Learn lucid dreaming - the one guide you need

Antonia Steinbusch
April 25, 2022

It's a beautiful summer day. I'm sitting in the schoolyard, overjoyed, having a lively conversation with some of my favorite Pokémon. All of a sudden I realize that something is wrong. Now I wake up and realize that it was just a dream (a pretty cool dream for an 8-year-old at the time).

Anyway, I'm still pretty tired. I grin briefly at my crazy dream. Then my eyes fall shut and I fall back asleep... and there I am, suddenly, again. Back in the schoolyard. Together with the Pokémon. And with the big difference that now I know I'm dreaming. Unfortunately, I wake up again a short time later, but I still remember that I was very happy about this experience all day long. Until then, I didn't know anything about lucid dreaming.

It was only years later, in my late teens, that I heard the term "lucid dreaming" for the first time. I was so impressed by the idea of being able to control my own dreams that I bought several books on lucid dreaming and eagerly tried out all the tips. In the meantime, over 5 years have passed and I have had hundreds of lucid dreams. First of all, let me explain to you what exactly lucid dreams are. Lucid dreaming means that you gain consciousness over a dream and can control it. Usually this happens during REM, the dream phase of your sleep. REM means Rapid Eye Movement, which means that your eyes move back and forth rapidly behind your closed eyelids. More than every second person has spontaneously experienced a lucid dream.

Only about one in five, however, has the ability to consciously put themselves in this state more often. During their dreams, these people regularly realize that they are dreaming. It is a form of meta-cognition; they are aware that they are consciously experiencing their dream. Then they can purposefully begin to control their dream and shape it according to their desires. In doing so, some people report that their lucid dreams feel very vivid and real, while others experience them as hazy and mysterious. However, there is a trick to experiencing your lucid dream as crystal clear as reality, which I will discuss later. Lucid dreams are also called lucid dreams, the former term coming from Latin.

So whether you are learning lucid dreaming or learning lucid dreaming is the same thing. In both cases you will learn to be aware during a dream that you are currently in a dream. Once you have trained this state of consciousness, you will be able to intensely experience, change and direct your dream. When you have acquired the ability to dream lucidly on a regular basis, you may call yourself a so-called oneironaut.

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The realization that you are in a dream often comes after an impossible event. For example, in my dream in the schoolyard, I was suddenly surprised that Pokémons can talk and then I realized that Pokémons don't actually exist.

At that moment, a normal dream usually turns into a lucid dream. In this case, I was so surprised that I woke up. So it's important to stay calm at the crucial moment to become lucid. The term "lucid" here describes the clarity with which you perceive and live through your dream. In addition to being aware of your dream, lucid dreams are also defined in part by the fact that you can influence its course, and that you can remember your own real life, that is, your waking life. Through lucid dreaming, you can explore your inner dream world and your subconscious.

You can learn more about yourself and your inner life as well as grow in your personality. Research also suggests that lucid dreaming can prevent nightmares, improving your sleep quality. So if you have a nightmare but have previously learned lucid dreaming, you can steer the events in your dream in a more pleasant and relaxing direction. Learning to lucid dream can also reduce anxiety and stress because it increases your sense of control. You can practice mastering situations in a safe setting that would normally trigger stress in you and try things you would be too afraid to do in real life.

Last but not least, lucid dreaming is huge fun. Learning it offers you a unique, fantastic world where there are no limits to your imagination and anything is possible. You can put any imaginable idea into action without putting yourself in danger and yet it will feel real. You can experience real emotions in your lucid dream and give free rein to your creativity. In your personal dream world, you have control over the people, places and events that should find a place in your dream. This way you can try and experience things that you might not be able to in your real life during the day. So you see that lucid dreaming brings numerous benefits and lots of fun. I hope to help others learn lucid dreaming with this lucid dream guide.

#1 Become aware of why you want to learn lucid dreaming

Take a little time and imagine exactly what a lucid dream of yours might look like. What would you like to do and why?

would you like to have superpowers?

If so, which ones?do you want to talk to your subconscious?

or would you like to develop yourself personally?

