You know that feeling when you are dreaming, and there’s something terrible going on that makes your heart beating hard and fast, and your whole body’s just trembling, but then suddenly, you somehow realize the entire thing isn’t real, and you start feeling better, although you are still dreaming? Now that’s lucid dreaming, and you can consider yourself quite lucky if you experienced it sometime in your life.
The thing is, only 20 percent of the people worldwide can do this intentionally. There are techniques you can learn and then be able to lucid dream yourself, but it takes time. That means that you can be in a realm of dreams each night, aware of what’s happening, which means you can do whatever you want and go wherever you desire without any consequences. How awesome is that?!
So if you wonder how to do that, how to lucid dream, we suggest you continue reading the lines below. Experts say it is a skill you can become better at with time.
What is Lucid Dreaming?
Lucid dreaming is dreaming while being aware you are doing exactly that. Simply said, it’s a conscious dream. Thanks to some techniques, people can float through their sub-conscience, totally aware that it is not reality, but remaining there for a while. Some said that this experience helped them resolve problems that bothered them and face some traumas
Our minds are capable of many things, and we do not know where their limits are. With lucid dreaming, you will be able to work on some personal issues of yours, like social anxiety, or on some goals like becoming more creative.
This type of dreaming happens while we are in a REM stage of sleep, when our body is very still, almost paralyzed, so we cannot act on our dreams and hurt ourselves or anybody around us. When that’s happening, only our eyes will be able to move from left to right.
How to Have a Lucid Dream
Now, if you wonder how to lucid dream tonight, for example, here are a couple of things you need to know. But be aware that it probably won’t happen that soon, you will need some practice and patience in order to get to that place.
Prepare your bedroom and yourself
Given that lucid dreaming is always happening during the REM phase of a sleep cycle, you should make sure to stay there as long as you can. To do that, you need to get better sleep and better sleep hygiene. Keep your room dark, quiet, and with a cool temperature, and do the bedtime routine that will make you feel relaxed. Practice some yoga, listen to calming music, or read a book, just don’t use electronic screen devices at least one hour before going to bed.
Keep a dream journal
The dream journal is something you should keep right beside your bed, on a nightstand. And as soon as you wake up, you should write down everything you remembered from your dream episode. Instead of writing, you can use an audio recorder if you find it hard to concentrate in the middle of the night, or you are thinking faster than you are writing. Either way, with the help of the journal, you will stay on track with what are the things that are stuck in your subconscious.
Pay attention to signs
After some time, take your journal and go through your notes. Search for some patterns, some signs, look if there are some situations or people that are often the subject of your dreams. That can tell you a lot, it can provide you an insight into what your psyche is focused on. And, the most important thing is, it can help you start being aware of when you are dreaming.
Do reality checks
Your brain needs to be trained to recognize if you are asleep or wide awake. So you should do reality checks because they will help you confirm it. For example, you can look at the page in a book or at the clock, and then quickly look away and again back. If you are dreaming, text or time will most likely change, while in reality, they will remain the same.
Use MILD technique
Mnemonic induction to lucid dreaming, or MILD, is a technique that is based on the effects of a mantra. You should think about some line, like – I will know I am in a dream, and every night, as you are falling asleep, you should repeat it over and over again. That way, you can train your brain some more. You can teach it how to become aware that you went into the dreaming phase. That will increase your chances of having a lucid dream.
Go back to sleep
So, if it happens that in the middle of the night you wake up, the first thing that you need to do is to write down everything related to your dream in your journal. After that, experts say you should lay down again and try going back to sleep. Just close your eyes and focus on the things you were dreaming about. Go through it all, think about all the details, but stay aware that you are there and know that you are dreaming. Stay focused like that until you fall asleep again.
Induce sleep paralysis
This is an alternative method you can use instead of the previous one. It is based on your attempt to go back to sleep immediately after you wake up. You don’t have to write down anything, just don’t get up and keep your eyes closed. You need to do a bit of a strange thing – to maintain your mind focused, but let your body be relaxed and surrender to the dreamland. That way, you can induce sleep paralysis. That means that you won’t be able to move, but your brain will keep working, and you will be aware that you are dreaming. But have in mind that this experience can be very disturbing. You just need to remind yourself that you are okay and that you will see what lucid dreaming looks like.
Try the Wake Back to Bed technique
This is a method that is based on waking up in the middle of the REM phase of sleep and falling back asleep after that because it will make your chances of reentering your dream higher. You can do that by scheduling your alarm clock properly. You need to wake up after five to six hours after you fall asleep. The reason is the fact that this phase lasts longer in the second part of the night. But the trick is to stay awake for 30 to 60 minutes. In order to do that, you will need to get up and do some activity, so you don’t pass out sooner than you should.
Play video games
One study showed that people who like to play video games are more likely to remember their dream because they are used to a fictional world where they have control over their characters, or over their movements more precisely. This can help you recall what was happening while you were in the dream realm. But you need to have at least a one hour break of playing before you go to bed to relax your brain correctly.
Prolong your lucid dream
Now that you managed to experience lucid dreaming, you just need to know how to stay in it longer. Most of the people who are new to this become too excited when they get that they are aware they are inside their dreams, that they simply wake themselves up. To make it last longer, you can try a couple of things. Try rubbing your hands together in the dream, falling backward in the dream, or continue doing whatever you were doing in sleep while convincing yourself you are still dreaming.
