How to Lucid Dream for Beginners-The Ultimate Guide

how to lucid dream for beginners
Manduka

There are many techniques and methods for how to lucid dream for beginners, but there is an underlying process behind them. Many of you might wonder, how exactly do I get to experience a lucid dream and more important, how do I become aware of this within a dream. 

Unfortunately, almost every night when you go to sleep, you fall into a state of unconsciousness. You believe that everything you are dreaming is real and even the most outrageous situations are unable to snap you out of the idea that you are dreaming.

For example, you might meet an old friend who has dog paws instead of hands or get transported to a different planet…and the way your minds work, you’ll invent memories and excuses to explain and support the idea that all of it is real and that we are not actually dreaming.

When most of us in the real world would pinch ourselves to see if we are dreaming, when we are actually asleep, the idea of questioning our surrounding environment as a dream seems to be the last thing from our mind.

Only in very rare circumstances do we become lucid in our dreams without practice and learning techniques. Some have had a lucid dream by accident, because what was happening in the dream was so insane that no other rational explanation could be made. It suddenly occurs to the dreamer that they are dreaming and this brings on the lucidity.

The best part of it is that lucid dreaming can be learned. There are techniques for how to lucid dream for beginners that have been developed by researchers over the years. These techniques of lucid dreaming have helped many learn to have lucid dreams frequently. Some have even mastered the ability to induce lucid dreams on a regular basis each night.

What Does Lucid Dream Mean ?

A lucid dream is a dream where you are conscious and aware that you are dreaming.

While you are viewing everything within the dream, you know that none of it is real and that it is all created from your own mind. You know that even while you are watching all the events within the dream, your real body is in bed, lying down, and relaxed. In many ways, it’s very similar to the idea of being in a virtual reality. Everything is vibrant, the colors are rich. It’s an amazing experience!

Lucid dreaming is a process by which you can learn, through regular practice, to become an active participant in your dreams. Dreaming lucidly can help you work through emotional issues with people who have passed away, overcome issues of abuse, help relieve the affects of post-traumatic stress disorder, receive spiritual comfort or guidance, and even predict the future or alter the past.

Essential Read: The benefits and dangers of Lucid Dreaming.

Manduka

How to Lucid Dream for Beginners?

Below are some preliminary steps for how to lucid dream for beginners. You must take these steps to help increase your chances of success in having lucid dreams.

how to lucid dream for beginners

Step 1: Understanding The Sleep Cycle

The first thing to understand how to lucid dream for beginners is to learn about the sleep cycle. Once you do, you can more effectively plan out the best time to have a lucid dream.

Research has shown that we sleep in 1.5 hour intervals. And since an average night’s sleep lasts for roughly 8 hours, then we have at least five (5) intervals of sleep before we wake up in the morning.

Each of these 1.5 hour intervals consist of two different states:

1. NREM (Non Rapid Eye Movement
-This is the phase where your mind falls into the deep state of relaxation, preparing you for REM sleep.

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2. REM (Rapid Eye Movement) 
-When you enter the Rapid Eye Movement state, this is where dreams begin to occur.

As you get in bed and fall asleep in the evening, your mind goes into this NREM state, where your body becomes completely relaxed and you begin to wind down into the REM state. It is during this NREM state that you begin to lose consciousness so that by the time you enter REM sleep, you are submersed in the dream and you have no clue that you have fallen asleep. Everything in the dream, you now perceive as real.

When the REM state ends, you return back to the NREM state and you gradually begin to resurface to consciousness. This whole 1.5 hour sleep interval process of going from NREM to REM and then back to NREM again happens every night. And regardless of what some people tell you, each time this happens, you have a dream while in the REM state. You may not remember what that dream was while you were in the REM state, but rest assured, you did in fact have an actual dream.

So the first key to learning lucid dreaming is to have better recall of your dreams each night that you enter these REM sleep states throughout each night. To improve your recall so that you better remember all your dreams, the most effective way to do this is through the use of a “Dream Journal”.

