February 5, 2015
Imagine you’re going to sleep. You lay down, close your eyes and slip into another world.
There’s been lots of debate on whether or not lucid dreaming, or the ability to control one’s dreams, exists. Solidifying the evidence that they do was largely directed by researcher Stephen LaBerge. LaBerge developed a system in which volunteers claiming to be able to have lucid dreams were tested. The subjects were connected to sensors that determined when they were in REM sleep, then were instructed to move their eyes on command.
After several successful trials, LaBerge developed a system to induce lucid dreams, training his mind to recognize a dream. So, I’ve done some research on the techniques and plan to try it myself. If you’d also like to try, I’ve listed the steps you can take to try and induce lucid dreams.
The first thing you need to do is remember your dreams. This isn’t always easy, but any time you remember your dreams, write it down. If you shower in the morning, it’s a good idea to try and remember any little aspects of your dream, even if it’s just a small detail like a blue shirt or walking. Once you get out, write down everything you remember, either in a notebook or in the notes section of your phone. The more you write your dreams, the more dreams you will remember.
Now, the key to lucid dreaming is that you are aware that you are dreaming. In order to do this, try checking to make sure you are awake at least two or three times a day. In your dreams, complex things sometimes don’t translate. Opening a book, for example, and reading a paragraph would be too hard; in dreams, books often contain nonsense.
Every night before going to sleep, say aloud “I will be aware that I am dreaming,” or something along those lines. This preps your brain to be aware of the dream.
After a few weeks, you might notice things that often occur in your dreams. If you do, noticing them during the day will help you to notice them while dreaming, clueing you in on the fact that you’re not actually awake.
Lastly, if a dream wakes you up in the middle of the night, write it down (not on your phone; this can reset your circadian rhythm). After you’ve written it, go back to sleep, but be sure to daydream as if you’re simply continuing the dream wherever you’ve left off.
Sometimes realizing you’re in a dream can be scary, but once it’s happened you’ll be able to start controlling them. Lucid dreaming is a common tool to stop nightmares, because if you realize you’re having a bad dream, you can simply change it.