10 Steps to Lucid Dreams

Step #2: How to Identify Signs That You're Dreaming


Now you've got your dream journal underway, here's how to harness it to have lucid dreams. We'll do this by identifying dream signs.

Dream signs provide clear lucidity triggers, sparking your higher conscious brain to chip in with the realization: "Hang on - I must be dreaming!"

Talking animals, deceased people, flying cars, and even subtle differences like the color of your front door can all make perfectly good dream signs.

The trouble is, you currently dream on through these obvious clues without becoming lucid. So I'm going to teach you how to become aware of them - while you're dreaming - prompting spontaneous lucid dream control.

The Four Types of Dream Signs

Dr Stephen LaBerge, PhD, a leading authority and author of the classic book Exploring The World of Lucid Dreaming, has classified dream signs in four ways:

  1. Inner Awareness - There is something strange about your thoughts, emotions, sensations or perceptions. Example: When I think about lifting off the ground, I get excited and start floating upwards into the night. Conclusion: I'm dreaming!
  2. Action - Some physical activity seems wrong in the dream. Example: As I drive down the road I realize that neither the steering or brakes have any effect on the car's movement. Conclusion: I'm dreaming!
  3. Form - The shape or appearance of a person, object or place is unusual or even impossible. Example: The man has a really small, shrunken head which looks comical sitting upon his massive broad shoulders. Conclusion: I'm dreaming!
  4. Context - The situation you're in seems unusual or contrary to real life. Example: I'm living in a futuristic Martian colony, and feel as if I have been here for many years. Conclusion: I'm dreaming!

By categorizing your dream signs into one of these four groups, you’ll learn to see the way your dreaming mind works when you sleep. This means you can hone in on the most common dream signs personal to you and train yourself to recognize these triggers at any time.

How to Identify Your Dream Signs

Go to last night's dream in your journal and underline all the dream signs you can find. Categorize each one by writing IA (inner awareness), A (action), F (form), or C (context) next to it.

Now do the same for the previous dream. In fact, go back as far as you can, identifying all dream signs in your journal and categorizing them into LaBerge's system.

Count up each occurrence and identify your most common type of dream sign. It's not essential but it will personlize the next step. Next, study that category of dream sign in waking life.

For example, if your dreaming mind presents lots of erroneous forms (F), study the way things look in waking life.

A form-based dream sign can be as subtle as a different hair color, or as obvious as having seven fingers on one hand.

Acknowledge these potential differences in waking life - even if you are just imagining them for fun - and you will find they start to jump out in your dreams, prompting lucidity.

This self-reflection is also the basis of reality checking, which I'll cover in our next lesson.


Paying attention to dream signs is not just an exercise in outward observation. It's a way to promote inner self awareness too.

The moment you begin questioning the nature of your waking reality, you'll become habitually prone to questioning the nature of your dreams.

And for many, this is the fastest way to spontaneous lucid dreams.

So give it a go right now. Start looking for (and playfully imagining) anomalies when you'e awake, and this will tune you in to lucid dream signs when you’re asleep.

Best wishes



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