How to Have Lucid Dreams

I’m not particularly good at dreaming.I mean, I can fantasize with the best of them. I could ramble on for hours about my plans of world domination and running marathons and having a herd of lop-earred bunnies at my beck and call. But actual dreaming? Like imagining things while I’m sleeping? I’m oddly bad at that.

But I bet I can change that. Have you ever heard of lucid dreams? Essentially, they are those dreams that you have where you are aware that you’re dreaming, and bizarrely enough, you can apparently learn how to have these dreams. What? Yes. Allegedly you can even teach yourself how to have lucid dreams where you fly!

Let’s learn how! (tips based on this wiki how article)
1. During the day repeatedly ask ‘Am I dreaming?’ and perform some reality checks whenever you remember. With practice, if it happens enough, you will automatically remember it during your dreams and do it. Maaaaybe you don’t want to do this outloud in the office you share with your boss?

2. Keep a dream journal
Keep it close by your bed at night, and write in it immediately after waking. This helps you recognize your common dream elements (people from your past, specific places, etc.), and also tells your brain that you are serious about remembering your dreams.

3. Learn the best time to have a lucid dreamBy being aware of your personal sleep schedule, you can arrange your sleep pattern to help induce lucid dreams.

Studies strongly suggest that a nap a few hours after waking in the morning is the most common time to have a lucid dream. Lucid dreams are strongly associated with REM sleep which is more abundant just before the final awakening. This means they most commonly occur right before waking up.

Dreams usually run in 60-minute cycles. If you are working on dream recall, it may be helpful to try waking yourself up during one of these cycles (interrupted dreams are often the ones we remember).

4. Try Stephen Laberge’s mnemonic induction of lucid dreaming (MILD) technique.Set your alarm clock to wake you up 4 1/2, 6, or 7 1/2 hours after falling asleep. When you are awakened by your alarm clock, try to remember the dream as much as possible. When you think you have remembered as much as you can, return to your place of rest, imagining that you are in your previous dream, and becoming aware that you are dreaming.

Say to yourself, “I will be aware that I’m dreaming,” or something similar. Devotedly hope that the person sharing your bed does not think you’re crazy. Repeat this a few times and go back to sleep. If random thoughts pop up when you are trying to fall asleep, repeat the imagining, self-suggestion part, and try again. Don’t worry if you think it’s taking a long time. The longer it takes, the more likely it will ‘sink in,’ and the more likely you will have a lucid dream.

Would you ever try this? What would you want to dream about? I think I would want to dream that I’m flying on a magic carpet over Bankok. Or maybe riding Falcor.

37 Comments

Kat

This might just be some hokey us kids across the pond in England are told, but isn't a surfeit of cheese conducive to lucid dreaming too?

Big fan of the blog btw

Kat

p.s. the Neverending Story was a loooong time ago and I was only little but wasn't Atreyu the name of the BOY not the dragon?! lol x

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Francine

People have always been amazed at the power I have over my dreams. I thought it was normal but I guess it's not, haha. I routinely "edit" my dreams if I don't like how they're going and make them different. I can also wake myself up if I'm having a nightmare (I close my eyes in the dream, then instantly wake up).

I also find ways around difficulties in dreams, like the fact that I can never seem to run in a dream. I've found that if I turn around and run backwards I can run at normal speed, hahaha. Weird, huh?

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Emily

When I'm having bad dreams, I tend to be aware that I'm dreaming. The first time it happened, I don't know why I didn't just tell myself, "This is just a dream, so I'm safe no matter what." Instead, I latched on to the idea that, "If I open my eyes, I'll wake up and be safe." It worked, but it was hard to do. Since, I've discovered an easier solution: I can fly in my dreams when I'm in a tough spot. Flying in a dream is easier than opening my eyes in real life. There must be a lesson in that somewhere… 🙂

Anyway, since learning to control my dreams was a gradual thing, I wonder if it can be trained? I just don't think I'd want to go to the hassle of waking up every couple hours to do it.

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love, wonderwall.

this happens to me all the time! today i had a dream where i found $40 in vending machines, the guy i liked kissed me on the floor and his roommate (in this dream, a midgette) came in and was really mean and then we went to a wrestling match where i wrestled three gigantic lady wrestlers. then i woke up.

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tea for tessa

Hey! I used to have a friend talk to me about lucid dreams quite often. He was learning how to do them. I always seem to have great and memorable dreams

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Darcie

dude, i have control over my dreams ALL THE TIME, and they are AWESOME! my favorite dream is recurring. i'm in a giant castle and all the rooms have 'artifacts' from my life. in little vestibules on pedestals under perfect lighting. they are galleries from times in my life and the info cards tell the stories. but everytime i have that dream i a) get lost in the castle and b) wake up remembering something weird that i'd forgotten or c) repeating a weird word over and over. i had the dream on sunday and on monday i had the word "Bifurcate" in my head all day. the end.

