There are a number of lucid dreaming supplements you can take to support your training. There is, however, no substance that can guarantee to induce lucid dreams entirely on its own. Disappointed? Don't be.
Look at it this way. Taking a lucid dreaming supplement is like using a protein shake after a workout. If you only take the protein shake and stare at your weights and go home, the supplement does nothing. But if you lift weights and take protein shakes your progress will be much greater.
To cut a long story short, lucidity supplements can be used as a catalyst. Consider a nitro boost on a car. You still have to learn how to drive, but now you can go a lot faster. Ready to try some out?
If you're using supplements a short-cut, you need to understand that, so far, science has found no single compound that can trigger lucid dreams.
There are some cool pieces of research that use magnetic fields, but for the purposes of this article we'll assume you don't have access to a transcranial magnetic stimulator.
Provided you understand there is still work involved, supplements may well be the best way to supercharge your results.
Explaining what lucid dreaming supplements do is much easier if we split the beginning of a lucid dream in a couple of stages:
Sometimes it feels like you skip a stage. Some of you have had the experience of instant realization, or the induction of a Wake Induced Lucid Dream.
Please keep in mind that these stages are arbitrary. I'm using them to explain some theories of lucid dreaming supplements. It's entirely possible that you experience lucid dreaming differently.
No, I'm not advocating the use of steroids now. But you've seen the boost that steroids give to bodybuilders. Now imagine being able to achieve an equally dramatic effect on your already established lucid dream life.
As an illustration, I recall the story of one Scandinavian woman that lucid dreams during every dream. She has learned to instinctively do stage 1 on autopilot. She simply feels she is dreaming straight away. She can feel this so clearly that it encompasses stages 1, 2 and 3 in an instant.
So most lucid dreaming supplements target one of the stages and amplify that.
Technically, they don't target anything - they create an effect on your brain that spills over in your dreaming experience. An example is stage 5 (remembering your dreams): if a substance improves your short term memory it will help you remember your dreams better as well.
Your brain is an amazing, complex and adaptable organ.
It is, however, very sensitive to how you treat it. To make things worse, it's quite good a hiding trouble from you.
Sounds a bit doomsday? Get this:
In a 2000 study researchers did a double blind, placebo controlled study on children. Presumably healthy children. The setup was simple:
Pill X did something amazing. It increased the average IQ of the test group by 2.5 points. A significant portion of the kids even gained 15 or more points!
Pill X must be an amazing pill, no? Anticlimax time: it was a multivitamin1.
What am I trying to get at here? Many people have their brain running with the breaks on, so to speak.
Subclinical deficiency (you have too little nutrients, but are not ill) is quite widespread. Why does that matter? Well, you can't expect to tweak your brain if it is not even functioning at 100% can you?
Your brain and nerve cells are highly complex, and need a lot of nutrients to function right.
I could (and would love to) start writing about getting your general health in order. But this is an article about lucid dreaming supplements. If you can't get all your nutrients through food, at least be nice to your brain and prepare it for quality sleep and dreaming with these basic supplements:
This acts as a band aid for any nutritional deficiencies you may have. It will optimize functioning of your neurons and brain in general (remember the IQ study). The most popular multivitamin on Amazon is MegaFood One Daily.
Magnesium is used in many places ranging from the brain to your muscles. And yet 68% of people get too little of it in their regular diet2. It has been dubbed the "relaxation mineral" and is used by many to promote calm and optimal brain function.
Never get a magnesium oxide supplement. This is a cheap form and only 10% is actually absorbed by your body3. Besides, it'll just act as a laxative. Get the good stuff: Nature Made High Potency Magnesium.
Many people know that fish oil optimizes the brain. It's been used to improve concentration and capability to learn; in essence it contains building blocks for your brain. Try the bestselling Signature Collection Omega-3 Fish Oil.
Lastly, the above supplements are intended for long term use. Take them daily. Only then consider additional lucid dream supplements.
Ask yourself: would you install a nitro upgrade in a car that has been poorly maintained? That's what you're doing when you use dream supplements before getting the basics right.
