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How To Become A Lucid Dreamer

Updated on January 3, 2014

How To Lucid Dream And Become An Oneironaut

There are more and more people interested in how to become a lucid dreamer these days and if you also want to learn this skill, you've come to the right place.

Lucid dreamers, also called Oneironauts (from Greek - Oneira means dreams and nautis means sailor) are people who have learned to walk consciously in the land of dreams. They are exploring the dream world at will and can induce becoming lucid quite often.

Lucid dreaming is nothing new. It has been experienced by people all over the world for centuries. However these accidental lucid dreams can't be controlled and people wake up as soon as they realized that they became lucid. Which is hardly useful.

Recently however, as folks get exposed to indepth lucid dreaming guides such as Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming by Stephen LaBerge, they are becoming fascinated with learning how to become lucid in a dream on their own.

When you become good at it, you can have a lucid dream every night if you want. You can fly high in the sky, create works of art, solve problems, meet people you've never met in real life, confront your nightmares, plainly put - the benefits are endless.

Learning to lucid dream is not only awesome but highly beneficial.

Photo credits

become a lucid dreamer
become a lucid dreamer

How Fast Can You Learn To Lucid Dream?

Becoming a lucid dreamer is a very personal process. Almost everyone has it in them to learn it, it's a learned skill, not necessarily something you were born with. However it depends on many factors, such as:

* How often you practice

* How determined you are to learn to become a lucid dreamer

* Finding the right method for you

* How much time you have

* Can practice during the night or not

* Need to keep a tight sleeping schedule or not

There are people who have had a lucid dream the first and second night they've put their mind to it. Others needed a couple of weeks or months. There are also people who start learning it, then go on to other things, only to come back to it in a couple of years. Of course, for them lucid dreaming will become a reality much later.

Photo credits

Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming - Stephen LaBerge

Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming
Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming
The book that started it all for me. Highly recommended by any serious lucid dreamer

Various Lucid Dreaming Techniques - Lucid dreaming induction techniques

Learning to become a lucid dreamer means that you will start with one of the many lucid dreaming techniques and practice until you become a pro. There are times, however, when even after several attempts, nothing works. This is when you might want to change your technique to something else. But you should give every single technique at least a couple of months time.

The reason is because while some are more adept at picking it up soon, for the most of us, like everything else in life, proficiency is only gained with practice - a lot of it.

There are two types of lucid dreaming induction techniques, DILD (Dream Induced Lucid Dreaming) and WILD (Wake Induced Lucid Dreaming). Each has several techniques that we will be looking at briefly below.

  1. DILD - Dream Induced Lucid Dreaming - The traditional DILD is maybe the easiest way to incude lucid dreaming simply by remembering a cue from wakefulness which will make them realize that they are in fact dreaming.

    While it is easy to do it, it's not easy to do it any time you want (because it's not easy to become aware in the dream that you are in fact dreaming - you might miss the cue very easily)

  2. MILD - Mnemonic Induced Lucid Dreaming - This is a subset of DILD and it consist of performing reality checks during the dream. This particular technique requires more training because you need to do these checks in the day as well (e.g. pinching your nose and asking if you are dreaming, looking at your hands, etc).
  3. WILD - Wake Induced Lucid Dreaming - Lucid dreaming WILD is the holy grail of lucid dreaming. Many people who want to learn to become lucid dreamers are fascinated by this technique. Personally this was also the reason why I've started learning it. The idea is to transit into a dream directly from a state of wakefulness, without first falling asleep.

    Imagine, you are simply lying down on the bed or coach, relaxing and suddenly you're in the deam, lucid from the very first moment. However this technique is more difficult to master. But once you HAVE mastered it, you can practically have a lucid dream any time you want, even every night if you so choose.

  4. DEILD - Dream Exit Lucid Dreaming - This technique is a subset of WILD. Here you exit from a dream, wake up and go into the next dream lucid right away. Again, this is not the easiest technique to start with because you need to have a lot of self-control.

