How to have a lucid dream
I've been interested in lucid dreaming for over 15 years. When I started out I rarely even remembered my dreams. I had to persevere for months before I finally had my first lucid dream. Hopefully I can help you succeed a little quicker. Note that it takes time, dedication and determination.
Make sure you are getting enough sleep and have a regular sleep pattern. Waking just before your alarm goes off is an indication you are getting it right.
Some nights it's not worth trying. If you are unwell, stressed, upset or have been sleeping poorly, just try and get a good nights rest.
Improve your dream recall
You need to have good dream recall before you start trying to have lucid dreams.
We all dream every night, but most dreams are forgotten in an instant. You can improve this by giving them more attention.
Learn to remember
Whenever you wake (morning or night) lie still and take a few minutes to remember if you were dreaming. Sometimes you may remember nothing at first, then a vague recollection returns.
Once you remember part of the dream think about what came before or after. Keep going until you have remembered as much as you can. Run through the sequence of events to help you recall it later.
This process commits your dream to your long term memory. Do it every time you wake and you will start to recall more dreams.
Keep a dream journal
Some lucid dreamers choose to document their dreams in a dream journal. This encourages you go through the process described above and gives you a permanent record.
Question your reality
If you question your reality and find that you're dreaming you will have succeeded in having a lucid dream.
You may be flying through space without it even crossing your mind that this is an unusual activity for 10:30am on a Tuesday. But, if you can recognise that something is unusual, you can test to see if you are dreaming.
Raise your awareness
We all lead busy lives with our attention fully absorbed by work, movies, socialising. We're rarely aware of what is going on around us, so it's no surprise that lack of awareness carries through to our dreams.
Performing meditation daily will raise your awareness and brings many other benefits too.
You use reality-checks to prove that you're dreaming. Perform them regularly while you're awake to raise your awareness and to make it a habit.
If you perform a reality-check in a dream you will have a lucid dream.
Read how to perform reality-checks
Use your sleep cycle
Your final REM cycle of the night is the easiest to have a lucid dream.
We cycle through a number of stages during sleep, including deep sleep and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. REM sleep is where we dream. Each cycle lasts about 90 minutes.
Wake up before your final dream
Our first cycle includes more deep sleep and less REM sleep. Our final cycle includes less deep sleep and more REM sleep. It makes sense to attempt a lucid dream on your last REM cycle.
The trick is to wake up before your last sleep cycle and prepare for your lucid dream.
Try to drink enough water before bedtime to make you wake during the early morning to relieve yourself. You will naturally wake after a REM sleep cycle so you will have a chance to recall your last dream. It takes practise to learn how much to drink and by what time.
Alternatively you could set your alarm for a couple of hours before it's time to get up. Don't use this approach every night. You will loose quality sleep if your alarm wakes you during deep sleep.
Prepare for your lucid dream
After you wake, spend 10 to 30 minutes thinking or reading about lucid dreaming. Plan what you will do in your lucid dream. Optionally, use the technique in the following section to set your intention as you fall back to sleep.
Set your intension
If you need to remember something important, you repeat it to yourself over and over. "I must remember to take my passport tomorrow". Maybe you even imagine putting it in your bag. This is instinctive behaviour. You do it because you know it works. You can use the same technique to increase your chances of having a lucid dream.
Go to bed and wait until you start to fall asleep
Repeat a phrase in your mind, "I will recognise that I'm dreaming" or whatever words you choose
Imagine that you are in a dream
Imagine noticing something strange and doing a reality-check
Imagine performing the activities you plan to do in your lucid dream
If you don't fall to sleep shortly after setting your intention, complete the process again.
In order for the suggestion to work it needs to feel important. In the example of remembering your passport, there's something at stake. Try to attach an emotional connection to your suggestion.
Feel confident, believe the outcome is inevitable.
Make lucid dreaming part of your life
You often dream about your recent waking life and about things that have some emotional weight. If you incorporate lucid dreaming in to your everyday life, you are more likely to start having lucid dreams, especially if you are passionate about it.
In Project 260. I plan to make this easier and fun by providing tools, experiences and inspiration for your dreams. Read more about Project 260.