Lucid dreaming enables you to be the director and star of your own dreams. Think of it as a mindful and life-enriching way to sleep
How often have you woken up, groggy from sleep, unsettled by a dream that is rapidly drifting from your memory? During the night your consciousness has produced images and sensations that may have been pleasurable but could just as easily have been disturbing. Whichever it is, these dreams are mysterious and intriguing but out-of-reach.
What would it be like, then, to be able to control your dreams and instead of passively being caught up in them, to direct them according to your own whims? You could explore new countries, fly over your neighbourhood or into space, defeat enemies, return to a favourite haunt, or even engage in something intimate with a favoured person.
This ability to consciously observe and direct your dreams is called lucid dreaming and is, according to Charlie Morley, co-creator of Mindfulness of Dream and Sleep (a holistic approach to lucid dreaming), a state available to all of us. “It’s safe and natural, not spooky or paranormal, and you can wake yourself up any time you want,” he says.
“Lucid dreaming means that you are consciously aware that you are in the dream as you are dreaming. You may be snoring, fast asleep, but part of your mind has woken up and is thinking: ‘I’m dreaming’. Everything you see, hear, taste, smell is as authentic as real life. It’s super-cool.”
Turn to page 84 of November’s The Simple Things for more on lucid dreaming, or read on for five pointers on how to lucid dream.
Sort out your bedroom
Looking at electronic devices or the TV is not compatible with a good night’s sleep. Restrict all of that to the living room, and clear your head instead. Then your bed will become a platform to launch you into a calm, uncluttered dream state.
Keep a dream diary
This is easier said than done when the urge to drift back to sleep or propel yourself into the day kicks in, but it is vital to enable lucid dreams. As soon as you wake up, write down everything you remember in as much detail as you can. This alerts you to ‘dream signs’ – situations which only happen in dreams, patterns and repeated images.
Ask yourself, “Am I awake?”
Hold your nose and attempt to breathe. If you can’t, you are awake. If you can, you are dreaming. This ‘reality check’ alerts you to the fact that you are in a lucid dream, and allows you to control it.
Incubate a dream
Tell yourself what you’d like to dream and picture it in your imagination before you fall asleep. There’s a greater chance then that it will manifest.
Disrupt your night’s sleep
This is for the hard-core would-be lucid dreamers. Go to bed at 10.30pm, then set the alarm to wake you at 4.30am and 6.30am. Each time, record your dreams before returning to sleep. This will give you more opportunities to lucid dream.