How can I lucid dream?
June 11, 2005 3:13 PM   Subscribe

I have a great interest in lucid dreaming, yet I am unable to either remember or influence my dreams. Are there any lucid dreamers here with some tips?
posted by farishta to Grab Bag (25 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I have an E2 writeup on the topic.
posted by abcde at 3:16 PM on June 11, 2005 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: great link! thanks. Know anything about using vitamins to induce them, such as B6?
posted by farishta at 3:23 PM on June 11, 2005

Here's a article that was written on the topic.

From what I know, the first step in all things dream-related is to start a dream journal- a book where you write down what you remember, all the details and plotline, right when you wake up. After that, all things dream-related become possible.

Since you mention that you don't remember your dreams, you may want to work on that first. If you smoke the chronic, you'll have to cut down or quit- don't smoke before going to bed. cannabis has serious memory- and dream-inhibiting effects. Herbal supplements like 5-HTP, St. John's Wort, and Calumus Root Tea are supposed to clear up this memory problem and the general mind-grog you can have because of that stuff.

5-HTP I recommend in particular if you are a smoker, or even if you're not, but want to help with the dreaming process. I've had very intense dreams since I started taking 5-HTP regularly.
posted by id at 3:26 PM on June 11, 2005

Huh. I never realized that lucid dreaming was so uncommon. One of the linked articles indicates that it happens only two to three times in the average person's life time; it happens to me at least two or three times a year, sometimes much more often.

Lately, I've had trouble sleeping. (In fact, I leave for my appointment with the sleep clinic in a few hours. With luck, they'll figure out what's wrong wtih me.) To help me sleep, I've been taking 3mg of melatonin every night before bed.

Holy cats!

This stuff is amazing.

I fall asleep within an hour, and I sleep deeply all through the night. Best of all, it induces even more vivid dreams than I already had. In the past two weeks alone, I've had two or three lucid dreams (and I dream vividly every night). I also remember more of my dreams.

I'm not saying melatonin will give you lucid dreams, but it's sure worked for me.
posted by jdroth at 3:39 PM on June 11, 2005

Standard advice for increasing dream recall is to keep a notebook at the nightsand, and start free writing about the traum-welt AT ONCE after you awake.
posted by crunchburger at 4:06 PM on June 11, 2005

Write down your dreams (in as much detail as possible) as soon as you wake up. It's as simple as that. This ensures not only that you remember your dreams later on, but that you will form a strong connection with the sensation of being in a dream state. Remember the idea that if you're dreaming, you have complete control over the dream, and lucidity should eventually follow.
posted by rxrfrx at 4:07 PM on June 11, 2005

The only times I've experienced/remembered lucid dreams are the deep sleeps after I've drunk or smoked blue lotus. Calea zacatechichi reportly also encourages dreaming.
posted by glibhamdreck at 5:01 PM on June 11, 2005

I too have an interest in lucid dreaming, but am too lazy to keep a dream journal. What has worked for me is just thinking about lucid dreaming all the time. I ask myself, "Am I dreaming right now? What about this situation leads me to believe it's reality?" etc. Then, when I am dreaming, I ask myself the same question, and tada, I'm lucid dreaming.

Now I just need to work on staying power. After my first lucid dream, where I swam through the air like it was water, I get so excited every time I realize I'm dreaming that I wake myself up!

Both marijuana and drinking seem to affect the ability to lucid dream, so take that in to consideration.
posted by muddgirl at 5:10 PM on June 11, 2005

I do it all the time and always have. I think that the intention that abcde describes is what has enabled it to be so normal for me. I generally just observe but am aware that I am dreaming, sometimes I change the dream while I am in it either because I don't like it or more commonly, just for the hell of it. Good luck- it's fun!
posted by puddinghead at 5:28 PM on June 11, 2005

Last week, I realized I was in the middle of a dream that has recurred numerous times since I was a kid, except I never remembered the dream when I awoke. This time however I said to myself, 'remember the Curtis farm in the morning', and I did.

My most lucid dreams came while I was a night auditor at a small inn. I was not supposed to nap, but many nights, I put my head on a large dictionary on the desk and caught 90 minutes or so. Quite often I would realize I was napping and I would think, 'move your arm' or 'lift your head'. I never could, but trying was fun.

My worst lucid dream was a nightmare and I was screaming at myself to wake up, trying to punch myself, trying to roll, anything to snap me out of sleep, nothing worked. That one sucked.
posted by mischief at 5:31 PM on June 11, 2005

You could get one of these.
posted by forallmankind at 6:27 PM on June 11, 2005

One of the side effects of the anti-malaria medication Larium is very vivid dreams. I only took this for a couple of weeks but I still remember some of the dreams vividly after 7 years. Most of the people I've talked to that have taken this prefer the possibility of malaria to the side effects of this drug.

I have also heard from two different Americans in Brazil that if they eat a lot of the local chocolate there they have very vivid dreams. I have tried the chocolate and did not notice any unusual dreams.
posted by Yorrick at 7:08 PM on June 11, 2005

Melatonin and B6 both work, but Melatonin is a hormone and should probably only be taken as a sleep aid, and then at doctor's recommendation (the fact that it's available off the shelf is odd). Vitamin B6 works but creates a small risk of peripheral neuropathy (tingling fingers and toes - usually goes away when you stop) when taken at the huge doses that you get off the shelf. It doesn't hurt to get a bit extra at normal nutritional levels like in those B complex + C pills, though.
posted by abcde at 7:42 PM on June 11, 2005

It may sound hokey, but taking about 60 to 90 seconds just before going to sleep to instruct yourself that you will be conscious while dreaming does work.
posted by yclipse at 8:04 PM on June 11, 2005

