Techniques For Inducing Lucid Dreams

There are certain techniques, methods and practices which can induce more dreaming (REM) sleep and induce lucid dreams in particular.

Sleep Interruption

Sleep interruption is the process of purposefully awakening during your normal sleep period and falling asleep a short time later (10-60 minutes). This can be done by using a somewhat quiet alarm clock to bring you to consciousness without fully awakening you. You can also place the alarm clock on the other side of the room forcing you to get up to turn it off. Often going back to sleep at this moment can induce more dreaming and lucid states. This technique can also be used by drinking lots of fluids prior to sleep which will cause you to awaken during the night. Sleep interruption trains you to arise immediately after your dream ends which can with dream recall, and also train you to fall right back asleep into the dream, often dreaming of the last few things on your mind before falling asleep.


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Sleep Continuity

If you initially have trouble falling asleep, avoid drinking fluids for about one hour before going to bed. This can also disrupt any attempts at lucid dreaming. Avoid sugar and caffeine before bed as well. But depending on your sensitivity, caffeine and sugar may stimulate your mind as opposed to your body. This extra grip on consciousness could actually be helpful in inducing lucid dreams for some people. Exercising during the day, preferable in the morning or afternoon, is also an excellent way to prepare your body for sleep; but avoid exercise 3 hours before bedtime since that would result in your body being too stimulated before bed. If you still have difficulty getting to sleep try reading about dreams or lucid dreaming just before going to sleep. Your subconscious will most likely absorb this information which will increase your chances of experiencing a lucid or vivid dream. Remember to keep lights off and noises to a minimum while you are sleeping. Making sure your bed and sleeping environment is comfortable, including the temperature in the room, will ensure quality sleep without being interrupted out of a dream due to distractions.


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Reality Checks

A reality check is a test you can perform during your waking hours to see if you are dreaming or awake. This may seem an odd thing to do when you know you are awake, but making a habit out of this will hugely increase your chances of having a lucid dream, since you will eventually find yourself performing reality checks during a dream. Things we tend to do repeatedly or develop habits of doing over and over tend to eventually make their way into our dreams at some point. During a reality check, you can ask yourself out loud or silently "am I dreaming?", as well as observing your body and physical environment for signs or clues or anything being out of place or unusual. If you can develop the habit of doing this several times throughout the day, then during a dream you may find yourself asking the same question as you examine your dream body or environment, but in this case, you will notice something unusual or out of place--something that could not be real or part of waking reality--and then you will realize you are dreaming and become fully lucid in the dream.

Reality checks work better when you choose the same action to perform throughout the day repeatedly, such as checking your hands, flipping a light switch, or even jumping up and down. These repeated actions are then more easily carried out through repetition in the dream so that when you look at your hands, flip the light switch, jump up and down, etc., you will notice something different or unusual about it as opposed to when you perform these repeated actions while awake.


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Auto Suggestion

This technique can help to induce lucid dreaming and would benefit those people who are highly susceptible to hypnosis, or who practice meditation on a regular basis. As you are falling asleep, you would merely suggest to yourself that you will have a lucid dream that night, and that you will remember it when you wake up. You can use a mantra such as "I will recognize that I am dreaming" and repeat it over and over until you fall asleep. Don't try to hard to force yourself to have a lucid dream because this can be counter-productive. It should be natural process. Instead of putting intentional effort into the suggestion, try to genuinely expect to have a lucid dream (in the same way as you genuinely expect your heart to beat). Allow yourself to expect the lucid dream as a natural part of sleep. Be patient with this technique as it can take some practice.


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MILD Technique

A Mnemonically Induced Lucid Dream (MILD Technique) is a method that requires you to concentrate specifically on your intention to remember and recognize you are dreaming. Repeating a short mantra in your head, as stated above, and really focusing on your intention as you do so. You can imagine a scenario you would like to dream about while visualizing the actions you will perform in the dream, using all of your senses as you visualize it as realistically as possible. Do these visualizations while repeating the mantra and holding the expectation/intention to have a lucid dream and remember it when you awaken. The MILD technique is best practiced when you first go to sleep at night or right immediately after you have awakened from a dream in the morning or even during the night.

If you practice the MILD technique after you have just awakened from a dream, you should first run through the dream to ensure that you remember it. It can be helpful to quickly jot down a few notes about the dream in your dream journal at this time. Once you have committed the dream to memory, go back to sleep and follow the steps above. But this time, visualize the dream that you just had instead. Move the dream in your mind until you encounter a dream-sign that you originally missed (something that would have indicated that you were dreaming or something unusual that could not be a part of your waking reality). Now, instead of missing the dream-sign, imagine yourself recognizing the sign and becoming 'lucid'. Repeat this visualization and expectation until you fall back asleep. Most likely, or with enough practice, you will re-enter the same dream you had previously awoken from and had been visualizing, and you will recognize the dream sign or become lucid.


