Most people are under the impression that their dreams are beyond their control. Lucid dreaming, however, not only allows you to become aware of your dreams, but also control them to an extent.
For years, lucid dreaming was thought to be a gift meant only for a privileged few. But, anyone can enjoy the benefits of lucid dreaming irrespective of their genetic predisposition. These benefits include enhanced creative thinking, improved ability to deal with stress, and mood control.
Following these eight steps can help you lucid dream tonight.
1. Set a Positive Attitude
This is perhaps the most crucial step in lucid dreaming. If you want to lucid dream successfully, you have to believe in the process first.
One of the easiest ways of developing a positive intention is to use a mantra or a phrase to remind yourself of what you are going to do. Anything from “I believe in lucid dreaming” to “Lucidity is my goal” will work.
Interestingly, the chosen word/phrase won’t matter as long as you create a conscious bond between it and your mind. That’s why you need to choose the most suitable phrase that helps you focus on your intention.
2. Remember Your Dreams
More often than not, people use previous dream patterns and add new elements to them to form current dreams. In other words, remembering the details of your dream from last night may increase your chances of lucid dreaming tonight.
One of the best ways to improve your dream recall is to keep a journal. Keep a notebook and a pen by your bedside so that you can record the details of your dream the moment you wake up. Write down as many details as you can remember before you get out of bed. Try to write an honest account of your dream.
You can even sketch pictures in your notebook to remember the visual details such as objects, places, buildings, and faces from your dream. If possible, make rough notes first and write a detailed account later. This process will allow you to remember the vivid details of your dream clearly.
Some people recall their dreams in bits and pieces throughout the day. If you are one of these people, keep the journal with you to note down everything you remember during the day.
3. Meditate before Going to Bed
The connection between meditation and lucid dreaming is indisputable as meditation increases your state of awareness not only when you are awake, but also when you are asleep.
It controls your wandering mind, putting you in the driver’s seat. As a result, meditation allows you to stay relaxed and peaceful before, during, and after a lucid dream.
People often meditate in the morning to mitigate the overwhelming stress in their lives. You should, however, meditate just before going to bed if you want to lucid dream successfully.
You can either sit (Padmasana) or lie down (Savasana) on your bed to meditate. Lying down is usually preferred as it allows you to enter the lucid dreaming stage without any physical movement.
Relax every muscle in your body and try to focus complete attention on rhythmic breathing. If you meditate regularly, you will soon experience a lucid dream like never before.
4. Listen to Music
Listening to music as you go to sleep is another way to keep your conscious mind under control. This is not a technique to induce a lucid dream, but it can certainly increase the chances of having one. More often than not, people wake up in a state of panic during the early stages of lucid dreaming as they experience an out-of-body experience.
Listening to soothing music can significantly reduce the chances of having such panic attacks. Apart from that, you can also use a white noise machine as it produces a sound that masks the external sounds that prevent you from falling asleep.
Alternatively, experts also recommend concentrating your attention on the sound of your heartbeats as you go to sleep.
5. Use Scented Candles or Essential Oils
Another simple way to keep your conscious mind awake during lucid dreaming is to use scents.
You can burn scented candles or use a scent diffuser to infuse the fragrance of your choice in your bedroom. You can also sprinkle a few drops of scent on your wrists before going to bed. However, avoid using strong perfumes.
The scent should be something that your conscious mind can strongly associate with when you are awake.
6. Develop Reality Checks
To become self-aware, you must be able to tell the difference between the dream and reality. That’s why you need to develop mental and physical reality checks.
Physical reality checks are often easy to comprehend as you get precise results. They are nothing but simple actions such as pinching yourself or putting your finger through your palm. Trying to fly is one of the most popular physical reality checks. If you manage to take off, you are lucid dreaming. If not, you are awake.
Mental checks, on the other hand, are subtler. This process involves asking a few questions to yourself or checking your surroundings to find out whether or not you are lucid dreaming.
Ask simple questions such as who you are, what you were doing just a few minutes ago, and what you plan to do tomorrow. If you get logical answers, you are not dreaming. Something bizarre, however, is a sure-shot sign that you are lucid dreaming.
Combining mental and physical checks will increase your chances of noticing the subtle differences between reality and dreams.
7. Wake up Early
Both, lucid and non-lucid dreams have a strong connection with REM sleep.
Usually, dreams occur during the longer REM cycles early in the morning (or late morning if you are a sleepy head). So, make sure you go to bed as early as possible to let your brain get enough rest before entering the REM phase.
Set your alarm to 30 to 60 minutes earlier than your usual wake-up time. Wake up fully and then go back to sleep with the intention of experiencing a lucid dream.
Consider using a light alarm that eases you out of your sleep in the early morning, as a loud alarm is more likely to rattle you out of it.
8. Boost Your Melatonin Levels
Melatonin is a hormone that controls your sleep cycle. The pineal gland produces melatonin in your body. The natural way to boost melatonin levels is to get enough sleep and maintain a steady sleep cycle.
As soon as darkness falls, the brain signals to start melatonin secretion. So, sleeping in a dark room can also increase melatonin levels.
You can also consume fruits such as cherries, strawberries, bananas, and oranges that stimulate melatonin production. Almonds, walnuts, sprouts, ginger, and root vegetables are also excellent sources of melatonin.
Alternatively, you can also take a melatonin hormone supplement. It is available without prescription in the US. Make sure to take it just before going to bed as melatonin has a half-life of fewer than 60 minutes.
Learning the skill of lucid dreaming allows you to influence your dreams to create positive narratives that may help improve creative thinking and deal with stressful situations in your life.
You don’t need to be gifted to start lucid dreaming. But, you need to prepare your body and mind to master this skill. Hopefully, following the above eight steps will help you lucid dream successfully tonight!