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A lucid dream is one in which the individual knows he or she is dreaming. According to sleep experts at Tuck.com, as many as 82% of people report having a lucid dream at least once in their lives. And while many wake up pretty quickly after making this strange realization, others stay in the dreamstate to explore.

Exploring or controlling a lucid dream can prove beneficial. For example, it can help someone to work through their social anxiety by exposing themselves to different social situations without any real threats. It can also help people become more creative, as they investigate and test new ideas in this dreamworld.

The problem, though, is that entering a lucid dream when you want to isn’t so easy. In fact, it typically takes time and practice. Fortunately, we have some tips to help you out. If you’re interested in training your brain to lucid dream, follow these 5 tips:

One, improve sleep hygiene. Dreams can only occur in REM, the deepest stage of your sleep cycle. Ensure you enter REM by getting plenty of restful sleep. You can do this by creating an optimal sleep environment that is dark, cool, and extra quiet. Additionally, come up with a relaxing bedtime routine. Take a warm bath, unwind with a book, and unplug from electronics well before it’s time to go to sleep. 

Two, keep tabs on your dreams. If you’re one of those people who always remembers their dreams, you’re on the right path. Take it one step further and start recording all of the details. The second you wake up from a dream, write down everything you can remember. You can do this in a tangible journal or if you prefer, a dream journal app like DreamKeeper. Either way, recording this information can help you better tune into your dreams, a first step to lucid dreaming. 

Three, look for recurring themes. Once you get into a habit of recording your dreams, review them and keep an eye out for any patterns. Is there someone who commonly appears in your dreams? Is there a problem that always arises? These recurrences can help you recognize when you’re in a dreamstate and jumpstart lucid dreaming.

Four, use the MILD technique. MILD stands for Mnemonic Induction to Lucid Dreaming. This technique is simple: every night, as you fall asleep, repeat a phrase related to dreaming, such as “I will know when I am dreaming.” This encourages your brain to pay attention to and identify when you enter a dream.

Five, use the Wake Back to Bed strategy. This is another simple technique. Set an alarm to sound about 5 or 6 hours after you fall asleep. When it goes off, you’ll likely wake from REM sleep and a potential dream. Stay awake for at least half an hour, journal about your dream, and engage in one more activity that’ll wake up your brain, like taking a lap through your house. Then, get back in bed, and try to fall back asleep while thinking about the dream you just had. This strategy will maximize your chances of reentering your dream and being able to control it.

These 5 tips can help you have a lucid dream. 

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett

Taylor Bennett is Senior Writer and Editor at Thriveworks. She devotes herself to distributing important information about mental health and wellbeing, writing mental health news and self-improvement tips daily. Taylor received her bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism, with minors in professional writing and leadership from Virginia Tech. She is a co-author of Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book and has published content on Thought Catalog, Odyssey, and The Traveling Parent.

Check out “Leaving Depression Behind: An Interactive, Choose Your Path Book” written by AJ Centore and Taylor Bennett."

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