Lucid dreaming study explains how to take control of our dreams

The largest study on lucid dreaming to date has identified the best techniques to help people take control of their nightly dreams. This practice could help people in their daily lives, the study author explains.

Over the course of the study, Aspy put to the test five different lucid dreaming induction techniques or technique combinations. These were:

  1. Reality testing: A person has to examine their physical environment repeatedly every day to ensure its reality. If this becomes a habit, a person can end up performing reality checks in dreams and thus realize that they are dreaming.

  2. Wake back to bed: This involves going to sleep, waking to an alarm after 5 hours, then going back to sleep after a short period of wakefulness. The aim is to send a person straight into rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, a phase associated with dreaming. In theory, this should allow a person to achieve lucid dreaming more easily.

  3. Mnemonic induction of lucid dreams (MILD): This technique also involves waking up after 5 hours’ sleep. However, people practicing MILD should confirm their intention to realize that they are dreaming after returning to sleep. They might do this by repeating the following (or a similar) phrase: “Next time I’m dreaming, I will remember I’m dreaming.”

  4. Senses initiated lucid dream (SSILD): This technique also requires waking up after 5 hours, with the difference that the person then focuses on sights, sounds, and physical sensations. They should focus on these stimuli for 20 seconds each before going back to sleep.

  5. A technique combining MILD and SSILD: After 5 hours’ sleep, the person has to focus on different stimuli from their environment, as well as repeating their intention to remember that they are dreaming when they next fall asleep.