Imagine if there was a simple technique you could adopt, that would enable you to experience lucid dreaming whenever you wanted.
Now, imagine there were 7 easy lucid dreaming techniques that taken together would mean not only reaching your goal of having lucid dreams, but reaching it FAST.
Let’s face it.
Many people spend months and years practicing lucid dream induction techniques, such as reality checks, with little or no results.
Are you one of them? I was.
And before I learned how to lucid dream at will, I felt I was wasting my nights and days, not able to make use of and to enjoy this spectacular phenomena.
I wish I had access to the simple lucid dreaming tips I will share with you in this article, as it would have probably saved me years of hard work.
By reading this easy-to-implement, step-by-step guide, you will become a proficient lucid dreamer in no time.
You will then finally be able to reap the tremendous benefits lucid dreaming provides.
Lucid Dreaming Benefits
- Wish fulfillment
- Physical, emotional and spiritual healing
- Working through nightmares and recurring dreams
- Rehearsing, decision making, creative problem solving
- Receiving teachings
- Spiritual enlightenment
- Preparing for death
- Conditioning your subconscious as a way to alter the real world
And the list goes on and on. The benefits of lucid dreaming are overwhelming, which often made me wonder why isn’t everyone obsessed about them as much as I am.
So what are the 7 steps to lucid dreaming?
- Dream recall.
- Avoiding the obstacles.
- Programming your mind to be aware during dreams.
- Learning to fall asleep consciously.
- Early morning practice.
- Optimizing your brain chemistry (by using lucid dreaming pills & foods).
We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get started right away.
7 Lucid Dreaming Tips – How to Induce a Lucid Dream?
Step 1: Dream Recall
Remembering your dreams is absolutely essential for lucid dreaming.
The problem in this regard is that our brains seem “programmed” to erase our dream-related memories as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Your first step is to keep a dream journal
This is easily accomplished by placing a pen and paper next to your bed, so when you wake up and the memories of your dreams are still vivid, you can write them down.
This will help you identify your dream patterns, and tell you when you’re most likely to dream.
So how do you go about remembering your dreams?
Your first move is to get plenty of sleep. This is needed for several reasons.
First of all: to have long and proper REM sleep stages, you need to be well-rested and on a healthy sleep schedule.
When you awaken and you do indeed remember a dream: know that you MUST record it. Otherwise, if you go back to sleep, you brain may well erase it all by morning.
When you wake up, remain in the position in which you were upon awakening and try to remember what you dreamt. Try to grab onto a memory-fragment if you have no clear idea in this regard and try to work backwards from it.
If you feel up to it, you should really provide a detailed description of the dreams you do indeed remember.
Write down everything about them: dialogues, colors, sensations, feelings various dream scenarios elicited in you, tactile sensations and temperature-related ones.
Draw pictures of your dream scenarios, as well as of the symbols and various faces that you encounter.
In addition to your on-the-spot recording, prepare yourself to record dreams throughout the day. Sometimes dream recall strikes when you least expect it, and it would really be a shame to let these memories go to waste, just because you have your mind filled with other thoughts at that point.
Even if you only manage to recall some dream fragments, note them all down, with special attention to detail.
If you already have a dream journal going, read through it before bedtime. This is an interesting way to lull your brain into dream-mode, and to give your dream-related thoughts priority over the day’s issues, or other thoughts linked to mundane existence.
Step 2: Overcoming the Obstacles
There are several common obstacles that must be averted if you’d like to enjoy lucid dreaming.
Basically, anything that disturbs the natural course of sleep is to be avoided.
Here are some sleep hygiene tips you should follow on your way to become a lucid dreamer:
Avoid stimulants (e.g., caffeine, nicotine) for several hours before bedtime
Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants. Therefore, no surprise they cause trouble sleeping.
When designing your daily schedule, keep in mind that caffeine takes about 1 hour to kick in and that its duration of action is 3-4 hours.
Caffeine use significantly disturbs sleep in susceptible persons.
