Lucid dreaming

A lucid dream is any dream in which the person is aware that they are dreaming. This is a well-established phenomenon that can occur spontaneously during normal sleep. However, various techniques can also be learned to deliberately and consistently induce these lucid dreams at will. Such techniques can be utilized as a powerful method of consciousness exploration, making lucid dreaming an important field of psychonautics.

This article is meant to serve as a companion piece to our dreaming article, which comprehensively breaks down and documents the subjective effects which can occur within these dream spaces. Instead of subjective effect documentation, however, this page focuses on serving as an informational guide for learning to consistently gain a stable sense of lucidity within one's own dreams, as well as the instructional techniques for utilizing and harnessing further control of the dream once this has been achieved.

Improving memory recall

One of the biggest hurdles that many encounter when learning to lucid dream is simply being unable to recall the events and details which occurred within their dreams in the first place. This is because many people experience an immediate sense of amnesia upon waking up from a dream. For some people, this sense of amnesia results in the details of their dreams being hazy and non-descript, but for others it can result in them being unable to recall any single aspect of their dreams, in a manner which can cause them to believe that they do not dream at all.

However, this amnesia can be reduced and does not indicate an inherent inability to dream, but simply means that the dreamer's brain does not focus any attention on memorizing them once they are over. The most effective methods of improving memory recall are listed below:

Technique 1

Dream journals

Writing out any and all details within a daily dream log will drastically improve one's ability to recall their dreams. Preferably, this should be done immediately after waking up if possible. The writing style should be in the first person and in the present tense to further improve one's ability to recall the specific plot as it is written down. If there was no dream the previous night, simply write down "I did not dream last night", then continue to use the journal as usual the next day.

If this is done on a daily basis, it can quickly change the function of the person's memory into one which is attentive to its own dreams.

Technique 2

Memory signifiers

Many people will often find that when waking up in the middle of the night, they may briefly remember the dream they were having during this state of being half asleep, before waking back up in the morning only to find that they have completely forgotten it.

If this is the case, during these brief moments of wakefulness for situations such as drinking water or visiting the bathroom, one can make a small change to their environment that will be noticeable in the morning in a manner which then triggers the recollection of the dream. For example, turning a drinking glass upside down or putting an object on one's computer keyboard can act as a powerful memory trigger when seen the next day, allowing one to then write the dream down in their dream journal.

Technique 3

Avoiding cannabis before sleep

It is common knowledge among cannabis users that it's regular use before bed suppresses one's ability to dream; this phenomenon has been backed up by a study which indicated that smoking marijuana will inhibit REM activity during sleep, therefore suppressing dreams. Once a person stops smoking marijuana before bed, however, REM activity undergoes a rebound effect and dreams will temporarily become much more vivid than usual.

Reality checks

Changing one's desktop wallpaper to this image as a reminder to perform reality checks will greatly improve one's sense of general lucidity.

To determine whether or not one is dreaming, it is necessary to develop a habit of performing frequent reality checks. A reality check involves asking questions such as "Am I dreaming?" or "Is this a dream?" while performing a specific action which is capable of determining which one of these potential situations is genuinely the case. This works because there are certain actions which can be performed in real life which will not work in the same way within dreams, and can thus be reliably used as a means of testing this possibility.

So by training oneself to habitually question and test their reality during waking life, the habit will eventually carry over to dreaming life and, ultimately, one will find themselves posing the same questions while dreaming. When this happens and a reality check "fails", the odds of the person realizing that they are in a dream becomes inevitable.

Listed below are some common reality checks that can be used to reliably and effectively determine whether or not one is currently dreaming:

Reality check 1

Pushing your finger through your palm

During a dream, if a person attempts to push their thumb into the palm of their other hand, it will usually pass straight through the hand and come out the other side in a manner that feels as if the hand is not a truly solid substance. This seemingly holds true when pushing any finger into one's hand. A one handed variant of this check can also be done by clenching one's middle finger into the palm of its same hand.

However, it is worth noting that although this reality check is very reliable, there are a few accounts of it not working despite the fact that the person trying it was indeed inside of a dream. It is therefore not recommended for use as the person's primary and only form of habitual reality check.

