What is the best sleep posture for lucid dreaming? The experts at The Lucidity Institute are currently running a research study into just that. Until the results are out later this year, I thought I'd put my two cents into the mix and identify my own personal optimum sleeping positions for inducing lucid dreams.
This is not something I've kept track of over the years but thinking back I have definitely had more success with certain sleep postures over others. First though, I should identify the different types of lucid dreams and the effect this has on your level of conscious awareness.
As yet, I haven't found the best position to sleep in for Dream Induced Lucid Dreams (DILDs). These 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. Sometimes I even wake myself up because I've moved my arm in the lucid dream and accidentally 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, but if I stay still and close my eyes again, I can often return to the same lucid dream from the exact same place I left off.
This is a different kettle of fish and I think finding the best sleep posture for lucid dreaming matters more in this instance.
In case you're not aware, Wake Induced Lucid Dreams (WILDs) are lucid dreams which you enter very deliberately as you fall asleep in bed, with no lapse in consciousness. They are harder to achieve in the beginning, but even more impressive once mastered, creating the most vivid kind of lucid dreams possible. It is also easier to choose your lucid landscape as you fall asleep consciously and recall your lucid dream intention.
Though I've had far fewer WILDs in my life, the best sleep posture is usually on my back. Some lucid dreamers say this isn't necessary, but since I've been practicing Robert Monroe's OBE-induction techniques for years now I just find it the easiest way to relax every muscle group. I also think it creates a shallower breathing pattern which keeps you closer to consciousness as you sleep.
This is also the preferred method of Nick Newport of Lucidology; he 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 - fast. Once your body is asleep it is a matter of seconds until you can emerge mentally into the lucid dream world.
Another good sleep posture for WILDs is lying half on my side, half on my back, in no particular position other than that was just how I woke up from a lucid dream. If my body is already relaxed (having just emerged from a natural sleep paralysis) then all I need to do is stay perfectly still, remind myself I want to become lucid, and then initiate a WILD. In this case there is no need to adjust your sleeping position for a lucid dream - just stay relaxed and go with the flow.
For step-by-step tutorials on lucid dream induction and exploration, check out The Lucid Dreaming Fast Track, my online study program for beginners and beyond.