Thursday, March 25, 2010

Learning to Fly, as Easy as Taking a Nap!

As we all know dreaming is a normal part of the human existence. As the body goes to rest our minds stay increasingly active. As we sleep our minds can take us on fantastic journeys, or terrify us with bone chilling nightmares. Many of these experiences may seem sensational, but what if you could control your dreams? The possibilities for the person who can control their dreams are boundless. This phenomenon is in fact very possible and is known as lucid dreaming. Since 1968 psychologists have been studying lucid dreaming and creating guides or steps to how it can be achieved.

The first step in lucid dreaming is to first be able to readily recall your dreams. This can be done through a few different measures such as keeping a dream journal and setting your alarm clock to wake you up during specific times. Dream journals are used to remember dreams by giving the dreamer a hard copy of what had happened during the dream. The dreamer when awoken after a dream jots down notes about the dream as soon as possible after waking. When doing so the dreamer should focus on key events, scenes, and any dialogue within the dream. This practice allows the dreamer to recall the dream past the amount of time in which the dream usually hangs within re-callable memory. In the other technique the dreamer sets their alarm clock at specific intervals in which they are most likely to be having dreams. These intervals are based upon the time dreamers spend in REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep which usually occurs in 90 minute intervals. As well the longer you are asleep the longer you will remain in REM sleep, as the first cycle is the shortest amount of time spent in REM. A typical pattern would be to set an alarm for 4.5, 6, or 7.5 hours after falling asleep. Additionally one simple method of trying to remember dreams is to hold completely still after waking and focus all of your attention on the dream recalling it over and over again. This will allow you to process the dream and help you to remember it with time. When trying this block all other thoughts out of your mind and focus solely on the dream. Any movement or distraction by thinking about your day to come will greatly reduce the chance or amount of your dream you will remember.

Once a person can readily recall dreams the are ready to begin the "training" it requires to lucid dream. This can be done in three possible ways. A dream-initiated lucid dream (DILD) starts as a normal dream, and the dreamer eventually concludes that he or she is dreaming. A wake-initiated lucid dream or (WILD) occurs when the dreamer goes from a normal waking state directly into a dream state with no apparent lapse in consciousness. A mnemonic-initiated lucid dream (MILD) can happen when the dreamer intentionally affirms to themselves that he or she will become lucid during the upcoming sleep. One way to enter a MILD is to look at your hands throughout the day and as you are falling asleep. During the day count your fingers to make sure they add up as they should. Then, before bed stare at them as you begin to doze off. Once dreaming if you see your hands you will be able to count them again and will likely become lucid. A good technique to attempt to become lucid through the DILD technique is to focus on dreaming before falling asleep and to tell yourself that anything sensational you see or experience during a dream such as flying, or seeing a monster, is actually a dream. Once this is realized you should become lucid and be able to control your dream.

They key to lucid dreaming is practice. The more these techniques are done and practiced the better you will become first at remembering you dreams, and then at becoming lucid. Don't become frustrated if your initial attempts aren't fruitful. Becoming lucid during your dreams is a process and with some time you will be able to marvel in the fantasy world of your own lucid dream.


  1. I enjoyed this post. I know there are problems with sleep disorders, specifically sleep paralysis, where the dreamer is sleeping but feels awake. I have never personally experienced this, but I can imagine it would feel exhausting if it were a persistent problem. I wonder if the ability to perform lucid dreaming is at all related to these problems? Good post.

  2. I've experienced DILD before. One time I was having a scary dream and during the middle of it I knew I was dreaming and wanted to wake up as soon as possible. I remember trying everything I could to get out of the dream, but nothing worked, so I decided to run for my life from the monster I was dreaming about. This has happened a couple of times. I wonder if lucid dreaming is some distant relation to the experience of dreaming but thinking that you're awake? Something for me to look into. Nice job :)