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Reality Checks as a Lucid Dream Induction Technique

Updated on January 12, 2016
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Having Lucid Dream experiences at 3 years old & with over 30 years experience in LD, Robert hopes to share his passion for LD with the world

Can Using Reality Checks Help You Realize You Are Dreaming?

Many people claim to have success in becoming lucid by using reality checks.
Many people claim to have success in becoming lucid by using reality checks. | Source

What is a Reality Check?

Reality checks are a lucid dream induction method. This technique is simply a test that is performed to see if you are awake or if you are dreaming.

The premise behind this method is that people dream of the things that happen throughout their day, so if someone does tests to see if they are dreaming while they are awake, they will be more likely to experience these tests while they are dreaming.

How does this method work?

While dreaming, many things, like physics, do not work the same as they do while in the waking world. Reality checks are an effective approach to lucid dreaming because they help you to identify dream signs, which are signals that show you when you are dreaming while you are still in the dream.

How do I use this technique?

The first thing to do is to choose a few reality checks to practice throughout your life. While checking to see if you are dreaming while you know you are awake will seem silly at first; however, it is a valuable practice that can lead to many lucid dreams, so it should be taken as a genuinely helpful method if taken seriously.

You should not speculate if you are awake before using the reality check, even when you know you are not dreaming. The action of practicing reality checks without speculation while awake will increase the chances that you will perform them while dreaming. If you do not take the reality checks seriously while awake, you will likely be wasting your time.

Habits in dreams are often similar to habits in the waking world. You should always perform more than one reality check and you should be as detailed as possible while performing reality checks. If you thoroughly go through a few reality checks and you conclude that it is not a dream, study your surroundings and pay attention to what would be different if you were dreaming. If you do this it will make it more likely that you will do a reality check in a dream.

If you find that you are having difficulty performing reality checks in your dreams, it can help if you imagine yourself in a dream, noticing odd details and doing a reality check. This is best performed while falling asleep. If you do this a few times before falling asleep you might find it easier to perform these checks in your dreams.

Doing a reality check right away when you wake up is very important for this method to work, for many people. This helps you become lucid in false awakenings, which is when you dream that you have woken up while you are still stilling. Using an alarm clock (digital works best) or cellphone display to do a check, every single time you wake up, is possibly the best and easiest way to catch false awakenings.

Reality Checks Help Build Habits That Could Help You to Become Lucid

By checking if you are awake when you know you are awake, you build strong habits that could lead to realizing you in fact, are not awake
By checking if you are awake when you know you are awake, you build strong habits that could lead to realizing you in fact, are not awake | Source

When Should I Use This Method?

Reality checks are best used every single time you think of using them. The more they are used, the more likely they will occur in a dream.

If you find yourself in a situation where a reality check is inconvenient, such as on the alter at your wedding, try to do one as close to the big event as possible, both before and after. Many reality checks can be done in very discreet manner. As stated earlier, habits in dream are similar to habits while awake, so it is best to maintain strong reality check habits. If you find yourself avoiding reality checks because they are inconvenient, you will very likely do the same thing while you are dreaming.

What Kinds of Reality Checks Will Work For Me?

When determining which reality checks to use, keep in mind that every person and every mind is different. It may take some trial and error to figure out what works best for you
When determining which reality checks to use, keep in mind that every person and every mind is different. It may take some trial and error to figure out what works best for you | Source

What Are Some Examples of Reality Checks?

There are many dream signs that will show you that you are dreaming. They are often based on different physics from the waking world, or on information being jumbled. Here are some questions to ask yourself that will allow you to observe if you are dreaming keep in mind that when you ask yourself these questions while awake, it is best to do so without speculating if you are awake before starting the reality check:

  • Can you read the time? Is your digital clock on your phone showing strange numbers? Does your watch have too many hands? Is the second hand on your watch behaving normally?

Often, when we dream, we do not keep track of time in the same way as we do while we are awake. People also tend to have a difficult time reading while dreaming, which can be found on a digital clock.

  • Do you have the correct number of fingers? Is your skin color on your hands its normal color? Can you make your fingers go through the palm of your other hand?