Benefits of Lucid Dreaming
No more nightmares
Yes, it is normal that you have a bad and scary dream from time to time, but if they repeat more often, or God forbid on a daily basis, that can lead to extreme level of stress, anxiety, panics attacks, depression, serious sleep deprivation, PTSD, narcolepsy, and substance abuse. Lucid dreaming could help you with that since you will be able to acknowledge that whatever is going on that frightens you is not real, that it’s just a bad dream. It can also let you control the outcome, and turn the nightmare into something acceptable and less scary.
This experience could possibly bring up your creativity to another level. There is a connection between lucid dreaming and creativity. Some people say that those who are creative per se more often experience this kind of dreaming, while others claim that lucid dreaming will increase their creativity. This thesis isn’t proven yet, but many artists are using this technique in order to tray uplifting their creative process.
Increase motor skills
It sounds incredible, but if you visualize some kind of movement, it’s more likely you will be able to do it for real. And you can accomplish that while you are lucid dreaming because you can „practice“ it while you are there. Many people with some kind of physical disabilities turned to lucid dreaming, looking for a chance for rehabilitation. On the other side, some athletes tried it as a way of improving their abilities and sport performances.
Meet lost loved ones
There are people who are really scared if they dream about someone who died recently or a long time ago, but there are those who find some kind of comfort in that. If you are one of them, you can use lucid dreaming to see your loved ones who are not with you anymore. You can even engage yourself in conversation with them, but that will probably make no sense. However, the fact that you were able to be conscious inside your dream when you saw them can be very heartwarming, like creating new memories when there were no chances of doing that.
Look for inspiration
Ther say that our sub-conscience is full of data about our life experiences and thoughts, although we don’t remember most of it. That’s a normal thing, our brain is selecting stuff we are not going to forget based on many factors. But that doesn’t mean that the rest of it isn’t important. If you are some kind of artist and you are always looking for inspiration, you may try with lucid dreaming – it can bring to the surface many things from your sub-conscience you didn’t even know were there. And that can be refreshing and interesting just enough to sparkle your inspiration again.
Lucid Dreaming Tips
Since the whole thing lucid dreaming is based on is a separation of mind and body, what better way of reaching that goal than by meditation. If you sometimes watched Buddhist monks doing it, you must have noticed that they were able to sit in one position for hours, without moving at all. That’s because their body went to sleep while their brain went to many different places.
Play video games
We already said how good this experience could be for lucid dreaming. It gives you an opportunity to explore new worlds and do things you cannot do in the real world. It would be good to go off the familiar paths while you are playing and see what lies behind them since it will encourage you to do the same in your dreams.
Listen to binaural beats
Listening to this kind of beats can help you concentrate better, study more focused, or sleep, and have lucid dreams. The thing is that those two frequencies will enter your ears individually, you will hear one on the left ear and another on the second ear, but your brain will process them as one frequency. The trick is to match the HZ frequency to the adequate brainwaves in order to support the activity.
You can use galantamine – a natural supplement, which is intended for Alzheimer’s patients because it can improve memory function. It is proven that it can make the REM phase of sleep longer, which is excellent since the lucid dreaming will happen only when you are in that stage. One study shows that you will have almost six times more chances of having this experience. Another thing you can use is vitamin B6. The results from the same study showed that a higher level of serotonin would be accomplished by taking this supplement, and that will make your dreams more vivid, real, and colorful.
Are lucid dreams dangerous?
Lucid dreams cannot harm you in a physical way, so no, they are not dangerous. But you should have in mind that the whole experience can be quite scary and unusual, so many people didn’t want to repeat that again. It is odd at first, but it cannot hurt you.
What is a lucid nightmare?
It is a lucid dream but with a negative connotation. You won’t be in the presence of something pleasant, but in a situation that can be scary or even terrifying. But, since you have the ability to take control of what’s happening in lucid dreams, you will be able to change the outcome or to face your fears, which can be a good thing. Many people who want to experience this kind of dreaming have exactly that as their main goal.
What are the risks of often lucid dreaming?
You need to be careful and not make yourself exhausted by trying to accomplish lucid dreaming. It is considered to be safe, but people who have some kind of mental problems should think about doing this twice. Since you need to interrupt your sleep, you may not get enough rest, and that can lead to sleep deprivation, anxiety, and depression. Also, there is a risk of derealization – the state where reality and dreams are mashed up, and you cannot tell what’s what, as well as dissociation – the overlap of dreaming and reality, which can cause disconnection from your surroundings.
We have to be honest, although it’s always scary trying something new, especially something like this that is not tangible and concrete, it does sound impressive and out of this world to be able to control your own dreams. When we were little, we were told that we shouldn’t be afraid of our nightmares because they are not real. And that’s true. But knowing that we now have an opportunity to do something and not just stay trapped in a dream that frightens us is simply powerful. But don’t forget that something like that cannot happen over one night, that it is a skill, and that you need time to practice. And please, be responsible and reasonable. It’s not the point to do this at any cost, you shouldn’t be deprived of a good night’s rest and make yourself crazy because you cannot achieve it right away. Just take it easy and enjoy the process.