I have heard of people playing certain music only while sleeping, so that they know that if they're up and around and hearing that music, they must be dreaming. Waking Life also suggested trying to change light levels and read things like books (read, glance away, see if it's the same when you look at it again), but I seem to be able to do that in my dreams most of the time, so that's not always a good indicator.
posted by heatherann at 8:29 PM on June 11, 2005

I am a lucid dreamer - I have had two lucid dreams this week alone. It seems to be cyclical, and also related to my sleep patterns - they occur most frequently when my sleep has been disturbed in some fashion and I go back to sleep. That second sleep is usually lighter and I fall into dreaming almost immediately. I've been conscientious about taking my multi-vitamins lately, and have been using omega-6 supplements, and have noticed an increase in my lucid dreams - however, I've also been drinking a lot more caffeine than usual, and have not been on a regular sleep schedule for the last two weeks. That's all the data I can provide - while I usually document the dreams in some fashion, I don't always document the circumstances surrounding them, so I'm not aware of how it works.

The most common way I've heard that lucid dreamers shake themselves into awareness is by looking at clocks or mirrors in their dreams. I have done this, but usually because I'm already aware I'm dreaming and I go looking for a clock or a mirror, not the other way around.
posted by annathea at 9:28 PM on June 11, 2005

The movie Waking Life mentioned that a couple triggers can be used to indicate you're sleeping. One is that you can't change the light levels, i.e. light switches don't work. The other is that you can't read fine text or numbers on a digital clock, for example. The latter one actually worked for me once, in my dream I was driving a car, and I looked at the odometer and I couldn't read it! I realized I was dreaming and decided to try to have some fun, but soon I woke up. :(

(just noticed heatherann's post, but that's ok)
posted by knave at 10:04 PM on June 11, 2005

The first I heard of lucid dreaming was an article in Omni magazine in the early 80's. I was really into it at the time and had my first lucid dream around then. During the dream, when I realized I was dreaming, I tried to fly, which is what the article recommended. As soon as I tried to fly I was soaring through the sky like a jet, moving so fast that my turns had to be wide arcs. It was the greatest.

What's funny is that my roomate also had a lucid dream around the same time, most likely cuz I had been talking about it a bunch. He said that in his dream he was standing in his bedroom and realized he was dreaming and decided to try to fly. He said it took every ounce of effort and concentration to lift two feet off the floor.

I think the more it's on your mind, the more likely you are to to do it.
posted by wsg at 10:56 PM on June 11, 2005

If your a smoker and are thinking of quitting (or just like the idea of 24-hour nicotine delivery), try sleeping with the patch on-- the big one. There are no dreams more vivid, crazy, and often (at least for me) lucid them patch dreams.
posted by cosmonaught at 12:17 AM on June 12, 2005

I would like to second some of the things said above -

1. Keep a dream journal close by your bed or similar sleeping arrangement and write down as much as you remember as soon as you wake up. Memory deteriorates rapidly, and waking up with all the memories from a vivid dream can change to desperately trying to remember anything at all about your dream within minutes. Over time, this allows you to remember more about your dreams, which allows you to analyze them better, as well as spot when you're actually having a dream (which most people don't, while they are dreaming).

I've found that the mere act of keeping the journal was by itself sufficient to allow me to have more vivid dreams, but once you've kept the journal for a while, you can start looking for recurring motifs in your dreams, which can among other things be helpful in spotting whether you are dreaming in future.

2. Ask yourself if you are dreaming at certain times throughout the day, or at random times, but often enough. Ask yourself right now. Ask yourself every time you go through a door. Ask yourself every time you start to read something. AFAIK you can read text in a dream, but you can't read the same text twice. See a poster on the wall or some text in a book? Go back to it. If you can still read it (and it's the same text), you're not dreaming. Drum these questions into your head, and eventually you're bound to ask yourself these questions while you are dreaming. Realizing you're dreaming while you're dreaming allows you to break through to influencing your dreams.

What I've found once entering the lucid dream state, though, (and it's been a couple of years, and I only managed it a few times) is that I would find myself waking up, while I was desperately trying to stay in the dream world, and to explore and influence it. A trick I read to avoid slipping back into consciousness that has worked for me was to spin on your own axis (in the dream). Just stand there and do a pirouette. Sounds silly, but it worked for me, and I was able to spend more time in the dream.
posted by McIntaggart at 6:44 AM on June 12, 2005

Funny enough, I had my first lucid dream this afternoon. My partner and I dozed off after, well, after. The details escape me, but my partner was in the dream and I think he told me it was a dream, or something like that. It was cool, but didn't go anywhere. But I'm not generally fond of napping (makes me cranky) so I woke up.

I recall having read somewhere the idea that making yourself look at your hands was a useful tool to gain control of dreams. Flying was considered further advanced. I myself find it hard to imagine staying asleep when I can FLY!
posted by Goofyy at 8:13 AM on June 12, 2005

I had it happen a few times as a child (10-15 years of age) and then never again. I wonder if this might be an indication of something.
posted by wackybrit at 9:49 AM on June 12, 2005

WSG: I can't believe you mentioned the OMNI article! I started lucid dreaming after following its excercises and kept with it for a few years, until I graduated high school. This seems to be the text, but I can't recall the article well enough to confirm it.
posted by boo_radley at 11:23 AM on June 12, 2005

What Cosmonaught said! Any of the nicotine patches or lozenges will produce extremely vivid, 3-d, better than the movies type dreams for me. They even have this listed as a possible side effect on the box.
posted by vronsky at 12:25 PM on June 12, 2005

Here's a handy site. It takes you step-by-step through the process of learning to recall your dreams to the process of controlling the dreams themselves.
posted by Eideteker at 1:09 PM on May 25, 2006

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