Lucid dreaming doesn’t happen frequently. Lucid dreaming occurs to us during our altered state of consciousness when you actually realize you are dreaming. During this phase your brain switches in to a waking mode when you are in your dream. You become self aware during your dream. It really is a surreal experience.
There are suggestions that lucid dreaming can have benefits from helping you deal with anxiety or boosting your creativity. There have been times when lucid dreaming has been used to help patients suffering from depression.
Anyone can lucid dream but it really does take practice. I have tried it in the past and was never quite able to master the technique at will. However, you may be able to and for that reason I wanted to share with you some techniques that can reportedly help you to lucid dream.
What is lucid dreaming?
Put quite simply a lucid dream is a dream where you are aware you are dreaming. The practice of lucid dreaming is to be able to put yourself in a lucid dream state so you can explore it while you are sleeping.
The most amazing thing is that those who practice lucid dreaming can use techniques to influence their brains so they dream about a certain thing. They can then explore that within their dreams through lucid dreaming. I find this totally fascinating that exploring something in your dream and then doing in real life will probably give someone the confidence in their choices and make them less hesitant or anxious.
Lucid dreaming occurs during the REM stage of sleep when our muscles become more paralyzed – it means we don’t harm ourselves if we are running or jumping in our dreams. Although at some points during my dreams I can be found shuffling my feet as I’m running!
How to lucid dream
I haven’t been able to practice lucid dreaming on demand as much as I would like, however I wanted to share with you the techniques I use to try and train my brain to lucid dream. Let me know how you get on with these techniques.
1. A place to dream
I have talked about this many times about making your bedroom a sanctuary. You can read more on my tips to create a relaxing bedtime routine for adults. To prepare your body for dreaming you need to ensure you get a good night’s sleep. Wakening up will cut short your sleep cycles and mean you may not enter REM sleep when you want to lucid dream.
To ensure you get a good night’s sleep then I highly recommend you read my other post on good sleep hygiene and take account of the tips there such as preparing for bed, keeping screens out of the bedroom, having your room at the right temperature and using black out curtains.
2. Keep a dream journal
I always keep a journal beside my bed to record my to do list so I’m not tossing and turning thinking of what I need to do the next day. Using it as a dream journal is a good idea so that when you waken up you can write down everything in your dream. Although before you nod off tell yourself you are going to remember your dreams.
3. Recognize the sign you are dreaming
The idea is to go over your dreams and see if there are any patterns. For example, at the moment I keep dreaming of a similar event but in different circumstances. Not only does this help me consider what is on my mind but it will help me to lucid dream as I know now that if that particular dream starts I will know I am dreaming.
4. Reality checking
Getting your brain to recognise that you are dreaming or awake is important so that’s where reality checks come in. This helps you when you are trying to lucid dream.
Those who are expert in lucid dreaming suggest doing the following activities at least 10 times each day:
- Using your index finger from one hard try and push it through the opposite hand. Do this expecting it to go through your hand. When doing it ask yourself if you are dreaming. The thing is that of course it won’t happen in real life but will in a dream. If it does then you know you are dreaming. Making this a habit you will then be able to do this reality check in your dream, when your index finger goes through your hand you will know you are dreaming.
- Keep checking your hands and feet. Again do this on a regular basis. In our dreams our hands and feet are distorted.
5. MILD technique
MILD stands for Mnemonic Induction to Lucid Dreaming it is an induction technique created by Dr Steven Laberge. The idea is that each night before you fall asleep you repeat a mantra that will help you to lucid dream. Something along the lines of “tonight I will lucid dream”. This technique is about encouraging your brain to become aware you are dreaming. It increases your change of lucid dreaming.
6. Wake Back to Bed technique
The Wake Back to Bed technique involves setting alarms that increase your chance of waking up during your REM sleep. You waken up but immediately go back to sleep and reenter your dream knowing you are awake. This technique is said to be one of the most effective methods for beginners wanting to lucid dream. The steps are noted below of the wake back to bed technique:
1 – Go to bed as normal but set your alarm to waken you after 6 hours.
2 – When the alarm goes off get out of bed so you are fully awake. Stay awake for 20 minutes.
3 – After 20 minutes go back to bed and practice meditation if you are too alert. The idea is to get back to a dream state in your REM sleep stage.
It does take practice to lucid dream and I have to admit to taking ages to actually get there. I do find it hard to keep it going though. I also have to say that using the Wake Back To Bed technique started to disrupt my sleep and I stopped so I guess that is one thing I would say to be careful lucid dreaming isn’t causing you sleep deprivation.
Happy lucid dreaming.