Lucid dreaming is being aware that you are dreaming without waking up. While normal dreams play out like movies that we have no control over, lucid dreams are those in which we are able to control what we say and do. This gives us the exciting opportunity to use our dreams to live out fantasies, overcome fears or work through problems from our waking lives. Through this exclusive DiscoverHow guide, you will learn how to lucid dream tonight.
Lucid Dreaming Techniques
I’ve been interested in lucid dreaming for almost ten years now, but it wasn’t until I attended Dr Stephen LaBerge’s workshop at the Lucidity Institute in Kalani, Hawaii, this year that I learned how to lucid dream easily and consistently.
MILD is the most effective method for lucid dreaming
There are a number of different lucid dreaming techniques out there, such as ‘Dream Induced Lucid Dreaming’ (DILD), ‘Wake Induce Lucid Dreaming’ (WILD) and ‘Dream Exit Induced Lucid Dreaming’ (DEILD), but by far the most effective method I learned was ‘Mnemonic Induced Lucid Dreaming’ (MILD).
How to Use MILD to Lucid Dream Tonight
Mnemonic Induced Lucid Dreaming is a technique that is applied when the REM phase of your sleep is interrupted and you wake up in the middle of a dream. If you find that you often wake up in the middle of the night, congratulations – you are a prime candidate for MILD. For everyone else, we have a simple alarm clock trick that can help wake you up at the right time to start MILD.
When I was introduced to MILD, I was able to use the technique to lucid dream that very night. If MILD doesn’t work for you at first, I encourage you to persist with your MILD training as your success with lucid dreaming will largely depend on the amount of practise you are willing to put in.
1. Set your alarm clock
The key here is to set your alarm clock to interrupt you during the REM phase of your sleep, which is when you are most likely to dream. A trick that many readers have had success with is setting their alarm clocks to wake them 2 or 3 hours before they usually wake up. The key is to find your sweet spot – if you find that your alarm is not waking you up in the middle of a dream, then you may need to adjust the alarm back or forward by 15 minutes. It may take a few days for you to work out when to set your alarm.
Another trick is to use the Sleep Cycle app to monitor your sleeping patterns to establish when you enter into deep sleep. The Sleep Cycle app works by using your phone’s accelerometer to monitor your body movement during the night. The less you toss and turn, the deeper your sleep and the likelier you are to dream. Use the graph that the Sleep Cycle app creates after one night to work out when you are most likely to experience deep sleep, then set your alarm clock accordingly.
2. Hone your dream recall abilities
If you usually remember your dreams when you wake up, you may be ready to lucid dream tonight. If you find that your dreams are quickly forgotten, you may need to work on your ‘dream recall’.
The easiest way to develop your dream recall ability is to keep a ‘dream diary’ by your bed (a simple daily planner will suffice). As soon as you wake up, write down as much of your dream as you can remember. Be descriptive and try to tell a short story. In time, you will train your brain to pay more attention to your dreams, increasing your chances of lucid dreaming.
3. Establish a lucid dreaming mindset
Before you drift back to sleep, repeat this mantra ten times:
The next time I dream, I will remember that I am dreaming.
Focus on each word as you repeat the mantra slowly and calmly.
4. Slip back into your dream world
Try to remember the dream world that you awoke from. Imagine yourself existing within that dream world and allow it to gradually come back to you. As your dream world starts to return and you feel your mind start to wander, look for something strange or out of place (often called a ‘dreamsign’) that indicates that you are dreaming. Once you have identified your first dreamsign, imagine yourself saying:
I am dreaming.
Allow yourself to continue to drift back into your dream world and repeat this step as you notice other dreamsigns.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4
You will need to repeat the above steps until you completely fall asleep. If you’ve established the right lucid dreaming mindset and identified enough dreamsigns while drifting back to sleep, you will eventually realise that you are ‘awake’ within your dream world.
My First MILD Experience
The first time I used MILD, lucidity occurred for me when I looked out my window and saw that the sky was purple. When I repeated my mantra, nothing changed. I was still standing at my apartment window, looking out at a purple sky, feeling the warm summer breeze against my cheeks. I turned around and cast my eyes over my lounge room. Everything was tidy, as if dream-me had anticipated my visit and put everything in order for me. There was an easel in the corner with a watercolour painting. Although the colours appeared (or even ‘felt’) strikingly vibrant to me, I was unable to recall what the painting was of when I woke up. I’ve since found that working on my dream recall ability has helped make my lucid dreams clearer and more memorable.
More Lucid Dreaming Tips
I hope you are able to apply the MILD techniques above to develop the ability to lucid dream easily and at will. In the next few weeks I will post more information on my lucid dreaming experience, such as tips and tricks, other techniques and lucid dreaming supplements that have worked for me.
If you have any lucid dreaming stories, tips or tricks that you would like to share with us, please let us know in the comments below!