    When you wake up from the dream, you can't move even a bit, you have to instantly realize that you've just woken up (something that most of us can't do) and then let yourself gently be taken into the next dream.

dream journal
dream journal

Using A Dream Journal Helps In Becoming A Lucid Dreamer

In fact, it's crucial

One of the crucial parts in learning how to become a lucid dreamer (something that many ignore, to their own detriment) is keeping a dream journal. This has several benefits.

First of all, lucid dreaming means that you need to learn to remember your dreams. Afterall once you're in a dream and you happen to become lucid, if you end up forgetting it as soon as you woke up, what's the point?

A dream journal helps you learn to remember your dreams so that when you will become lucid and then you wake up, you will remember the wonderful experience you've just gone through and live to tell about it.

Also the journal helps with gathering cues that you will need during your dreams on which to focus on. For example, let's say you keep dreaming a lot about talking to your grandma, who has passed away in real life. Or you keep dreaming about your home being in another location, possibly in another country.

If you notice in your dream journal that you have something like this occurring repeatedly let's say once a week, then you know that you can use that as as cue for a reality check. Next time you dream and it happens to you again, it's your cue, you will realize that you're dreaming and you can become lucid very easily.

Finally, I think it's a great way to keep your diary over time and read through it after a while. It's an awesome feeling to see just how far you've come from your first feeble attempts at lucidity, and how much more vivid and interested your actual dreams have also become in the process.

How To Use Your Dream Journal In Dream Recall

Once you have your dream journal, how do you use it in a way that will help you recall your dreams so that you get as fast as possible proficient at becoming a lucid dreamer?

  1. Keep your dream diary with a pen or pencil next to your bed. Never have it far away from your easy reach when you wake up.
  2. As soon as you wake up from a dream, if you can, remain motionless for a few seconds to recall as many details from your dream as possible and then start writing it all down. Don't worry about mistakes, but make sure you write down everything you remember, including the feelings you had during the dream.
  3. Write down the time you went to sleep, and what time you woke up from your dream. This will come in handy over time when you figure out your REM sleep cycle (used in WBTB -Wake Back to Bed), something we will talk about below).
  4. Once you have a good dream recall, you can stop journaling if you like. However many people keep writing in their journals over several years simply because they enjoy putting down their thoughts in a journal.

Da Vinci Refillable Embossed Leather Journal - 6 x 9-inch

Modern Artisans Da Vinci American Made Embossed Leather Writing Journal Cover, 6 x 9-inch + Refillable Hardbound Insert Book
Modern Artisans Da Vinci American Made Embossed Leather Writing Journal Cover, 6 x 9-inch + Refillable Hardbound Insert Book
Made of durable and well crafted tanned quality cowhide, this journal is refillable, so you can add extra pages to it when you're out. Great for you as well as for gift purposes.

Wild Red Rose Embossed Leather Writing Journal - 6 x 9-inch, refillable

Wild Red Rose Embossed Leather Writing Journal, American Made, 6 x 9-inch + Refillable Hardbound Insert Book
Wild Red Rose Embossed Leather Writing Journal, American Made, 6 x 9-inch + Refillable Hardbound Insert Book
Bench-crafted one at a time, the leather journal is crafted from quality cowhide custom tanned in deep red and deeply embossed with an intricate wild rose design. The journal is accented with a coordinating floral pewter button to accent the design. An attached rawhide cord loops around the pewter button to securely fasten the journal closed.

Creekside Maple Tree Embossed Leather Writing Journal, - 6 x 9-inch, refillable

Creekside Maple Tree American-Made Embossed Leather Writing Journal Cover, 6 x 9-inch + Refillable Hardbound Insert Book
Creekside Maple Tree American-Made Embossed Leather Writing Journal Cover, 6 x 9-inch + Refillable Hardbound Insert Book
A magnificent maple stands alongside a meandering creek in a perfect moment of solitude. Bench-crafted one at a time, each leather journal cover is created from custom tanned quality cowhide. The journal is accented with a solid pewter maple leaf button, which an attached rawhide cord loops around to securely fasten the journal. Within the brown leather cover is a replaceable 5.5" x 8.5" 208-page hard-cover blank book of heavy bond acid-free pages, perfect for recording sketches, notes, diaries, dreams, travels, poetry, musings or your personal works of literature.
waking back to bed
waking back to bed

WBTB - Wake Back to Bed

Not Exactly A Technique

Simply put WBTB is the act of waking up during the night so that you go back to sleep and have a lucid dream. The main reason for this is the following.

