Imagine: complete control over your dreams. What would you do? Fly on command? Being invisible to everyone? Or express your feelings for someone? Practice it in your lucid dream. Everything is possible. Be creative! In this article, we provide you with the best steps and tips for lucid dreaming.
What are Lucid Dreams?
During lucid dreams, you control your own dream. You will not only remember what you have dreamed, but also decide what you are going to do. In the previous blog post, you read about our experiences with dream herbs. Dream herbs are natural products that allow you to dream better, or even get your dreams under control.
But why would you like to dream lucid? The benefits can be recreational. Go on an adventure in your own fantasy world at night, or play a film where you are the protagonist. A lucid dream may also offer a way out of repetitive nightmares. By being aware of of your dream state, you can take action. Turn around, fly away or pull a sword: the choice is yours.
Everyone dreams. You as well
Mastering your dreams is an easy thing, for some people. Some people simply have a talent for it, while others doubts whether dreams exist at all. If you think you never have dreamed, then something like "lucid dreaming" may sound like total nonsense.
Still, everyone dreams. You as well. If you say you don't dream, it basically means you don't remember your dreams. A French survey from 2015 shows that about 1 in 250 people declare they never dream. However, sleep studies shows these people do actually show signs of dreams. They talk during sleeping, make involuntary movements and have brain activity totally equal to those people who remember their dreams.
Lucid Dreams for Beginners
Our Dream Team (sorry, we had to say it), entered the sleeping room again. Over the weekend, five colleagues have pondered about the best steps for lucid dreaming. We distinguish five steps for the perfect lucid dream.
With these 5 steps, you have the tools for lucid dreams. Every following step, builds on the previous one, so make sure you go through all the steps before expecting fully lucid dreams. The dream herbs we have tested before, can guide you during every step of this process. For this reason, we have listed the best dream herbs for those steps.
- Expand REM sleep
- Remember your dreams
- Awareness in the dream: "Hey! I dream!"
- Partial control
- Lucid dream: Full control
1. Expanding REM sleep
The first step of lucid dreaming is of course making sure you are dreaming. Basically, we all experience two phases during our sleep:
- the deep sleep
- the REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.
Dreams naturally arise during REM sleep when move our eyes quickly. You can also see that on our eyelids. Animals show the same behavior. Take a close look at your cat or dog, and see how they seem to blink with their eyes closed.
Even your cat is dreaming. At least, when looking at his movements and eyelids during REM sleep.
During the night, REM and deep sleep alternate several times. Deep sleep takes place more frequently during the beginning of the night. As the night progresses, your deep sleep cycles shorten, making room for longer REM cycles. And since we only dream during REM sleep, we dream a lot more, the longer we sleep.
The key to lucid dreaming? Sleep long enough. Avoid caffeine, drugs or alcohol. These substances disrupt your normal sleep rhythm. You experience troubles falling asleep? Try a freely available melatonin pill. Take this pill half an hour before going to bed. Melatonin induces a feeling of being tired. A healthy sleep is the start of a nice dream. We have good experiences with dissolving valerian or African dream root (Silene capensis) before falling asleep as well. It provides a languid, relaxed feeling, which makes you want get to bed.
2. Remember your Dream
You are someone that does not dream? Most likely, you don't remember your dreams. This may be because you do not wake up at the right time, or you simply attach little value to dreams. Important is to not lose sight of the goal. A trick that helps is to set your alarm clock and keep a dream journal. Put this notebook under your pillow, or on the bedside table. This way, you can write down your dream when you wake up.
Sleep well and put the alarm clock six hours after you think you are falling asleep. The goal is to wake you up during your REM sleep, so you remember parts of your dream. The moment you wake up, write down what you thought you dreamed of. Use short phrases like "fly by swimming" or "chased by shadow". Put the notebook away, and put the alarm again. This time, in one and a half hour. That's how long an entire sleep cycle lasts. And yes, we do take into account the time it takes you fall asleep.