For example, overcome stage fright or meditate in your sleep?

You could also go on a fantasy trip to a distant world or give free rein to your creativity and create an extraordinary work of art. Write down your goal on a piece of paper and hang it next to or above your bed. It's best to look at it again before you go to bed and think about it when you fall asleep.

#2 Keep a dream journal

A dream journal will help you to strengthen your dream memory.

It is essential for anyone who wants to learn lucid dreaming, especially if you are one of those people who rarely or never remember your dreams, writing them down every morning will help you a lot. I also had a hard time writing anything down in the beginning. But even when I had no memory of a dream, I would write down something like, "Unfortunately, no memory, but I feel rested/exhausted/tired." This helped me stay consistent and build the habit. It also made me want to remember my dreams all the more the next time.

Eventually, I would have at least three different dreams every night, all of which I could remember very well and in great detail.

Here's a guide on how to keep your dream journal effectively.

#3 Recognize your dream signs

Instead of forgetting about your dreams after you've entered them in your dream journal, take a look at them every now and then and reflect on them. Do certain people, places, or feelings come up repeatedly? These can give insight into the kinds of issues your psyche is focusing on. So the next time you're faced with these issues, ask yourself if you might not be dreaming.

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A dream sign is a person, place or circumstance that appears regularly in a person's dream. Dream signs are usually special to a person and vary greatly in nature from person to person. The more you become aware of your dream signs, the faster you will be able to tell if you are dreaming.

This is the basis if you want to learn lucid dreaming.

#4 Do reality checks

Are you dreaming right now? Are you awake? How can you be sure?Answering these questions is fundamental to learning lucid dreaming. One way to determine if you are dreaming or not is to use reality checks.

An example of a reality check is to try to put a finger through your palm. If this succeeds, you are dreaming.

The hardest part is often remembering to do the reality checks. That's why you should do reality checks regularly in real life, even when it's quite clear that you're not dreaming. Taking advantage of an inconsistency between the real world and the dream world is the basis of most reality checks.

In dreams, these inconsistencies are usually ubiquitous and therefore easy to spot. For example, in real life it is possible to read, while in dreams it is extremely difficult to impossible. This can be used as a basis for a reality check. Likewise, in dreams, unlike in real life, it is possible to pass a finger through one's own palm. These are simple reality checks that you can use to quickly test whether you are awake or in a dream. Other reality checks that work well are trying to breathe through your nose while holding it shut with your fingers, counting the number of fingers on your hand, or jumping as high as you can.

wie macht man reality checks

Reality checks are most effective when combined with dream signs. So if you dream about cows all the time, you should do a reality check every time you see a cow. You should make it a habit to question whether you are dreaming.

If you want to learn lucid dreaming, then incorporate these four points into your daily routine on a regular basis. In the long run, this will lead you to recognize more and more often when you are dreaming.

Learn lucid dreaming in one night

If you absolutely want to lucid dream tonight, there is also another possibility.

To lucid dream tonight, you should prepare your body, mind and bedroom as best as you can. Then set your alarm clock to go off after 6 hours. When it goes off, wake up and then go back to sleep with the intention of lucid dreaming.

Keep your muscles still while you drift off into a nice lucid dream. Those are the basics at least. Now let's break it down even further. Here are the steps on how you are most likely to lucid dream tonight:

  • Spend the rest of the day thinking about lucid dreaming.
  • Do lots of reality checks.
  • Take enough time to do this each time.
  • Turn off all screens one hour before going to bed.
  • Set your alarm clock to get exactly 6 hours of sleep.
  • Keep your eyes closed when you wake up.
  • Go back to sleep with the intention of lucid dreaming.

The trick with this technique is to wake up the mind for a few seconds so that it remains active in the dream even after you fall asleep again. The best time to do this is when you are in REM and dreaming anyway, about 6 hours after falling asleep.

Spend the rest of the day reading about lucid dreaming

For the rest of the day until you go to bed, think about lucid dreaming. Read about it, talk to your friends about it, think about what you will do in your lucid dream.