It would be wise therefore to avoid drinking coffee in the late afternoon or evening hours. Try to have your last caffeinated beverage at least 5 hours before you intend to go to sleep.
Additionally, try to drink not more than 3 cups of coffee per day.
And remember, caffeine exists in other places besides coffee. Tea, some soft and energy drinks and chocolate also contain caffeine. The only caffeinated beverage that might be an exception would be green (or white) tea.
Regarding nicotine, when it is smoked, its onset is within seconds. The half-life of nicotine is 1-2 hours and while its primary effects last 10-45 minutes, it may take 2 hours for it to really wear off.
Nicotine dependency may cause nocturnal awakenings.
I seriously suggest that you quit smoking if you do, but if you must smoke, take your last cigarette at least 2 hours before your bedtime.
Avoid alcohol and marijuana around bedtime because they fragment sleep
While low doses of alcohol don’t seem to cause any noticeable effects on sleep, drinking larger amounts before going to sleep causes an increase in the deeper stages of sleep while suppressing REM sleep.
REM sleep is the stage of sleep in which most dreams occur.
By the end of the night, the effect wanes and a REM rebound occurs where you may experience an increase in REM sleep. This may be accompanied by intense (albeit difficult to remember) dreams in the early morning hours after a drinking night.
Alcohol causes your sleep to be more broken and less refreshing than normal.
Drinking just 1-2 drinks might not cause any problems at all. But if you drink more than that, try to do so at least 4 hours before your bed time.
A glass of wine with dinner will likely not be an issue.
Ingesting marijuana (specifically THC) causes sleep disruption. It is characterizing by a reduction of REM sleep.
Chronic THC ingestion causes a long-term suppression of slow-wave sleep.
If lucid dreaming, or even just remembering your dreams, matters to you, try to avoid using cannabis regularly.
Allow at least a 1-hour period to unwind before bedtime
Take the time to prepare your body to sleep at least 30-60 minutes before your bedtime.
During your final waking hour, try to dissolve all your worries and tensions by meditating or engaging in a quiet and relaxing activity that you enjoy.
Let go of everything that happened to you during the day.
Clean your mind and calm your body.
Reading about lucid dreaming might be particularly helpful.
An important consideration for your winding down time would be to avoid exposing yourself to light, which can decrease your sleep hormone (melatonin) levels.
This includes screens.
Yes, your computer and smart phone screens can hurt your sleep if you are exposed to their light just before bedtime.
If you can’t go to sleep without watching your favorite TV show, then consider using glasses that block blue light in the hours before bedtime. Alternatively, you can use your operating system’s blue light settings.
Here’s how this setting is configured on Windows 10.
Right click on your desktop, click “Display settings,” then on “Night light settings.” You’ll see the following window:
Just schedule night light to turn on sunset to sunrise and you’re all set!
Keep your bedroom environment quiet, dark, and comfortable
Maintaining a comfortable sleep environment is very important.
Make sure your room is quiet and dark. Noise and light (even dim light) may interfere with your sleep.
If there’s light outside during even part of your sleep hours, make sure to cover your windows so that the daylight doesn’t interfere with your sleep.
The temperature in the room should also be comfortable. Try to keep it not higher than 75 degrees Fahrenheit (about 24 degrees Celsius).
If it’s warmer than that, turn on the AC!
Remove electronic devices from your bedroom
Electronic devices emit not only light, but also sound, heat and electromagnetic radiation which may influence your sleep.
Not to mention if that Facebook notification or SMS actually wakes you up when you were just about to drift off to sleep…
If possible, see to it that there will be no electronic devices whatsoever in your bedroom.
Step 3: Programming your Mind to Become Conscious During Dreams
The most common technique for induction of lucid dreaming is known as DILD (Dream Initiated Lucid Dreaming).
In DILDs, one goes to sleep “properly” and has what one would call a “normal” dream, during which, he/she suddenly becomes lucid for whatever reason.
Lucidity is usually achieved as a result of a sudden realization that something is “not right” within the dream, or through the recognition of a pattern.