Step 2: Start a Dream Journal

Starting a Dream Journal is vital to the mastery of lucid dreaming. After all, how can you effectively have lucid dreams if you can’t even remember if you had one the next morning.

So before you go to bed, get a tablet and a pen or pencil. Place it by your bedside table or as close to you as possible, so that when you wake up, it will be within reach and you can begin jotting down key information about the dream that you just had.

Believe it or not, this works! A lot of people simply say “I don’t have or rarely have any dreams”. This is completely untrue. The truth is, they have dozens of dreams every night. They just forget them completely, because they never wrote them down after waking up. Once you start keeping a dream journal, you’ll notice that you start remembering a lot more of your dreams each morning. If you keep a dream journal long enough, pretty soon you will remember almost all your dreams. It will really shock you that you are indeed dreaming so much.

Try it for just a week if you don’t believe me. You’ll see that by keeping a dream journal for just a week, you will begin seeing a huge increase in the amount of dreams you are having.

Now that you know about the Sleep Cycle and you are keeping a Dream Journal, it’s time to begin learning how to do Reality Checks.

Step 3: Practice Reality Checks

One of the main reasons that we fall into the state of unconsciousness when we dream is that we never question our senses of what we are seeing while we are dreaming.

As we go throughout the day in our waking world, we never ask ourselves if we are dreaming. So then why would we think to ponder the same question while we are asleep and dreaming.

When we perform reality checks, we begin to open the door to the possibility that we could be dreaming at anytime. We no longer take it for granted that we are awake at all times. By asking yourself throughout the day “Am I dreaming”, then what happens is that you will start to ask yourself this same question in your dream. This is called a “Reality Check”.

The key to performing reality checks is to not simply ask it and immediately answer:

“Of course I’m not dreaming. This is the real world.”

If you take this attitude, then you will likely have this same dismissive attitude when you perform a reality check while you are asleep and dreaming.

So rather than be so quick to answer, take a moment to look around your surroundings. Really look and think about whether this is a dream or not, whether you are sleeping. The best way to check if you are asleep or not is to look at text or numbers. Since the dream world is not static and is ever changing, the one thing that seems to change most often is text and numbers.

So do the following as a reality check:

1. Find some text or numbers somewhere around you (eg. a book cover, your watch, a clock, etc).
2. Make a mental note of what the text or numbers say.
3. Next, look away somewhere for roughly 5 seconds.
4. Now look back at the text or numbers. If they haven’t changed, then you are awake. If they are different, then congratulations, you are dreaming and as a result, you will most likely now become lucid from this realization.

You can also do these below reality checks in the real world and once you have developed them to be a habit, you transfer them to the dream world.

Use Your Hands

Hands tend to look strange in a dream. Get in the habit of looking at your hands throughout the day, so you exactly know how they look like. Lift your hand and check whether the shape is normal and whether the colors are normal. If your hands look odd, you will know that you are dreaming.

Block Your Nose

Another way of doing a reality check is by blocking your nose and then try to breath through your nose. In a dream if you block your nose, you won’t really block your nose in reality, so most likely you will still be able to breath through it. If this is the case, you know you’re dreaming.

Use Your Mind

I understand you may be thinking: “But what if I’m around friend or family? Everyone will notice…” Fair enough. So here’s a reality check you can do using your mind and your mind only.

In a dream the story line is often really jumpy and all over the place. Also time lines often don’t make sense and neither do the places where you are. So ask yourself this: Where am I and do I recognize this place? What have I been doing in the last 10 minutes? If you detect anything weird, for example that you’re at a place that normally takes you a couple of hours to come, you know you are dreaming.

When do I do Reality Checks?

First you make the list of your dream signs in the back of your Dream Diary as explained above. Then do these checks every time you see an every day Dream Sign in the real world. Also train your brain to do a reality check every two hours or so. Your brain is very receptive of repetition, so after a while you will be able to transfer this to the dream world.