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WILD Technique

The Wake-Initiated Lucid Dream (WILD technique) refers to any technique that involves falling asleep consciously. These techniques are similar to self-hypnosis. Some people believe that Wake-Initiated lucid dreams are not actual dreams, but instead is astral projection. It is easier for most people to induce dreams this way early in the morning or after waking up from an afternoon nap, as the sleep cycle will continue with a REM period (dreaming sleep). Once you are experienced with the WILD technique, you can try to induce them at other times.

For a wake-initiated lucid dream to occur, it is best for you body to be completely relaxed. When you go back to bed, lie down comfortable. Now tense and relax your body, starting from your shoulder and working your way downwards to your feet, than back up again to the face. This (or similar relaxation, meditation or trance techniques) should make your body feel slightly heavy and relaxed. There are many ways to induce WILDs, but they all involve simultaneously attempting to keep the mind aware while attempting to have the body fall asleep.

If you pay attention to your physical body while using these techniques, you will likely enter sleep paralysis, (a normal occurrence which happens after you are already asleep) without losing conscious awareness of your body. You may experience a tingling or buzzing sensation, and if you are slightly awake you may notice your body is paralyzed and unable to move. These sensations can sometimes be strong and may feel unpleasant or a bit frightening at first, but there is nothing to worry about and you are perfectly safe. In fact, this process happens to you every time you sleep, but you are usually not conscious during the experience. Sometimes you can simply wait until you fall asleep straight into a lucid dream. If you do not fall asleep, and you experience sleep paralysis, do not try to move. Imagine your dream hand (or spirit hand if you prefer) going up and leaving your physical hand behind. Now you will seemingly experience two separate bodies, a dream body and a real one. Control your dream body only because if you try to move or control your real body you will wake up. There is a possibility that after waking up from a dream that you initiated using this technique, you will still be paralyzed and may be accompanied by hallucinations.


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Chakra Technique

Using Third Eye (Ajna) chakra meditations is one way to achieve a Wake-Initiated Lucid Dream. Basically, one has to focus solely on his third eye chakra while focusing on a breathing technique to achieve a lucid dream. This is a very ancient technique. Regular and Lucid dreams can be successfully induced through any basic or advanced meditation technique with enough practice and consistency.


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Eyelid Patterns

The eyelid pattern technique is very effective but may lead to some strange after effects, such as having up to 15 dreams in one night, but otherwise nothing harmful. For this technique, when you go to sleep, ensure the room is completely dark. Then, with eyes closed, try to focus on the little dots that should appear to be moving beneath your closed eyelids. You will find that with practice you can change their color at will. Continue focusing on these dots; make them dance around and form patters and change colors, and eventually you should enter a Lucid Dream. Although this technique may take some practice it is usually very effective for inducing Lucid Dreams at will, and may also work better in conjunction with another technique at the same time, but is still extraordinarily effective on its own.


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Hypnagogic Imagery

Hypnogogic Imagery is the images, sounds, sensations, etc. that may occur while you are in the process of falling asleep, between the dreaming and waking state. These may be colors, patterns, light effects, etc that appear behind your closed eyelids, swirling and taking shape as you focus upon them. Sounds in the room can become incorporated into the visuals as well. Everyone usually experiences some form of hypnagogic visuals as they drift off to sleep. The key would be to remain consciously aware as your are experiencing the imagery without falling completely asleep, and even intentionally playing with or creating the visuals as you lay there.

Similar to the concept of the eyelid patterns, you can stimulate your thinking patterns by constantly switching your attention. After doing this long enough, the images and sounds should begin to take on a life of their own. The imagery or sounds may get very strange and illogical. You should enter a dream at this point and quickly become lucid. Otherwise, you will eventually realize that you have entered sleep paralysis consciously. Because hypnagogic sleep paralysis involves full consciousness, dreaming can sometimes be frighteningly real. There is often a feeling of physical movement in your body like being spun around or flipped upside down, or tugged upon by an outside force. Hypnagogic visuals and hallucinations may also include strange auditory hallucinations (the sounds may become images, similar to synethesia). It is possible to observe waking reality while in a hypnagogic state, but this is limited to the sensations of your physical body only. Most hypnagogic sleep paralysis states occur when sleeping face up. There is also some evidence that hypnagogic sleep paralysis may be hereditary.


