How to Lucid Dream: Practical Techniques to Induce Lucid Dreams

Have you ever wondered what it's like to control your own dreams? We know that inducing a lucid dream can sometimes be challenging so in this article we explore 5 practical ways to induce a lucid dream and get you closer to unlocking the limitless potential of the dream world.

If you are curious about lucid dreaming, make sure you also read the following articles:

And now, let's go through some practical techniques to induce lucid dreaming.

How to Lucid Dream: Techniques

Wake Back to Bed (WBTB)

The Wake-Back-To-Bed technique (WBTB) involves waking up in the middle of the night, staying awake for a short time, and then going back to sleep.

The idea is to wake up during a period of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is when most dreams occur (1):

The WBTB technique aims to trick your conscious brain into staying active as you re-enter REM sleep.

When you go back to sleep after being awake for a short time, you're more likely to enter a dream state quickly and have a lucid dream.

There are several versions of the WBTB technique. One of these is the following (2):

  1. Set an alarm for 5 hours after your bedtime.
  2. Go to sleep as usual.
  3. When the alarm goes off, stay up for 30 minutes. Enjoy a quiet activity like reading.
  4. Fall back asleep.

The WBTB technique is often used in conjunction with the WILD one (3):

When these two methods are used together, the most effective length of time between waking up and returning to sleep appears to be 30 to 120 minutes.

The combination of WBTB and WILD techniques is called 'Dream Re-Entry" (4):

This method has a success rate of 23%, with the activity of counting being more effective than body scanning.

Dream Journaling

Dream journaling is a powerful tool for inducing lucid dreams. By keeping a journal beside your bed and writing down your dreams immediately after you wake up, you can train your brain to become more aware of your dream world.

This awareness can help you recognize when you're dreaming and prompt you to take control of your dreams (5):

Lucid dreaming requires metacognition, an awareness of your own thoughts. Consistent dream journaling is a great way to enhance your self-awareness and potentially increase the frequency of lucid dreaming experiences.

Dream journaling can also help you identify patterns in your dreams, such as recurring themes or characters, which can give you clues about your subconscious thoughts and desires.

To get the most out of dream journaling, try to write down as much detail as possible about your dreams, including the setting, characters, e motions, and events.

Over time, your brain will become more attuned to your dream world, and you'll be more likely to have lucid dreams.

Pro Tip: For best results, log your dreams as soon as you wake up. It’s also recommended to read your dream journal often (6).

Reality Checks

Reality checks are a crucial part of lucid dreaming. The idea is to perform a simple action in the waking world that will become a habit in your dreams, prompting you to realize that you are dreaming.

For example, try counting your fingers or checking the time regularly throughout the day. If you do this enough times, it will become a habit in your dream world, and you'll realize you're dreaming.

To try reality testing, follow these steps several times a day (7):

  1. Ask yourself, “Am I dreaming?”
  2. Check your environment to confirm whether you’re dreaming.
  3. Notice your own consciousness and how you’re engaging with your surroundings.

Examples of Reality Checks:

  • Check your reflection in the mirror (lucid dreaming beginners should not look into a mirror)
  • Push your hands against the wall or any other solid object to see if they push through
  • Check if the time on a clock or watch constantly changes
  • Pinch your nose and see if you can breath
  • Turn on a light switch to see if it works properly
  • Try to read a line of text again and again and see whether it changes or not

Pro Tip: It’s recommended to pick one reality check and do it multiple times a day. This will train your mind to repeat the reality checks while dreaming, which can induce lucid dreaming (8).

Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams (MILD)

The Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams (MILD) was created by psychophysiologist Stephen LaBerge in 1980. In this technique, you make an intention to remember that you are dreaming.

Basically, you train yourself to recognize the difference between dreams and reality during sleep (9).

Here's an example of how it works (10):

  1. As you fall asleep, think of a recent dream.
  2. Identify a “dream sign,” or something that’s irregular or strange in the dream. An example is the ability to fly.
  3. Think about returning to the dream. Acknowledge that the dream sign only happens when you dream.
  4. Tell yourself, “The next time I dream, I want to remember that I am dreaming.” Recite the phrase in your head.

