Lucid dreaming is a scientifically proven state of sleep where a person is aware he or she is dreaming and is able to control the dream. People can recall old memories, go where they wish, or do anything they want in these dreams.
Researchers have studied lucid dreaming and have found it to be a hybrid form of consciousness. Areas of the brain that normally rest during REM sleep become active during lucid dreaming. These “higher order” functions, which are associated with logical reasoning and voluntary behavior, are inactive during normal dreaming but active during lucid dreaming.
Many experts believe that it is possible for anyone to learn how to become lucid in his or her dreams. It may take some practice, but eventually, a lucid dream will come to most.
Here are 5 ways to induce lucid dreaming!
1. Reality Check and Recognizing Dream Signs
The thing about dreams is that they feel completely normal until we wake up. Thus, trying to determine whether we are dreaming or awake is essential for triggering lucid dreams. Many of these checks can be taken as signs of lucid dreaming because they cannot happen when one is awake.
Experts suggest performing certain reality checks during waking hours. By consistently performing these checks, the mind will mimic them in a dream.
Here are some useful reality checks to perform:
- Breathing – Is it possible to breathe with the nose and mouth shut?
- Jumping – When jumping, does a person float back down?
- Reading – Can a sentence be read twice without it changing?
- Vision – Is vision clearer or blurrier than normal?
- Hands – Can the hand be pushed through a solid surface?
- Time – Is it possible to read a digital watch or clock face?
- Flying – Is it possible to fly?
- Palms of Hands – Do the palms of the hands look normal up close?
- Mirrors – Does the reflection look normal in the mirror?
- Math – Is it possible to add up two numbers for the correct answer?
By performing these simple checks, at least, a dozen times during the day, they are sure to be repeated during dreaming. When this happens, lucid dreaming will take over.
Take a look at the video below for some basic reality check ideas!
2. Mnemonic-Induced Lucid Dreams (MILD)
MILD is a good way for beginners to start the process of lucid dreaming. It is very simple and can easily be done by anyone. All a person has to do is repeat a mantra or affirmation about a dream and how he or she is going to dream.
- Next time I go to sleep, I will have a lucid dream.
- Lucid dreaming comes easily for me when I sleep.
- When I dream, I know I am dreaming.
- I will have a lucid dream tonight.
These phrases, or another of your choosing, should be chanted out loud or to yourself during the process of falling asleep. If you wake up in the middle of the night, that is another good time to repeat these mantras. This technique can also be paired with dream journaling. (Source)
Here is a simple guide on MILD.
3. Wake-Induced Lucid Dreams (WILD)
This is a more difficult technique, but it does produce fantastic results. This is a process best performed at around three in the morning. Many people wake up naturally at that time, so the process should be easy to try.
For WILD, relax and try to create a dream state in the mind while you are relaxing. (It is important to ignore all those little annoyances that might be demanding your attention, like an itchy nose or the desire to move your feet.)
When you feel sleep coming on, that is the time to create a dream sequence. The body is asleep, and the mind is dreaming, but you are still conscious. (Source)
Here is a great step-by-step process for performing WILD!
4. Externally Induced Lucid Dreams (EILD)
EILD uses an external force to produce lucid dreaming. The devices commonly used for this method can be expensive, and do not work for everyone. For example, there are goggles that flash light over the eyelids, which is meant to act as a sign of dreaming. (Source)
Some also use music to help guide them into a lucid dream. If other more costly methods do not work, music may be a good option. (Source)
5. Herbs to Activate Lucid Dreaming
There is a specific group of herbs that can be taken before sleep to help people remember their dreams and recognize that they are dreaming. These herbs include Wild Asparagus Root (Asparagus Racemosus), Valerian Root (Valeriana Officinalis), and Mugwort (Artemisia Vulgaris).
All three of these can be brewed into a tea and taken before bed. Valerian root should be brewed with hot water (not boiling, because boiling water can destroy the oils). All of these herbs should be taken with extreme caution. Valerian root can be especially strong. If you are currently taking other medications, you should talk with a professional before adding one of these teas to your nightly regimen.
Any of these methods can be used separately or together to induce lucid dreaming. It is an experience I hope to have at least once in my life.
Have you ever had a lucid dream?
Share your story in the comments!
(h/t: The Mind Unleashed)