Now that you know what lucid dreaming is, and you know the benefits and risks, it’s time to give it a solid try. Get ready, oneironauts—we’re about to take off the training wheels. Welcome to Week Three of Lifehacker’s Lucid Dream Workshop.
How to Prepare for and Induce Lucid Dreams
To increase the likelihood of having a lucid dream, you need to prep your environment, watch what you eat, drink, and otherwise ingest, and fall asleep the right way.
For starters, you need to make sure you’re getting enough sleep for lucid dreaming to be a possibility. You have more REM sleep in the second half of your night than you do in the first half, and more REM sleep means increased odds of having lucid dreams. In fact, the likelihood of you having a lucid dream increases more with each successive REM period. On an average night where you’re getting the recommended eight hours of sleep, you’ll experience about six REM periods. The last three of those REM periods happen in the last quarter (or two hours in this case) of the night. So, if you aren’t sleeping enough and only getting about six hours of sleep each night, you’re basically reducing your chances of going lucid by half. You need to get good sleep, and lots of it, for this to work. If you can find a way to extend your sleep at least one night a week, like on a weekend, do so.
What you put in your body affects your likelihood of having lucid dreams as well. Alcohol and drugs inhibit your REM sleep and disrupt your sleep cycles, so avoid nightcaps as much as possible. And while sleeping pills and melatonin can help induce sleep, keep in mind they may interfere with normal sleep cycles. Food and non-alcoholic drinks can play a major role in dreams too. Some people have more vivid dreams depending on what they eat, or report having nightmares if they eat certain types of food too late in the evening. I’ve personally had success with pickles, apple juice, peanut butter, and spicy foods as helpful elements. Also, reducing screen time before bed is always a good idea.
Lastly, you need to fall asleep with the intention of having a lucid dream. It’s not quite as simple as merely thinking about being lucid before bedtime, but that is actually a huge part of it. Oneironauts, this is the “MILD Technique,” from Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming by Stephen LaBerge, Ph.D. and Howard Rheingold:
- Set up dream recall: Before going to bed resolve to wake up and recall dreams during each dream period throughout the night (or the first dream period after dawn, or after 6 a.m. or whenever you find convenient).
- Recall your dream: When you awaken from a dream period, no matter what time it is, try to recall as many details as possible from your dream. If you find yourself so drowsy that you are drifting back to sleep, do something to arouse yourself.
- Focus your intent: While returning to sleep, concentrate singlemindedly on your intention to remember to recognize that you’re dreaming. Tell yourself: “Next time I’m dreaming, I want to remember I’m dreaming.” Really try to feel that you mean it. Narrow your thoughts to this idea alone. If you find yourself…
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