We usually have several REM cycles during the night when we dream. The first few times the dreams are very short. As the night progresses, the dreams become longer and longer, and this is why it is better to practice becoming lucid during one of the longer dreams, when you can actually enjoy and recall your dream.

By using this technique you increase your chanced of actually having lucid dreams.

This is how it works.

First you learn your REM cycles (that's why it's important to keep a journal and write in it the times you woke up from a dream. Over time you can see when your REM cycles are happening).

In most cases you wake up about 5 hours after you went to sleep in the evening. Don't go right back to sleep because you'll lose lucidity very soon. Instead get up, go to the bathroom, then go drink a bit of water, and only then go back to bed with the intention of having a lucid dream.

Often you will easily wake up during the night only after a couple of times of practicing (saying to yourself before going to sleep that you will wake up). You can also put an alarm to wake you up before your next REM cycle.

NOTE: Do not use this technique if your schedule is very tight and you have to wake up early in the morning (to go to school, etc). It can leave you sleepy the next day. So you have to be mindful about it. You could use it on the weekend though.

Once you went back to bed, relax and focus on becoming lucid. However don't stress to much about it. Just let it happen. If you think too strongly about becoming lucid, your mind will completely wake up instead, become active and then you'll have troubles falling asleep very soon again.

Basically get back to bed, relax and start saying an affirmation in your mind, something like "I will dream and become lucid" just before you fall asleep. Try to have this very thought as your last as you drift asleep.

NOTE: Usually WBTB works very well with the WILD technique where you go from being away into a the dream state as lucid. Thus if you decide to practice the WILD technique, you should think of incorporating WBTB. For many people attaining lucidity during WILD will only happen when waking up in the middle of the night. Others can do a WILD when waking up from an afternoon short nap.

Photo credits

learning from books
learning from books

Learning Lucid Dreaming From Books

One of the best and easiest way to get started in learning to become a lucid dreamer is by reading relevant books on the subject. By this I mean books written by authority figures, by people who have 'been there, done that'. So here is a list of some of the best books on the subject of lucid dreaming that I can recommend. I've read them all and I can honestly say they are excellent.

In addition, by reading books on lucid dreaming you keep your mind busy on the topic. This helps you become lucid faster in your dreams than otherwise because you have more input from various sources that your mind will digest.

Photo credits

Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self - Robert Waggoner

Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self
Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self
Another classic on lucid dreaming. A wonderful book full of inspiration on why you should learn lucid dreaming.

Lucid Dreams in 30 Days - Keith Harary

Lucid Dreams in 30 Days: The Creative Sleep Program (In 30 Days Series)
Lucid Dreams in 30 Days: The Creative Sleep Program (In 30 Days Series)
Beginning with simple steps such as keeping a dream journal to record your dreams, Keith Harary, Ph.D., and Pamela Weintraub take you step-by-step, day-by-day through the lucid dreaming process.

Dreaming While Awake: Techniques for 24-Hour Lucid Dreaming - Arnold Mindell

Dreaming While Awake: Techniques for 24-Hour Lucid Dreaming
Dreaming While Awake: Techniques for 24-Hour Lucid Dreaming
What if you could dream 24 hours a day, even while awake? In Dreaming While Awake, Mindell shows how to become aware of these "flirts" from the dreamworld and how to interpret their message. The goal, he says, is to be wide awake and lucid 24 hours a day in the midst of this unending dreamfield of information.

Lucid Dreaming for Beginners: Simple Techniques for Creating Interactive Dreams - Mark McElroy

Lucid Dreaming for Beginners: Simple Techniques for Creating Interactive Dreams (For Beginners (Llewellyn's))
Lucid Dreaming for Beginners: Simple Techniques for Creating Interactive Dreams (For Beginners (Llewellyn's))
In a lucid dream, you're aware that you're dreaming . . . so you can transform your dreams into fabulous adventures. From flying to traveling through time to visiting loved ones in spirit form, this book makes it easy for you to experience anything you wish.