While DILDs can be entirely spontaneous, there are a number of techniques one can employ to increase the odds of having a such a lucid dream.
How to Achieve a Dream-Induced Lucid Dream?
There are quite a few ways to bring about a DILD, or rather, to help it pop up on its own.
The most common technique is to conduct reality checks.
Reality Checks – Useful Lucid Dreaming Technique?
The practice is based on the performing of reality checks throughout the day, which can be intricate (like reading text off a piece of paper or checking a clock, while asking “am I dreaming?”), or really simple, like trying to put one hand through the palm of the other.
When these reality checks become second nature, one will in essence be compelled to perform them within his/her dreams too.
When done in a dream, the results of the checks will be different of course, and this realization will likely spark lucidity.
The problem with reality checks is that it’s essentially a “practice and pray” technique.
You spend a lot of energy during the day to question the reality of waking life, but will you remember to do the same questioning during the dream?
For some people, this technique works fine. For others, they may practice it for months, or even years, without success.
Still, I wouldn’t recommend not making any efforts towards reaching the lucid state from within the dream.
Just use an easier method.
The method I find most effective and easy is auto-suggestion/self-hypnosis, one that doesn’t require spending more than 5 minutes per day.
One way to do it is to imagine oneself descending a flight of stairs while in a state of deep relaxation. With every step, one goes deeper and deeper into hypnosis. Repeating “I experience a lucid dream” and “I’m taking control of my dreams” during the exercise is also in order.
Another technique which I learned from Robert Waggoner is to spend 5 minutes before going to bed at night, looking at your hands and repeating “Tonight in my dreams I’ll see my hands and realize I’m dreaming.”
By practicing the above described technique(s) that you find most effective and rewarding, you won’t just temporarily increase your chances of triggering a DILD.
You will in fact become more and more skilled at bringing about the experience, and with time, you may grow to be able to trigger a DILD almost every night. You can indeed become a DILD-master.
Step 4: Learn to Fall Asleep Consciously
A big shortcoming of the DILD method is that it does not allow for the on-demand triggering of lucid dreams.
How can you achieve on-demand LDs through WILD?
The first step is setting up the right sleep environment, which in this case means eliminating any and all potential sources of distraction within your bedroom. You will need to achieve complete and perfect relaxation while completely motionless, so you cannot afford to have your thoughts distracted by anything.
Having set up your room, it’s time to assume the “corpse pose.”
Lie on your back, completely motionless, and be aware that what’s about to happen is essentially what you go through every night when you go to sleep, with one difference: this time around, only your body will be trusted to the Sandman, your mind will stay awake and lucid.
At this stage, it is important that you do not move. Sort out all your itches and other mobility-linked issues beforehand, and if you happen to make a move during your corpse pose-stage, start over.
Try to break free of all worries and concerns you may have, by pushing them all away in the distance. Think of them as issues you might handle tomorrow, but which carry no significance for the here and now.
Relax every part of your body, paying special attention to your face. There’s usually a lot of pent-up tension in the face, tension which goes unnoticed by most people during the day. Focus on ridding your face and your jaw of this tension.
Focusing your attention on your breathing is the third step.
What’s important here is to breathe deeply, but by no means in a manner that takes an extra effort, or is uncomfortable in any shape or form.
After you spend some time in the above described relaxed state, you will notice how hypnagogia slowly creeps up on you. At this point, your objective is to simply observe this hypnagogic state.
Closing your eyes, try focusing on the cavalcade of phosphorescent patterns and shapes that will commence behind your eyelids, by literally looking into the back of your eyelids.
As you drift deeper and deeper into this hypnagogic state, you will at one point start feeling sensations such as tipping and floating, and you may even begin to hear faint sounds in the distance.
Use your still-awake consciousness to tell yourself that you are indeed dreaming.
While the temptation to let your consciousness “catch up” with your physical shell and fall asleep, is greatest at this point, this is where your actual lucid dream experience begins, so do not give in to that urge.
The 4th step is about slowly beginning to build up your lucid dream scenario. Depending on the depth of your hypnagogic state, you can start off with modest elements such as simple shapes, or you can cut right to the chase and build a complete scenario.
