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.
Jeremiah Morelli is a whimsical fantasy artist and visual storyteller. He places conceptual fairytale creatures in vivid dreamscapes to capture the imagination. He's also a school teacher, and amazingly finds the time and motivation to create this huge gallery of artwork. Such light and dark fairytale paintings make beautiful places to visit in your lucid dreams.
Inspired and named for the notion of Flatland, artist and photographer Aydin Buyuktas has created a series of works where "a space of surprises creates a space that creates surprises." Based on photos of Istanbul, Buyuktas explains: "We live in places that most of the times don't draw our attention, places that transform our memories, places that the artist gives another dimension; where the perceptions that generally crosses our minds will be demolished and new ones will arise. These works aim to leave the viewer alone with a surprising visuality, ironic as well as a multidimensional romantic point of view."
One summer, the 19th century lucid dream researcher, Marquis d'Hervey de Saint-Deny, took a bottle of an unfamiliar scent on his travels to France. He whiffed his scent-laden handkerchief by day, making an unconscious and emotional connection between the French countryside and his chosen scent. On returning home, he put the bottle away, out of sight and out of smell. His cunning plan was to have a servant sprinkle a few drops of the scent on his pillow at night. Lo and behold, Saint-Deny recorded dreams that took place at his vacation spot: the mountains of Ardeche.
Lately I've become a touch obsessed with the optical illusion paintings of Canadian artist, Rob Gonsalves. Everyone loves a good trick of the eye... but these paintings seem to be sprung straight from lucid dreams. Maybe it's their surreal nature. Or maybe it's the mockery of perspective. Gonsalves has spent decades perfecting his art, aiming to spark the imagination and jolt our expectations of reality at once. Check out the surprising results in these 22 visionary paintings. They're great lucid dream fodder.
Some people are born lucid dreamers. Others have to work at the ability to have lucid dreams. Regardless of how you get started, here are 11 signs that you're ready to wake up and take control of your dreams. 1. Your daydreams are intense. Do you have crazy vivid daydreams? Do you find it easy to fantasize visually? Such a knack for visualization makes it easier to drift into Wake Induced Lucid Dreams at night, or plant mnemonic cues to trigger Dream Induced Lucid Dreams. This is a natural advantage.
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?