Does it take you a while to fall asleep at night? Do you find your mind dwelling on various thoughts before you're able to finally drift off and relax into sleep? Do you find that you just aren't sleepy enough when it's time for bed? Realize that if it takes you 15 minutes on average to fall asleep each night, that's more than 91 hours per year that you're wasting. This is the equivalent of spending more than two 40-hour workweeks just lying in bed waiting to fall asleep.
40 years ago a young scientist wired up a subject with electrodes and spent a sleepless night hovering over a polygraph machine. He was trying to prove the existence of lucid dreaming. This was at a time when most scientists claimed that lucid dreamisng - waking up inside a dream - was impossible. Even many psychoanalysts and other professionals who worked closely with dreams doubted that anyone could become conscious in the unconscious world of dreams.
If you're a lucid dreamer, you probably already know that becoming lucid is a powerful way to deal with nightmares. Now, in a 2015 study, researchers have validated this theory by teaching nightmare sufferers how to lucid dream - with significant findings. The 10-week study combined the practice of lucid dreaming with Gestalt therapy - a form of psychotherapy which emphasizes personal responsibility and uses role playing to resolve past conflicts. The participants were split into two groups: one group received Gestalt therapy alone, while the other group received Gestalt therapy and were trained in lucid dreaming for one hour per week.
I've been lucid dreaming for almost 17 years now. That sounds like a long time. And yet, I've still got a lot to learn. To the newcomer to lucid dreaming - who has the whole exciting journey ahead of them - I want to share some of the most profound, useful and surprising lessons from my experience. I hope this sees you well on your dream travels.
1. Mindfulness is key. The easiest way to produce ongoing lucid dreams is to make it a mental habit to observe and question your reality.
Calea Zacatechichi is a herb that is scientifically shown to increase dream recall, dream intensity and hypnagogic imagery. My Calea Z dreams have involved longer, more vivid and complex plots, in which I've found it easier to become lucid because my awareness is greater. Though there are plenty to choose from, I believe Calea Z is a great dream herb for early lucid dreamers or dabblers in this field who want to experience greater depth and intensity in their dreams.
A lucid dream is any dream during sleep in which you become aware that you're dreaming. This simple realization draws your waking consciousness into the dream, enabling you to:
In theory, everyone has the potential to lucid dream - but only a small fraction of people learn how to harness the ability and use it on a regular basis. This site is for people who are serious about learning the art of lucid dreaming and exploring its real world applications. Are you ready to learn this life-affirming skill?
There are many examples of scientific research that prove the existence of lucid dreaming.
Researches have used brainwave, bloodflow and eye movement data to validate higher levels of consciousness during lucid dreams.
The first scientific proof of lucid dreaming emerged in 1975 from the British parapsychologist Dr Keith Hearne. He recorded a set of pre-determined eye movements from his lucid volunteer, Alan Worsley, via an electro-oculogram (EOG). It was a basic communication between the dreamer and the outside world.
More recently, this 2009 study by the Neurological Laboratory in Frankfurt revealed significantly increased brain activity during lucid dreams. An electroencephalogram (EEG) recorded brainwave frequencies up to the 40 Hz (or Gamma) range when lucid.
This measure is far more active than the normal dream state (which takes place in the Theta range, or 4-7 Hz). Indeed, some argue that it supports the need to classify lucid dreams as a new and separate state of consciousness.
Intruiguingly, the research also showed heightened activity in the frontal and frontolateral areas of the dreaming brain. This is the seat of linguistic thought and other higher mental functions linked to self awareness.
In 2014, this remarkable study out of Frankfurt University revealed that lucid dreams can be induced with "zaps" of harmless electrical stimulation of the brain.
When non-lucid dreamers were given 30-second jolts of electrical current to the frontal cortex while asleep, they reported spontaneously vivid dreams in which they fully recognized they were dreaming.
Incredibly, stimulation at 40 Hz was effective 77% of the time.
A fully lucid dream can be perfectly tangible, rich and visually detailed.
When probed, it can generate seemingly impossible levels of self awareness - such as 360-degree vision, multiple simultaneous dreams, and even visual representations of the fifth dimension.
