Lucid Dreaming and Awareness During Sleep
Did you ever have one of those dreams where you knew you were dreaming but didn’t quite know what to do about it? Well, there is a name for that. Lucid Dreaming is the act of experiencing your dreams with the awareness that you are in a dream. Theoretically, gaining awareness that you are in your dream state unlocks the creative ability of your mind to conjure infinitely malleable landscapes and scenarios. And yes, the first thing that most lucid dreamers try is flying.
1. Get Comfortable
Maybe you have heard of lucid dreaming, found yourself in a lucid dream, or even proactively given it a try. Some people have even tried to use lucid dreaming to work through personal issues, or as an extension of their meditation practice. But how can you achieve awareness, or lucidity, while dreaming? Is it as easy sleeping on a comfortable yet affordable Nectar mattress? Naa, not really. A comfortable sleep environment is a big part of the equation, but it is by no means the only necessity. Here are three essential tips to help you get started on your journey to lucid dreaming.
Like we said, sleeping on a comfortable mattress is one of the easiest steps to take. The idea is to associate your bedroom with sleep (and only sleep), and by extension with comfort and safety. Remember, the goal is to open your subconscious mind to new experiences, like heightened dream awareness. You need your subconscious to feel comfortable letting your conscious mind into the dream party.
So wash your sheets, cozy up your bedroom, make your space very dark, and consider low white or pink-noise. You can’t force a dream, much less a lucid dream, but you can practice deep relaxation as you ease off into sleep.
2. Find a Totem
You’ve seen Inception, right? Remember Leo Dicaprio’s spinning top? It was used to help him differentiate between the dream world and his own world. It turns out that that’s actually a pretty genius idea.
To awaken in a lucid dream you need to train yourself to perform a specific reality check multiple times throughout your waking day, to the point that it becomes a habit. The idea is to check something that wouldn’t behave the same way in a dream state, such as pushing your finger through the palm of your hand or spinning a top, just to see if it stops spinning. If you are able to establish this habit, and attempt it regularly, eventually you will attempt to interact with your totem in a dream. This can be the “wake-up call” that you might be dreaming.
Personally, I have had success with looking at the palms of my hands and turning light switches on and off during my waking day. Neither of these things looks quite right in a dream and it can help me realize, “Woah, I am dreaming”. Also, you can ask yourself out loud, “am I dreaming right now?” If you ask yourself enough, eventually the answer will be “yes I am”.
3. Keep a Dream Journal
Keeping a dream journal is arguably the most common and useful tactic for lucid dreaming. Every time you wake up, write a log of all of the dreams you remember having in the most excruciating detail possible. This strategy is intended to send the message to your conscious and subconscious that dreams are important. They are worth remembering. Often, you will start seeing themes and recurrences in your dream journal. These themes can help you better understand which totems could be useful for you in your waking day.
By setting a safe sleep environment, developing a reality-check protocol, and recording your dreams with diligence, you are sure to make huge strides towards gaining awareness and control in your dreams. And once you achieve that awareness, the possibilities are quite literally endless.