The key is to think intensely about what you will do in your dream. This way you train your subconscious mind and the probability increases that the thought of lucid dreaming will come to you in your dream.

For some people, the thought of being lucid is enough to actually become lucid. This is a really simple trick that you can use from now on. Every night when you go to bed, think about lucid dreaming. Also, visualize yourself becoming lucid while you are dreaming.

Do many reality checks

Normally, to learn lucid dreaming, you should do reality checks about 10 times a day.

If you really want to lucid dream tonight, do at least 25 of these reality checks before you go to bed, as you have already read in the article above.

Turn off all screens one hour before bedtime

Just before you go to bed, don't look at any screens, close your laptop, turn off the TV, and set your cell phone to silent (but make sure the alarm clock is still working).

This will make it easier for your body to produce enough sleep hormones. These sleep hormones are slowed down by artificial light.

Many experts and sleep researchers believe that this is the most important tip for healthy sleep. Instead, you can read or listen to an audio book, for example.

Set your alarm clock so that you get exactly 6 hours of sleep

No matter what time you would actually wake up, set your alarm about 2 hours before. So if you normally wake up at 9 o'clock, set the alarm for 7 o'clock.

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The alarm should be pleasant and not scare you, because you want to fall asleep right after it. So choose a nice melody and put your phone right next to you. You should be able to turn off the alarm without getting out of bed and without opening your eyes.

Keep your eyes closed when you wake up

This is the hard part. Wake up with the alarm clock without opening your eyes. This will cause you to wake up your mind, but keep your body as still as possible (there are other techniques where you activate your mind for a longer period of time - with your eyes open).

It doesn't matter much if you open your eyes for a brief moment, but it works best if you keep your eyes completely closed. The goal is to go back to sleep immediately after you turn off your alarm clock. So you woke up 2 hours earlier than usual, turned off your alarm clock, and are now lying there awake with your eyes closed. Next, you will "stay awake" in your mind, but let your body drift off to sleep.

This can be scary for some people if you have never done it before, because you will experience what is called "sleep paralysis" where your body is unable to move, but your mind is awake and aware.

You will feel your body shutting itself down while you are conscious in your mind. Don't worry, it is nothing to be afraid of:

  • It is not dangerous in any way.
  • This way you can lucid dream tonight.
  • Once you have done it a few times it will be fun and easy!
  • It may feel weird and scary but just relax and try not to move

As stated earlier, you will lie there awake but your body will be frozen. The reason for this is that you have interrupted your REM sleep and your body is now trying to put you back into REM sleep.

The key is to stay awake while this is happening. You stay focused and thinking while your body shuts down. This puts you right into a dream that is lucid from the start. This is because your mind never falls asleep in the first place with this technique.

I know sleep paralysis can seem scary, but I promise you that it is normal, harmless, and a big part of the lucid dreaming guide. In fact, you should welcome it with delight because it means you're one step closer to learning lucid dreaming, and you're almost in a lucid dream already!

Go back to sleep with the intention of lucid dreaming

So you are lying there frozen, eyes closed and mind wide awake.

At this point you are already very close to a lucid dream. Relax now and let yourself drift a little. You are drifting into the dream world now. You will probably see sparkling colors, shapes, places and random people. It is also common to hear sounds. In the beginning, these will just be individual snippets strung together randomly and disorganized. This is normal and part of the process. For some people, this process can be a little uncomfortable. But I promise you, it's worth going through here.

The dream snippets you perceive will get longer and longer. Soon you'll look around and realize, "Wow, I'm in a dream". However, there are things you should know about lucid dreaming beforehand, especially if it's your first time:

  • Don't be too excited, otherwise you might wake up too quickly.
  • Relax and "guide" the dream instead of trying to control every detail. Explore it. Enjoy it!
  • Not many people know how to lucid dream, so enjoy the fact that you are having your first lucid dream right now!

I hope to have helped you learn lucid dreaming with this guide so that you can discover the beautiful world of lucid dreams for yourself.