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A lucid dream is a state of mind during sleep in which the dreamer is conscious that they’re in a dream but can’t wake up at will—at least most of the time. You can sometimes even “control” your dreams, but studies show that is often not the case. Also, lucid dreams are not always pleasant since you can also experience lucid nightmares, meaning that you can be aware that all the horror you experience is not real, yet you can’t end it.
Lucid dreams and nightmares may occur for various reasons, but you don’t necessarily need to meet the requirements. Fortunately, multiple methods can help you dream consciously. One of the most popular—probably the most popular—is the “wake back to bed (WBTB)” technique. Still, there are additional methods if you don’t want to use WBTB, simply waking up in the middle of the night and going back to sleep.
Recurring reality checks
Throughout the day, you can perform tests to identify sleep and waking. Asking yourself if you’re awake and answering it proves you are awake since self-awareness is impossible during non-lucid dreams. Repeated tests are presumed to eventually find their way into your dreams, allowing lucidity and differentiation between dream and waking states.
Mnemonic induction of lucid dreams (MILD)
MILD is similar to and used with WBTB if you want to achieve lucid dreams. It involves training to recognize the difference between dreams and reality during sleep. Waking up after a period and repeating a version of “when I’m asleep again, I’ll know that I’m in a dream” can help you remember your dreams. You can set the alarm to five hours later from the time you go to bed and after you wake up, wait about half an hour or two, then go back to sleep.
Keep a dream journal
As soon as you wake up, note everything you recall about your dreams in a dream journal. You can also make sound recordings that may allow you to recognize dreams more easily once you fall asleep. Furthermore, listening to them before you go to sleep can trigger lucid dreams.
Recording dreams allows you to discover similarities and detect patterns in your dreams, so you can recognize them even when you’re asleep.
Try video games
Video games have been linked to increased lucidity and frequency in some studies. For example, higher game engagement and more gaming time were associated with lucid or controlled dreaming. In addition, video game content was more frequently integrated into dreams when people spent more time gaming and engaged with games. So avoiding horror themes will probably help you have less lucid nightmares.
Lucid dreams may also be induced using other techniques. For example, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), which is painlessly applying electrical currents to different areas of the brain, and particular types of medications help you be aware that you’re dreaming. Though, the effectiveness of these methods has not been scientifically proven. You should never attempt these techniques unless supervised by a doctor or another credentialed professional in medical or psychological fields.