your eyes, you are removing a great deal of sensory information and might wake up. Staring at a single point can cause effectively the same problem if you stop seeing everything else in your peripheral vision, or don't see enough movement. If you hear something loud in real life and are hearing nothing in the dream, your senses may shift to the real world, causing you to wake up.
Ideally you should be able to use the techniques below to stabilize your dream before it starts to fade (or “black out”). As always, prevention is better than cure - and the more stable and vivid your dreams are, the more enjoyable they will be. However, if that doesn't work you may be able to use stabilization techniques to stop the fading; the spinning technique is probably the most effective in this case.
If you still can’t stabilize your dream, you may decide to try and wake up with the aim of remembering your dream as accurately as possible while its still fresh in your mind.
Rub your hands together and concentrate on the rubbing. You should feel the friction and the heat of your hands. If you can concentrate on the feelings that this action generates, your dream is likely to stabilize and become more vivid and detailed. You can also keep one hand on your arm while exploring the dream for a constant sense of stimulation. This technique is most effective when used in conjunction with the “Slowing it down” technique, by staring at your hands while rubbing them together.
You spin around in your dream much as you would if you suddenly want to feel dizzy in real life. The sensation of movement is the key here to stabilizing the dream. Many people report success with this technique, but it also tends to cause a complete change of your dream scene (see Changing the dream environment below). If the dream scene disappears completely (e.g., becomes black), it is necessary to visualize the dreamscape to return to the dream.
Slowing it down
Some people like to stabilize the dream by “stopping to smell the roses” and slowly staring at a dream object until it becomes clear. The dreamer would then look around elsewhere, noticing how detailed everything is, thereby stimulating the visual portion of the dream. However, others find this can cause their lucid dream to end. If you focus on one object for too long to the exclusion of everything else, you will likely wake up or lose the dream. It works best to pay attention to everything in your vision, including your peripheral vision, not just the center of the object you're staring at. If staring at a single object doesn't work for you, try to let your eyes wander around instead.
Touching your dream
If you feel that your dream is too abstract and fear that it might be fading, you can prevent this by grabbing hold of a solid object in your dream and focus on how real the sensation is. A good tip is to find something you know is stuck, for instance a table nailed to the ground, and pull it with all your muscular power (no supernatural powers!), and you should feel how solid it is. The idea is that you convince yourself that dream solid and real — through tactile stimulation — and nothing abstract.
Regaining waking memory or skills
This is also likely to enhance your degree of lucidity. Try to remember facts from your waking life, such as your phone number, address, etc., or do some simple math. Or, start reciting the lyrics to your favorite song. Or perhaps try some sports practice you know well — this all depends on which senses / methods of thought process you tend to rely on most in your waking life.
A couple of the users on the forums have had success with creating a false awakening to stabilize a dream. If the above techniques are failing and you find your dream still fading, and you really want to continue your lucid dream, do the following:
1.Expect to have a false awakening. 2.When you think you wake up, perform a reality check.
You will either have a false awakening, reality check, and then end up with an even more vivid lucid dream, or will really wake up, perform a reality check, and realize that you just woke up (bad luck!).
The most important part of this is the reality check. This is what will continue your lucid dream. You should be performing reality checks when you wake up. If you plan to induce false awakenings in order to stabilize a dream, the reality check that you perform as you wake up is as important as the one that got you lucid, if not more.
Perform every check in the book until you are positively, absolutely, and completely sure that you aren’t dreaming. A series of 10 reality checks are more likely to produce dream results in a dream, especially if you are expecting dream results. This technique is for those who are desperate!
If you have had a good experience with this technique, please go to the talk page and post your experiences, as there have not been many anecdotes of it working yet.
Recovering from lost visuals
There are a few things you can try to do if you lose your vision. Most of these are less likely to help prolong your dream than the above techniques.
You can also try these if you have just woken up and are lying in your bed. You may be able to return to your dream.
You can repeat over and over a phrase similar to “I can see my dream,” or otherwise enforce in your mind that you can see a dreamscape. (See Autosuggestion)
You can visualise the scene as it would be if you could see it. You could take this as an opportunity to change the dreamscape by visualising a different environment from the previous one in the dream. This can be made easier by spinning as you visualize.
Altering the dream
Changing the dream environment
You can change the dreamscape by visualising a different environment from the previous one in the dream. This can be made easier by spinning as you visualize. Another technique is to summon a television remote from your pocket, and then simply “change the channel”, imagining the place will change to where you want it to. Note that the more specific of a place you choose, the easier it will be to get there. If you say, “I want to be at the Superbowl,” you should choose where you want to be sitting, standing, or playing, not just that you want to be inside the stadium.
