Introduction to lucid dreams:

It is not a secret that we spend a large amount of our time sleeping. Twenty-six years on average, to be precise. Of course, we usually do not complain about it – there's nothing like a good night's sleep to recharge us for the day to come. With it, however, comes the additional package of dream voyages beyond our control. There might come a sense of wonder, guessing what the next dreaming state will bring. Other times, one might feel intense anxiety before bed, for they have been having nightmares. In a way, we gamble on what experience we'll undertake every time we go to bed. That is unless you know how to lucid dream.
Most of us have had this experience at least once in our lives. Sudden awareness of being in a dream, followed by the realization and desire to do everything forbidden in the real world – be it by the laws of physics or the laws of nature. It's not uncommon that this feeling does not last, and one is thrown right back into the real world just as fast as he came into it, leaving them with hopes of exploring this fantasy world shattered. Forcing ourselves back to sleep in a controlling state of mind might not suffice. What if we told you that the desire to lucid dream is not only a challenging goal but an achievable one as well? In fact, there is no reason to believe that anyone could be incapable of lucid dreaming.
The concept of a lucid dream has been known for a long time. In western culture, it's at least as old as the Greek philosopher Aristotle, who referred to the conscious dream as early as the 4th century B.C. Many eastern cultures have embraced this gift of human mind in the practices of Buddhism and Ancient Hindu. Although, as old a concept as it is, we are still unsure how exactly to explain it. It's not that surprising, as even ordinary dreams are still a mystery to some extent.
We sleep in cycles, which can be divided into four stages.

  • When we first start falling asleep, we enter the first stage - NREM1, in which our breathing and heartbeat slow down, and our muscles relax. We can be easily awakened at this stage.
  • Next, we enter the light stage - NREM2, during which our brain waves start to slow down, and we begin to transition into deep sleep, which we reach in stage three.
  • In NREM3, our breathing and heartbeats slow down to their lowest levels. It is most difficult to wake someone up at this stage.
  • After this stage, we enter the REM (rapid eye movement) stage. It is characterized by our eyes moving rapidly, as you might have guessed. Our bodies are also paralyzed during this stage.

This is also the time when most of our dreams occur, and it is our only chance to turn a regular dream into a conscious one.
You may be, at the very least, skeptical. After all, why should you bother with lucid dreams? You only wish to get enough rest and don't actually care about the by-product of some visions. Why should you invest your time and energy into something fictional? It's not like it has any impact in the real world. If that's what you're thinking, then you should also stop reading books, going to the movies, and playing video games. You must admit that those activities provide a meaningful experience, and you are fascinated by the fictional each time. Our minds, however, are capable of producing even more exciting narratives in the state of a conscious dream. Not only does it have a great value of entertainment in it, but you can also overcome fears and anxieties or learn a new skill or come up with a solution to a problem you've been having for months. It is believed that Albert Einstein came up with his Theory of Relativity in such a state! The options of action are limited only by the boundaries of one's imagination.Now how would one begin to lucid dream? Is there some simple trick to it? Can one learn the magic of controlling their dreams instantly? Unfortunately, no. The path to a controlling dream varies from person to person – it might be easy for one but quite a struggle for another. But as it is often said, nothing worth doing is easy. Let's explore the various methods which help tremendously on a quest to a controlling dream.

1. Dream Journal

The first step on your journey to a conscious dream state is recording your natural dreams. You may have heard a friend or a relative say that they don't dream. You might believe that you yourself don't dream. That is not true. Moments after waking up, we forget up to 99 % of our nightly adventures. That, in turn, prevents us from recognizing when the reality around us is nothing but a projection of our minds.
Keeping a journal helps us not only to remember more dreams but to find patterns between them. Later on, it can (and will) come in handy to notice something you've been dreaming frequently and realize that you are dreaming right then too.
The longer you keep this up, the more dreams you will be able to remember. After several weeks you might be surprised to find out that you are actually having up to 5-6 dreams every night! Having this many points of reference might turn out crucial in figuring out when you are dreaming.