Reality check 2

Re-examining text and clocks

During a dream, if a person reads text or checks the time on a clock before double taking and re-examining it, upon further scrutiny the information will consistently have been found to have changed, become nonsensical, or become incapable of keeping still.

This lack of ability to maintain coherent information of this type between the moments in which a person is directly perceiving it, seems to be an inherent limitation behind the way in which dreams are manifested within the brain. It is because of this that re-examining text and clocks is one of the most effortless and reliable of the standard reality checks.

Reality check 3

Counting fingers

During a dream, if a person look at their hands and attempt to count their fingers, they will quickly realize it is impossible. This is because the number of fingers may keep changing with each count, the hands and fingers may shapeshift and contort into bizarre forms, and the person may find themselves simply unable to retain the number of fingers which they have counted within their short term memory.

While it is not possible to say for certain, the manner in which this reality check fails to work within dreams feels as if it is directly related to the same inherent limitation which prevents things such as clocks and text maintaining consistency between double takes. It also seems to be a completely reliable and consistent reality check.

Reality check 4

Pinching your nose and breathing through it

During a dream, if a person tightly pinches their nose shut and attempts to breathe through their nostrils, they will find that they still can as normal. This is presumably because in real life, the person's physical nostrils remain unobstructed while the bodies automatic breathing process continues as normal. For this same reason, breathing through the mouth or nose will always continue as normal even when the dreamer is placed in situations such as being underwater or in outer space.

For the best results, reality checks should be performed habitually on a frequent and daily basis. For example, good opportunities to perform a reality check during waking life include situations such as every time one walks through a door or enters a new environment, every time one talks to a new person, and every time the situation generally changes in some significant manner. If this is done 10 - 30 times a day, the habit will quickly pass on to one's dreaming life.

An excellent way to remind oneself to perform reality checks is to put notes containing messages such as "are you dreaming?" or "perform a reality check" in places that one frequently looks at throughout the day. For example, putting a visible note by or on one's computer screen, writing a message on one's hand, changing one's phone wallpaper to the image found above (or something similar), will all greatly improve a person's general lucidity.


Once lucidity has been achieved, many people find that their dream quickly begins to destabilize, collapse, or fade away in a manner that essentially ends the dream. This typically leads the person to either wake up or fall unconscious before losing lucidity and potentially finding themselves back within another non-lucid dream.

Although frustrating, the sudden destabilization of dreams can easily be overcome by any means which maintains continuous sensory input. This is most commonly achieved via the basic action of continuously rubbing one's hands together while walking around within and exploring the dream space. This stabilization technique can also be further taken advantage of by continuously rubbing one's shoulder with just one of their hands in order to maintain sensory input while freeing up their other hand to use as a tool for interacting with the dream-space.

Activities and control techniques

Once lucidity has been gained and the dream has been stabilized, the dreamer can now begin to practice taking control of the dream and exploring their own mind. Through the power of expecting an action or task to work, almost anything is possible within the dream-space and this can allow for some truly incredible experiences.

The most common of these activities and the techniques used to engage in them are listed below:

Activity 1

Enhancing clarity and detail

If the dream is blurred and low in clarity or detail, it is possible to enhance and improve these factors by verbally stating aloud "enhance visual clarity" or another similar statement and simply expecting it to work.

Activity 2

Spawning objects

If the dreamer wants to spawn objects such as vehicles, weapons, food, people, etc, this can be done through two different methods. The first is walking into a room and simply expecting to find the object in a particular location, and the second is drawing the vague shape of the desired object in the air with their hands while simultaneously verbally commanding the object into existence through expectant dialogue such as "a jetpack is going to appear in front of me." The more specific the verbal request is, the more accurately the object is to fit the dreamers intentions when it spawns.

Activity 3

Travelling to new locations

If the dreamer wants to travel to a new location, there are two methods through which this can be done. The first of these is to spawn a door by drawing its shape in the air while stating clearly where they would like it to take them before walking through it. An example of this would be the statement "this door is going to take me to my childhood home".

The second technique is to verbally state where they would like to visit while simultaneously spinning around in circles. Once they have stopped spinning, they should find themselves in the desired location. The more detailed the verbal request, the more accurate the outcome is likely to be.

