A world where you can defeat all your fears with ease and decide in one second where you are in the world. One second you were on the beach in Indonesia enjoying cocktails and suddenly you find yourself in a gondola in Venice. You can experience incredible adventures and do anything you want. If you learn how to have lucid dreams, all this is possible!
If you start dreaming lucid, it is possible to take control of your dreams.
In this guide, we will teach you what lucid dreaming is, what the benefits for you are and how you can learn it quickly.
Jump ahead to any of the sections below:
- What Is Lucid Dreaming?
- 5 Advantages of Lucid Dreaming
- How to Control Your Dreams – Lucid Dreaming Step by Step Instructions for Beginners
- Lucid Dreaming Tips: 3 Ways of Supporting Your Lucid Dream Experience
You don’t need any experience. Once you understand how you can influence your dreams, you will have lots of fun.
What Is Lucid Dreaming?
Dreams can come in different forms. They can be positive, negative and sometimes even erotic. When we dream, we experience a psychic activity while we sleep. We process new and old information. Our brain has to deal with the emotions, feelings and thoughts we have experienced during the day. However, it also does for those from the past.
But as you know, the craziest things happen to you in these dreams. You have no control over the events and the exits. When you dream lucidly, though, you can change that. You experience a state of growth and can control the events in your dreams.
Simply put, lucid dreams are dreams where you have control over your dream.
While you have a lucid dream, you primarily do not know if you are sleeping or not. It feels like you’re actually awake. However, you can easily check this. If you can ask yourself while you’re dreaming: “Am I awake right now?”. And if you have an answer to that question, you can be sure you’re lucid.
However, it can be distinguished between active and passive lucid dreams. Both can be fun and adventurous. The difference is relatively simple. In both stages, you are in an “almost awake” state. In a passive lucid dream, however, you do not interfere in the events of the dream. You’re just experiencing it clearer than usual.
5 Advantages of Lucid Dreams
1) Access Your Subconscious Mind
Did you know that more than 90% of thoughts are in the subconscious? Strictly speaking, you can only access one-tenth of your brain. If you want to read more about the subconscious, we recommend our article about brain waves.
Why is it an advantage for you to have access to your subconscious? One of the biggest is that you can open up to your dormant feelings. So you can actively think about your inner self, analyze connections and fears and understand yourself better.
If you’re wondering why you have nightmares: Your brain and subconscious are trying to confront you with your fears. Not to hurt you, but rather as a self-healing mechanism. Your mind needs your help to deal with this kind of information. However, if you are not active and in a clear mind, while dreaming, this process is delayed and not very effective.
So you can work on your fears through lucid dreams and translate the insights you make into reality and use them to your advantage. Some people also use the technique of lucid dreaming to deal with loneliness or depression.
2) Get Rid of Nightmares
Nobody likes nightmares. We are defenseless and must endure mostly negative feelings. We lose the person we love, are persecuted by someone or material damage is inflicted on us.
As we learned above, nightmares are the result of a defense reaction of our mind to bad memories and emotions. The genius thing about lucid dreaming is you can get rid of your nightmares.
Once you see a series of negative events in your dreams, you can simply remind yourself that everything is just a dream. It will be easier for you to deal with the events while sleeping. Or even better: You can take action. As the decision-maker in your lucid dream, you can draw a positive line from any nightmare.
Take control of your dreams and end nightmares.
3) Train for Reality
Start lucid dreaming gently, because in your dreams different rules apply than in reality. First and foremost, you should learn to dream in full consciousness. After you have mastered this, you can start to actively intervene in your dreams.
But you shouldn’t use this unique environment just for fun. Use it to prepare yourself for situations in real life. Are you afraid of a big test? Do you want to appear more self-confident or confess your love to a person and you are afraid what he/she will say?
Try to use your dreams specifically for this situations. Think each scenario through and figure out what your answer would be. You are going to give an important company presentation to your boss and you’ are afraid of what questions might come up. In your dream you can not only practice for this presentation and think of answers to these questions, you can let the dream end positively and go into the presentation with confidence.
4) Understand Your Dreams
Dreams can be confusing. Especially when you can only remember fractions. Dream interpretation is a way, but in most cases, we encounter more questions than before. Not only the variety of symbols (any real-life object can be a dream symbol) makes it difficult to interpret a dream, but also the possible combinations of several symbols.
Our mind wants to give us a message when we dream. For example, we can be captured in a dream by a spider in its web. First and foremost you will think of arachnophobia, the fear of spiders. But the spider can be interpreted in several directions. On the one hand, the spider stands for lies and deceit. The spider’s web is a symbol for your environment and you may find yourself in a circle of friends you don’t quite trust.
On the other hand, a spider weaving a web can also be connected to house building. We, or people from our environment, represent the spider, while the web symbolizes the house. So there is more than just one way to interpret a symbol from the dream. Clearly, it’s never definable unless you’re dreaming lucidly.
5) Have Fun
As already mentioned: You are the decision maker in your lucid dream. You can do anything you want. Drive your desired sports car, go surfing in the blazing midday sun of Miami, or have sex with your secret crush. It’s all possible in your dream.