Recommended Read: Is Lucid Dreaming Real?

Techniques: How to Lucid Dream for Beginners

Now you know the three basic prerequisites to begin practicing how to lucid dream for beginners. Please continue on to the six Lucid Dreaming Techniques  and choose one that you feel will be the most effective for you…

techniques how to lucid dream for beginners

1. MILD - Mnemonic Induced Lucid Dreams

This technique of Lucid Dreaming was created by the Dr. Stephen LeBerge and involves using a mnemonic system to trigger lucid dreams. This technique is also explored in depth from LeBarge’s book “Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming”. If you are serious about lucid dreams, this is a must have book to read.

How to use the MILD technique for lucid dream induction:

Step 1:
Get a notepad and pencil and keep it ready on your bedside table (or within reach when you wake up from your sleep).

Step 2:
Before lying down to sleep, repeat to yourself with conviction, that you will wake up and remember your dreams. Commit this concept to your mind so that it really sinks in. As you tell yourself this, your subconscious will listen and will be more likely to remember your dream when you wake up.

Step 3:
Close your eyes and move to sleep as you normally do.

Step 4:
When you wake up in the middle of the night or the following morning after a dream, take the notepad from step 1 and write down your dream. Write the maximum amount of the dream as you’ll remember. If you need to write short hand to get all the ideas down as quickly as possible, this is ok.

Step 5:
Close your eyes and go back to sleep. As you’re falling asleep, imagine that you simply are in the dream that you just wrote down on the notepad.. Tell your mind that you will become lucid and see yourself as lucid inside the dream.

If you follow the steps above and repeat them each night, the likelihood of having a lucid dream will gradually increase.

2.DILD - Dream Induced Lucid Dreams

This is the foremost common style of lucid dream induction technique. In fact, many first timers achieve their first lucid dream through this method.

When a DILD happens, you become lucid within the dream. This will often happen when the dream is so outrageous or ridiculous that no other rational explanation is often used to explain it apart from it being a dream. In this situation the dreamer thinks to themselves “This is crazy! This must be a dream!” and the dreamer becomes lucid.

Now you’ll be thinking that this system seems more sort of a chance of luck over whether you’ve got a dream about something that’s too outrageous to wake you into a state of lucidity.

However, this method are often mastered through the utilization of reality checks instead of outrageous or odd situations in your dreams.

To act upon the DILD technique, do the following:

Step 1:
Early within the morning, find an ink pen. Just any pen will do, color is not important.

Step 2:
Draw single small dots somewhere on your hands. For me, i prefer to ink tiny dots on the palm of both hands or on the knuckle of every thumb.

Step 3:
Now that you simply have the small dots on your hand, as you go throughout your day, you’ll occasionally see them. Once you see them, use it as a reminder to ask yourself if you’re dreaming. Stop whatever it’s you’re doing and perform a reality check.

Step 4:
Look through your surrounding environment, honestly ask yourself “Is this a dream?”. Then find an object, sign, book, etc that has text or numbers. Check out the numbers or text and remember what it says.

Step 5:
Now look for five seconds.

Step 6:
Return your gaze back to the text or numbers and see if they need changed. If they need not changed, then you’re awake and just continue on together with your day to day activities.

The idea here is that you simply are training yourself to constantly be analyzing your surrounding environment and checking whether it’s a dream. This habit of checking your environment will then carry over into your dream once you head to sleep. you’ll eventually end up during a dream and you’ll ask yourself if you’re dreaming. you’ll do your reality check within your dream then realize that you simply are dreaming, therefore becoming lucid.

A variation of this method is to create a attention of common elements that you simply know happen in your dreams. For instance, if you regularly dream about your wife or your members of the family, then use that as a cue to try and do a reality check, instead of placing dots on your hands. This way, once you see members of the family in your dream, you’ll remember to ask yourself if you’re dreaming.