Activity 4


There are different styles of flight that people use, each with a varied level of success depending on the individual. Methods such as swimming through the air as if it were water, “Superman style” (one arm outstretched), “Airplane style” (both arms out), and "Bird style" (gliding through the wind, flapping one's arms to navigate air currents) are often used.

Regardless of the flight style, there are a few methods of getting up into the air, such as jumping or willing one's body to levitate. However, perhaps the easiest method of flight is to use a flying tool that the dreamer pre-emptively spawns in, such as a jet-pack or witches broomstick.

Activity 5


Many people try to shape-shift into animals, creatures, and other genders by willfully changing their body parts one by one. This is usually ineffective, as the body often changes back quicker than one can complete the process. A much more effective technique is to turn the transformation into an instant process by spawning a tool which will help one to transform. An example of this would be to spawn a magical transformation pill which can be swallowed or a magical wand which can be waved in order to instantly transform one into their desired form.

Another surprisingly effective shape-shifting technique is to posses the body of an already existing person, animal or creature. This can be done through the bizarre but simple method of climb into them from behind and wearing their body over one's own skin in a manner that is similar to that of a wet-suit.

Activity 6

Having sex

Although it is potentially a somewhat taboo topic, many people learn to lucid dream purely for sexual reasons. This can often be unexpectedly difficult, as it is often very challenging to maintain lucidity during the act of dream sex and the chosen partner may even shift into an undesirable form part way through. However, in order to have sex within a lucid dream, all one needs to do is simply initiate it with a dream character.

Activity 7

Taking drugs

An interesting way to change the course of the dream is to ingest drugs which the dreamer may or may not have tried in real life. This will result in inducing a variety of unique and unexpected changes to the dreamers mood and perception, which may or may not line up with the effects which the real life substance actually induces.

Activity 8

Eating food

Another great activity to engage in within dreams is the simple act of eating food. This is because the experience of eating food within a dream can feel and taste completely realistic, resulting in an extremely pleasurable experience which is genuinely very satisfying.

Alternative/Advanced techniques

Outside of the more common and standard technique of habitually practicing reality checks in order to obtain lucidity within dreams, there are a number of advance and alternative techniques that can be used for similar purposes. Listed below are just a few of the most common advance techniques, each with links to more detailed tutorials that are hosted on other websites.


Finger Induced Lucid Dreaming

FILD (Finger Induced Lucid Dreaming) is defined as the act of waking up from deep sleep in the middle of the night, before performing light repetitive movements with your fingers as if you were playing the piano with your index and middle finger, and then allowing the body to drift off to sleep while this action is being performed. This process usually lasts for several seconds to a few minutes, but if performed successfully it can allow the person to enter into a dream state while still remaining fully conscious.

A much more detailed instructional tutorial can be found within this article here.


Wake Induced Lucid Dreaming

WILD (Wake Initiated Lucid Dream) was coined by Dr. Stephen LaBerge, a psychophysiologist who specialized in the study of dreams. It is used to refer to any lucid dream where the dreamer brings their woken awareness into a dream while falling asleep. This is in contrast to DILD (Dream Initiated Lucid Dream) in which the dreamer becomes aware that they are in a dream while inside it.

WILD is usually considered to be an advanced lucid dreaming technique. However, a detailed instructional tutorial can be found within this reddit thread here.


Mnemonically Induced Lucid Dream

MILD (Mnemonically Induced Lucid Dream) is the act of committing to memory that you are going to dream tonight and will therefore remember to become lucid within it. This is usually done telling by yourself as you are in bed, ready to sleep, that you are going to become lucid once you start dreaming.

A much more detailed instructional tutorial can be found within this article here.


All Day Awareness

ADA (All Day Awareness) is a technique which involves maintaining complete, mindful focus on the present moment through your day to day life. This allows one to maintain complete situational awareness, even when they are in the process of falling asleep or dreaming.

A much more detailed instructional tutorial can be found within this article here.

For a more comprehensive list of detailed instructional tutorials regarding advanced and alternative lucid dreaming techniques, please see this page here.

See Also

External links


subjective effect documentation