What is remarkable, however, is that every dream is more intense than every book or film. You experience dreams with all your 5 senses. They feel like reality. Use lucid dreams as motivation and wake up full of positive energy.
How to Control Your Dreams – Lucid Dreaming Step by Step Instructions for Beginners
Now that we’ve realized that lucid dreaming has several advantages, let’s talk about how to get lucid dreams.
The following manual is for beginners. Anyone can dream lucidly. It only requires some preparation and practice. One more thing: You can’t force a lucid dream to happen. There’s no specific rule about how many dreams it takes to dream lucid.
The best tips are: Be patient, practice and get mentally into it.
Step 1: Remember Your Dreams
The first thing you should do is improve your dream memory. Remembering your dreams is an important step on your way to lucid dreams. If you can’t remember what you dreamed, you will have a hard time getting your attention upright while sleeping.
People who can dream lucidly can remember an excessive number of dreams.
Your memory represents the bridge and entry point into the world of dreams. So if you become more attentive to your dreams, it will be easier for you to dream actively.
Here are some tips and tricks on how you can remember your dreams more easily. Note, however, that not all methods are effective for everyone. You have to experiment a little until you have clarified which method is best for you.
Keep a Regular Sleep Rhythm
Try to maintain a good sleep rhythm. Go to bed and get up at similar times. If you have a problem with this, you can set multiple alarms. After a while in this rhythm, you will notice that you won’t need the alarm anymore.
It may not be entirely clear to you at first, but your mind will thank you if you go to sleep at regular times. The brain works better and you will be able to concentrate longer if you keep a regular sleep schedule. Also, people with regular sleep tend to dream more.
Those who dream more can remember more.
Keep a Dream Journal
If you want to remember your dreams more easily, just write them down. Put a pad and pen next to your bed to be optimally prepared and just start writing as soon as you wake up. If you go to bed every day with the aim of writing down everything you have dreamed, this automatism becomes a habit at some point.
The attention you have while you sleep will make it easier for you to enter your dream later.
Here are three simple ways to keep your dream diary:
- Pen and paper
We prefer pen and paper. A sheet of paper does not need to boot and you can start directly from your bed because paper and pencil are ready on the bedside table. This allows you to write down your memories faster. The handwritten text, compared to writing on your smartphone or laptop, is best memorized in your head.
Just write down anything you can think of. It doesn’t have to be in complete sentences, keywords are perfectly fine. It is more important to capture everything than to write clean sentences. You can improve the grammar afterwards.
Another reason for traditional writing by hand is the often flashy screen brightness of a laptop or smartphone. It might be harder for you to go back to sleep after.
However, if you need to get up to turn on the light, the smartphone is a good option. For many, that’s next to or even on the bed anyway. You can adjust the screen brightness and of course, there are also free diary and note apps.
As an alternative to writing, you can also use the standard dictation function of your smartphone.
Wake up Early
The human brain tends to make us dream in the early hours of the morning. So if you have trouble remembering your dreams, it may be because you’ve been out of the dream phase for too long.
Why don’t you set an alarm clock about an hour before you usually get up? It’s more likely you’ll wake up right in the dream phase. Then write down what you have experienced and sleep the last hour until you finally get up.
A healthy lifestyle can be the key to remembering your dreams.
People who like a healthy lifestyle not only have a regular sleep rhythm but in most cases also have a tightened ability to think and concentrate.
Furthermore, marijuana and alcohol can block your dreams. Even if you dream under the influence of alcohol, it will be much harder for you to remember your dreams. For the learning of lucid dreams, it is better to refrain from alcohol and other drugs.
Set Random Alarm Clocks in the Middle of the Night
We admit it might sound really crazy to get up in the middle of the night to write down the experienced dreams.
However, we only recommend this method in the event that all previous tips and tricks have not worked for you. So if you try to write everything down directly in the morning, have a regular sleep rhythm and live a healthy lifestyle, and still can’t get to your dreams, then you should set random alarms in the middle of the night.
It turns out that most people dream in 90-minute cycles. So for starters, set an alarm clock for 90 minutes after you go to sleep. Try that for a few days.
If you still can’t remember your dreams after a week or two, it’s probably because of your natural dream and sleep rhythm. Move the wake-up time 15 minutes backwards. So set the alarm 105 minutes after you go to sleep. If this doesn’t work after 2 weeks, postpone the wake-up time by 15 minutes again.
Do this until you figure out the time intervals at which you dream.
Step 2: Do Regular Reality Checks
Even if it sounds stupid: In order to distinguish between sleep and reality, you first need to know when you are awake and when not.
People who have mastered lucid dreaming, regularly perform reality checks. However, the same reality checks are also performed in the dream stage in order to be able to successfully distinguish between reality and a dream. Without any practice, however, these reality checks cannot be executed during a dream.
You have to practice and train this technique every day.
Here are some proven reality checks that worked in practice.
Reality Check 1: Forget Gravity
The physical rules of gravity have no meaning in our dreams. In theory, we can take off or jump meters high. So you can check within a second whether you are awake or not. Just jump. If you take off and start flying, you’re in a dream.