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Counting

This is a simple technique that involves counting up to 100 or another number in your head, optionally adding a mantra (e.g,. "I'm dreaming") in between each number count. Alternatively, you can imagine stepping down a flight of stairs or elevator, and reading each floor number, from 100 to 0. Try to make the image as vivid and realistic as possible by including not only what you see, but also what you hear, feel, touch and smell. At some point this image should continue into the dream or you will begin to get sleep paralysis as described above. As you drift into a deeper state of consciousness on the verge of sleep it may be easy to lose count or repeat the mantra with each number. But by staying focused, your body will go to sleep while your mind stays somewhat awake and aware. Dreams can be induced using the visualization method with or without counting, by merely focusing on any visualization or scenario, complete with sounds, smells, etc, as you relax your body into sleep while keeping your mind aware and focused. The imagery will either become very realistic as in the sleep paralysis, or you will drift immediately into a dream, often lucid, of whatever it was you were visualizing beforehand.


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Sound Technique

This is a method which involved the sensation of "Tinnitus" (the buzzing or whooshing sound in the ear that one hears while drifting off to sleep). The sound technique is very similar to the WILD methods, and the intention to remain conscious while entering the dream state. In order to use this method, you must sleep in a perfectly quiet place. This is so you will be able to hear the inner buzzing sound inside your ears. Lay your body down and relax as much as possible while trying to hear and focus upon this sound. If you are too tired, you may fall asleep too fast and it will be difficult to remain consciously focused--in this case you should combine it with the WBTB technique. As you use focus on remaining aware of the buzzing sound you will notice that it may increase in intensity or vibration, getting louder or filling your head or even vibrating throughout your body. This may frighten some newcomers, but be assured that you are safe and nothing bad is going to happen. You will not go deaf! The effect is simply caused by your brain trying to change modes, from listening to ambient sound, to listening to the sounds within the dream being induced--the sounds within the dream world are simply the electrical charge inputed to that part of the brain to create the sensation of hearing. So you are on the verge between actual physical sound within your ears and the artificial dream sounds. At this point as the sound becomes more intense, you will enter the hypnagogic state as well. Now all you need to do is concentrate and not think of anything. Just be still, and in time your dream body will float, separating from the physical body and away you go hopefully into full lucidity within the dream world.

About Tinnitus

Tinnitus is the medical term for "ringing in the ears" and consists of the hissing, buzzing, whooshing and whistling sounds that one hears in his/her ears when in a quiet room or while falling asleep; these sounds will become more intense with concentrated focus or by 'listening' to the ambient noise and may spread throughout the body. These sounds can actually be heard when you concentrate, even throughout the day, when you pay attention to them. In a quiet environment, the more you focus on them the louder they will get. Although the experience of Tinnitus can be irritating to some, the most common cause is damage to the nerves located inside the ears, buildup of earwax, exposure to loud noises too often, ear infections and even certain medications.


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Slight Physical Discomfort

For the purpose of helping to retain your conscious awareness while the body fall asleep, slight physical discomfort can be useful while performing and Wake-Induced-lucid dream technique. This prevents you from completely drifting off into sleep, normally without lucidity. If you are lying down on your bed to do a WILD technique and you are totally comfortable, then your changes of going to sleep instead of remaining conscious is very high. So the idea is to not get too comfortable. The WILD technique relies on a form of dream trance induction, and many people who induce trances for other reasons rely on slight physical discomfort to achieve their results--for example the lotus position used in meditation, or even sitting upright in a hard-backed char. Depending on your own preferences and requirements, you could choose any of the following methods: Stacking pillows so you can sit upright more in the bed, the discomfort being that you are not in a normal sleeping position; you can lay down on a hard floor for sleep; sitting in a hard or somewhat uncomfortable char; and another popular method involved lifting your forearm vertically upwards, with the rest of your arm resting on the bed (can be done while laying somewhat comfortably this time in the bed, on your back). The idea is that as your body relaxed and drift deeper into sleep, your arm will begin to fall, and this will cause your mind to become slightly alert that you are laying there intending to induce a lucid dream--so this allows your body to relax and drift to sleep but you mind to stay slightly alert enough to stay somewhat conscious and lucid as you enter the dream state.