It is common in dreams for all kinds of abnormalities to occur. Your hands are a good place to look for abnormalities because they are always close and you probably have a very good idea of what they look like and what your fingers can physically do while awake.

  • Can you read? Are the letters jumbled? If you look away from what you read and read it again after looking back at it, do the words stay the same? Can you look away twice and have the words remain the same twice?

Again, dreamers often have a difficult time reading. This reality check is good because there are words almost everywhere, so it can be practiced almost anywhere

  • Do you look normal in a mirror? Do your features shift around? Do your eyes look like your own eyes?

Sometimes, details in a dream can get sketchy or jumbled. This is very easy to identify with your own face.

  • Can you change the level of light by using a light switch? Can you find a light switch?

The waking world has light switches. Sometimes, the dream world does not. Often, while dreaming, the dreamer will try to adjust the level of light, but will not be able to do so

  • How did I get here? What am I here to do? What was I doing two hours ago?

While dreaming, we sometimes have problems with memory. Often, we cannot remember what has happened because we entered that portion of a dream from a completely different portion of a dream.

It is Important to Find Reality Checks That Will Not Disrupt Your Waking Life

For reality checks to work, they have to be used regularly, but they must also be tests that you can use throughout your day without disrupting your waking life
For reality checks to work, they have to be used regularly, but they must also be tests that you can use throughout your day without disrupting your waking life | Source

Which To Look For in a Strong Reality Check?

When considering factors for selecting reality checks, the most important attributes of a reality check are accuracy, speed, and discretion.

  • The accuracy of each reality check is how likely you are to recognize the dream-sign's results as showing that you are dreaming once you do them in a dream. The level of accuracy for each reality check changes for each person but some reality checks are overall more accurate than others, such as reading and jumping,
  • A good reality check should be fast. It wastes dream time if you have to look for a book or a light switch. Not doing a speedy reality check can also give your subconsciousness more time to create results that simulate the waking world, especially if you believe that the check will give results that would be found in the waking world.
  • Third, a reality check should be discreet. It would likely be best if you do not draw too much attention to yourself when you do it in the waking world. Suddenly jumping in the air or trying to walk through a wall or turning off the lights in the shared office space at work as a reality check could cause problems in your waking life.

A reality check should never, under any circumstances have "false positives". These occur when the reality check shows you are dreaming in the waking world. When you get a dream result, do another reality check to be sure. This is very important. If you somehow have a result that suggests you are dreaming while you are awake, this is not an effective reality check. It would also be best to use reality checks that do not produce "false negatives". These occur when a reality check shows you are in the waking world when you are actually dreaming. If you think you might be dreaming, keep doing different reality checks until you prove yourself right!

How Can I Remember to do Reality Checks Throughout my Day?

Using a mnemonic device, or a method such as a pattern of letters, ideas, or associations that assists in remembering something, you can program your mind to remember dreaming when you think of certain things, like when you see your hand or when your boss walks away.

It is not recommended to write a note to yourself to do a reality check or to write a reminder in any way, because this often creates an over dependence on the reminder, which will probably not exist in a dream. However, you might want to just draw a dot or small circle on your hand. This should be enough to remind you to do a reality check.

Try thinking of reality checks, while your typical alarm clock is ringing; this is a good mnemonic device that can remind yourself to do a reality check when you wake up. It is okay to set the alarm through convenient times in your day to build the habit of thinking of reality checks while hearing the ringing.

Another technique is to write down three things you do during a typical day. Examples include hearing your name, going through a doorway, turning on a TV, beginning to read a book, or seeing a stranger. In the morning, choose three such events and intend to do a reality check whenever they happen during that day.

Will This Method Work For Me?

Every person and every mind is different, therefore, this method and others seem to have different levels of efficiency for different people.

If you are having trouble recognizing that you are dreaming, this method will likely be beneficial to your quest for lucid dreams.

If you are interested in lucid dreaming, feel free to research and try these methods to find which is most efficient for you. You will be amazed at what you can do when you take control of your dreams!


May your sleep be peaceful and your dreams insightful

© 2016 Robert Cassady


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