What is the best sleep posture for having lucid dreams?
The most popular sleep postures in the general population.
The folks at The Lucidity Institute are currently running a research study into sleep positions and their effects on conscious dreams.
Until the results are out, I thought I'd put my two cents into the mix and identify my own personal optimum sleeping positions for lucid dreaming.
This is not something I've kept track of over the years, but I can recall having more success with certain sleep postures over others.
First though, I should identify the two main types of lucid dreams because this could make a notable difference.
Dream Induced Lucid Dreams (DILDs) are dreams that begin normally but give way to lucidity spontaneously through increased awareness.
Perhaps you see a flying pig and your well-trained brain spots it as a cue that you're dreaming... This can happen at any stage during the night but is much more likely during the final 2-3 hours of sleep when your REM periods are at their longest and dreams are most vivid.
I've woken up from many DILDs in the common fetal position (on my side, with my knees and elbows tucked in) as well as flat on my back. It can be strange to be walking around in a lucid dream one moment, then lying curled up in bed the next.
Occasionally I even wake myself up because I've moved my arm in the lucid dream and triggered my real life arm to move and hit the bed. This can be disorienting and cause a sudden shift in awareness from one body to the next.
If I stay completely still and close my eyes, I can sometimes return to the lucid dream from the same place I left off. This is known as Dream Chaining.
Wake Induced Lucid Dreams (WILDs) are lucid dreams which you enter very deliberately as you fall asleep in bed, with no lapse in consciousness.
WILDs are the most vivid kind of lucid dreams. They allow you to choose your lucid landscape as you fall asleep consciously and recall your lucid dream intention.
This is a different kettle of fish and I think finding the best sleep posture for lucid dreaming matters much more in this instance.
My success with WILDs is universally down to lying on my back, despite the fact that this is not how I prefer to fall asleep. I find it the best posture to dissociate from my body (forget it exists and stop feeling it as sleep paralysis tales over) without my mind falling asleep. In essence, the perfect formula for a WILD.
Some lucid dreamers say back-sleeping isn't necessary for WILDs, but since I started out practicing Robert Monroe's OBE induction techniques I just find it the easiest way to relax every muscle group. Nowadays I more often use the 61-point relaxation technique which relies on the same corpse pose.
I also think this position creates a shallower breathing pattern which keeps you closer to consciousness as you sleep.
This is the preferred method of Nick Newport of Lucidology, too. Nick is a proponent of WILDs and teaches how to systematically relax your body (including areas you may never consider, like the incredibly strong jaw muscles) to create a deep physical relaxation.
Once you have done this it may only be a matter of seconds until you can emerge mentally into the lucid dream world.
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So here's a quirky little nighttime oddity that can strike terror into your soul. Sleep paralysis. It's the mechanism that stops you from acting out your dreams. It happens to you every single time you go to sleep, and you've probably never even been aware of it. There's a lot to say about sleep paralysis. One the one hand, it's a very normal bodily process. One the other, it can be a terrifying sleep disorder. And on the third hand (yes, that's three hands now) it's the gateway to the lucid dream world. It covers quite the spectrum of emotions.
Want to get your hands on some futuristic technology? Then why not use your lucid dreams to explore new scientific concepts and developments? In fact, it's thought that numerous well-known scientists including Nikola Tesla exploited their dreams to simulate theories and prototypes in action. Here are five futuristic concepts to get your dream cogs in motion.
So you want a real challenge for your next lucid dream? Check out these thought experiments. They have no right or wrong answers, at least as far as we can prove in 2015. If you undertake any of these - please add a comment below. The beauty is that everyone's experience will be different and I'm eager to read your results.
So you want to know the easiest way to start lucid dreaming? You found it. I've been lucid dreaming since I was 14 years old. Over the years, I've researched a lot about lucid dream induction. I have practiced many different exercises and developed my own ways to become lucid and stay conscious in the dream state for longer. The following is a snapshot of all that work. It's my big picture take on lucid dreaming for beginners, whittled down into 5 sensible steps to prime your mind for lucid dreams.
Everyone knows that horror movies beget nightmares. But did you know that peak nightmare experiences are a common trigger of lucidity? It's like the terror of realizing you're about to be ripped to pieces by the knife monster shocks you into realizing you're dreaming. So next time you're writhing about in a nightmare scenario, or screaming at yourself to wake up, take a second to focus your energy on declaring the dream for what it is: a harmless rendering of your innermost thoughts and fears. Lucidity is then yours.
Experts agree that everyone is capable of having lucid dreams. Dreaming itself is a normal function of the mind. We all dream every night, even if we don't remember. And we all achieve conscious awareness while awake every single day. So what does it mean to combine these states? Why, the amazing ability to have conscious - or lucid - dreams. Sounds simple, doesn't it? So why do I keep hearing from people who say they can't achieve their first lucid dream?