How to Lucid Dream – Tips and Techniques to Try

Disclaimer - Nothing on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment... Read more here

Imagine being able to control your dreams while you sleep. You can try every food on the planet free of charge, travel the world, hang out with celebrities or lost loved ones, and maybe even have an existential conversation with your dog. All of this is possible once you learn how to lucid dream.

In this article, we’ll share proven tips on how to induce lucid dreams. While it is a skill that you’ll get better at over time, we’ve got some tricks that can help you have a conscious dream as early as tonight!

What is Lucid Dreaming?

A lucid dream is a conscious dream. When you’re in this state, you can control yourself in a dream and explore a whole new world. The amount of control you are able to exert during lucid dreaming varies, but at minimum, you’ll be walking through a world painted by your subconscious mind totally aware that you are in a dream.

There are two types of lucid dreams:

  1. Dream-initiated – This is when you become conscious during your dream state and know that you are dreaming.

  2. Wake-initiated – You go directly from being awake into a lucid dream. This type is more controllable and can be planned for with a little practice.

Find Out More: The Science Behind Dreaming

The Benefits of Lucid Dreaming

Choose Your Dream

You are no longer bound by nonsensical dreams about seemingly random occurrences throughout your day. Instead, you choose what visions you want to see when you go to sleep. Our subconscious is a powerful system, so even if you’ve never been to Paris, you’d be surprised by the level of detail your mind will create.

woman is having a dream about hiking and exploring

Creativity

The only limit with lucid dreaming is your imagination. When your conscious and subconscious minds work together to create a new land, you’ll be amazed at what you can do. Maybe you’ll even think of a remarkable, life-saving invention.

Reunite with Lost Loved Ones

If you’ve lost a loved one and are missing them terribly, you may find comfort in meeting them in a dream and having a conversation that you’ll be an active part of rather than a mere observer. Many of us have had fleeting dreams of people we love before.

The conversations don’t often make sense, and we feel helpless when we wake up, wondering why we talked to them about emptying the dishwasher when we could have had a much more stimulating conversation.

Remove Fears

This is an ideal time to confront your fears because there are no consequences. Nothing can hurt you during a dream. If you’re afraid of heights, have a dream about skydiving! If public speaking makes you break out in sweats, create a reality where you give a speech that receives a standing ovation.

Communicate with Your Subconscious

Our subconscious mind is more powerful than our conscious one, and its programs are always running in the background. If you have patterns of addiction or self-sabotage that you’ve tried to break with no success, that’s your subconscious at work. During a lucid dream, you can communicate with your subconscious and possibly reprogram it!

Improve Motor Skills

If you want to get better at something, like playing a musical instrument, dreaming about the activity is an effortless way to “practice” and improve. By lucid dreaming about the skill you’d like to learn, you’ll find that you master it much faster if you incorporate practice time into your dreams.

Asleep Kid Dreaming of Himself Playing Video Game

Better Sleep

Instead of being awakened by dreams you aren’t prepared for, being in a lucid state means you can enjoy them fully without waking up. Fewer interruptions translate to a better night of sleep.

Inspiration

Your subconscious mind is like a giant database of everything you’ve experienced, whether you remember it or not. You may not have even been aware of what’s gone on around you, but your subconscious keeps track and logs that information.

If you’re in a creative field and struggling for inspiration, a lucid dream may be just what you need to spark the imagination and synthesize ideas you already had in your subconscious.

No Nightmares

If you’re being chased by a fire-breathing dragon, you no longer have to play the role of the victim. Instead, conjure up your sword, turn around bravely, and slay that dragon.

No matter how horrific a nightmare you’re having, once you master the art of lucid dreaming, you’ll be able to control the situation or at least find comfort in knowing that nothing can hurt you.

A Man Floating above the Cloud Like in a Dream Illustration

Lucid Dreaming Induction Techniques

Learn about Lucid Dreams

The first step is to learn everything you can about how to lucid dream. Fortunately, you’re in the right place, as this article has everything you need to get started.

Reality Testing

As you’re learning how to lucid dream, start with 25 reality tests each day, and you can decrease them as you get better at this skill. Here’s one to try:

  • Look at one of your hands.

  • Using a finger from your other hand, try pushing it through your palm.

  • If you’re awake, your finger will touch the surface of your palm, but if you’re lucid dreaming, it will go through it.

The purpose of a reality checks is to perform a simple action that proves you’re awake. The outcome of the action will be different whether you’re awake or asleep. By repeating this action multiple times each day, it becomes a habit that your dreaming mind will pick up. Then when your body does this task in a lucid dreaming state, you’ll be primed to pick up on the fact that you’re asleep.

