So you came here wondering about lucid dreaming?
It’s OK – we’ve got your back :-)
Since 2008, we’ve shown over 25m visitors from around the world all about the art of dream control.
So you’re in the right place.
Grab a cup of tea whilst you’re here and take your time.
We’ll go through 8 proven tactics you can start using tonight.
But first, let’s cover some basics about lucid dreaming.
A lucid dream is any dream in which you become aware that you're dreaming!
This simple realization triggers your waking consciousness during the dream, enabling you to do any number of cool things, such as:
Experts agree that everyone has the potential to lucid dream.
But only a small fraction of people learn how to do it on a regular basis.
This site is for people who are serious about learning the art of lucid dreaming and exploring its real world applications.
Yes. There are many examples of scientific research that prove the existence of lucid dreaming.
In fact, lucid dreams provide credible explanations for night-time phenomena which until recently had no scientific explanation - such as alien abductions, astral projection and out of body experiences.
The first scientific proof of lucid dreaming emerged in 1975 from the British parapsychologist Dr Keith Hearne.
He recorded a set of pre-determined eye movements from his lucid volunteer, Alan Worsley, via an electro-oculogram (EOG).
For the first time there was communication between someone that was asleep (and dreaming) and the outside world!
More recently, this 2009 study by the Neurological Laboratory in Frankfurt revealed significantly increased brain activity during lucid dreams. An EEG reading showed a significant increase in brainwave frequencies at the 40 Hz (or Gamma) range while lucid.
Indeed, the researchers concluded that this justifies the classification of lucid dreams as a new and separate state of consciousness.
Intriguingly, the research also showed heightened activity in the frontal and frontolateral areas of the dreaming brain.
Which also happens to be the seat of linguistic thought and other higher mental functions linked to self awareness!
In 2014, this remarkable study out of Frankfurt University revealed that lucid dreams can be induced with "zaps" of harmless electrical stimulation of the brain.
When non-lucid dreamers were given 30-second jolts of electrical current to the frontal cortex while asleep, they reported spontaneously vivid dreams in which they fully recognized they were dreaming.
So fear not – there is an abundance of science on the topic of lucid dreams and every year more studies are being published.
A fully lucid dream can be perfectly tangible, rich and visually detailed.
When probed, it can generate seemingly impossible levels of self awareness - such as 360-degree vision, multiple simultaneous dreams, and even visual representations of the fifth dimension.
Because all of this takes place in your mind, the dream world is infinite.
No laws. No boundaries. No limitations. Anything you can conceive of comes true.
You can literally take control of your dream and warp The Matrix like Neo. Fly and soar over cities like Iron Man. Slow down time like the dream levels of Inception. Have sex with celebrities. Fight like a ninja. Re-live childhood memories. Base jump. Survive death.
But a lucid dream is not merely a fantasy playground.
Dream theories suggest it's a chance to interact with other parts of your psyche (by talking to different dream characters) and even your co-conscious inner self (by talking to the very fabric of the dream).
Several respected journals have published studies on how lucid dreams have helped veterans suffering from PTSD, athletes seeking to gain an edge over their competition and even children suffering from unusual phobias.
Once you know how to become lucid in dreams, you will discover a strange new world (an entire universe, actually) of which you are fully aware and can manipulate with the power of thought.
Alright, so now you know a little about what lucid dreaming is and what it can do for you - now we’ll talk through some ways you can actually induce them.
But let us (as ever) first begin with the basics.
The most important thing you can do to spearhead your way toward lucid dreams, is start keeping a dream journal.
This will supercharge your dream recall.
Chances are, you probably don’t even remember too many dreams at the moment. Right?
But writing them down each day will gradually help to form more concrete memories. After all, what good is a lucid dream if you can’t remember it?
And the second most important thing is to practice our reality checks.
With these, we ask ourselves throughout the day “Am I dreaming?”.
Over time, these repeated checks seep into your dreams as dream signs, triggering the realisation that you’re dreaming (and therefore making the dream lucid).
And lastly, lucid dreaming calls for a decent boost in self awareness.
These three tenets together form the foundation of a solid lucid dreamer.
So, with that being said – let’s look at 8 different tactics you can use to start experiencing lucid dreams for yourself.
If you haven’t heard of hypnagogia before, it might sound a little funky!
But rest assured, it’s nothing to be scared of. We are talking here about the colourful swirling patterns that appear on the back of your eyelids while you’re dozing off.
This is a signal that you are in the half asleep, half awake borderland state where lucid dreams are born.
By using visualisation methods we can use this visual hypnagogia to transition into a lucid dream. Check the full technique here.
You need to know that lucid dreams occur (mostly) during REM Sleep.
First, understand that you sleep in 90 minute cycles and that each night you have 4-6 of these cycles.
REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep happens at the end of each cycle – and mostly in the later cycles of the night.
So, by manipulating our sleep patterns, we can target REM sleep phases.
The easiest and most popular way to do this is with the Wake Back To Bed (WBTB) technique.
It revolves around tricking your body clock by briefly waking at around 3am.
If you thought that sounded cool, wait until you try a Wake Induced Lucid Dream (WILD).
This is the big daddy of lucid dreaming techniques and is also the hardest to master. With this method, we snap straight from waking into a lucid dream - bang!
It can be done in the middle of the night, or just as you fall asleep (when you get into bed at your normal bed time).
Think of a WILD as simply a form of meditation – where you maintain awareness whilst your body falls asleep.
After all, that is the underpinning principal of lucid dreaming: mind awake, body asleep.
See the full instructions here.
Talking about your body falling asleep…
Ever had that awful feeling where you’re awake, but your body is frozen and it feels as if you’re pinned to the bed, unable to move?
Maybe, maybe not.