As always, taking things one step at a time is best for beginners.
Try to visualize something simple, like a circle, first. Make it go away, then bring it back.
Bring up different shapes, such as triangles and squares. Get handy controlling them: move them around and spin them.
Once you’re past this stage, try conjuring up more intricate images. Visualize a beach or a forest.
The best technique is this regard is to focus more on actually seeing the environment and not on creating it. Imagine that the whole thing is already there, you’re just not seeing it.
The next step is to insert yourself into the dreamscape.
Move around and make the most of the sensations that will surround you. If you’re on a beach, feel the warm sand under your feet. Look down and see if you can make out your feet and your hands.
Be amazed by the vividness of your dream, and keep telling yourself that you are in fact in a dream.
Completely let go of your body though, even deny its existence. You are your consciousness at this point, and you are indeed in a lucid dream induced through the WILD technique.
Step 5: Use the Early Morning Hours to Practice
Another important technique to incorporate into your daily practice schedule is known as MILD (Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreaming).
Stephen LaBerge is the one credited with the development of the technique, and indeed, I can tell you from my own experience that it works well.
There are two steps to this techniques, which should be practiced repeatedly one after the other, again and again, after waking up from a dream.
Upon waking up, the dreamer will usually remember a previous dream. The problem is that often, one is so drowsy at this point that he/she will go right back to sleep. It is important to achieve a fully awakened state instead of dozing right off again.
Having woken up completely, the dreamer then needs to go back to sleep, while practicing the two steps of the MILD technique.
Step one involves setting a strong intention to remember your next dream. Repeat to yourself: “Next time I’m dreaming, I will recognize I’m in a dream.” Eliminate all other thoughts and just focus on this intention.
In the second step, imagine that you’re back in the dream from which you just awakened, but this time imagine you recognize it’s a dream and then carry off one of your lucid dreaming goals (like flying).
Repeat these two steps over and over until you fall asleep.
If properly done, the dreamer will often re-enter the same dream he/she had just before awakening, only this time around, lucidity shall be achieved.
Step 6: Take Naps During the Daytime
Afternoon naps are also capable of triggering lucid dreams.
If you can get two opportunities instead of one per 24 hour period to attempt lucid dreaming, it would double your chances of succeeding.
Actually, naps may improve your chances by more than double since during afternoon naps, not only do you go directly into REM sleep without having to go through deep sleep, but your general level of alertness is higher, which also enhances your ability to be conscious in the dream.
This also means that afternoon naps would be the perfect time to practice the WILD technique from step 4.
The ideal nap duration would be anywhere from 20 minutes to 60 minutes.
As for the timing, try not to nap during the evening (as it may interfere with your night sleep).
One thing that’s certain about daytime naps though is that they will aggravate insomnia, so if you are an insomnia sufferer, you should probably steer clear of daytime napping.
Step 7: Tweaking Your Brain Chemistry for Best Results (by using lucid dreaming pills & foods)
Some people find that no matter what lucid dreaming techniques they try, they aren’t able to become lucid in their dreams, or even remember their dreams.
This can result from a brain chemistry that is not conductive to dream recall and alertness.
For example, most people normally wake up from REM sleep. That happens even in the middle of the night, but we usually forget those nocturnal awakenings.
But what if you woke up from light sleep instead? The more time passes between REM sleep and awakening, the less likely it is that you will be able to recall your dreams.
Other people may spend a lot of time in deep and light sleep and too little in REM sleep, reducing their chances to dream lucidly and recall their dreams.
Luckily, there are some foods and supplements that by changing your brain chemistry can create the ideal conditions for dream recall and lucid dream induction.
Specifically, the two neurotransmitter that have the most effect on dreams are serotonin and acetylcholine.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter which plays a role in the regulation of sleep. The problem is that taking serotonin, or eating serotonin-rich foods, such as kiwifruit, has no effect since it cannot pass the blood-brain barrier, and thus cannot reach your brain.
