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A Beginner's Guide to Lucid Dreaming

  A lucid dream occurs when you become aware that you are having a dream. In other words, the dreamer becomes aware that the experience is occurring in a dream, as opposed to in reality. Usually, lucid dreaming occurs in the middle of a dream. It's often triggered when the dreamer realizes that the impossible is happening in their dream, such as having the ability to fly, or having an encounter with someone who has previously passed away. However, it is possible to become lucid without indication from the dream itself. This occurs when the dreamer suddenly realizes they are dreaming.
 
The quality of a lucid dream can vary greatly. When your lucidity is at a high level, you will be well aware that everything you're experiencing in the dream is only occurring in your mind, that you're in no real danger as you are safe in bed and will shortly awaken. However, when the lucidity level is low, you will be aware that you're dreaming, but you won't realize that the people who are present in it are simply dream representations, or be aware of your complete safety. 
 
Why Lucid Dream?
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When people first hear about lucid dreaming they often ask something along the lines of: “Why would I want to have a lucid dream? What are they good for?” Well, consider this - if you know that you are dreaming, then you are only restricted by your imagination, because the laws of physics and society do not exist in dreams. Therefore, the answer to a question such as the second one above is relatively simple - they are good for anything and everything. Below are some reasons why somebody might want to lucid dream:


Overcoming nightmares – For many people, dreams are not things of unlimited delight and fantasy, but are things of immeasurable terror. Lucid dreaming can be used as an effective therapy for nightmares. If you are aware that you are dreaming, it is logical to also realize that nothing occurring in your dream can cause you actual harm. The only way to escape your fear is to face up to it and realize that no harm can come to you as it's just a dream.

Adventures and Fantasies – A lot of people are attracted to lucid dreaming as it provides them with the potential to go on a wild adventure or fulfill a fantasy. It is this freedom, and the lack of consequences, which makes lucid dreaming so exhilarating.

Rehearsals – Lucid dreaming is a very vivid form of mental imagery. The trick is to understand that it is a mental construct. Therefore, it will come as no surprise to hear that a lot of people use lucid dreaming to rehearse for an event in the real world. Such events may include public speaking, artistic and athletic performances, difficult confrontations, and so on. So how does it work? Brain activity during a dream is exactly the same as during a real event. Therefore, the activation of neuronal patterns that are required for a particular skill in real life can be established in a dream as preparation to complete the skill in the real world.

Some Facts

Guide - Beginners - Lucid - Dreaming - How to - Information
  • 20% of people will have at least one lucid dream every single month.
  • Lucid dreaming has been around for thousands of years. Records have shown that the Ancient Egyptians may have even practiced lucid dreaming.
  • Around half of all the people in the world have had at least one lucid dream. That means that there are over 3.5 billion people who have had a lucid dream before.
  • Two of the most popular lucid dream activities are sex and flying.
  • Lucid dreaming is something that anybody can learn to do.

How Do I Learn to Lucid Dream?

If you are interested in lucid dreaming, then you must first take your ability to remember dreams into account (recall).

Everyone dreams, but sometimes they cannot remember what they dreamed about. Therefore, some people believe that they do not dream. However, this is simply untrue. You just have to practice remembering your dreams and eventually you will be able to recall at least two or three a night.

If you hardly remember what you dream about, do not worry, as it is possible to work on your recall ability.


Some tips which will help you remember your dreams:

  • Alcoholic drinks suppress REM sleep (deep sleep where dreams are formed). As little as one glass of alcohol could stop your ability to recall in its tracks. Therefore, avoid drinking if you want to remember your dreams.
  • When you first wake up, relax and do not move around much. Relaxing will keep your brain in ‘sleep mode’ for a few minutes longer. This will help you remember your dreams.
  • Taking vitamin B6 supplements has been shown to improve recall. If you do not want to take supplements, then eat foods high in vitamin B6 such as chicken, bananas, tuna and turkey.
  • Be confident that you will remember. Belief is an important aspect of recalling your dream.
  • Record everything you remember about a dream in a journal. This exercise will help increase your memory and, as a result, it will improve your chances of recalling more details about your lucid dreams.
 

Dreams Signs and Reality Checks

Guide - Beginners - Lucid - Dreaming - How to - Information

Unsurprisingly, a crucial part of lucid dreaming is to know how to confirm that you are dreaming. This is where dream signs and reality checks come in.

Dream signs – These are obvious signs that you are dreaming. For example, flying cows, a new location or encountering aliens are all dream signs.

Reality checks – A quick action that allows you to confirm whether you are dreaming. Below is a list of some common reality checks:

  • Count your fingers – simply check whether you have 10 fingers. In a dream, you can have fewer or more fingers than usual.
  • Reading – in dreams, writing can be nonsensical.
  • Gravity – will yourself to defy gravity and see if you do.
  • Plug your nose – Block your nose and attempt to breathe through it . In real life you will not be able to, but in a dream you will be able to.
The Different Techniques
Guide - Beginners - Lucid - Dreaming - How to - Information

Awareness is very important when it comes to lucid dreaming. Therefore, some consider it a type of meditation since you are ultimately developing your internal and external consciousness. 


There are quite a few different techniques available that help to induce lucid dreams. Some of these can be seen below:

1) DILD – Dream-Induced Lucid Dream

As the name of this induction suggests, the dreamer becomes aware when they are already in the dream. Usually the dream has already started and lucidity kicks in randomly at some stage. DILDs are spontaneous and you cannot predict when your next one will occur. The most common way to induce a DILD (while dreaming) is by practicing waking awareness (by questioning whether you are awake or not), developing awareness of what is around you and analyzing your actions.

2) WILD – Wake Induced Lucid Dream

The dreamer goes straight into the dream world from a waking state without losing consciousness. To put it another way, the aim of this is to keep the mind awake while letting the body fall asleep.  There are a handful of different ways to induce a WILD and two of the most common are outlined below:

  • Eyelid Patterns – When you go to bed, make sure that the room is pitch black. Then, close your eyes and focus on the little dots that appear on your eyelids. Continue to focus on these dots; make them dance, change colors and form patterns. Do this long enough and you will enter a lucid dream.
  • Counting – Imagine you are walking down a long flight of stairs (count each step as you go) – concentrate on what you see, hear, smell and feel. At some stage, this image will transform itself into a dream and you will enter a lucid dream. In order for this to work, you must concentrate fully.

3) MILD – Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams

As you are falling asleep keep repeating to yourself a mantra such as, “I will realize I am dreaming”. Keep repeating until you are certain that the mantra is set in your mind or you fall asleep.

4) WBTB – WAKE-Back-To-Bed

Wake up after 4-6 hours of sleep, get yourself out of bed for a short period of time (a few minutes to an hour) before returning to bed.

How to Stay in Your Lucid Dream?


When you have a lucid dream, you want to spend as long as possible in it. Attaching yourself to the dream is known as stabilization. This can be accomplished by:

Touching things – This will make your brain have to imagine what the objects feel like; this will take your mind away from your physical body and draw it towards your dream body.

Rub your hands together – Works the same way as touching things.

Shout that you’re dreaming - Works the same as above. It is best to compare this with the above.

Spin – Spin in a circle and take a good look around. This will keep your mind engaged on the dream.


BONUS - watch this video guide on how to lucid dream below: 

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