If you’re not familiar with the term “lucid dreaming,” it simply means that you become aware that you’re dreaming while you are still dreaming. You remain asleep, the dream continues as long as you can hold it, and you are completely aware the whole time.
In my humble opinion, lucid dreaming is one of the most gratifying skills you can ever master, because if you can master lucid dreaming you can literally create your own reality for a short time. You can do anything that you can possibly imagine, experience anything you can possibly think of. The possibilities are limitless.
I’ve been a master lucid dreamer for decades, and I can tell you with great humility that it is the single best thing I’ve ever learned how to do… even more exciting and empowering than speaking with the dead, which is pretty nifty in and of itself.
People send me questions frequently about how to increase their chances of having a lucid dream. This is not an exhaustive list, but there are a few things you can do to increase your chances. Here they are…
1. Take a Nap
Lucid dreams often occur while you are napping. I’m not sure why and I’m not a sleep scientist, but naps are different than regular 7-8 hour sleep stints. If you feel tired during the day, lay down and succumb to sleep.
When I was first learning lucid dreaming, my success rate was much higher if I was sleeping during the day. Allow 2 hours if you can swing it. A 20 minute nap probably won’t get you there.
2. Wake Up, Then Go Back to Sleep
If you normally sleep 8 hours, set an alarm to wake you around hour 5. Lay awake in your dark bedroom for 20-30 minutes, then go back to sleep. Make sure you’ve got at least 90 minutes to 2 hours to finish sleeping before having to get up for the day.
This works for me nearly 100% of the time. If I’m up for a bit in the middle of the night, I get really excited because I know that once I fall back to sleep, I’m going to end up with a lucid dream. Do this when you will not be disturbed or awakened prematurely.
3. Learn to Remember Your Dreams
If you can’t remember your dreams normally, it’s going to be even harder to wake up during a dream and stay lucid. So become more aware of your non-lucid dreams. When you are lucid dreaming, you are basically waking up your mind but not your body. You need to practice staying aware of your nighttime activities.
You can keep a pad of paper by your bed and as soon as you wake up from a dream, jot down a few notes about it. You don’t have to write out the whole dream. Often just a few words is enough to trigger the memory. Before long you’ll remember the 4-6 dreams you’re having every night. The better you are at remembering your dreams, the more likely you’ll be to wake up during a dream.
4. Immerse Yourself in Lucid Dreaming
Talk about lucid dreaming with friends. Read books on lucid dreaming. Participate in message boards. Find a meet up group. The more you think about lucid dreaming, the more likely you are to have one. Ask anyone who has become a master lucid dreamer; you don’t develop mastery of the skill by accident. Sure, you may have a few lucid dreams here and there, spontaneously, but if you want to master it, you need to think about it and explore it a lot.
5. Decide Your Dream Content in Advance
Before you go to sleep, think about what you want to dream about. Play it in your mind like a daydream or fantasy. This is how you program your mind to remember your dreams and also to actually give you the dream you’re thinking about.
For example, one of my favorite tv shows is Supernatural. If I want to dream that I’m solving a paranormal crime with the boys from Supernatural, I will sometimes watch an episode right before bed. It keeps it on my mind, so when I’m dreaming there’s very likely to be Supernatural content in the dream.
You can also just think about what you want to dream about, whether it’s an exciting adventure, a date with someone you fantasize about, or even a problem you want to solve. I’ve had many lucid dreams where I was able to consciously work on a problem, often with other dream characters who seem smarter than I.
When you go to bed thinking about dream content instead of the stressors in your life, you will increase your chance of having the dream you desire, which will trigger lucidity.
In summary, you’re going to sleep every night of your life. You might as well enjoy the process as much as possible. Being able to dream about what you want to dream about is a pretty exciting way to spend a few hours, if you ask me. Start dreaming!