Sleep Programming - Program your mind while you sleep


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Dream Incubation

To incubate a dream about a specific topic that you would like to dream about, you should first think of a phrase that summarizes the topic (e.g., "I want to go to Atlantis."). It may help to write the phrase down so you have it memorized. If there is something you want to do in the dream, think of phrase to summarize that too (e.g., "I want to watch the sunset over the pyramids of Giza."). If you want to become lucid in the dream, then you should probably write something lie "When I dream of [topic], I will remember that I'm dreaming." Immediately go to sleep and focus on your topic phrase. Visualize yourself dreaming about the topic and imagine that you will realize you are dreaming while you are dreaming of your topic. If there is something specific you want to do in the dream, visualize yourself doing it. Think about the phrase or topic (and your intention to become lucid) as you fall asleep. Make sure that the last thing in your mind before falling sleep in your intention to lucidly dream about the topic you want to dream about. You might want to wake yourself up when the dream starts to fade so that you remember more of the dream; you can do this by ignoring your perception of the dream environment--the opposite of dream stabilization techniques (just make sure you do a realist check when you wake up to make be sure you're fully awake)!


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Chaining Dreams

Dream chaining or chaning dreams, is a method to re-enter your dream after you have woken up. It can work for lucid or non-lucid dreams, but you will probably want to enter your dream lucidly. Once you wake up from a dream you should stay very still and keep your eyes closed (doing this upon waking will also help you get better at dream recall). Small movements are okay, but the less movement, sensory stimulation, and less time awake, the better. Ideally, it should feel less like you've woken up, and more like you've take a 30 second break from dreaming. Once you are prepared to go back to sleep, close your eyes and either visualize yourself back in your dream, or use the "spinning technique" to imagine yourself spinning back "into" your dream. Spinning is a little faster than visualization. Be sure to maintain the fact that you are dreaming (unless you don't want to become lucid), or you may lose your lucidity while falling asleep. Once in the dream, stimulate your senses as early as possible.


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VILD Technique

Visual Induction of Lucid Dreams or Visually Incubated Lucid Dream (VILD technique). This technique involves the same relaxation technique used in the WILD technique. You can also imagine your brain emptying out and becoming sleepier. If you have a difficult time falling asleep quickly, then it may help to read a book (preferable one about dreams!) for a awhile before you go to sleep; do this until you feel very sleepy. Then, you need to visualize a dream which you had prepared earlier. make sure you know exactly what the dream will be like, such as what the scenery will look like, people who may be present, things you will say and do, etc. A great method to add to this technique is the Reality Checks, by somehow incorporated the act of doing a reality check as part of the intended dream scenario you are visualizing before sleep. Realty checks that require no props are best (such staring at your hand or holding your breath). Visualize this dream scene slowly for about three times, making sure you know every detail. Then, start going full-on and visualize the dream over and over. You should visualize the dream as though are looking through your own eyes, nor from a third-person perspective. If you find your thoughts drifting, ignore them and continue to visualize the dream continuously. You will need patience for this as this method may take time and practice.

When you actually dream your pre-chosen dream, you may not notice any difference--until you do your reality check! Continue with the dream as you incubated it, performing any details that were involved during your pre-sleep visualization. If visualizing before sleep tends to keep you awake, then VILD may not be the technique that is best for you.


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LILD Technique

Lucid Induction of Lucid Dreams, or Lucidly Induced Lucid Dreams (LILD technique). To use this technique you need to have a lucid dream in the first place, but it can help you start having them more frequently. The idea is to do something in your dream that will help you to become lucid the next time you are dreaming, for example, asking a dream character during a Lucid Dream to tell you that you are dreaming in your next dream. This technique is a way to force a reality check while in a normal dream state where your subconscious has no choice but to come to the conclusion that you are in fact dreaming. Once your mind knows that you are dreaming, there will be no other conclusion than your conscious mind taking over. This is what lucid dreaming is all about.


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CAT Technique

This technique involves the following process: For one week, go to bed at the exact same time each night and get up 90 minutes earlier than you usually do. Spend those 90 minutes doing reality checks every 2-5 minutes. Thereafter, on alternative days, follow the routine from step one, and set the intention to do your reality check routinee at its regular time, while getting a full night sleep. This will cause the reality check conditioning to kick in during the prime REM sleep period.


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Tibetan Methods

Tibetan Buddhists practice what is known as Tibetan Dream Yoga, which is probably the most time consuming way of inducing a lucid dream. It is also the most rewarding.The basic practice is awareness. Awareness should be practiced while sleeping just as well as while being awake. Meditating on the question who is aware? might catapult you into a higher degree of awareness according to Buddhist beliefs. Keeping this level of awareness is another matter. The Tibetans have developed many yogic exercises and disciplines to be practiced. Maybe the most interesting difference between Tibetan dream yoga and modern western methods of lucid dream induction is the Tibetan claim of the possibility to be aware during deep sleep, not only in the REM periods of sleep.



More Lucid Dream Induction Methods


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