The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep - Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche

The Tibetan Yogas Of Dream And Sleep
The Tibetan Yogas Of Dream And Sleep
This is an appealing book, not only for Buddhist dream yoga practitioners, but for anyone interested in the whole area of lucid dreaming or dream work.

Learn More About Lucid Dreaming

This is not the end

Lucid dreaming is a passion of mine. As such, there are several other methods of inducing lucid dreaming that I'm still exploring, such as using binaural beats, affirmations, meditation, which I will be writing more about.

Also there are other aspects to lucid dreaming that I am discussing n in other articles here on Squidoo, including the issue of sleep paralysis causes (quite frightening if you don't know what it is and what to do when it happens), also how to have an astral projection from a WILD using various astral projection techniques for beginners, along with answering the question Is astral projection real?

Enjoy your stay, read any other related articles that you find useful in your journey of exploring the world of lucid dreaming, astral projection and out of body experiences.

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Do You Have Any Experience With Lucid Dreaming? - Leave Your Comments Below

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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      have been trying to lucid dream for about 10 years now. Every time I would fail. I'm not a big dreamer to begin with. So when i do dream they are very off the wall and short. I've only had a dream about 6 times in the last 10 year's.

      Earlier today I accidentally fell asleep on the couch. I work night shifts for the city removing snow. 29 years old and still want to lucid dream. But as I fell asleep I "accidentally" became lucid. For the last 10 year's about 5 or 6 times a day o check my hands. Aka reality check. It just became habit. i don't know why I continued to do it.

      What cued me was total fluke. I saw a cracked iPhone screen. Slowly I watched the cracks reverse and the glass solidify. I said "what?" Then for some reason I looked at my hands.... Then a huge explosion inside me happed. I can't describe the feeling it was incredible. The most overwhelming feeling ever. i knew i was dreaming. I slammed my eyes shut in my dream for one second then opend them up. Every thing was so bright and clear. I was so excited. But this is where i think I messed up.

      My plan has always been if i lucid dream I am going to try to fly. I knelt down for a moment and with great force took off in to the air. It was at a speed so incredible that i could not judge it. Now keep in mind from the time I knew i was dreaming to flying was about 15 seconds.

      As i took to flight every thing whent blindingly bright and then woke up.

      15 seconds of lucidity all by accident. And I can recall the dream as if it actually happened.

      Why did I wake up the instant I took to the sky. I've always known what I was gonna do if i ever became lucid. Did I do too much too soon?

      Now i know my cue I hope I can do this again. 10 years i have been waiting for this. And it was wonderful.

    • profile image

      Wedding Mom 

      8 years ago

      Being able to explore your dream at will is very interesting.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Well I know this can work as I've dabbled in it and experienced it, but I've never taken it very far! I think it would be an exciting thing to do!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      When I am lucid dreaming I find I become aware of helping to heal people with some emotional problem, as I am aware of their needs being essential to their spiritual growth and well being....+++

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I've not heard of lucid dreaming before. I don't usually remember my dreams unless I wake up in the middle of them. Interesting concept - and I love the dream journals!

    • casquid profile image


      9 years ago

      Yes I do. I was aware that the dream was just that. The skies were clear and blue against the landscape of toned green trees and larger grass areas. There were houses painted white, blue, green and red with detailed porches, swings and steeples on a church. I saw people waving at me with smiles on their faces.

      I could smell crisp fresh air and no temperature issues were present. I remember saying that, as I woke up.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Yes.. and I aways try to fly!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I really am not aware as I don't remember my dreams.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I spent a summer trying to lucid dream and it took about 3 weeks. I was only ever able to wake up and then fall back asleep and then sometimes lucid dream. I could only do it when I didn't have to wake up to an alarm but even sometimes when you know you're in a dream you can't control what's happening inside of it. Great lens!