Pro tip: if you want to remember your dreams better, do not use any weed in this period. Weed has a negative influence on short-term memory. In addition, cannabis adversely affects the duration of REM sleep. At least, that's what a small scale study from 1972 shows. A more recent study tells us that the brain is more alert under the influence of a joint. So there could be a connection between being more alert and dreaming less. We have to say that if you are a prolific cannabis user and stop for a while, you can experience a so-called REM rebound effect within 24 to 72 hours. Suddenly, you'll dream more frequently and more intensively than usual. That can last up to six or seven weeks! Your short-term memory will also fully recover during this period. Conclusion: lucid dreams? Just stay away from weed. At least for a while.
Ok, you remember a dream. Time for the next step. Maybe you did experience it during one of your dreams: suddenly you know you are dreaming. This may be a short moment of realization that allowed you to take another path in your dream.
Awareness in your dream is a matter of practice. After each dream, write down in your dream journal what caught your attention. Were the colors different? How many fingers did you have? Maybe electronics did not work as expected. The buttons on the remote control always change, or do not work at all. This can be absolutely anything. Square clouds in the sky, or a dog with a changing number of legs. We call this a dream symbol. Dreams do crazy things. Write down these details in your dream journal.
Dreams show you the craziest things.
Tip: Always have a look at your hands
Look at your hand several times during the day. Quickly turn your hands, and see how many fingers you have. Turn back you hand, and see if you still have the same amount of fingers. By doing this every day, it becomes a sort of habit, which you will automatically practice during your dream. The number of fingers in the dream never stays the same when turning your hand back! You are dreaming!
We couldn’t find any dream herbs for this step. Yet, the hands technique works fine for finding out you are dreaming.
4. Partial Lucid Dreaming
Now you know you are dreaming, you can use it to your advantage. Try running very fast in your dream, or jump very high to see what happens. Such an action can function as a trigger to do all sorts of crazy things in your dream. Usually, you can only take hold of this moment of "lucidity" for a while, and we are not talking yet about fully lucid dreams where you, as a director, direct your dream.
Be your own director, in your nightly film.
Lucid Dreaming Light
The big advantage of this step is that you can control your nasty experiences bit by bit. Nightmares are slowly becoming less scary. You are being chased by someone with a knife? Leave behind a slippery banana peel on the floor, you can gracefully dance over, while your pursuer heavily slips over it.
Dream Herb (Calea zacatechichi) is very suitable for increasing control.
5. Lucid dream: Full control
If you tell to yourself in advance you are going to dream lucidly, the chances of controlling your dream is considerably higher. Till so far, you were able get a first idea of what lucid dreaming is. For experienced oneironauts (people who explore the dream world), every evening it is as if they select a movie on Netflix. You can also do this, with these steps. You followed all steps? Then we would like to introduce you to the WILD method.
The WILD method
WILD stands for Wake Induced Lucid Dreams . It means you awaken the dream state, while you are awake. Again, put your alarm clock in the evening. Put your alarm clock six hours later. When your alarm goes off, turn off the alarm and lie on your back. Make sure your arms and legs don't touch each other. Close your eyes and look with full attention at the spots on the inside of your eyes. Start observing, and use your imagination. Imagine that you are in motion, but don't move your body at all. Now imagine that you are traveling, and try to be as clear as possible about what you want to experience. Within no time, the dream takes over. The chances of a lucid dream are very high with this technique. Especially when you master all previous steps.
Wrong. You'd better lie on your back for inducing lucid dreams.
Dream Herb African Dream Herb
African Dream Herb (Entada rheedii) is our favorite help in the WILD method for lucid dreaming. The big and hard seeds come from a huge pod that grows along the Indian Ocean coast. This is stuff for the advanced dream travelers (oneironautes). It will result in clear dreams. African Dream Herb will also allow you to dream longer than you sleep. With that, we mean your body is still awakening, while your mind is mixing up the bedroom and the dream. Ideal circumstances to give direction to your dream!
With the intention to dream, you can experience the richest adventures with a bit of exercise, a dream journal and a little help from the best dream herbs. Try it tonight!
- The Dream Encyclopedia (2009): Door: James R Lewis, Evelyn Dorothy Oliver
- Aboriginal Dreamtime: aboriginal-art-australia.com
- 10 Of The Best Lucid Dreaming Herbs Ever: howtolucid.com
- Evidence that non-dreamers do dream: a REM sleep behaviour disorder model: Herlin B, Leu-Semenescu S, Chaumereuil C, & Arnulf I (2015). Journal of sleep research PMID: 26307463