Dream On: A Guide to Lucid Dreaming

Did you know that you can train yourself to become alert to your dream, during the dream? This amazing phenomenon is known as lucid dreaming. 

Have you ever wanted to try?  Since being at school I have tested lucid dreaming. If you want to attempt this ability, maybe I can help! These steps are ordered as per my individual experience with lucid dreaming—the things that may be helpful to you might not be so helpful to me, and vise versa.  Thus, give everything a try to see what works!

Creat a dream diary

Directly after waking, do your best to write down your most recent dream in detail.  A lot of our dreams are recurring and involve consistent images and people. If you make an effort to remember your dreams [by writing them in this diary], your brain will be able to register these particulars and eventually make you conscious of them during sleep.  For example, this year I have dreamt myself running down a dark hallway several times.  After writing this dream down and thinking about it enough, my brain recognized the situation while I was sleeping.  The first time it worked, I thought “wow I know I’m dreaming” and ran into the wall to wake myself up.  This was just a test of course—the next time, once I realized that I was truly aware of my dream state, I explored the dream a bit more.

Time it

I researched and discovered that the most opportune times to lucid dream are either right after you wake up (fall back to sleep, a quick 10 minute “nap”) or right before you wake up, when REM sleep commonly occurs.  Become mindful of your personal sleep schedule and organize your sleep pattern to help instigate lucid dreams.

Am I dreaming?

This is an easy and powerful step.  Ask yourself throughout the day “am I dreaming?”  Once you assure yourself that you’re awake, remember that reality check—what it feels like, looks like.  Hopefully, if you do this enough, your brain will remember it during sleep.


Wakey, wakey

Set an alarm that will wake you in the middle of the night.  Once you are awake, try remembering your dream immediately.  Write it down.  The general rule is: set the alarm to wake you up 4 1/2, 6, or 7 1/2 hours after falling asleep. (EX: go to sleep at 10, have an alarm set for 2:30AM).  If you want to research this further, the method is titled MILD.

Finger test

Wake yourself up in the middle of the night, only to drift back to sleep right after.  As you’re drifting back to sleep, move your index finger up and down.  Focus entirely on the movement.  If you think of other things, you will wake up.  After about thirty seconds, pinch your nose—if you’re able to breathe with your nose pinched, good job! You are lucid dreaming! For more on this method, research FILD.

Still not convinced to try lucid dreaming? Check out the potential benefits of lucid dreaming in this article from the Wall Street Journal. 

Bon rêver!