Because all of this takes place in your mind, the dream world is infinite. No laws. No boundaries. No limitations. Anything you can conceive of comes true.
You can take control of your dream and warp The Matrix like Neo. Fly and soar over cities like Iron Man. Slow down time like the dream levels of Inception. Have sex with celebrities. Fight like a ninja. Re-live childhood memories. Base jump. Survive death.
But a lucid dream is not merely a fantasy playground.
Dream theories suggest it's a chance to interact with other parts of your psyche (by talking to different dream characters) and even your co-conscious inner self (by talking to the very fabric of the dream).
Once you know how to become lucid in dreams, you will discover a strange new world - an entire universe, no less - of which you are fully aware and can manipulate with the power of thought.
Lucid dreams are a unique environment in which your conscious and unconscious collide.
You'll find that you can exert considerable control over your lucid dreams - or you can passively enjoy this state of heightened awareness, watching the dream unfold in it's originally intended state.
If you get stuck, these dream control tutorials will help you get to grips with the fluid and surreal nature of lucid dreams.
One of the most helpful essential rules in dream control is this: state your intentions out loud. If you want to fly, just say to the dream "I'm flying".
Making it real in your mind... makes it happen in the dream.
Beginners sometimes find their lucid dreams end prematurely. Usually it's the sheer excitement and adrenaline rush that causes you to wake up.
Other times, you can simply forget you're dreaming (remember, the brain functions differently during sleep and it's easy to forget things).
To make your lucid dreams last longer, cultivate a calm and focused mind set in the dreamworld. Remind yourself that you are dreaming often to stay mentally grounded.
A simple way to enhance your lucidity (and thereby prolong your lucid dream) is to rub your hands together while saying "I'm dreaming". This kinetic sensation stimulates the conscious brain, while drawing awareness to your dream body and away from your physical body asleep in bed.
Such techniques have enabled me to experience lucid dreams as long as an hour in real time.
In your lucid dreams, you can seek out or summon any person, dead or alive, fictional or real.
A good way to do this is to heighten your lucidity, then visualize and expect the person you want to meet just out of sight. Ask the dream out loud to manifest that person too.
Don't be afraid to ask for unexpected consequences: "show me myself in 10 years", "show me my one true love", and "show me how my great-great-great grandchildren will live" are all valid requests of the infinite and create lucid dream state.
Making the dream scene morph in front of your eyes can sometimes be difficult. Your conscious self simply doesn't expect it to happen, because that is its experience of waking life.
This mental block is typical of a beginner complaint because it requires more confidence and a lucid state of mind.
Not to worry. Established lucid dreamers have been working the dreamworld long enough to have come up with some excellent solutions. In the case of changing the scenery:
In fact, there are lots of creative solutions to issues of dream control. The important thing to remember is that your conscious expectation plays a major role.
Stay confident in your ability to summon dragons, teleport to the Bahamas, and fly like an eagle. You'll soon find that absolutely anything is possible inside a lucid dream.
I'll show you how to develop an exhilarating lucid night life and use it to improve your waking world too. Includes my Lucid Dreaming Insights newsletter. More than 27,000 dreamers have already subscribed - just enter your email below.
Stop humping unwitting dream characters and go on a REAL adventure. Planting these dream seeds will help cement your lucidity and give your lucid dreams more meaningful direction. Next time you're lucid, think hard to recall a meaningful lucid dream intention.
Meditation is an excellent primer for having lucid dreams. In this review I've ranked my favorite brainwave entrainment products for meditation, helping to kick-start your journey by improving your skills in self awareness, visualization skills and dream incubation.
Mirrors present an interesting puzzle in lucid dreams because their main property in real life - reflection - is driven by the laws of physics. Yet these laws are entirely moot in dreams. In fact, the only reason things do follow the laws of cause and effect in any dream is because we expect them to. Physical law drives our entire conscious experience and we carry it with us - both consciously and unconsciously - into the dream world.
A sleep mask is a handy lucidity aid to have in your bedroom. There are various reasons why sleep masks promote lucidity. I'll briefly run through the most important before detailing my top 5 recommended sleep masks for lucid dreaming and meditation.