Summoning objects into your dream
Sometimes you would like something to eat or stab with in a lucid dream, or someone to talk with. There are many ways to generate any object you choose in a lucid dream, but each method takes practice and persistence, as well as a good deal of confidence and concentration. Remember, it’s your dream, anything you want to happen will happen.
In the dream world, your expectations are as good as facts. You have probably noticed how everything you think about instantly takes form in the dream (classic example: “Uh oh, I hope there's not a monster behind that corner” and you instantly see the monster coming at you). Use this to your advantage, and “entice” your brain to create what you want.
Here are some methods to help you summon objects:
You can grab for objects that are not within your field of vision. For example, you can say to yourself, “When I reach into my pocket there will be a box of mints in there,” and attempt to take a box of mints out of your pocket. There are variations of this, such as reaching behind you or reaching through a mirror in hopes of getting hold of what you want. You could say aloud or in your head in a lucid dream, “When I turn around, so-and-so will be in front of me,” “When I walk through this mirror, I will see . . . ,” or “In a few moments, so-and-so will walk through that door (or around that corner).” Stare at a point in empty space and think or say aloud that whatever object you want will materialize before your eyes. You will probably have to really concentrate for this one. Here's an example:
“I am lucid in my backyard, and the scene is nighttime, and pretty dark. I don't like the dark in my lucid dreams because I'm more likely to wake up, plus there could be a monster lurking at every corner. I look at the horizon, and concentrate on the sun rising out from below it. It doesn't happen at first, but I keep going and eventually I see a little light, and then the sun comes out. Strangely enough, the sun is white, but the surrounding sky is still black. I see a sky-blue ring around the white sun, and, in a quick motion, I point my hand to it and shout, ‘Blue!’. While this seems stupid now, my command actually got the blue light to spread around the sky, creating a daytime effect.”
Some people have also had success by closing their eyes and just imagining the object they desire in front of them, and when they open their eyes . . .
Remember to not doubt your control — as explained all over this wikibook, your dreams are affected by the placebo effect. If you believe you can attempt extremely hard things in a dream, and have them occur and not wake up, you will have an easier time performing that action!
What you can do
This final section should see you off with a few ideas of what to do in a dream.
It is adviced to have a clear purpose for your lucid dreams whenever you go to sleep. In other words, every night you consider what you want to do when you have a lucid dream, and select one thing, or perhaps two or three if you are skilled. Avoid this:
"What am I gonna do what am I gonna do? I wanna fly, walk through walls, eat until my stomach explodes, spy on my neighbours, drive in a car real fast, woooeeey I'm gonna . . ."
You will either end up doing none of these things in your dream or getting overexcited and waking up.
Now that that’s clear, here’s a list of possible things you could do, ordered in difficulty. Remember that you might find some things unusually hard (or easy) compared to most lucid dreamers, this is perfectly normal! This is a very rough guide — if you’ve managed something in the Easy section, don't be scared to try for something from the Medium section.
Most people enjoy flying around in dreams. There are different styles of flight that people use, each with a varied level of success for each individual. Methods such as “swimming through the air”, “Superman style” (one arm outstretched), “Neo style” (both arms at your side), and “Airplane style” (both arms out) ,"eagle style" (gliding through the air currents, using your fingered wings to navigate altitudes) are often used. There are a few methods of getting up into the air, such as simply jumping (you can jump really high in dreams if you believe it) or imagining a great force pushing you from your feet. Some people summon jetpacks and slip them on to fly. Be creative and dream up your own methods.
Explore your dream world
Be warned, you are quite likely to forget you are dreaming when exploring! Doing reality checks often and muttering to yourself about how real everything seems can help to avoid this. You can also ask a dream character to tag along with you and remind you when you forget that you’re dreaming.
Walk through a mirror or wall
You can pass through dream objects such as walls, glass, trees, and everything else. Confidence is really the key here. Some variations on going through stuff can be going in slowly, wiggling your finger in first, or running quickly into the object and telling yourself you would go through it. Some people particularly like to go through mirrors because of the unpredictable effects this action produces. However, if you tell yourself you will end up at a certain location before passing through a mirror, you can change the dream scene quickly. Be warned, some people experience nothing and wake up after passing through. You may want to hold your arm to keep yourself in the dream.
Look at the sky
People often report amazing skies in lucid dreams. You can also shout colors at it and paint some sunrises.