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Sarah Von Bargen

I'm so jealous of you guys! I've only had one dream in recent memory and it was actually a Harry Potter-triggered nightmare involved slaughtered horses and darkened circus tent! Puuuuke. 🙁

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Helen

See, I'm not sure I'd want to remember my dreams, because they're usually really weird. Like last night I dreamt I'd grown two pairs of eyebrows and had to decided which pair to get rid of. I had to go look in the mirror as soon as I woke up because it was so real!

(Apparently drinking milk before bedtime makes you dream too – mayeb it's just dairy?)

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Genie of the Shell

Ooooh, I got into this after a friend (now my husband) introduced me to the movie "Waking Life" and the practice of lucid dreaming.

I tried a system like the tips mentioned above, but I didn't ever wake myself up in the night. Instead, I set a digital watch to make a small beep at each hour. The beep didn't ever wake me up fully, but it did keep my mind somehow aware of real time passing and my location in bed, in my room.

I also kept careful dream records upon waking each morning. At first, dreams were hard to remember, but it got easier and easier.

After a week or two, I dreamed simply that I woke up in bed in my childhood house. Nothing was weird, except I knew full well that I was dreaming. I sat up in bed (in the dream) and said, "Yeah, I'm doing it!" Then I got up and went into the bathroom. In the mirror, I saw that I had long, long hair like I did in high school. (In real life, my hair was cut very short at the time.) I could feel the weight of the long hair and swish it across my shoulders. It was fun… and then a minute later, I woke up and felt victorious that I had managed to do it!

Other people who stick with it longer say they can have ultra-realistic dreams of flying, sky diving, sleeping with their celebrity crushes… Anything! It's a fun thing to try.

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Rachael

As a kid, I only had lucid dreams. I still remember a lot of them very vividly – and yes, totally aware I was dreaming, too. Even the flying ones 😉 I'd love to be able to achieve it again.

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Dee

I've had dreams where I can fly. Of course, at one point of the dream I can't fly anymore and end up just falling into a void and waking up (it is terrifying).

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Hip Hip Gin Gin

I think I have the exact opposite of lucid dreams. As in I have a strange or upsetting dream and wake up from it only to think that what just happened is real life. It usually takes a good 20 minutes to figure out that it was just a dream and I'm not you know, pregnant with a lizard's baby or some other horrifying nonsense. Needless to say, I do not enjoy. Maybe I'll try some of these tips.

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Tarryn

YES! I have a recurring dream about flying, but its always in the same place, my highschool assembly hall, and im standing on the balcony and i put my arms straight up in the air and then bring them slowly to my sides and i lift off the ground. I can only move by swimming butterfly stroke through the air, but im all like "SUCKERS!" to the people below. ITS FANTASTIC.

I once had a dream that there was a fire in the house when i was very little, and i woke my mom up and made her walk with me around the house to make sure that nothing was on fire. she had to check behind all the curtains and under the chairs to make certain that the flames weren't hiding. LOL.

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Kristen

I used to practice the type of lucid dreaming where you went straight to a dream state from consciousness – rather than being in a dream and realizing, "oh wow, I'm dreaming!"

I think it's called Wake Initiated Lucid Dream (or WILD as opposed to MILD). I found it a lot easier. Do a little research, you might be able to do it too!

Practicing lucid dreaming is really fun, but beware that you probably will not feel rested AT ALL when you wake up the next morning.

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lili

I looked into this a few years ago when a friend let me borrow her book on it. I've only gotten as far as "controlling" the events happening to me in my dreams. The reason I attempted it was because I had a recurring dream for years that would leave me emotionally and physically disturbed and exhausted when I woke up (chased and eventually cornered by hooded figures). It actually worked! It's worked on other upsetting dreams since where I would either "tell" myself in my dream that it was just a dream and to calm down and wake up (so that I don't wake up with a racing heart) or I would change the circumstances in my dream so that I could face whatever was upsetting me.

I have never flown in my dreams though. I've dreamt that I leapt off a flight of stairs and was "flying" through the air for a bit but end up waking up startled before I hit the "ground". That's a bit upsetting too. haha

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penn

wow, so many fancy dreams! I rarely remember my dreams, and I definitely don't have control over them. I wonder if there's any link between dreams and real-life psychological condition? I know that when I was at my happiest, I remembered dreams more.

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Chelsea

I middle school I was obsessed with dreams, and my best friend and I tried to learn how to have lucid dreams. Since then I have had approximately 3 lucid dreams, all in which I fly! It's the greatest feeling in the Universe!

Now I"m going to practice 🙂 I'm not dreaming!

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Enna

I constantly lucid dream. I close my eyes, and BAM, in the middle of a dream. I have a sleep disorder which means I sometimes actually DO what I am dreaming I am doing, and that's when things get scary.

I kinda wish I didn't dream. Sometimes the wall between reality and dreams gets a little blurred, and I get a little confused (and then I sound insane.)

