How To Have A Lucid Dream And Be The Captain Of Your Own Unconscious Ship
There are two types of people in this world: the type of people who sleep to dream, and the type of people who dream to sleep. (This may or may not be true but for the sake extremes, let's go with it.) But have you ever wondered how to have a lucid dream? Some people are really into dreams — they write them down, they talk about them, they think about them, and they place a lot of meaning into them. Other people just look at dreams as weird things that happen in your brain when you're getting sleep. But lucid dreams, or the conscious understanding that you are dreaming, are another ballpark altogether.
Whether you're the kind of person who has a stack of dream books on your night table or you're the kind of person who rolls your eyes anytime someone wastes your time telling you about a dream they had, you've definitely had a lucid dream before. A lucid dream is any kind of dream where you're aware you're dreaming. It's a double whammy for your consciousness and can be either spooky or spiritual or uneventful. Lucid dreams typically occur on the tail end of REM sleep, you know, when you're towards the end of a deep sleep.
OK, so what? We've all had a lucid dream and they're kinda cool but like why are we talking about it? We're talking about it because countless studies show that we're capable of not only educing lucid dreaming, but controlling it. It's actually not all that difficult and just involves a little bit of focus and a little bit of discipline. Here are the five principals to be the master of your dreams:
If you plan on having a lucid dream tonight, spend the day checking in with yourself. Every few hours, ask yourself if you are awake or dreaming. It might feel silly and unnecessary, but get into the habit of doing a certain gesture. Maybe you write "awake" on your hand with a pen every time you check in with yourself and realize you are in fact awake. Maybe you pinch your side or play a song. Whatever works for you. The important thing is that you're creating a habit of checking in with yourself.
Pick A Dream, Any Dream
Throughout the day, think about what you'd like to dream about. Start visualizing what world you want to travel to, who you want to see and what you want to happen. Remember to check in with yourself and establish that you're awake.
An hour before you plan to go to sleep, keep your eyes away from all screens. Don't check your phone, your laptop or even your Kindle. Turn off all of the lights both in your room and outside of your room so that no light seeps in under the door. You want your room to be as dark as physically possible. If this is not possible, an eye mask will do the trick.
Set An Alarm
The best time to lucid dream is during REM sleep which typically occurs a few hours into your sleep cycle. If you plan on having a lucid dream, you need to set your alarm two hours earlier than the time you need to wake up. Put the alarm as close to your bed as possible so you don't have to do anything other than reach your hand out and silence it. This will cause you to wake up your mind briefly. Try your best to keep your eyes closed. You want your body to remain asleep.
Go With It
Now that you've woken up a bit to turn off your alarm, your body will be trying its best to go right back to sleep. It was in a nice, deep, restorative sleep and you woke it up! So without even trying, your body will drift back into a sleep state. At this point, try to keep your thoughts active. Let your mind wander. Let your body fall back into slumber and let sleep paralyze your limbs while your mind travels through vivid and conscious images and sounds. Try your best to stay relaxed. You're safe. You might have a totally boring lucid dream where you're sitting on a couch watching a curtain blow in the wind, or you might hallucinate and see old friends or see colors or hear sounds. What's important is to stay calm, you're safe. Just go with it. When you wake up completely, write down everything you saw. Getting into the habit of thinking about your dreams will help them flourish.