So you want to have a lucid dream? Congratulations on starting this journey! Whether this is your first time attempting to have a lucid dream experience, or you have tried in the past and want some pointers, this guide will take you through all the steps necessary for an absolute beginner to give his or herself the best chance of experiencing and LD (lucid dream) tonight.
There are some pretty awesome 10-minute lucid dreaming lessons that will go over every question you have. Check out Rebecca Turner’s lucid dreaming courses.
We’ll take you through an ideal evening to get your mind and body in the best possible state to experience lucid dreaming.
First Off: Let’s Define What Lucid Dreaming Is:Lucid Dreaming, in a nutshell, is the ability to become self-aware while dreaming. Click To Tweet
But the actual experience for you (especially if it’s your first time), is different for everyone. When you wake up your mind while you’re body is still asleep, you might (just for example) see people in the room with you that aren’t actually there, you might feel that you’re floating in your room, or that you might end up having an out-of-body experience.
Is Lucid Dreaming Real?
Yes. Lucid dreaming has been scientifically studied and verified over and over again. Scientists have even successfully induced lucid dreaming by zapping students’ brains with a small amount of electricity (don’t worry, they were voluntary participants!). The mystery surrounding this phenomenon comes from the fact that scientists still don’t fully understand how or why it occurs.
Here Are The Steps To Lucid Dreaming, in a Nutshell:
You may want to save this page and reference this list each night you attempt a lucid dream. Below we’ll explore each step in more detail:
- Read and think about lucid dreaming for as long as you can before bedtime.
- An hour before bedtime, turn off all screens.
- Make your room as dark as possible
- Practice your reality checks
- Right before you fall asleep, take an 5-HTP vitamin (optional).
- Set an alarm for 2 hours before you would normally wake up. Keep it close by, so you can turn it off without opening your eyes or moving.
- Clear your mind.
- Focus on a certain landscape. Like your own bedroom, but in a dreamworld.
- Repeat a mantra.
- Stay calm. Getting too excited will wake up your body. Be confident and calm.
- When your alarm goes off, turn it off without opening your eyes.
- Focus on your landscape. Focus on the textures, the smells, the sounds.
- Create a talisman for your dreamworld: a ring, a necklace, something to remind yourself that your dreaming.
- Remember to stay calm.
Read and Think about Lucid Dreaming
Sleep is a memory consolidation exercise for your brain. There’s a lot of mysteries about sleep and dreaming, but at least we know that. You may notice that you dream about events and people that you interacted with that day. So one way to increase your likelihood of experiencing a lucid dream tonight is to read and think about it as much as you can. You can read our blog, watch YouTube videos, read books–anything you can find.
Turn off all Screens an Hour Before Bed
This is great advice for getting better sleep in general. The blue light that comes off of these devices negatively affect your sleep quality. So if you turn off all your screens for at least an hour before bed, you’ll give your mind the best possible chance of waking up in your dreams.
Make Your Room as Dark as Possible
This is somewhat related: lights in your room can interfere with your lucid dreams and may cause your mind to wake up, or at least interfere with your dream. You know how sounds and lights are sometimes incorporated in your dreams? You don’t want that happening while you’re lucid.
Practice Your Reality Checks:
What are reality checks? These are quick actions you can take you help you realize that you’re in a dream. The most common reality check is for you to bring your hands together and point your index finger through the palm of your other hand. This will tip you off right away that you’re dreaming. Hands tend to be scrambled and distorted in dreams anyway, so even looking down at your hands can sometimes be enough to tip you off that you’re in a dream state.
Take an 5-HTP Supplement:
This is optional, but here’s one safe way to increase your odds of having a lucid dream:
You can consult our supplement section for more info, but we advise taking a 5-HTP supplement right before bed. What does it do? 5-HTP (i.e. 5-Hydroxytryptophan) has been shown to suppress REM sleep, which means that for the first half of your sleep REM will be suppressed…and it will rebound in a big way later in your sleep cycle (right when you start dreaming).
Another Option: Huperzine-A and Choline
Regular lucid dreamers call these ingredients the ‘red pill’. This is meant to be taken 4 hours into your sleep cycle, so you need to set an alarm and then take the pill and go back to sleep. The ‘red pill’ works by slowing the breakdown of acetylcholine (ACh). High ACh is associated with more dreams and higher frequency, so it’s one way to increase the likelihood of a successful lucid dream.
Lucid Dream Leaf makes these supplements in blue and red pill forms, so that you can buy one bottle and have the supplements you need for a successful lucid dreaming experience.
Set an Alarm
This strategy is known as ‘wake back to bed’, and it’s the clearest and most beginner friendly way to have an experience. Set an alarm on your phone or clock to wake you up one hour before you’re scheduled to wake up. This is when most of your REM sleep take place (especially if you’ve taken a 5-HTP supplement).
Here are the keys to setting the alarm: make the noise something soothing: could be ocean waves, or a slow, melodic song you like. What about ‘Angel’ by Massive Attack? That’s our go to, although you can choose whatever you want.
Next, make sure you can turn off your alarm without opening your eyes. The purpose of the alarm is to wake up your mind but not your body. So keep the alarm close, where you don’t need to roll over or move very much to turn it off.
Now, you focus on waking up your mind while your body tries to go back to sleep.
Focus on a Certain Landscape
This can be (ideally) the same dream landscape you focused on before you went to bed. Your bedroom is the simplest and easiest dreamscape for most people to make up. Remember to be calm and confident. If you use a mantra, you can repeat it to yourself, but do it non-verbally (if you start talking you will wake your body up).
Now, focus on the textures of your room: the feel of the bedsheets, the smells and sounds of your rooms. If you spend some time focusing on these textures, it will help you slip into a lucid state.
In this state you may feel ‘sleep paralysis’, where your body can’t move but your mind is awake. This can be disconcerting at first, but it’s perfectly natural. It actually means that you may be in a lucid state already.
Perform your reality checks. This will keep your mind awake. If you do it and your finger goes through your hand, then you’ll have achieved lucidity.
Create a Talisman
This may take practice over many experiences, but one way to keep yourself in a lucid state is to create an in-dream talisman for you to refer back to over and over again. It can be a ring, a necklace….a sword, a gun…really anything you want. This is something you check in on to remember that you are dreaming. It will calm you when you’re in a lucid state, and that’ll prevent you from waking yourself up from getting too excited or anxious.
The Next Steps on your Journey:
We just went over the ‘wake back to bed’ strategy, one of many different tactics you can use to create lucidity. There are other techniques, including the Mnemonic Induced Lucid Dreaming Technique, guided meditation, writing techniques, and more. This is not the end: this is just the beginning of your lucid journey.