    • girlfriendfactory profile image


      9 years ago

      Great info on lucid dreaming! I learned many years ago as a teenager due to some reoccurring nightmares, though it wasn't called lucid dreaming - at least they never told me that - I didn't learn a name for it until I was much older. I have a nightmare about once every 7 or 8 years now, maybe less. The best thing, and the hardest thing (I think) is being able to fly, but I can't always do it. Another one for you in the gallery (in fact, the last for my January listings) of blessed lenses at Flyby Wingings! They may call me an dreamer, but not all who dream are lucid...I'm glad I am! ~Ren

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Wow this was possibly one of the most informative lenses on lucid dreaming that I have seen yet. This is a great resource for anyone who wants to learn about lucid dreaming, everything you need to get you started in one place. The Super Wal-Mart of lucid dreaming.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      When I was a younger child (6-9 years old) I regularly had horrible, frightening nightmares. I used to dread going to bed at night. It was an issue my grandmother and I had to work on every evening. She would tell me over and over again, "no bad dreams tonight." I would listen to her say it and start repeating her. When I was in bed and hiding under the covers after she left the room, I'd start to get scared and I would close my eyes and just start repeating that phrase to myself quietly one time after another.

      My experiences with lucid dreaming were odd. I would get so worked up with being scared before I'd fall asleep, and my parents kept trying to make me feel better before I went to bed by pointing out how outlandish the nightmares were and how things like that couldn't really happen in real life. So I kept pounding that into my head as I fell asleep. After doing this for a while, I began to realize that I was dreaming once the nightmare reached a point that became too far fetched and/or unrealistic. It would just hit me like a ton of bricks out of nowhere --- I'd stop in the dream and say to myself, "Wait a minute, that can't really happen. That's not real! I'm dreaming."

      After that happened, I'd get an instant moment of intense relief. But immediately afterwards I'd slip back into fear and anxiety. There was usually a monster chasing me or something scary breathing right down the back of my neck at these points in the dreams. But once I figured out that I was sleeping and none of it was real, I'd close my eyes in the dream and do my best to block everything around me out completely. I had to focus really, really hard...sometimes for what seemed like several minutes. I was trying to wake myself up. And I did, but it took amazing concentration. Especially since I was trying to ignore whatever was scaring me in the dream.

      Now that I'm an adult, I still have lots of nightmares. I have not had a lucid dream since I was a child though. Too bad, it would be nice to escape the bad dreams I have now too!

      Nice lens, thanks for this.

    • Ownage1808 profile image


      10 years ago

      This sound scary and dangerous.....

      sounds fun!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I have in the past, but I lost touch with it. Now I'm anxious to get back into it! Thanks!

    • modernchakra profile image


      10 years ago

      This is exactly what I was looking for. A crisp and clear explanation on practically training for lucid dreaming. Thank you very much.. will definitely like and share. Take care.

    • emmaklarkins profile image


      10 years ago

      I used to, back when I was taking a sleep class with Dr. Dement, but I haven't recently!

    • KarenTBTEN profile image


      10 years ago

      Curiously, when I wake up inside a dream, my first thought is how long I have before I wake. I had a dream once where some part of my mind snapped awake and pronounced that I was sleeping very deeply so there was no need to worry about waking myself up. Since (sigh) there was no one around in the dreamscape that I knew, I would just explore...

      I am more apt to have unusual when I do sleep a bit later and drift in and out of sleep. I have had dreams that seem to have information in them that's relevant to my life, so, while I don't spend a lot of time intentionally cultivating lucid dreams I am (sometimes) attracted to the idea of waking up inside an insightful dream.

    • kislanyk profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Cyprus

      Oh wow can I say I'm jealous now? I AM!!!

      One thing I want to try in one of my longer lucid dreams is to create something of art (a piece of jewelry would be great, since I'm making jewelry in real life anyway). Imagine making something over there and recreating it here...or an otherworldly song or something...

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Unfortunately, lucid dreams are about all the dreams I have. Can't remember the last time I had a real night's sleep. But I do consider lucid dreaming a gift more than a curse. It is amazing to know what it feels like to fly. :)

    • profile image

      GypsyPirate LM 

      10 years ago

      No, I have never experienced this myself, but I enjoyed very much learning about it today. Thank you for all the great information!


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