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If I want to have a lucid dream, how do I do it?

Lauri Loewenberg
Psychology
Here's a really easy and effective trick... set your alarm to wake you 20 - 30 minutes earlier than normal. When it goes off, hit the snooze and drift back into sleep. At this point you are 1. not going to have enough time to go into deep Delta sleep, and 2. will more likely be able to maintain the awareness that you have to wake up soon. These two elements combined will keep you hovering in the lighter stages of sleep and allow you to hold on to enough conscious awareness so that you can easily become lucid once you drift into that fun "twilight," semi-dreamy phase of sleep.  Give it a try.  It works!  I do it all the time.  :-)
Most lucid dreaming starts with the ability to recall dreams regularly. Thus the first place to start is to begin to try and recall your dreams. This can be done with a dream journal or diary, where you would keep a journal near your bedside table, and when you wake up in the morning, before you do anything else, you would write down everything you were thinking about as you woke up. Some people are better with an audio recorder. I have suggested in the past that my patients keep their eyes closed, stay in the same position, and speak into a recorder.
There are several “induction methods” for lucid dreaming. These fall into two categories: wake-initiated lucid dreams and sleep-initiated lucid dreams. The difference, as the name implies, is one starts from a waking state while the other begins while sleeping. Either way the most important aspect is to be able to recognize when you are in the dream. This is usually done with one of many reality checks:
Time checking: here you look at your digital watch and when you glance back a short time later either the time has changed dramatically, there are numbers that may not make sense, or the watch shows different characters.
Switch flipping: when turning on and off light switches the actual light in the dream does not usually change.

Hand Stamp: By placing an “X” on the back of your hand and looking at it throughout the day you get into the habit of seeing it. If in a dream you look and it is not there, chances are good you are in a lucid dream.

Being able to have dream recall is important. You have probably heard of people who keep dream journals. As soon as they awake, they record as many details of their dreams as they can remember. They jot down these thoughts, even if they wake up in the middle of the night.

The idea is to get into the habit of remembering your dreams and to begin seeing certain rhythms in how you dream. Once you are tuned into your process of dreaming, then you will become a better observer of the dreams you have.

When you awaken from sleep, lucid dream expert Stephen LaBerge says you should do your best to try to fully remember it. Then, when you go back to sleep, you keep telling yourself that during your next dream you are going to remember that you are dreaming.

Next, you try to picture yourself back in the dream you just finished-and you look for a sign within the dream that it is a dream, not reality. One such sign? That you are flying in the air with wings.

LaBerge describes these clues as "dreamsigns." At the point when you discover a dreamsign, remind yourself that you are just dreaming and continue through the re-enacted visualization until you actually fall asleep.

Another method of attempting to have a lucid dream involves napping. You wake up earlier than usual, stay awake about a half-hour, then go back to sleep. There is something about interrupting sleep that seems to blur that border between being awake and being asleep.

Reminding yourself throughout the day that you are conscious is another approach to developing lucid dreaming skills. This reality checking has connections to the Buddhist concept of mindfulness.

A repeated acknowledgement of the state that you are in is supposed to help in the exploration of the other extreme. In other words, the more you recognize what consciousness is like when you are conscious, the more likely you will be able to recognize your state when you are dreaming.

After all, how do you know that you are conscious? You know because your actions have some kind of logical reaction. You flip a switch, a light goes on.

In dreams, actions do not tend to follow a logical pattern.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.