Polysomnographic Record (30 seconds) Representing Rapid Eye Movement SleepCredit: wikepedia.orgCredit: wikepedia.org

Techniques to Induce Lucid Dreaming

People who know how to have lucid dreams become aware of the fact that they are actually dreaming. The ability to do this allows them to manipulate the experiences they have in their dreams. It is not astral projection, where spiritualists and those interested in the occult, believe the astral body leaves the real one and journeys within the astral plane. However, those adept at lucid dreaming often find that they can go on to astral project at a later stage.

It is a useful and interesting technique to master if you are an enthusiast of these kinds of spiritual, or paranormal, type experiences. There are several simple ways to train yourself how to have lucid dreams. If you are not successful immediately, dedication and perseverance should pay off over time.

When learning how to lucid dream, try to recall your dreams and write them down as soon as you wake up. Dreams happen in the deep sleep stages of our nightly sleeping cycle. This is the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage of sleep. Sometimes, if we sleep deeply, we may sleep on past the dream stage and wake up remembering nothing.

If you sleep too deeply to remember your dreams, set an alarm to wake you up at appropriate times throughout the night when you will have been likely to have dreamed. REM sleep occurs at about ninety minute intervals, so on going to bed at night, set your alarm for times which are multiples of ninety minutes from when you usually go to sleep.

The later in your nightly cycle, the more likely you are to dream. So, perhaps, if you usually go to sleep at midnight, set your alarm for 4.30 am, 6.00 am and 7.30 am. If you do recall your dream on waking, immediately write down as much of it as you can. Keep a dream journal by the side of your bed for this purpose. Include drawings of any mental images you remember and as much detail about the dream as you can. This practice will help you start to recognize what it is about your dreams that gives them their dreamlike quality. This will increase your chances of having a lucid dream.

Before you go to sleep each night spend time relaxing and breathing deeply. Concentrate on your intention to have a lucid dream. You could come up with a phrase like, "Tonight I will become aware that I am dreaming and will have a lucid dream." Repeat this to yourself as many times as you can whilst you are waiting to go to sleep and as you start to drift off. If you often dream about something in particular, you could tell yourself that when you dream about that thing, you will realize you are dreaming and have a lucid dream. Tell yourself that at that point you will be able to become consciously aware that you are dreaming. Again, repeating this pattern will help toward your efforts at lucid dreaming.

A commonly practiced lucid dreaming technique, and one that seems to work for a lot of people, is to concentrate on your hands before you go to sleep. Tell yourself that during the dream you will have later you will notice your hands, at which point you will realize that you are dreaming and have a lucid dream. With enough repetition of this ritual before sleeping, at some stage your hands should appear to you whilst you are dreaming. With any luck, you will subconsciously recall your waking intention and become aware that you are in a dream.

The important thing is to remain calm if you start having a lucid dream. You don't want to wake yourself up in your excitement. Once you start to lucid dream, you want to begin to explore your dreaming environment. Becoming lucid in your dream is the hard part. Once you have mastered this, you should then fairly easily be able to gain control over your lucid dreams. The great thing is, you can also consciously enjoy them at this stage!

Another practice which improves your chances of having a lucid dream is to set your alarm clock for about ninety minutes before you would ordinarily wake up. Read, or think about, lucid dreaming for the next ninety minutes. Then go back to sleep with the intention of having a lucid dream. This method apparently heightens the number of lucid dreams experienced within the final stage of sleep enormously.

Becoming more aware of your ordinary waking state of consciousness can also help you become more aware when you are dreaming and increase your chances of having a lucid dream. Make a mark on your hand (maybe a large letter C in bright red) and, throughout the day when you notice it, ask yourself what your conscious state is. Ask yourself whether you are dreaming or not and how your consciousness feels. This practice will help you after a while to automatically analyze your consciousness while you are dreaming too. This is likely to help you have lucid dreams. 

Some people are frightened of lucid dreaming, largely because it is associated with astral projection (which is actually considerably different), and think that it can be dangerous. However, if you start to have unpleasant lucid dreams and find that you can't control them to have good, or nice, experiences, it is probable that you will naturally stop lucid dreaming anyway.

Most people who teach themselves how to have lucid dreams go on to enjoy it immensely. It is not physically dangerous in any way. It is never good, however, to become obsessed with something like this and to spend all your time trying to do it. Continue going to work, socializing normally, as well as following your other hobbies and interests.