This technique relies on a form of memory known as 'prospective memory' or the ability to remember future events (11).

Pro Tip: You can also practice MILD after waking up in the middle of a dream. This is usually recommended, as the dream will be fresher in your mind (12).

What is the success rate of the MILD technique?

According to a German study, participants who used the MILD method to trigger lucid dreams had a 46% success rate.

In another study, the success rate of the MILD technique dropped to 17% when used in conjunction with the WBTB method.

Wake-Initiated Lucid Dreaming (WILD)

In this technique, you aim at entering lucid dreaming through a focused, pre-sleep activity like focusing on your breath or bodily sensations or counting.

It's essentially a way of reaching and bringing into the lucid dream a higher level of awareness (13):

This method has a success rate of 23%, with the activity of counting being more effective than body scanning.

The idea behind it is reaching a type of hallucination happening when you are about to fall asleep.

As mentioned earlier in this article, the WILD technique works best when combined with the WBTB one, resulting in the so-called 'Dream Re-Entry' method.

Intention, Autosuggestion & Tholey’s Combined Technique

This technique, which is similar to the MILD method, requires that you intensively imagine yourself in a lucid dream and recognize that you are in a dream.

The main difference between the MILD and Intention / Autosuggestion techniques is that the former emphasizes the control over the dream, while the latter focuses more on the awareness of being in a dream (14):

Combining intention with reality testing and autosuggestion, referred to as Tholey’s Combined Technique, has shown to be effective in some research studies.

Post-Hypnotic Suggestion

This technique requires a hypnotherapist leading you into a trance state suggesting you are going to experience a lucid dream next time you fall asleep.

While the efficacy of the Post-Hypnotic Suggestion strategy is mixed, a study found an increase in lucid dreams for individuals who used this method (15).

External Stimulation and Aids (Lucid Dreaming Masks)

Lucid dream masks are an innovative tool that can help induce and enhance lucid dreams. These masks work by emitting light patterns or sounds that can help stimulate your brain during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep, which is when most dreaming occurs.

The light or sound cues can help trigger your awareness that you're dreaming, which can prompt you to take control of your dream.

These masks can be a great option for those who want to enhance their lucid dreaming experience and they can be used in conjunction with other techniques, such as dream journaling.

We invite you to take a look at our Remee Lucid Dream Mask

Cortical Stimulation

 While external stimulation like lucid dreaming masks send a stimuli, typically a flashing light or sound, to your senses organs, cortical stimulation is about sending stimuli to your cortical brain tissue.

Results here are mixed but there seems to be some evidence that lucid dreaming increases after transcranial direct current stimulation (16).

Appendix #1: General Recommendations

Before jumping into conclusions, I would like to list some of what I believe are important general recommendations for all those that, like me, want to experience lucid dreaming or increase the occurrence of lucid dreams, starting with your sleep environment.

Sleep Environment

Creating a comfortable sleep environment is essential for inducing lucid dreams. Start by keeping your bedroom cool and dark, as this can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply.

You can also try using aromatherapy with essential oils like lavender, chamomile, or bergamot, which have calming and soothing properties that can help you drift off into a peaceful slumber.

Additionally, consider removing any distractions from your bedroom, such as electronic devices, work-related items, or clutter, that can stimulate your mind and keep you from relaxing (16):

Make sure the bedroom temperature is comfortable; 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 degrees Celsius) is widely considered the ideal sleep temperature. You should also keep the room dark and relatively quiet. Blackout curtains, sleeping masks, and other accessories help reduce light levels, while ear plugs and sound machines can block disruptive outside noises.