3. WILD - Wake Induced Lucid Dreams

The concept behind the lucid dreaming techniques WILD  is that you are utilizing the fact that you wake up in the middle of the REM state as previously discussed in the Sleep Cycle section from How to Lucid Dream Tonight. By waking from the REM state, it is much easier to fall back to sleep into REM faster and therefore bypassing the NREM stages that make it more difficult to remain conscious as you fall asleep.

It is nearly impossible to go from the waking state into a lucid dream when you go to bed first thing at night, because your mind has to wind down during the NREM stage of your sleep cycle.

However, if you allow yourself to wake up while you are in the middle of the REM stage, then you can go back to sleep and enter right back into finishing that REM stage that you previously woke up from (which is the dreaming stage of the sleep cycle).

To perform the WILD technique, do the following:

Step 1:
Set the alarm on your clock or cell phone to wake you up 5 to 6 hours after going to sleep. Try to time the alarm to wake you up during the middle of one of your 1.5 hour sleep cycle intervals, since this is when you will likely be in the REM stage.

Step 2:
Go to bed and move to sleep at night as you usually do.

Step 3:
When the alarm wakes you up, turn it off and close your eyes again.

Step 4:
Now that your eyes are closed again, you will begin to drift back to sleep. You may begin seeing hypnagogic imagery of faces, etc. Repeat this over and over as a mantra “I will have a lucid dream” to yourself. Visualize yourself being conscious and aware in your dream. Try to visualize being logical about everything you see with your eyes closed.

Step 5:
Slowly, but surely, you will begin to feel your body entering the dream. Your body will begin to relax into what is called “sleep paralysis”, where you can’t move. This paralysis happens every time you fall asleep, but you usually don’t realize it, because by then you are unconscious and unaware that you are asleep.

Step 6:
Continue falling deeper until you enter the dream and you are lucid.

After the DILD technique, the WILD technique is the most popular type of lucid dream induction technique. Since mind is still in the state of REM when you wake up, it is much easier to fall back to sleep into REM, but this time, you are falling asleep with the intention of having a lucid dream. Intention is everything with lucid dreams. Get into the habit of telling yourself before you go to sleep that you are going to have a lucid dream or that you want to have a lucid

4. DEILD - Dream Exit Induced Lucid Dreams

The DEILD technique takes advantage of when you awake in the middle of a dream, but you have not yet moved. When your body is motionless after waking from a dream, it is much easier to fall right back to sleep. The minute you make any movement (such as turning off an alarm), then you lose this dream exit state and you will have to use the WILD technique instead of the DEILD.

Entering lucidity from the waking state into a lucid dream is nearly impossible, because your mind has to wind down through the NREM stages of your sleep cycle. These NREM stages take a while and it is difficult to get through them without losing consciousness and awareness that you are dreaming. The DEILD technique allows you to go right back into REM, bypassing the NREM stages, which makes this technique much more likely to induce a lucid dream.

To perform the DEILD technique, do the following:

Step 1:
Set an alarm clock to wake you up 5 to 6 hours after falling asleep. though, the alarm you set must ring only a few times then it must turn itself off automatically. Cell phones are great for this, because they have vibrate mode. The thought here is that you simply want to get up from your dream, but not for the purpose of getting to maneuver or rise up.

Step 2:
Once you get up, the alarm will go off by itself (as you planned). Make certain that you simply don’t move at all (or you’ll awaken too much and not be able to fall back to sleep as easily).

Step 3:
After the alarm auto-shuts off, begin making a conscious effort to stay lucid and aware as you drift back to your REM sleep. If possible, attempt to visualize the dream you previously awakened from and see yourself re-entering that dream, but in a very conscious state.

Step 4:
As you move into the dream, you will have a greater chance of becoming lucid.

DEILD is one of the most popular lucid induction techniques, due to it’s high success rate. It takes advantage of your mind still being in the Rapid Eye Movement wave state. Since you’re in this unique state, it’s much easier to enter right back to your dream. The crucial part is that remain as motionless as possible once you awaken (which are often a challenge).

