Lucid dreaming is a technique that allows you to become conscious of the fact you are in a dream and can react to the dream world just like you were awake. With humans spending about a third of their lives asleep this is an amazing way to use that (much needed) downtime to its fullest potential! So what lucid dreaming techniques can you use to invoke this state and what do we need to know before we can learn lucid dreaming? First we need to look at how we sleep!
Stages of Sleep:
1. Slow-Wave-Sleep (SWS)This is the transition stage from awake to asleep and only lasts a few minutes as the eyes roll slightly and the brain changes its state.
2. SWS 2
Called slow wave sleep as is the first stage but is characterized by high peaks of brain waves with rapid drops as well. The brain is in a very erratic state. This also only lasts a few minutes.
The brain waves are now much slower and steadier. This is also called deep sleep.
4. Delta-sleep 2
This is also another delta phase but the brain is now in an even heavier state of sleep. This is the deepest stage of sleep.
5. Rapid Eye Movement (REM)
The REM stage of sleep does not occur after the 4th stage. The stages from 4 reverse quite quickly first and then REM sleep comes on. You may have a higher heart beat and shallow breathing during REM sleep as well as muscular twitches and of course the eyes rapidly moving back and forth. During this time you have the most vivid dreams and is your best chance of inducing lucid dreaming.
Also as the night goes on you repeat this cycle about 4 or 5 times with each cycles REM stage getting longer and longer each time allowing longer dreaming periods as you go.
Now we have a better idea of how we sleep we can learn lucid dreaming with more confidence. Here are some techniques:
1. Build dream recall
People who have very good natural dream recall make very natural lucid dreamers as this is the first step to learning lucid dreaming.
Those who do not remember much of their dreams can train themselves to become better quote simply however it just takes some time.
To build your dream recall it is best to keep a dream diary. Whenever you wake from a dream immediately write down everything you can remember no matter how vague it is or how patchy your memory. By doing this you are training your mind to remember dreams and over time you will find you can remember more and more!
However DO NOT WAIT until morning to write these things down, do it straight away, as soon as you realize you are awake get your pen and jot it down or you will miss many details or the entire thing as dreams can be fleeting.
2. Reality testing
This is a technique that trains your mind to look for signs of dreaming. However you do it while you are awake as we have not started lucid dreaming yet!
-Reality test stage 1- Carry a piece of paper with you with a few phrases on it or something similar. Throughout the day take this paper out and look at it, then look away and look back again. Did the text change? Try once more do the characters make sense or has anything changed. Obviously if it has you know you are dreaming! This teaches the mind a pattern if you do it often enough that can repeat in dreams and clue yourself into the dream.
-Reality test stage 2- Imagine very hard while awake that you are dreaming and that all that surrounds you is a dream, changeable and fleeting. Then imagine what fantasy you would do the next time you are dreaming, flying, meeting famous people or whatever you want! Again this activity encourages your mind to understand dreams and behave in ways and patterns that may reoccur in dreams and lead to a lucid experience.
Most lucid dreaming techniques focus on training the brain to think in patterns that reoccur when dreaming so they give cues to your conscious self when sleeping that you are dreaming.
This can take some time to learn but once you have the ability it is imprinted into your mind and will aid you through the rest of your life. Some people even suggest this sort of brain training can also give us more insights into our subconscious letting us explore our fears, desires and frustrations in life so we can understand ourselves to a much greater degree.
Good luck and good dreaming!
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