1) Keep a dream journal
Keep it close to your bed at night and write down your dream as soon as you wake up, or the emotions and sensations you experience when you wake up. This will train you to remember more of your dreams, which is important for lucid dreaming. Moreover, if you forget the experience before the morning, there is not much point in controlling your dreams.
- Write Alternatively, keep your bed with a recording device. If you stay still for a few minutes and concentrate on memory before you start writing, you might remember more of your dreams.
2) Use reality checks frequently
Ask yourself “Am I dreaming?” every few hours of the day and perform one of the following reality checks. You will also begin to follow the habit in your dreams with enough practice, cluing you into the fact that you are dreaming. Pinch your nose, close your mouth, and test to see if you can still breathe. When you inspect them closely, they are often distorted in dreams. Read a text page or time on a clock, look away, then look back again. In dreams, whenever you look, the text or time will be blurry or nonsensical, or different.
- Try pushing your index finger through the opposite palm straight. Really expect it to go through, wondering whether or not you’re dreaming before and after trying. Your finger would pass through your opposite palm during a dream, and questioning yourself twice will increase your chances of realizing that this is not normal.
3) Repeat “I will be aware that I’m dreaming,” each time you fall asleep
Every night as you sleep, repeat to yourself “I’m going to know I’m dreaming” or a similar phrase until you drift out of consciousness. This technique is called Lucid Dreaming Mnemonic Induction, or MILD. Mnemonic induction means simply “use memory aids,” or in this case use a rotary phrase to turn your dreaming awareness into an automatic habit.
- Some people like combining this step with a reality check by looking at their hands for a couple of minutes before going to sleep.
4) Learn to recognize your personal dream signs
Read regularly through your newspaper and look for recurring “dream signs.” These are recurring situations or events you may notice in your dreams. Get familiar with these, and you may recognize them while you’re dreaming, and therefore notice that you’re dreaming. Common dream events include losing your teeth, being chased by a big thing, or going to the public without clothing.
5) Drift back to sleep when awakened from a dream
Write it down in your dream newspaper when you wake up and remember your dream, then close your eyes and focus on the dream. Imagine being in the dream, noticing a dream sign or checking reality, and realizing it was a dream. Keep on with this thought as you drift back to sleep, and you may enter a lucid dream. Note that most lucid dreams occur while the person is completely asleep, usually because they notice a bizarre event and realize that they are in a dream. This is just an alternative trigger starting around 25% of lucid dreams.