But if you have, you’re not alone.
It’s more common than you may think, with upto 40% of adults suffering at one time or another.
Sleep paralysis occurs when your body falls asleep and enters REM Atonia. This is the special state that keeps your body still at night – and from physically acting out your dreams!
Just sometimes, it misfires a little – and we wake early (hence, sleep paralysis).
Well, the wonderful thing about lucid dreaming is with a simple change in mindset you can easily convert sleep paralysis into an instant lucid dream!
At which point you can take control and turn it from something scary into something wonderful!
So if you do get the odd bout of sleep paralysis, count yourself lucky as you have on your hands a simple guaranteed gateway to lucid dreams.
In fact, the official name is ‘oneirogen’.
Meaning a substance that creates a dream like state of consciousness.
There are many options to choose from and lots that are surprisingly effective. Various societies, from the Aztecs to the modern day Xhosa of East Africa have sacred oneirogens that play a pivotal role in their culture - so it’s a fascinating area to explore.
There’s no need to go artificial, as simple natural herbs can assist in inducing some of the most vivid and colourful dreams you can imagine.
So think less “supplements” and more “ancient oneirogens”.
For a full list check out our lucid dreaming supplements vault.
If supplements don’t take your fancy, you might be interested in checking out what’s known as ‘brainwave entrainment’.
These are special audio tracks that you listen to whilst you’re dozing off.
Some folks find these really help to enter the deep meditative state that is perfect for lucid dreaming.
And while it’s right to be sceptical, you should know that a 2008 meta analysis suggested that this audio technology is actually a legitimate therapeutic tool!
There are various forms available, such as binaural beats and isochronic tones. You can check out more details here.
Believe it or not, there are also headbands, masks and bracelets that aim to assist you in reaching lucid dreams!
They use various technologies such as EEG and Heart Rate Monitoring to detect REM Sleep.
During which, they aim to introduce an external stimuli – to help you recognise that you are dreaming and become lucid.
But it’s most definitely a case of ‘caveat empor’ (buyer beware in latin, just in case you wondered) with these.
To date, lucid dreaming devices have not proven especially effective. Although this could be set to change next year with some recent innovations…
For now you can check out our devices vault!
OK, we’ll end this list with a little-known mind hack!
It’s well worth trying as it’s proven one of the most effective new techniques to come of the lucid dreaming scene in the last few years.
Invented by Swiss dream researcher Jean Rausis, it’s a quick and easy way to inject a dream sign into your REM Sleep.
All you need is an alarm clock and a mobile phone (or an app with two alarms).
Check out the full method here.
Phew, so we just covered off a few of the most popular ways we can induce lucid dreams, but you’ve probably still got a bunch of questions…
So, we’re not finished just yet.
Let’s talk dream control – and what you should do once you’ve managed to establish lucidity.
Dream control kicks in the moment you become lucid (when you recognize that you're dreaming).
The more conscious you become of the dream environment, the easier it is to manipulate. There are a few different ways to shape your dreams as they occur, for instance:
So, controlling your dreams takes a little getting used to.
That's because a lucid dream is a completely new and unique environment to you - in which your conscious and unconscious collide.
When fully lucid, you'll find that you can exert considerable control over your lucid dreams. Or you can passively enjoy this state of heightened awareness, watching the dream unfold in its originally intended state.
The golden rule for lucid dream manipulation is this:
If you truly, sincerely expect something to happen... it will happen (just like Neo).
Beginners often find their lucid dreams end prematurely. Usually it's the sheer excitement and adrenaline rush that causes you to wake up.
Other times, you can simply forget you're dreaming (remember, the brain functions differently during sleep and it's easy to forget things).
To make your lucid dreams last longer, cultivate a calm and focused mind set in the dreamworld.
Regularly remind yourself that you are dreaming, to stay mentally grounded.
A simple way to enhance your lucidity (and thereby prolong your lucid dream) is to rub your hands together while saying "I'm dreaming".
This kinetic sensation stimulates the conscious brain, while drawing awareness to your dream body and away from your physical body that is laying asleep in bed.
Such techniques have enabled me to experience lucid dreams as long as an hour in real time.
If you’re anything like me, you’re fascinated by the idea of ‘dream characters’.
In your lucid dreams, you can seek out or summon any person, dead or alive, fictional or real.
A good way to do this is to first heighten your lucidity, then visualize and expect the person you want to meet just out of sight.
Ask the dream out loud to manifest that person too.
Don't be afraid to ask for unexpected consequences:
"show me myself in 10 years", "show me my ideal partner", and "show me how my great-great-great grandchildren will live" are all valid requests of the creative lucid dream state.
Making the dream scene morph in front of your eyes can sometimes be difficult.
Your conscious self simply doesn't expect it to happen, because that is its experience of waking life.
This mental block is typical of a beginner because it requires more confidence and a lucid state of mind.
Not to worry! Established lucid dreamers have been working the dream world long enough to have come up with some excellent solutions.
In the case of changing the scenery:
In fact, there are lots of creative solutions to issues of dream control.
The important thing to remember is that your conscious expectation plays a major role.
Stay confident in your ability to summon giant goldfish, teleport to the Bahamas or fly like an eagle.
You'll soon find that absolutely anything is possible inside a lucid dream.
If you’re babbling like a lunatic at the end of all that and wondering which direction to step in, don’t worry – you’re not alone!
Lucid dreaming is a complex skill, that takes time to learn.
But... you’re in the right place. We have over 300 articles on the subject, so go explore – now.
Or, check out our guided online course Lucid Dreaming Fast Track.
We'll take you by the hand and teach you how to lucid dream over 30 nights, including digitally mastered hypnosis and meditation audios, subliminal videos and more.
Click here to check it out.
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