Fortunately, there are two substances, namely melatonin and 5-HTP, that do reach the brain, and once they do, they increase the amount of serotonin.
Melatonin is a hormone which regulates your sleepiness. Your brain produces constantly, making you drowsy and ready for sleep.
To produce melatonin, your body uses an amino acid called tryptophan.
Tryptophan cannot be produced by the body; it must be obtained from the food we eat.
Which foods are high in tryptophan?
- Seeds, especially pumpkin and squash seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds and flaxseeds.
- Nuts, especially pistachio nuts, cashew nuts, almonds and hazelnuts (filberts).
- Soy products, such as soybeans, tofu and tempeh.
- Whole grains, especially whole oats and buckwheat.
- Beans and legumes (especially white beans, black beans and lentils).
So if you find yourself looking for something to eat at midnight, why not grab a high-tryptophan, melatonin-production-supporting snack?
High melatonin levels also facilitate vivid dreams and lucid dreaming.
Certain foods are known to naturally contain melatonin, such as pistachio nuts, almonds, raspberries, goji berries, tart cherries, bananas, grapes, pineapple, oranges and plums.
Synthetic melatonin can also be used, but is less recommended.
A direct precursor of serotonin, 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is one of the commonly used lucid dreaming supplements out there.
Given its links to serotonin, 5-HTP is obviously a promoter of deep-sleep stages, and a suppressor of REM.
Serotonin’s acetylcholine-busting effects may actually result in longer periods of REM sleep towards the morning hours, after the effects of the supplements responsible for the serotonin spike earlier on, have mostly worn off.
This is why – unlike acetylcholine-boosting supplements – serotonin-aimed supplements should be taken right before going to bed.
To make a long story short: serotonin (boosted by 5-HTP) suppresses REM sleep during the first few sleep cycles of the night.
Towards the morning, during the last couple of sleep-cycles of the night, REM stages become naturally longer.
With the boosting effects of 5-HTP out of the system by this point, these sleep stages become even longer and deeper, thanks to the REM-rebound effect, hence the more vivid dreams and better dream recall.
Acetylcholine is a compound which has been found to regulate REM sleep. By taking a supplement that increases acetylcholine levels, you’ll effectively make your dreams more vivid, and you’ll advance your likelihood of having a lucid dream.
High acetylcholine levels are apparently linked to longer and broader REM sleep stages.
My favorite acetylcholine boosting supplements are Alpha-GPC and Huperzine A, however galantamine also deserves a mention due to its high effectiveness.
Choline is aimed at the boosting of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter which is responsible for the lengthening of the REM sleep stage, and thus the promotion of dreams as well as lucid dreaming.
Alpha-GPC’s effects on dreams can be quite spectacular when combined with galantamine, although in this case, it’s a bit of a tricky exercise telling exactly which supplement is mostly responsible for these effects.
The resulting dreams are exceptionally vivid and long, and lucidity is relatively easy to attain within them. As said above, this supplement combo (perhaps rounded out through the addition of 5-HTP taken before bedtime), is great for WILD too.
When it comes to dosage, due to the very nature of this supplement (it is, after all, an essential nutrient), one can tinker about within a rather generous range. Alpha-GPC can be taken in 600 mg, 900 mg and 1200 mg doses, with 8 mg of galantamine.
Huperzine A is one of the supplements most lucid dreaming enthusiasts swear by. It is available without a prescription, it is relatively cheap and by all accounts – including my own – it does indeed work when it comes to LD induction and enhancement.
Huperzine A also acts upon acetylcholine, effectively preventing the breakdown of the neurotransmitter in the brain, by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase. This way, Huperzine A is claimed to improve memory, as well as mental function.
Huperzine A (through its effects on ACh) is used for the boosting of the REM sleep stage.
That said, the boosting of ACh levels shouldn’t happen until after you’ve put in 4-5 hours of quality sleep. That’s the approximate point when REM sleep takes over, and serotonin levels naturally decrease, as ACh takes over.
This way, you won’t just end up with increased ACh and deeper/longer REM sleep, you’ll have kept your sleep quality intact as well.
