How to do lucid dreaming

Imagine being conscious during a dream? So you’re dreaming, but you know you’re dreaming and you don’t wake up. Instead, you have the power to shape the dream however you like. If you decide to fly, you can fly. If you decide to win Lotto, you win Lotto. If you decide to travel back in time to the dinosaur age, that’s what you do.  

The phenomenon of conscious dreaming has captured the imagination of explorers and scholars for centuries. So let’s unravel the mysteries of lucid dreaming and ponder the age-old question: could you do it?

What is lucid dreaming?

Scientists tell us that lucid dreaming is the experience of achieving conscious awareness of dreaming while you’re still asleep. Lucid dreams are generally thought to arise from non-lucid dreams in REM sleep.

Here’s an example of a lucid dream:

You’re standing in a vast, open field, bathed in the soft glow of a setting sun. As you take in the breathtaking scenery, a sudden realisation washes over you – you are dreaming! With a sense of exhilaration and wonder, you become fully aware within the dream, embracing the boundless possibilities that lie before you.

With a flick of your wrist, you summon a magnificent pair of wings, feeling the rush of excitement as you take flight into the evening sky. The air is crisp and invigorating as you soar effortlessly through the clouds, revelling in the freedom of flight.

As you glide gracefully over the landscape below, you notice a shimmering lake nestled in the rolling hills. With a mischievous grin, you dive towards the water, feeling the cool spray against your skin as you plunge beneath the surface.

Beneath the waves, you discover a magical underwater world teeming with vibrant coral reefs and exotic sea creatures. And of course you can breathe underwater, just like the creatures you’re observing.

As the dream begins to fade, you take a moment to reflect on the incredible journey you’ve experienced. The best thing is that another adventure awaits whenever you close your eyes.

How to do lucid dreaming

It’s perfectly possible to learn how to become a lucid dreamer. However, it’s fair to say that mastering the art of lucid dreaming is harder than learning to tie your shoe laces. Looking at reputable scientific websites, here are some lucid dreaming tips:

  1. Keep a dream journal: Keeping track of your dreamlife is a widely recommended technique for improving dream recall. Studies have shown that regularly recording dreams on waking can enhance dream recall ability over time.
  2. Develop a reality test: Reality testing is a technique that helps to induce lucid dreams. Studies suggest that performing reality checks throughout the waking day, such as attempting to pass a finger through the palm of your hand, helps you to recognise the dream state when you’re in it.
  3. Set your intention: Before you go to sleep, set a clear intention to recognise when you’re dreaming.
  4. Use the MILD technique: The mnemonic induction of lucid dreams (MILD) technique involves repeating a mantra before sleep. Research has shown that combining MILD with reality testing and intention setting can increase the likelihood of experiencing lucid dreams. The mantra could be something like ‘I will recognise when I’m dreaming’ or ‘I am aware in my dreams’.
  5. Try the wake-back-to-bed technique: This technique involves waking up during the night, staying awake for a short period, and then returning to sleep with the intention of inducing lucid dreams. Studies have found that this technique can enhance the frequency of lucid dreaming.
  6. Perseverance: Lucid dreaming is a skill that will require practice and patience to develop. Research suggests that regular practice of lucid dreaming techniques, combined with a positive attitude and perseverance, can lead to increased frequency of lucid dreams over time.

What to do when you realise you’re conscious during a dream

When you experience your first lucid dream, you don’t want the bubble to pop. It’s important to stay calm and go with the flow. Getting overexcited could wake you up! Within your dream, remember that you’re in charge. You can fly, shape-shift, conjure objects out of thin air and explore the far reaches of your imagination. You can even play cards with your grandmother! Let your creativity run wild.

Get a bed that supports lucid dreaming

A comfortable bed can improve the quality of your sleep. When you sleep well, you’re more likely to enter the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep, which is when dreaming occurs. Higher sleep quality can lead to more vivid and memorable dreams, increasing the chances of having lucid dreams.

Give yourself the best chance of lucid dreaming with Liverpool by Dreamland, a premium (but affordable) New Zealand mattress for high quality sleep. Find a Liverpool mattress stockist.

Read another 8 Hours article: The importance of deep sleep for mental wellbeing.

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