Show off to your friends (“Hey guys; I can go through this wall . . . naked!”) Do plenty of sports (trampolining, skiing, skinny dipping, doing erotic dancing, etc.) Last but not least: Edit Wikipedia/Wikibooks articles (see question 90 of the Wikipediholic Test) and see if the changes remain when you awake!
Eat until you’re near bursting! Create some dream characters (possibly from a book or film) Try to find your spirit guide Experiments (in fact, researchers will often want people of various skills) Body swapping/possession (where you enter a different body) Morph Take some drugs (this is more realistic if you’ve done so in real life)
Many people have also experienced realistic effects when trying drugs in dreams that they have never taken in real life.
Drive a vehicle (This is fun if you are too young to drive in real life) Fight
Nobody can tell you what you should and should not do in your dreams; the choice remains up to you.
It is usually more interesting to use melee weapons (knives, swords, brass knuckles) than projectile weapons.
"Beat up" your enemies
The excitement, or closing your eyes, can cause you to wake up. An additional reason for waking up may be fixing your eyes on your partner, as holding a gaze for long is also known to cause waking up.
More morphing like 360 degree vision, sonar vision, etc. Create false memories, etc. False memories can be made by having a lucid dream, but scripting it so you will think it is real, e.g. you think what happened in your dream happened in real life. This is hard because you will have to forget it is a dream while staying lucid (knowing it is a dream). Compose music or poems (or request them from your subconscious) Build a fantasy dream world! (some people build a dream world naturally) Visit the Lucid Crossroads Have precognition (your subconscious can be very good at predicting the future with relationships and career) Experience death. This could be a very harsh experience, and depending on your religious beliefs may summon you into a different world or nothingness. Ask the dream to show you your worst fears/deepest traumas/etc. (be prepared for some bad stuff to surface) Build/use impossible objects, such as hypercubes, Klein bottles, etc.
With all the techniques in this book, you may feel overwhelmed and uncertain of what to do next. Don't worry — just choose a few techniques to “map your way to lucidity”, decide on a few things you will want to do from this page, and start!
If you are still unsure of what to do, don’t worry — you might happen to have a lucid dream tonight!
Lucid Dreaming - Glossary
Cycle Adjustment Technique
The technique in which you adjust your sleeping cycle to promote awareness in your dreams.
Dream character (DC)
Any character inside your dream. Some people believe they are real people or spirit guides, others that they're just products of the dreaming mind.
Dream-Initiated Lucid Dream (DILD)
A lucid dream that starts as a normal dream, but in which you become lucid.
Remembrance of what you dreamt.
Result from a reality check that shows that you are dreaming. You only want these in dreams.
The landscape and scenery in your dream.
Hypnagogic imagery (HI)
The images, sounds, etc. that you perceive as you fall asleep. Not to be confused with phosphenes.
Lucid dream (LD)
A dream in which you are aware that you are dreaming.
Lucid Induction of Lucid Dreams (LILD)
The technique in which you do something in a lucid dream that theoretically will remind you that you're dreaming in your next dream.
Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams (MILD)
The technique in which you mentally repeat to yourself, as you fall asleep, your future intention to realize that you're dreaming.
Named Subconscious Technique (NST)
This technique is a useful aid to the MILD and autosuggestion techniques where the dreamer actively engages his or her subconscious for dream results.
Somebody skilled at travelling through dreams.
Patches of colour (usually red or blue) that you can constantly see while your eyes are closed.
Rapid Eye Movement (REM)
The stage of the sleep cycle that your most vivid dreams occur in.
Reality check (RC)
A way to determine if you're dreaming or not (e.g. breathing with your nose shut, switching lights on/off, etc.).
Result from a reality check that shows that you are awake. You want these in real-life, but you don't want these in dreams.
Sleep paralysis (SP)
The inability to move brought on by sleep, which is what allows people to move in dreams while lying at rest. May be experienced conscouslly, for example during the WILD technique.
Visual Induction of Lucid Dreams (VILD)
The technique in which you incubate a dream that reminds you to do a reality check and become lucid.
Vivid dream (VD)
A dream with unusually good recall.
The technique in which you wake up for a bit after a few hours of sleep and go back to sleep again. Usually used in combination with other techniques.
Wake-Initiated Lucid Dream (WILD)
A lucid dream that you enter consciously directly from the waking state, and already lucid. "Wake-Initiation of Lucid Dreams" is often used to refer to techniques in which you go directly from consciousness to the dream state.