Dreams are mysterious creatures. We often feel a sense of frustration when we can’t control what’s going on and wake feeling sad or frightened, or annoyed that we couldn’t make a good dream last for longer.
Lucid dreams let you take charge of the action so that you can enjoy your dreams and make them work for you. But how can you get into lucid dreaming?
That’s what we’re going to look at in this article.
What is lucid dreaming?
People who have lucid dreams say that they have a sense of being aware that they’re dreaming. They can direct the story lines in their dreams and control what happens.
Lucid dreaming happens during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and you can look here for an article on the different stages of sleep.
Some people – about 20% – dream lucidly without having to try. Stephen LaFarge, the pioneer of lucid dreaming, was one of these. He worked with researchers at Stanford University in the US to develop this aspect of sleep science and it’s estimated that up to 60% of us can have lucid dreams. This takes a little practise and training.
How do I start lucid dreaming?
If you want to try lucid dreaming, here are the steps you need to practise. Don’t give up, and expect to have to try for a few weeks to get it right.
- Training yourself to remember your dreams is the first thing to do. Do this by programming your brain before you go to sleep. Tell yourself that you’re going to remember your dreams; visualise yourself waking in the morning, remembering them as you write them down.
- Write down your dreams in a dream journal. Click the link for more on dream journaling. Record what you see, smell, touch and hear in your dream. The mood, colours, characters and how you felt when you woke up. Keep this journal and a pen beside your bed, and get into the habit of grabbing it when you wake and immediately writing down your dreams.
- Do steps 1 and 2 for a few weeks so that you can ‘get to know’ your dreams.
- If you wake and don’t have any recollection of dreaming (we all dream but some people just don’t remember them at all so think that they don’t dream) then just write down the mood you felt as you awoke.
- Eventually you will understand the common themes that play out while you’re asleep, and what your dreams often are. When you feel ready, and have done the background work above, start to tell yourself that you’re going to dream lucidly. Just as you did when you told yourself you were going to remember your dream, program your brain before you go to sleep, to dream lucidly. You might want to find a mantra that you can repeat over and over before you fall asleep – something that tells your brain that you’re going to take charge and command of your dreams; that you’re going to make use of your dreams and enjoy them. This programming is vital for lucid dreamers.
- Now, as you fall asleep, visualise what’d beyond your closed eyes. Start by ‘seeing’ an opening in your forehead that gives you enough light to look round the room you’re in and keep your awareness as you start to go into REM sleep and to dream.
- Practise this (it may take a few weeks) and continue to write down all that you can remember as soon as you wake up.
To further interpret your dreams, so that you can get more meaning from them, look at this article on interpreting dreams and dream journaling.