Due to the nature of acetylcholine, the impact of supplements like Huperzine A is two-pronged. On one hand, they extend the length and enhance the vividness of lucid dreams; on the other, they make it easier for the dreamer to remember the LDs.
The benefic effects of ACh on lucid dreaming are undeniable. What’s more is that it helps with MILD as well as WILD lucid dreams. Elevated ACh levels can indeed greatly help with the WILD variety of LDs, which is quite a leap forward, given how this type of LD can be induced at will.
The only other supplement that comes close to Huperzine A, LD-related effects-wise is galantamine, which acts in a manner similar to Huperzine A: it inhibits AChE, to thus prevent the breakdown of ACh in the brain. Still, Huperzine A is the clear winner for me and for many others out there.
Before I begin comparing the two supplements, let us set one thing straight: they both work for LDs, and efficiency-wise, there’s really not much of a difference from one to the other. They’re both at their best when combined with other supplements and – as said above – they both act by the same mechanism.
What I have personally found though it that galantamine packs quite an additional punch – and not in a good way. Whenever I wake up in the morning following a galantamine-aided LD experience, I feel like I had a few drinks too many the previous night.
With Huperzine A, I’m always refreshed, a good nights’ sleep behind me. For someone who engages in lucid dreaming as much as I do, this is quite a deal-breaker as far as galantamine is concerned.
This fact alone makes Huperzine A vastly superior to galantamine.
The Bottom Line: Daily Schedule for Lucid Dreaming Success
Any of the above 7 steps can potentially trigger lucid dreams on its own.
Combining all 7 steps into your daily routine is a recipe for achieving lucid dreaming almost instantly.
There are different ways to combine the different steps in your routine, here’s one example schedule, which incorporates all the above steps.
Lucid Dreaming Induction Schedule – Example
For the sake of the example, let’s say you’re an average adult (who needs 8 hours of sleep per night) and normally wakes up at 6 am. In order to allow for a one-hour nap, for this example I’ll allocate only 7 hours for night sleep.
Make sure to carry your dream journal with you at all times. Upon waking up from sleep, or anytime during the day, if you recall any dreams, write them down in as much detail as possible.
If you don’t remember at least one dream per night, go over the list of common obstacles. If you regularly use cannabis or drink alcohol in the evening hours, you will probably need to let go of these habits while learning lucid dreaming.
5 pm – Last opportunity to have a caffeinated beverage.
6 pm – For dinner try to consume tryptophan-rich foods, such as nuts, seeds, beans and whole grains.
8 pm – As a night snack, have some melatonin-rich foods, such as almonds, goji berries, tart cherries and raspberries.
9 pm – One hour before bed, take some time to unwind, avoiding artificial lights and screens. Meditation and/or reading by candlelight about lucid dreaming would be ideal ways to spend this hour.
Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool, and will remain like that for the duration of your sleep.
Don’t forget to go over your dream journal to remind yourself you need to remember your dreams as well as to gain any insights that might prepare you to the night practice.
10 pm – Just before hitting the sack, down some 100-150 mg of 5-HTP. (This step is optional.)
In bed, relax your body and repeat over and over that “tonight in my dreams I’ll see my hands and realize I’m dreaming.” This should be your last thought before drifting off to sleep.
4 am – Set an alarm to wake you up. Write your dreams in the journal.
Optional – Take some Huperzine A, as well as 600-1,200 mg of Alpha-GPC.
Spend about an hour meditating and/or reading about lucid dreaming by candlelight. (Not on the computer/mobile phone, heaven forbid.)
5 am – Practice MILD as you go back to sleep.
6 am – Wake up, and start your day.
12 pm – At noon (or during the early afternoon), take a break from whatever you’re doing and practice the WILD technique until you drift off to a 20-60 minute nap. For better results, take Huperzine A and Alpha-GPC before attempting this.
That’s all it takes.
By following this example schedule, or by modelling your own schedule based on the 7 steps I described in this lucid dreaming induction guide, you will definitely succeed.