Turn off All Screens

At least one hour before bed, turn off all electronic devices with lit screens. Your bedroom must be as dark as possible to encourage sleep by encouraging melatonin production, the hormone that helps you sleep. Since light interrupts melatonin production, it’s important to keep your environment dark.

A Woman Using Phone Laptop and Watching TV Before Bed

Set an Alarm

Set an alarm for five hours after you go to sleep. Ideally, the alarm should go off between 4 AM and 6 AM.

The idea is that the alarm will wake you during REM sleep, and you’ll fall asleep right back. You’ll use the techniques in the next steps to make sure that you enter a lucid dreaming state.

Two things to note on this step to ensure success:

  1. The alarm sound should be soothing. While it needs to wake you up, a blaring noise, incessant buzzing sound, or obnoxious ringtone are too jarring. Opt for nature sounds or something pleasant.

  2. Do not open your eyes when you turn off the alarm. Keep the alarm close enough so you can easily reach it.

Wake up with Your Eyes Closed

Even though you’re waking up for a moment, keep your eyes closed. You’re preparing your body to go back to sleep even though your mind will still be semi-awake and active.

Perform a “WBTB”

The abbreviation is short for “wake back to bed.” As you wake up from a deep sleep, you’ll be training your body to fall back asleep while still keeping your mind alert. 

So, now you’ll start to feel your body drift off to sleep. Your body may trick you into revealing your mind is awake by performing a sleep test. The body will send a message to your brain that you need to roll over, touch your stomach, scratch your nose, etc. Resist the urge to move.

Once your body is sure you’re asleep, it will relinquish control, and you’ll begin to see colors, shapes, and even glimpses of scenery. You’re now in a lucid dream.

Additional Tips & Techniques

Meditate

In the last section, we alluded to the separation between mind and body. Meditation, when done correctly, helps you practice this skill.

For example, you’ve seen Buddhist monks meditate for hours on end. They can achieve that because their bodies have gone to sleep, yet their minds are awake. Lucid dreaming is very similar and requires the same skill set.

Interested in more details? Learn how to meditate before sleep.

Listen to Binaural Beats

You might have listened to binaural beats to help you focus, study, and even sleep, but they can also help with lucid dreaming, too. The two frequencies being played at the same time enter each ear individually and are processed by your brain as a single frequency that merges the two.

You can find binaural beat tracks for free on YouTube, or you can purchase an app for more variety. The trick to making these work for lucid dreaming is to match the Hz (frequency) to the appropriate brainwaves to encourage the activity. In this case, you want Theta waves, which are between 4Hz and 8Hz.

A Young Man Listening to Music In a Bed Illustration

Play Video Games

When you play video games, you immerse yourself in a new world and can explore the edges of this new universe. Push yourself to explore new lands while you’re in play mode, and you’ll be more primed to do it while you’re sleeping.

Take Galantamine

Galantamine is a natural supplement often recommended to Alzheimer’s patients to improve brain activity and memory function. The substance is commonly found in plants like dandelions, and it’s commercially extracted for oral use from flowers like the spider lily.

Studies have shown this supplement is helpful in lengthening REM (rapid eye movement) sleep and encouraging sleep recall. In this particular study, the likelihood of a lucid experience was 5.8 times higher than when the participant took a placebo.

Take Vitamin B Supplements

Vitamin B6 is associated with lucid dreaming. The link between ingesting this vitamin and entering a conscious dream hasn’t been fully developed yet, but this study suggests that the increase in serotonin levels from this supplement makes nightly visions more vivid and colorful.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there dangers with lucid dreaming?

While you won’t be in any physical danger, you may need to prepare yourself for feeling new emotions and having experiences that aren’t familiar. 

experiencing a lucid dream

Can beginners achieve a lucid state?

Like anything, practice makes perfect. However, many people experience their first lucid dream within the first few nights of trying the techniques mentioned in this article.

What is a lucid nightmare?

A lucid nightmare is the unpleasant version of a lucid dream. The good news is that since you are aware of the situation, you can take a more active role in the situation and confront whatever is causing the nightmare.

Get More Info: How To Avoid Nightmares

Our team covers as many areas of expertise as we do time zones, but none of us started here as a so-called expert on sleep. What we do share is a willingness to ask questions (lots of them), seek experts, and dig deep into conventional wisdom to see if maybe there might be a better path towards healthy living. We apply what we learn not only to our company culture, but also how we deliver information to our over 12.7M readers.

Sleep research is changing all the time, and we are 100% dedicated to keeping up with breakthroughs and innovations. You live better if you sleep better. Whatever has brought you here, we wish you luck on your journey towards better rest.

Sleep Advisor