Lucid Dreaming - The
Lucid Dreaming Techniques
Author: Stephen Turner,
Reality testing and dream
The secret to lucid dreaming success is to
get yourself into the habit of noticing when you are dreaming,
and when you are not. The way you do this is to train yourself
to do 'reality checks' during your waking hours. Do
enough reality checks during your waking hours and one day
(or rather one night) you will do a reality check during a
dream, when, hopefully, you will spot that you are actually
dreaming. This is the moment of ‘going lucid’, and after perhaps
weeks of hard work, to discover that you are actually lucid
dreaming it is likely to be some pay off!
Reality tests not only focus your mind on
whether you are awake or dreaming, they also focus your mind
on looking for dream signs, signs which give away an
experience as a dream. Try doing reality tests four or five
times a day. Ask yourself, 'Am I dreaming now?’ A good time
to do a reality test is just after something odd happens during
your waking hours - the logic being that many odd things happen
in dreams, and if you can get into the habit of reality checking
right after something unusual happens then sooner of later
you will do a reality test in a dream.
Remember that when you do the reality tests
during the day, you are looking for dream signs - indications
which would give away an experience as being a dream. Of course
during the day there will be no dream signs, you’ll be awake
- but your search for them will prepare you for an experience
where you will think you are awake but you’ll actually discover
that you are dreaming.
What sort of dream signs
should you look out for?
Watches are good things to focus on, so make
sure you wear one during the day. Look hard at the numbers
to see if they remain constant or if they change. Do this
often enough and then one night in a dream - you will stare
at your watch and the magic will begin. I am referring of
course to the dream phenomenon noted by researchers where
text (words or numbers) changes before the dreamer's eyes.
This happens in 75% of cases where the text is re-read and
in 95% of cases where it is re-read twice. So during the day,
train yourself to look at the numbers on your watch, then
look away and back again, away and back again. If the numbers
on the watch face change then 'no' you are not going mad,
the truth is that you are actually dreaming. Re-examining
any form of text in a dream is likely to give away the dream
since the words will rarely hold their configuration on repeated
re-examination. What you just read and understood as a coherent
sentence will in most cases morph into nonsense when you re-read
it thereby revealing your experience as a dream, provided,
of course, that you have trained yourself to spot this dream
A good idea is to carry a bit of text around
with you during the day and look at it regularly. Soon enough
you will remember to look at the same text in a dream (your
mind will reproduce it) and you’ll spot the dream sign as
the text breaks up, or changes before your eyes.
Another dream sign to look out for are light
switches; try flicking a light switch in a dream and you'll
generally find that they do not work to alter the lighting
Other dream signs will be your abilities.
In dreams we are often able to fly, we may be able to pass
through walls, or make things around us move. Things around
you may also not be as they are in waking life: in dreams
you might encounter strangely coloured animals, malfunctioning
devices, and you may meet deceased people. In order that you
are ready to spot these odd occurrences in a dream, try to
imagine such things happening during the day. One such test
that works for me is to imagine myself lifting off the ground.
I did this several times a day for a few days and sure enough,
I remembered to do it in a dream, took to the air, spotted
the dream sign and ‘went lucid.’
Your dream signs
Of course not everyone will experience the
same dream signs - the signs you experience will be
personal to you, but this is where your dream diary will be
of assistance, since it will record those dream signs which
you regularly experience. By studying the patterns in your
dream signs you will be on notice to look out for them in
future. Reality testing may sound a little crazy, but once
you get yourself into the habit of frequently testing reality
in the real world, it is only a matter of time before you
remember to do it in the dream world, and then you will start
Going lucid for the first time can be pretty
exciting, so try to keep calm or you are likely to wake up
and your lucid dreaming experience will be over before it
has really started!
Mnemonic Induction of Lucid
This is a technique pioneered by Dr La Berge,
which should be practiced immediately before you go to sleep
and involves setting yourself up to notice you're dreaming
and then to wake and remember the lucid dreaming experience
in as much detail as you can. What you do is repeat out loud
your intention to lucid dream and to have perfect dream recall
- rather like a mantra. I tried this technique and had immediate
successful with it. I should add, however, that by this stage,
I had already trained myself to pick up on dream signs. As
I lay in bed I repeated over and over, 'I will have a lucid
dream, and I will remember it, I will have a lucid dream..’
etc., etc.' I pushed all other thoughts from my mind and focused
hard on my intention to start lucid dreaming as soon as I
fell asleep and in no time I found myself in a garden, when
it occurred to me that I might be dreaming. Uncertain as to
whether I was dreaming I tried my flying reality test, and
took to the air - comfirming the experience as a dream.
You can also use the MILD technique (or the
mantra technique as I like to refer to it) to direct yourself
to have a lucid dream about something in particular, or to
perform a particular task. Just adapt your mantra to the specifics
of the task.
Dr La Berge's research has revealed that periods
of waking interjected during sleep increases the likelihood
of lucid dreaming. This is known as the napping technique.
Try waking one and a half hours earlier than
you usually do, and then remain awake for about half an hour,
then go back to sleep. Research suggests that you may be able
to increase your chances of lucid dreaming by as much as 15
to 20 times! It helps if during the waking period you read
about lucid dreaming, think about practicing reality checks,
and follow MILD as you fall asleep.
As a general point, REM (rapid eye movement)
sleep - the type of sleep during which you dream - comes in
cycles, and each cycle is longer than the last. The final
cycle could be as long as 45 minutes to an hour, so by waking
at, say, six in the morning, then setting yourself up for
a final bout of dream sleep (using MILD) you could have a
fruitful hour long lucid dreaming experience.
Lucid dreaming induction
You can also buy devices, known as lucid dreaming
induction devices, such as DreamLight or NovaDreamer
which you wear whilst sleeping and which give you artificial
dream signs e.g flashing lights. The lucid dreaming devices
work subtlely so that they do not wake you up, but rather
the signals enter your dream and become part of what you percieve.
Research shows that these can be very effective
at notifying the dreamer that they are in fact dreaming.
Such devices are expensive and I would suggest
that you try the lucid dreaming techniques detailed on this
site before having recourse to an induction device.