Next: Is there a way to prevent yourself from awakening after becoming lucid? Up: Introduction to the DreamFAQ Previous: Why would you want to have lucid dreams?
A. There are several methods of inducing lucid dreams. The first step, regardless of method, is to develop your dream recall until you can remember at least one dream per night. Then, if you have a lucid dream you will remember it. You will also become very familiar with your dreams, making it easier learn to recognize them while they are happening.
If you recall your dreams you can begin immediately with two simple techniques for stimulating lucid dreams. Lucid dreamers make a habit of "reality testing." This means investigating the environment to decide whether you are dreaming or awake. Ask yourself many times a day, "Could I be dreaming?" Then, test the stability of your current reality by reading some words, looking away and looking back while trying to will them to change. The instability of dreams is the easiest clue to use for distinguishing waking from dreaming. If the words change, you are dreaming.
Taking naps is a way to greatly increase your chances of having lucid dreams. You have to sleep long enough in the nap to enter REM sleep. If you take the nap in the morning (after getting up earlier than usual), you are likely to dream quickly after falling back to sleep. If you nap for 90 minutes to 2 hours you will have plenty of dreams and a higher probability of becoming lucid than in dreams you have during a normal night's sleep. Focus on your intention to recognize that you are dreaming as you fall asleep within the nap.
External cues to help people attain lucidity in dreams have been the focus of Dr. Stephen LaBerge's research and the Lucidity Institute's development efforts for several years. Using the results of laboratory studies, they have designed a portable device, called the DreamLight, for this purpose. It monitors sleep and when it detects REM sleep gives a cue - a flashing light - that enters the dream to remind the dreamer to become lucid. The light comes from a soft mask worn during sleep that also contains the sensing apparatus for determining when the sleeper is in REM sleep. A small custom computer connected to the mask by a cord decides when the wearer is in REM and when to flash the lights.
Don't see what you need? Psych Web has over 1,000 pages, so it may be elsewhere on the site. Do a site-specific Google search using the box below.