Now, back to lucid dreaming.
Remember the stages of a lucid dream?
The supplements we're looking at today can roughly be divided into classes:
In the diagram above, a Class II supplement would increase the number of REM peaks you see. In essence, it lifts the whole diagram up.
Both classes help with recall as well. Class I just causes more memorable dream content, while Class II makes sure you don't sleep too deeply.
Don't combine different lucid dream supplements unless you are sure you know what you're doing. Polypharmacy (taking multiple drugs / supplements at the same time) is very messy stuff.
I once took Huperzine A (a herbal extract) and 5-HTP (a melatonin precursor) together. I woke up at 3am with mild visual distortions. As interesting as it was to see my walls covered on non-existent patterns, I suggest you don't take any risks as not all side effects may be this innocuous.
Three often (and effectively) used supplements are:
Mostly these supplements do two things:
Personally I'm not a big fan of Calea Z, only because it tastes disgusting as a tea. If you want to use it, get capsules as Rebecca recommends here.
With Calea Z and nicotine, standard doses are the way to go.
With melatonin, start with a standard dose and work up if you feel the need (but always stay within reasonable amounts).
Melatonin appears to increase serotonin in the brain, leading to weirder dreams. It's been observed that people on SSRI antidepressant medication (which prolongs the action of serotonin in the brain) have longer and more vivid dreams for this reason.
There are two often-used lucid dream supplements in this category, and they are actually really similar:
Both of these two are acetylcholine esterase inhibitors. Yes I know, quite a mouthful.
Acetylcholine (Ach) is a neurotransmitter involved in cognitive performance, among other things. Alzheimer's patients are usually given medication to support Ach. It has effects with regards to:
Increasing Ach in your brain can have a number of effects. When you're awake you get cognitive benefits like better memory and focus. When asleep, you experience more REM sleep and a different level of engagement in your dreams.
Consider Ach as a gas pedal in the brain. It puts the brain in "processing" mode. The 4-hour-work-week blogger Tim Ferris occasionally uses Ach-boosting supplements to get away with sleeping very little. By increasing REM sleep he cheats himself out of the need to sleep longer, albeit temporarily.
Ach esterase is an enzyme that puts Ach in its nonactive form. When Ach is used in the brain, the Ach esterase makes sure it's broken down and doesn't linger around to keep stuff active all the time. The thing is that we kind of want Ach to stick around so...
This is the last step. An Ach inhibitor stops acetylcholine esterase from functioning. Basically we stop the destroyer of Ach from destroying it. The result? More Ach for a longer time, leading to better memory, better focus and more REM sleep.
Choline is added to most galantamine supplements, especially for lucid dreaming. Yet it's a bit of a mystery compound. Many people use it, but few actually know what it does. This little miraculous substance:
Some evidence also suggests it may help treat depression, high cholesterol and Alzheimer's Disease.
The most intuitive theory is that it increases the production of acetylcholine (see the bolding there?) in the brain. In combination with an Ach esterase inhibitor it can add a boost to your lucid dreaming escapades.
Curious to play around with some lucid dream supplements yourself? I've created a little cheat sheet summarizing this article, and stating the most common dosages of these supplements. You'll find:
Go ahead and get it here at my website.
About The Guest Author
1. Schoenthaler SJ, Bier ID, Young K, Nichols D, Jansenns S. The effect of vitamin-mineral supplementation on the intelligence of American schoolchildren: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2000;6(1):19-29.
2. King DE, Mainous III AG, Geesey ME, Woolson RF. Dietary magnesium and C-reactive protein levels. J Am Coll Nutr. 2005;24(3):166-171.
3. Ranade V V, Somberg JC. Bioavailability and pharmacokinetics of magnesium after administration of magnesium salts to humans. Am J Ther. 2001;8(5):345-357.
Rebecca Turner is a science writer, illustrator, explorer of consciousness - and founder of World of Lucid Dreaming. She is currently studying for a biology degree in Auckland and blogging at her site Science Me.
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