What exactly is a lucid dream?
A dream is lucid when you're aware, in the dream, that you're dreaming. Many flying dreams are lucid dreams. You may even feel sensations, and you may be able to control the dream—or control some things.
(Like, maybe you can fly, but you need a jet pack.)
There's even a Tibetan Buddhist practice of using lucid dreams to develop spiritually. It's called "dream yoga."
You can learn how to lucid dream—and even develop some in-dream skills—at workshops. But there are some simple things you can do now to encourage lucid dreams.
Tip No. 1: Sleep for eight hours a night
This will maximize your REM (aka dreaming) sleep. Dreams occur every 90 minutes and get longer as you sleep. After eight hours, they can be an hour long!
Remembering dreams is essential to lucid dreaming.
Get to know your dream patterns and symbols: they're your "dreamsigns," signalling to you that you're dreaming.
Tip No. 2: Keep a dream journal
Write your dreams down as soon as you wake up, even in the night. Be sure to jot down dialogue. Read the journal before you go to sleep.
Tip No. 3: Practice "reality tests"
Several times a day, look at a clock, a page of text, or your hands, look away, then look back. These will remain normal IRL, but if you're dreaming, they'll get all crazy.
Tip No. 4: Tell yourself you'll have a lucid dream
Meditate on this idea as you fall asleep, and bring your mind back to it when your thoughts wander.
Tip No. 5: Set an alarm!
Wake up during REM sleep (try 4½, 6, or 7½ hours after your bedtime). Hopefully, you'll be mid-dream. When you fall back asleep, imagine continuing the dream.
Tip No. 6: Take a morning nap
Wake up during your latest REM time and fall asleep imagining your dream, as above, but stay awake for at least a half hour. In that time, practice Tip No. 4 and read your dream journal.
Tip No. 7: Play video games
Sounds weird, but studies have shown that gamers have an easier time lucid dreaming.
Once you arrive in your lucid dream, it's common to wake up because you're so excited. But if you know the dream is fading, you can save it.
Tip No. 8: Keep the dream alive!
To preserve a lucid dream, fall backward, spin around, or rub your hands together, while telling yourself: "The next scene will be a dream."In the dream, you may "wake up" or be in a new setting, but your lucid dream will continue!
Your Lucid Dream Reading List
Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming by Stephen LaBerge and Howard Rheingold (Ballantine Books)
Creative Dreaming: Plan And Control Your Dreams to Develop Creativity, Overcome Fears, Solve Problems, and Create a Better Self by Patricia Garfield (Touchstone)
The Tibetan Yogas of Dream and Sleep by Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche (Snow Lion)