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E and O

I've been able to lucid dream since I was a small child. Usually as a way to cope with nightmares or dreams that were going badly, so I could change things to be less threatening or at least stall things until I could wake up. (This sounds similar to what Emily described above.)

I honestly have no idea how or why I can do this. I never talked with anyone about it or trained myself to learn. It's just something I was always able to do. My bf has mentioned he's been able to lucid dream as well, so maybe it's one of those by-products of strange/creative brains. 😉

However, I don't know if I could control it in the way that's described in your post, such as inducing a specific theme or action ahead of time. But I also don't know that I'd want to. Or perhaps more accurately, I don't know that it would be beneficial. I tend to think of dreams as 1-way communication. I think forcing the subject or direction from an external point might be counterproductive. 🙂

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Lymie

I remember one when I was a kid, distinctively. I was running up a long, long, long staircase and at the top was my cousin. There were planes and search lights everywhere. I'm not sure now what about it scared me, but it did. I knew I was sleeping and I couldn't wake myself up.

Then there was one when I was 14. When I get sick I have weird dreams, and in that one I woke up during a thunderstorm and there was a witch cackling in the corner of my room. I was screaming for my mom, but I couldn't open my mouth. Oddly I do not remember actually waking up.

And I'm to scared to figure out how.

There's my two cents.

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{Tara}

I love the idea of lucid dreaming if it's a good dream; I'm just not sure I actually want to become lucid during my zombie apocolypse dreams or my naked driving dreams. EEEEEEkkkkk!!

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Hope

I normally remember my dreams pretty well when I first wake up, but only try to remember the 'good' ones. I may try this to see if I can take more control, so thanks for sharing.

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Kate

The bit about falling back to sleep after you first wake up is right. It explains why I use my snooze button for way too long, coz in that 9 minutes you can have dynamic, earth-shattering,mind-blowing dreams which unfortunately get cut off by the alarm…but on some great days, you can go back into the dream and steer it in the direction you want and other times you go back in and it's the same but slight differences….

The trick of waking yourself up when it's not going well, is cool too, but doesn't always work….I think you can get caught in certain images or cycles. I always have dreams where I fall over, roll, roll, roll and can't get back up and many times scream or try to call for help but can't be heard….yuck

But have you ever had dreams where you're someone different? Like you're watching a movie…..makes you wonder who you really are….

Happy dreaming, write one of them in your blog….

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somewhere else

oh man. Dreams like this are the best. Part of my teenage years were full of these, to the point where I would be more excited for going to bed than living actual life. Some same-aged friends were like that too. I'm not sure why they don't happen anymore?
Maybe it's a developmental thing..

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April

I've always wanted to be able to have lucid dreams, but I just haven't been very consistent in my practice. Though a salvia trip is very similar, I think! 🙂

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Heidi Rose

I came back to this post after watching the movie Inception in theatres. I am going to try this. I'm already trying to remember checks of 'Am I dreaming now? How do I know?'

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romana

Live In A Dream
Want to live in your own little paradise every night? Lucid dreaming is an exciting concept that has allowed people throughout history to take control of their dreams, providing extraordinary entertainment and incredible benefits.

Remember that frustrated feeling you get when your alarm wakes you up from a good dream? How does having a great dream you are in control of each night sound?

A lot of people ask me how they will know that they are lucid dreaming. This is easy to answer. The realization that you are awake and still within a dream is such an overwhelmingly exciting feeling; you will know exactly what is going on.

The first thing that you will notice is your dreamscape – your environment. On realizing that you are lucid, you surroundings will become really vivid and colourful and you will be able to look around you. It really is an awe inspiring experience.

Things will have much more detail. You may sense things such as sound, smell, warmth, cold. It never fails to impress me the amount of detail and realism the human mind can generate within a lucid dream. Sometimes this can cause such excitement that you wake up.

I will never forget when I first picked a handful of snow in a lucid dream. I could see every single tiny snowflake and as I moved the handful of snow, I could see the light bouncing off each snow flake as it separate into all its different colors. The power of the human mind is truly awesome.

One of the many things that I hear from people when they talk about their first lucid dream is that the experience is always a short lived one. The main reason for this is that they didn’t know what to expect and the surprise/shock of the whole experience caused them to wake up. This is a very common problem.

This is the most common problem for beginners. You become lucid; get really excited at the prospect and then wake up from being too excited. You can overcome this problem but it takes a bit of practice.

By preparing yourself for your first lucid dream, you will be able to control how long you stay in the dream and have a much more fruitful experience.

The obvious but most effective answer is to stay relaxed. This is easier said than done. As soon as you realize that you are lucid, you need to say to yourself “Stay Calm”.

Also when you become lucid look around you, take in the experience but try and keep a calm rational frame of mind. Think to yourself “Hey, this is amazing. But I must stay calm and relaxed.” Take a deep (dream) breath and relax. Once you relax you will be able to stabilize the dream and have a more fruitful experience.

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