Lucid dreams simply are dreams when you are aware that you are dreaming and somewhat have control over them. During lucid dreams, you can recognize what is happening in the dream. Some people could even change what happens during the dream. With the opportunity of awareness and control, lucid dreams are known to reduce anxiety and nightmares.
During sleep, the brain cycles through REM sleep and non-REM sleep. Lucid dreams generally occur during REM sleep, where the brain is extremely active. More than half of people experience lucid dreams at least once in their lives, but frequent lucid dreaming is rather rare. If you are wondering about what lucid dream techniques are, here are some of the most popular ones that you could apply:
1. Wake-initiated Lucid Dreaming (WILD)
A wake-initiated lucid dream happens when you enter a dream from being awake instantly. It sounds complicated, so, here is how to apply it: Lay down and relax until you start experiencing hallucinating visions in between being awake and asleep. WILD is one of the most difficult techniques to practice, but as you become better at the other techniques, your skills of wake-initiated lucid dreaming will increase.
2. Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams (MILD)
Mnemonic induction of lucid dreaming or MILD is one of the first lucid dreaming methods. It is based on prospective memory, where you make an intention to remember that you are dreaming.
To practice MILD, firstly, concentrate on a dream you have seen lately as you fall asleep. Try to recognize a symbolic or strange part of that dream. Focus on reliving that dream and tell yourself you will remember that you are dreaming the next time you dream several times.
3. Reality Testing
Reality testing is one of the most popular techniques of lucid dreaming. It trains your brain to increase your awareness and metacognition, which leads you to have more lucid dreams easier. Some of the ways to perform reality testing when you are awake are asking yourself frequently if you are dreaming and checking the environment you are in to analyze if this is a dream. The point is being more aware of your surroundings and senses. If you do it more, the more likely you will have a lucid dream. During lucid dreams, our reflections in mirrors are usually distorted. So, checking your reflections on the mirror as you are awake will be beneficial for reality checking. You can also check the clocks to see if they are constantly changing because that will mean you are dreaming.
4. Wake Back to Bed (WBTB)
Wake back to bed is simply what the name offers. To put it differently, WBTB is entering REM sleep as you are still conscious. To practice WBTB, you could set an alarm for 4 or 5 hours after you get into bed and just sleep. The alarm will go off naturally. When this happens, wake up and stay awake for half an hour, then go back to sleep. When you go back to sleep, your consciousness will be open, but since you just wake up from REM sleep, it will be much easier to go directly into REM sleep. Therefore, you will have greater chances to experience lucid dreaming with this technique.
5. Keeping a Dream Journal
Keeping a dream journal, that is, writing down your dreams, is a daily exercise you could perform to induce lucid dreaming. Remembering your dreams as detailed as possible will help you to recognize the signs in your dreams and increase your awareness. This, as in the reality testing method, will enhance your chances to experience lucid dreams. The best time to write down your dreams is as soon as you wake up since those are the times when you will remember the most details.