Some people think they never dream, simply because they don’t remember their dreams; but the truth is, everyone dreams.
Researchers published findings in the Journal of Sleep Research, proving that people who think they don’t dream do dream. The researchers concluded that dreaming is universal, while dream recall is variable.
On the opposite end of the dream spectrum, are those who often experience lucid dreams. During a lucid dream, the dreamer not only is aware that they’re dreaming, but may also have a level of control over their dreams, and their dreams are also very vivid.
The simple, biological definition of lucid dreaming is, that during the REM stage (rapid eye movement) of sleep, you become aware of dreaming. Usually, we are not conscious that we’re dreaming, until we wake up. But in some cases, during the REM sleep period, we can become conscious enough, that we’re able to realize that we’re dreaming.
Research into the subject of sleep and dreaming began in the early 1970s. Since then, researchers have begun using EEG to better study the brainwaves of lucid dreaming subjects. The brainwaves of these lucid dreamers showed clearly, that during asleep, they were in a “hybrid state of consciousness.” This can allow a dreamer to push the boundaries of their reality. Lucid dreaming can allow the dreamer to have specific experiences, solve a problem, enhance creativity or even achieve enlightenment.
A research study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences found that after practicing a sports skill during a lucid dream, that skill was physically improved during the dreamer’s waking life. Researchers concluded that practicing and perfecting a behavior during a lucid dream, may be the same as real life practice of that behavior.
Use the following steps to improve your ability to lucid dream.
Do your research
Read everything you can about lucid dreaming, so that you can better understand the phenomena. Skim through studies, websites and forums, to learn everything you can about the underlying causes of lucid dreaming, as well as tips and techniques to achieve a lucid dream.
Keep a dream journal
Keep a notebook by your bedside, or even better, a small voice recorder beside your bed. Immediately upon awakening, record every little detail of what you remember.
Ask yourself the following types of questions:
The purpose is to enhance your dream recall. If you go two or three weeks without being able to recall a dream, you need to ask yourself why. Stress, diet and your alcohol intake can contribute to the inability to remember your dreams.
If you are not often conscious that you’re dreaming, don’t be discouraged. Unless you’re a natural, becoming a lucid dreamer will take time and effort. Remain calm, patient, consistent, and focused on your goal.
Try the WBTB method
The WBTB stands for “wake back to bed method”. To use this method, you need to wake yourself up as you near the end of REM sleep cycle. This time will be when your dream is most vivid, and easier to remember, and before you go into another cycle of deeper sleep.
It’s not an exact science, but set your alarm so to wake you up around five hours after your bedtime. That is just a starting point, you need to better understand your own REM cycle, to fine tune the timing. For instance, if it usually takes you 30 minutes to fall asleep, set your clock for 5 1/2 hours from the time you go to bed. Once you wake up, try to stay awake for at least 15 to 20 minutes, recording your dream. This will help enhance your ability to focus.
Practice reality checks
The goal is to create new patterns within your subconscious mind. Throughout your day, ask yourself, am I awake, or am I dreaming? This may seem silly, but you will begin to better recognize whether or not you are in a dream, based on new habits of thought and association.
Some effective reality checks are:
Every day, spend 30 or more minutes using techniques like as visualization, meditation or self hypnosis, to further develop your ability to lucid dream. This is a good before bedtime practice.
Use binaural beats
A binaural beat is produced when you listen to two very similar, yet different frequencies, one in each ear. Your brain will then produce a third frequency, known as a binaural beat. For example, when you listen to a frequency of 100 Hz in one ear, and a frequency of 94 Hz in the other ear, the difference is 6 Hz, which corresponds to deep sleep. With the use of binaural beats, you’ll more easily guide your brain into REM sleep. Click here for a lucid dreaming binaural beat MP3.
Use positive affirmations
By using positive affirmations, you can convince yourself to remember your dreams, and there will be a greater likelihood that you will have lucid dreams. Before you fall asleep, repeat this affirmation: “I will remember my dream”. Or, if your goal is to have a specific dream, “I will dream about ‘X’ tonight”.
Advance to wake-induced lucid dreaming
Although it’s not an easy technique easy to master, this technique can yield major advantages; you will be able to practice lucid dreaming on demand. Secondly, you will experience the most vivid dreams possible.
This technique is based on Buddhist meditation. If you are a meditator, you will have an advantage.
To practice this technique, you need to relax deeply, and this technique is ideally practiced after four to six hours of sleep. After a while, you’ll be better at observing your state of “hypnagogia”, the transitional state from wakefulness to sleep. While in the hypnogogic state, fight the urge to fall asleep, and remaining focused, yet deeply relaxed. Repeat to yourself, “I’m dreaming, I’m dreaming, I’m dreaming”… Follow this step by a period of visualization, creating the dream you want.