It is very likely that at least once you realized that you were dreaming, even that you were able to control the content of that dream. In this case, you may want to repeat: Being aware in a dream is a once in a lifetime experience.
In this article we will explain how to realize you are in a dream and control. We will describe 9 very useful techniques for keeping the mind in a state of consciousness, for manipulating the dream world and, most importantly, for remembering dreams after waking up.
What are lucid dreams?
Lucid dreams are simply those in which we are aware that we are dreaming. Sometimes this allows us to control sleep to some extent, alter the content of nightmares, and even explore our mental life and use our imaginations at will.
Humans have applied this practice since ancient times for a variety of purposes. Some Buddhist and Hindu disciplines have used lucid dreams as a kind of meditation, while many artists try to become aware of their dreams and control them for inspiration.
Scientific research has revealed that lucidity begins during the REM phases (“Rapid eye movements”), during which dreams are more vivid and more narrative. It is believed that the main difference between typical dreams and lucid ones is that in the latter there is activity in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, which is related to working memory.
The maintenance of consciousness manifests itself in the increased presence of beta waves in the brain during lucid dreams than during the rest. These types of waves represent intense brain activation and are typical of the wake and to a lesser extent of the REM phase.
How to control dreams
Some people are spontaneously aware that they are dreaming every time, while others learn to control their dream world naturally; however, for most people, this practice requires effort and dedication.
These keys to controlling dreams they will be useful if you want to become an onironaut, but keep in mind that for this you have to be patient: at the beginning it is very complicated and the results can be unsatisfactory. For example, it is common to be able to control a dream but pass out soon after, or not remember anything upon waking up.
1. Record your dreams
Before you start having lucid dreams, you need to learn to remember them as vividly as possible. If you find it difficult to remember what you dreamed after waking up, it will be especially important that you take this first step, as if you managed to control a dream but it is immediately forgotten, your effort will have been in vain. .
Keep a “dream journal” it is very effective in remembering what you dreamed of. Leave a notebook and pen, or voice recorder, on the nightstand; so that you can save your dreams right after you wake up. It can be helpful to spend a few minutes focusing on recovering your sleep content before doing so.
Read them again or listen to them later, as the mind is not fully active for a few minutes after waking up and you will probably immediately forget what you dreamed about, but the review will help you practice dreaming up. .
2. Do reality tests
Reality tests consist of check if we are awake everyday. This practice must be repeated frequently in the waking state so that it becomes a habit and is repeated spontaneously during dreams, allowing the onironaut to realize that he is asleep.
A large number of behaviors are likely to be used as proof of reality, because the internal logic of dreams is very different from that of real life. It is essentially about detect perceptual inconsistencies which would not happen if we were awake.
These tests consist of asking yourself if you are dreaming and doing something to verify it, such as carefully examining a text or a clock; if we don’t detect anything weird, like moving letters or numbers, we’re probably awake. However, it is best to do more than one test at a time in case the first one does not work.
Doing reality tests right after waking up will help detect false awakenings, Common side effects lucid dreams consisting of a false sense of awakening.
Here are some reality tests that the onironaut community considers particularly effective. However, reality tests that work great on most people may fail others, so it’s best to try almost all of them.
- Read a text, Look away and read again; repeat twice
- Look at a clock and check that the numbers are stable and consistent
- Try to breathe with your nose covered
- Look at yourself and touch your hands for abnormalities (e.g. too many fingers)
- Examine the environment to see if the vision is perfect (only in people with visual impairments, even if they are mild)
- Try to “cast a spell”, How to move objects with the mind or fly
- Turn a switch on and off to check if the light changes
- Look in the mirror and see if the reflection is normal
3. Incubate dreams
To incubate a dream you need to focus on mentally repeat a sentence or when viewing an image just before falling asleep. This technique is commonly used to facilitate the onset of specific dreams, such as traveling to faraway or fantastic places.
In the case of lucid dreams, visualizing a scenario repeatedly helps us realize that we are dreaming if we show up there, and repeating messages like “When I dream, I will achieve” can be even more effective.
4. Don’t let your mind fall asleep
It is possible to enter directly into a lucid dream when falling asleep. For that you need put the body to sleep but not the mind, At least not completely; it helps to do muscle relaxation exercises, pay attention to physical sensations, and focus on hypnagogic images until you “become” one.
This technique is known as “wake-up induction”. It is a very reliable way to achieve lucid dreams, although it often causes sleep paralysis – which can however be used as an intermediate step to achieve lucidity. This is much more effective in conjunction with the trick that we will describe in the next section.
5. Wake up and go back to sleep
To apply this technique, we need to sleep for about 6 hours, wake up (the easiest way is to use an alarm), do some quiet activity but keep us awake, such as reading lucid dreams or playing a video game. , for 20-40 minutes, then go back to bed.
This way we will get it go directly to the REM phase, In which dreams are more vivid; something similar happens with naps, especially if we got up a few hours ago. Combining this technique with the rest we mentioned, especially arousal induction, is probably the best way to achieve lucid dreams.
6. Remember you are dreaming
Naturally, we tend to lose consciousness gradually during lucid dreams, especially in situations of great physical or cognitive activation. Trying to be calm and focused is the key.
Mentally repeat “I’m dreaming” once we achieve lucidity, it will allow us to remain aware for a longer time, especially if we combine this message with rubbing the hands, which also helps us to be aware of the distinction between the physical body and the body dreamer.
7. Create a new scenario
Even if one manages to be conscious and stay in this state, it is sometimes difficult to control sleep. An important first step, especially for newbie onironauts, is to generate and enter a new dream scenario.
Several techniques can be useful to achieve this goal: create a “portal” in the air with the spirit (You can help with your fingers); close your eyes, visualize a scene and teleport; going around in circles with your eyes closed …
8. Ask for a wish or see a picture
If you have successfully followed the steps above, congratulations: the time you have been waiting for has arrived. Once your mind is aware and you have sufficient control over the dream environment, you can do whatever you want; the only limit is your expectations.
Remember that in dreams anything is possible, from becoming a dinosaur to talking to a deceased loved one or even a part of yourself.
There are two main ways of directly controlling dreams: wanting something and visualizing it. Say what you want to happen out loud (For example, “I am flying over the ocean”) will make it easier to make the wish come true.
9. Prepare for your next lucid dream
The technique known as “lucid induction of lucid dreams” makes it possible to use a lucid dream to incubate subsequent dreams. There are many ways to do this, although you will probably have to try several times; you will need creativity and patience to make this type of integration work.
For example, it can be very useful to “summon” a dream guide in your first lucid dream and have it warn you the next time you dream. You can also create a room that functions as a hall for the dream world and show it off every time you fall asleep.