How Can You Cause a Lucid Dream?

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To cause a lucid dream, remember ordinary dreams, keep a dream journal, imagine yourself re-entering past remembered dreams, and then seek peculiarities that differ from waking life. Form awareness habits during waking hours that carry over into your dreams.

  1. Try to remember dreams

    Before falling asleep, tell yourself repeatedly that you're going to remember your dreams. Make a habit of this until you start remembering dreams. Upon waking, immediately try to recall your dreams.

  2. Document dreams

    Make a habit of writing down what you remember from dreams. Do this immediately upon waking so you don't forget details.

  3. Attempt to revisit a dream

    After waking from a dream, picture yourself falling back into the same dream while telling yourself to remember that you're dreaming. Imagine that while you're in the dream, you're actively looking for abnormal phenomenon that wouldn't happen in waking life. Ideally, this questioning may carry on into the next dream.

  4. Focus on your waking life

    As you go through your day, take time to recognize your surroundings. Sense things, and acknowledge them. Eventually, this sense of awareness carries into dreams, helping you to realize when something is different. Ask yourself if you're dreaming during the day so that it becomes habit to ask yourself if you're dreaming during sleep. The realization that you're in a dream causes lucidity.

  5. Remain lucid

    It's normal to become excited upon realization of lucidity. Try your best to remain calm in order to remain in a lucid state.

Tiffanie Wen for The Atlantic interviewed lucid dreamers about their experiences and methods. Many of the dreamers shared the method of attempting to check the time and observed that clocks were either inaccurate or impossible to read. Others checked for wedding rings, counted fingers or routinely asked themselves whether they were awake. Smartphone apps to help people dream lucidly have been released as well. Dreamz plays an audio cue that dreamers learn to recognize as a dream indicator.

According to Shirley Wang for The Wall Street Journal, lucid dreamers have demonstrated improvement in cognitive tasks that require insight or problem-solving. Some researchers have hypothesized that taking control of a dream relies heavily on a moment of epiphany, which is common in problem-solving tasks. Wang also refers to researchers who used mild electric stimulation to induce lucid dreaming in dreamers who had never experienced it before.