To date I have had a number of lucid dreaming experiences, but after almost a year of practice I am still very much a newbie. Nevertheless, lucid dreaming has been a fascinating experiment and I will forever be impressed with the limitless potential and power of the brain.
So, here are 7 tips to help you learn to control your dreams – and a short demo on my favourite technique to induce a lucid dream.
- Have a regular sleeping pattern. Go to sleep and wake up at roughly the same time every day.
Easily the most important step. If you want to lucid dream you have to know your sleep cycle, and roughly when you enter REM sleep during the night. There are a number of free Sleep Tracking apps which might be helpful (I use Sleep Cycle).
- Keep a Dream Journal.
Have a notebook and pen beside your bed and jot down everything you can remember about your dreams when you wake up (on average people dream 5 times a night – but most don’t remember more than 1 or 2). Not only does this help dream recall (no point flying to Jupiter in your dreams if you can’t remember in the morning), it can also be fun to analyse your dreams and get insight into your subconscious mind.
- Find your dream signs.
A dream sign is a repeating theme in your dreams (eg. mine is water, but it can be anything – often a person or a place). Once you know your dream sign/s you can use them to recognize when you are dreaming (a bit like Inception with the spinning top).
- Reality Checks.
A reality check is an action or question which you can use to test if you are dreaming. The most foolproof is to pinch your nose and try to breathe in – if you are dreaming you will be able to breathe, because your body is still breathing while you sleep! (I still think this is really cool!)
- Become aware of your everyday world.
Look out for your dream signs in your waking world and you will be far more likely to recognize them while you are sleeping.
I’m a huge advocate for meditation in general – not just to improve concentration while lucid dreaming. I highly recommend the free SmilingMind app if you have never meditated. If you have – YouTube has a great selection of free guided meditations.
- Do your research.
Lucid dreaming isn’t for everyone. Fair warning – you may experience sleep paralysis, which can be frightening if you don’t know what it is. It will be far less scary – and you’ll be more likely to succeed – if you have done some research beforehand (See extra resources below to get you started).
FILD: My GO TO Technique to induce a lucid dream (others include MILD, WILD and wake-back-to-bed):
FILD – finger induced lucid dream:
FILD is easier if you try after being asleep for two or more hours, but it can work when going to bed too. Just before you fall asleep – do the following:
- Imagine playing the piano with two fingers (index and middle). Move your fingers up and down slowly.
- Now do this same motion – but imagine pressing the piano keys so lightly that they don’t get pushed down. You should feel your muscles contract – but your fingers should barely be moving.
- Do this for a minute – then do a reality check (pinch your nose).
- Enjoy your lucid dream!
- If it doesn’t work just go to sleep and try again tomorrow night.
Sounds easy, right?
I followed all of these tips for absolute beginners for about two weeks before I had my first lucid dream – so don’t be disheartened if it takes some time. Good luck, and let me know how you go! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below.
World of Lucid Dreaming – a useful website with heaps of beginners resources.
Giz Edwards – YouTube – This guy is hilarious and very interesting – worth watching his stuff even if you don’t lucid dream.