2. Reality checks

When you find yourself in a controlling dream, you might notice that the world around you is not as coherent as you thought it was. Things sometimes make next to no logical sense or are straight out crazy. For example:

  • Your hands look extremely weird in any dream, and you should easily deduce that you are dreaming just by looking at them.
  • Time and stuff that's written are also extremely weird. If you look away from a textbook or a watch for a brief moment before staring at it again, it will be completely different. You will often find that hours have passed in the course of a few seconds or that the entire pages of your book have been re-written. You can use this fact to your advantage.

When going about your daily routine, try to do reality checks. Ask yourself: Am I dreaming? Look at your hands, your watch, or your textbook and see if you notice anything dream-like. It is important that you do this as often as possible – the more you practice this activity in the real world, the greater the possibility that you will actually do it while in your bed, sleeping.

3. Have your sleep environment set-up

  • Keeping to your sleep hygiene is just as important to your dreams as it is to your sleep. Most of our dreams occur in the REM (rapid eye movement) stage of sleep, and you can only reach this stage in the end of every sleep cycles, which take about 90 minutes each. Make sure to follow the necessary sleep routine, or you can forget about ever having a conscious dream or a restful sleep, for that matter.
  • For starters, keep the temperature in your bedroom cool – 18-19 degrees Celsius (64-66 degrees Fahrenheit) should suffice. It is never a good idea to have it higher than that, as the quality of your sleep will deteriorate with every additional degree.
  • Next, restrict yourself from using any kind of device for at least an hour (preferably two) before going to bed. Smartphones, laptops, and TV usually emit blue light, which is terrible for your sleep. It signals to the brain that it is actually daytime, which disturbs your sleep cycle. Even if you aren't watching it, the blue light from the screens finds its' way into your brain, even through closed eyelids. So, make sure to eliminate any light sources in your bedroom before you lie down and keep away from any devices for at least one hour.
  • Next on the list is sound. Be sure to sleep without any chance of it being disturbed by the noise of the outside world. Invest in soundproofing if you have to. The difference between peaceful, undisturbed sleep and alert slumber is night and day.
  • Among other things, there are a few simple routines that are important for a restful night. Don't drink alcohol and restrict your caffeine intakes only to the mornings. Don't eat close before bedtime. Restrict your bedroom only for sleep and sex – do not simply lay, sit or eat there. If you can't fall asleep for more than half an hour, get up to do something and try again in a few minutes.

4. Try meditation

If you wish to have a controlling dream, you must practice self-awareness. There's nothing like meditation to help you be in the here and now. To perceive what it means to be, feel and think. Do not worry if you're not able to experience Buddhist-like sensations during your first meditations. Simply open up your mind and give it a try.
Close your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply. Notice your heartbeat and your train of thought. Find out what and how you think.
Even ten minutes per day can make a huge difference. By practicing meditation, among other things, you will find it easier to lucid dream. Knowing what your state of mind is like when you're awake can help to differentiate it from what it's like when you're asleep. It will also help you focus and be aware of your surroundings, which, in turn, will help you further to have a conscious dream.

5. Don't get too excited

One of the most difficult tasks as a beginner in lucid dream voyages is to stay asleep. Those first experiences when we realize that we're actually dreaming can be very exciting. More often than not, it results in waking up spontaneously. Don't be nervous if it happens to you. When you realize that you're dreaming, try to relax and breathe normally. Rubbing your hands together can also help.
If you wake up anyway, try to convince yourself that you are still dreaming and try to get back to the dream you just had.

Final thoughts

If you've read this far, it is probably safe to assume that you're, at the very least, intrigued. We are glad to have recruited you. The world of a lucid dream is fascinating and full of endless possibilities. With enough time and effort, you will begin to experience that which you previously only dreamed of. Literally. Only this time, you will do it consciously.
Imagine all the cool stuff you wish to do: flying, fighting, talking to celebrities, or indulging your sexual fantasies. All of that and more is possible when you seize control over your dreams.

Do not think this adventure will be easy, though. For if it were, everyone would be doing it.
To have a conscious dream requires an immense amount of dedication, self-awareness, and self-control. Some people might have little to no trouble fulfilling those requirements – others might need several weeks to months to adjust. So, don't give up quickly. You literally have nothing to lose – every technique that you've read about will, at the very least, improve your life. Sleep hygiene will make your sleep better, while meditation will help you focus on your day-to-day life. There are no risks, no dangers – only exciting adventures and unexplored worlds as well as corners of your mind to discover. We wish you the best of luck in finding out yourself!