In a nutshell, to increase the occurrence of lucid dreaming, I highly recommend that you improve your sleep hygiene. Below a list of items to 'tick' as far as sleep hygiene goes (17):

  • Install blackout shades
  • Minimize screen time starting 1 hour before going to bed
  • Avoid caffeine and other stimulants after 2 pm
  • Avoid eating close to bedtime
  • Avoid alcohol before bed
  • Avoid napping for more than 20 minutes during the day
  • Keep the ambient temperature on the cooler side
  • Keep a consistent, reasonable bedtime each night
  • Create a bedtime routine for the hour before you intend to sleep
  • Do not do work or other stimulating activities in bed
  • Do engage in relaxing activities like mild stretching, yoga, and meditation

Meditation

Meditation has the main advantage of increasing self-awareness and concentration, which in turn will help you recognize dream signs and triggers (18):

A recent study in 2022 reported practicing mindfulness during waking hours is positively related to lucidity in dreams. Researchers in the same study also found individuals with high levels of meditation expertise and practice lucid dream induction report lower nightmare frequency.

Appendix #2: Other Recommendations

Below is a list of recommendations that might also help with triggering a lucid dreaming experience.

Binaural Beats

Binaural beats are an illusion created by the brain when you listen to two tones with slightly different frequencies at the same time (19).

While binaural beats are generally used to study or sleep, they can also help with lucid dreaming by improving your focus and self-awareness.

Videogames

Some studies have shown a link between playing videogames and control over your dreams (20).

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 (21).

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 (22).

Herbs

Herbs can help with lucid dreaming. One perennial herb called Artemesia vulgarism, also called mugwort,18 contains an active compound that has been known for dream recall and the induction of lucid dreaming (23).

Conclusion

Inducing lucid dreams takes practice and patience so remember to stay consistent with your practice, and don't get discouraged if it takes some time to see results.

Most importantly, try to have fun with it and before you know you will be on your way exploring the dream world!

References

2. Nunez, K. (2023, March 22). 5 lucid dreaming techniques to try. Healthline.

3. Pacheco, D., & Pacheco, D. (2023, December 8). How to lucid Dream: expert tips and tricks. Sleep Foundation.

4. Cottone, L., PhD. (2024, February 27). 10 tips for how to Lucid dream. Choosing Therapy.

5. MasterClass. (2021, January 28). Lucid Dreaming: How to lucid dream in 5 steps - 2024 - MasterClass.

6. Nunez, K. (2023, March 22). 5 lucid dreaming techniques to try. Healthline.

7. Ibid.

8. Ibid.

9. Pacheco, D., & Pacheco, D. (2023, December 8). How to lucid Dream: expert tips and tricks. Sleep Foundation.

11. MSEd, K. C. (2023b, May 1). Lucid Dreaming: Definition, Techniques, uses. Verywell Mind.

12. Nunez, K. (2023, March 22). 5 lucid dreaming techniques to try. Healthline.

13. Cottone, L., PhD. (2024, February 27). 10 tips for how to Lucid dream. Choosing Therapy.

14. Ibid.

15. Dane, J., & Van De Castle, R. (1991). A comparison of waking instruction and posthypnotic suggestion for lucid dream induction. Lucidity Letter, 10.

16. Pacheco, D., & Pacheco, D. (2023, December 8). How to lucid Dream: expert tips and tricks. Sleep Foundation.

17. Cottone, L., PhD. (2024, February 27). 10 tips for how to Lucid dream. Choosing Therapy.

18. MSEd, K. C. (2023b, May 1). Lucid Dreaming: Definition, Techniques, uses. Verywell Mind.

19. WebMD Editorial Contributors. (2023, April 30). What are binaural beats? WebMD.

20. Tai, M., Mastin, D., & Peszka, J. (2017). 0731 THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN VIDEO GAME USE, GAME GENRE, AND LUCID/CONTROL DREAMING. Sleep, 40(suppl_1), A271.

21. Forbes, J (2024, May 14th). How to Lucid Dream - The Ultimate Guide. Sleep Advisor.

22. Ebben, M., Lequerica, A., & Spielman, A. (2002). Effects of pyridoxine on dreaming: a preliminary study. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 94(1), 135–140.

23. MSEd, K. C. (2023b, May 1). Lucid Dreaming: Definition, Techniques, uses. Verywell Mind.

Free Worldwide Shipping
30-Day Guarantee
24/7 Customer Support
RuffRuff App RuffRuff App by Tsun