Reality Check 2: Move Things
In dreams, it is possible to move things without touching them. This is probably the most simple but effective way to remember that you are in reality and not dreaming. (Unfortunately) You have no superpowers.
Reality Check 3: Read a Little Bit
Nowadays we are exposed to a flood of information. Everywhere we see and read numbers and texts. Especially in the digital age.
In a dream, however, it is difficult for us to read texts or decode numbers. The probability that you can read the same text twice in a dream is about 25 percent. A third attempt reduces this probability even more.
There are two reasons for this. On the one hand, the texts and numbers in dreams change frequently and on the other hand, it requires an enormous ability to concentrate to read texts and numbers in dreams.
So if you really want to find out whether you are dreaming or not, just try reading a text you see two or three times in a row. If you can read it effortlessly, you are wide awake.
Reality Check 4: Perform Reality Checks in Bed
Particularly with beginners it can happen that you have the feeling that you are not really awake after a lucid dream. The separation between reality and dream can be really difficult, especially at the beginning.
Our tip here is: Perform such a reality check (no matter what kind) once when you go to sleep and once when you get up. Do this until it becomes a routine and you don’t even notice it consciously anymore. This makes it easier for you to see the boundaries between the lucid dream and reality.
Reality Check 5: Work Continuously on Yourself
Work continuously on reality checks. Stay patient, even if it may seem strange to you at first. Perform these reality checks several times a day. Attempts should be made to combine the methods mentioned above and, if possible, to carry them out regularly. Whether in bed in the morning, on the way to work, or at home.
You will have to do these reality checks regularly while dreaming. You keep your mind in the dream world and let it know that you are not in reality. So it is a very important exercise that you should take seriously.
Step 3: Start Having Lucid Dreams
If you can remember your dreams regularly and reality checks are part of your daily life you are ready to have a lucid dream. The two steps above can be enough to start having lucid dreams.
We have already clarified the difference between a dream and a lucid dream. However, we did not talk about what lucid dreams actually feel like. Dreams can be fundamentally divided into two things. Information and emotions. What we have dreamed about is information, what we have felt emotions. We rarely know how we actually felt in a dream. We usually only remember the information.
So we remember what happened in our dreams, but we can’t really understand how we used to feel. This is the difference to lucid dreams. When you dream lucidly, you can also remember your emotions. You’ll find it easier to tell how you felt. You will not only be able to choose between a good dream and a bad dream’, but you will remember every detail because you actually experienced it.
That’s because you register clear dreams with all 5 senses. You truly feel the things you dream about.
Lucid Dreaming Tips: 3 Ways of Supporting Your Lucid Dream Experience
In addition to the detailed step-by-step instructions, we would like to give you a few more techniques to help you clear your head. The following notes provide good tools in addition to the methods already listed. Use the following tips and tricks as an add-on to the above instructions, not a substitute. Most of all, they can help you with Step 3: Start Having Lucid Dreams.
Music for Lucid Dreaming
Pleasant music can certainly contribute to relaxation. Binaural beats can also be an option. Scientifically, lucid dreaming only happens with certain brain waves.
So the right music can help to calm us down and cause a certain kind of brain waves. So if we listen to relaxed music, it can help us with lucid dreams. It’s best to let the music play while you try to fall asleep. You can find some suitable material on YouTube:
60 minutes sleep hypnosis for lucid dreaming
Six hours binaural beats for lucid dreaming
Eight-hour lucid dream sleep track
Tea and Herbs
In general, organic herbs and teas can speed up lucid dreams. Mostly you can buy these herbs as tea or as pills. However, clarify in advance whether you may have an allergy or other medical intolerance to certain herbs before taking them.
As with the music, these herbs are no guarantee for lucid dreams. It depends on your psyche and your body whether you really notice a difference or not. So after taking these herbs, there is no 100% guarantee that you will start dreaming lucidly.
It turns out that the following herbs are particularly good for lucid dreams:
- Shrubby yellowcrest
- Wild asparagus
The most proven so far is crosswort. Ideally, these herbs should be taken 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime.
Meditating about 10 to 20 minutes before bedtime can be beneficial for lucid dreaming. Try not to fall asleep or into a trance too deeply. In general, it can also be helpful to meditate daily. This will not only bring you temporarily closer to lucid dreaming. It can help you to influence your dreams in the long run.
Dreaming lucidly is a healthy way to relieve our mind psychically. We can better understand our subconscious and be “at peace” with ourselves.
You don’t have to worry, it’s completely safe. You won’t get “stuck” in any dream or anything similar. That’s not possible.
Even if you learn how to consciously dream, you will not be able to control your dreams completely. You can only roughly indicate the direction in which your dream should go. Unfortunately, actively controlling your dreams is only possible in the rarest cases.
In lucid dreams, you can even go to the point where you can use all your senses that you would otherwise just use in reality. In other words, you can listen to music, feel the things you touch in your dreams or even taste the food you eat.
Lucid dreams are real and a great experience which is absolutely worth trying.
Have you ever dreamed lucid consciously or unconsciously? Feel free to share some of your experiences with us in the comments and subscribe to our newsletter to learn more about mindfulness.