Some consider this a piggyback technique, where you are going from one dream to a different. This actually happens throughout the night. Whenever  we finish a dream, we get up momentarily before diving right back into a further dream.

However, we usually go right back to sleep and therefore the next morning, we do not even realize that we awakened. When you set the alarm to wake you up, you become more conscious about this, but not excessive conscious to wake up completely. This provides an excellent opportunity to fall back to sleep during a state of lucidity.

5. WBTB - Wake Back To Bed

This technique is very similar to the WILD Technique, except that you stay awake for a while before attempting to go back to sleep.

The concept behind the WBTB technique is that you are utilizing the fact that you wake up in the middle of the REM state as previously discussed in the Sleep Cycle section.

It is nearly impossible to go from the waking state into a lucid dream when you go to bed first thing at night, because your mind has to wind down during the NREM stage of your sleep cycle.

However, if you allow yourself to wake up while you are in the middle of the REM stage, then you can go back to sleep and enter right back into finishing that REM stage (which is the dreaming stage of the sleep cycle).

To perform the WBTB technique, do the following:

Step 1:
Set the alarm on your clock or cell phone to wake you up at a later stage of your night’s sleep. Setting the alarm to wake you up 1/2 hour before you usually wake up is optimal. This is because you will likely still be in the REM stage, which is where most of your dreams occur.

Step 2:
Go to bed and move to sleep at night as you usually do.

Step 3:
When the alarm wakes you up, turn it off and get out of bed.

Step 4:
Try to stay awake for at least 15 minutes (but not more than 1 hour) and repeat to yourself “I will have a lucid dream”. Reiterate this again and again as a mantra. You may consider doing 10 repetitions of an aerobic exercise to get your mind awake a little bit more than normal.

Step 5:
Now climb back in bed. As you close your eyes and go back to sleep, continue repeating “I will have a lucid dream” to yourself. Visualize yourself being conscious in your dream.

Step 6:
After about 5 to 10 minutes of this, do a reality check to see if you are still dreaming. Look at some text or numbers and check to see if they change when you look away and look back at them. If they changed, you are now lucid dreaming!

The reason you check after 5 to 10 minutes is because you may have fallen asleep, but not even realize that you have. It could very well seem as though you are in your room still trying to go to sleep, but in fact, you have fallen asleep already. Try this technique out and with any amount of success, you may just find yourself smack dab in the middle of a lucid dream!

6. EILD - Electrical (External) Induced Lucid Dreams

The most common type of approach to this technique is through the use of custom designed goggles that were intentionally designed for Lucid Dreaming. The use of the word “External” is because this technique can also be utilized through other means than electrical devices. For example, you can also have a friend watch you and when they see your eyes are moving, they can make various attempts to alert you that you are dreaming.

The most popular brand of lucid dream goggles is the “Nova Dreamer”. This device was created by Stephen LeBerge, who is one of the most well known researchers of lucid dreaming from his research on lucid dreaming that he did at Stanford University.

To perform the EILD technique, do the following:

Step 1:
Purchase the Nova Dreamer lucid dreaming induction goggles or similar type goggles that were intended for lucid dreaming.

Step 2:
Place the goggle headset on and go to sleep as normal.

Step 3:
As you sleep in the REM state throughout the night, the goggles will send light flashes over your eyelids. This is meant to act as a cue to question whether or not you are dreaming. When you get good enough at recognizing these flashes, you will begin to start questioning whether you are dreaming more frequently and induce more lucid dreams.

This is one of the easiest techniques, because most of the work is being done for you from an external device. It’s important to note that the light flashes do not always induce lucidity. Sometimes it is easy for the dreamer to incorporate the light flashes into the dream and not recognize them as an external reminder to question whether or not the dreamer is in fact dreaming.

Another downside to this technique is that these electronic goggle devices can run pretty expensive. However, if the device works well for you to induce lucid dreams, then the investment is well worth it.

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