A few weeks ago, I posted an article about False awakenings. Today I’m going to offer some simple suggestions that can help you turn your false awakenings into Lucid dreams. These techniques will also help you remember to perform frequent reality checks, which can greatly increase the likelihood of becoming lucid in a dream. (You can read more about reality checks here and here.)
To begin, think of the things you usually do when you first wake up. Which actions do you perform every morning upon awakening? For most people, this list will include turning off an alarm Clock, getting out of bed, going to the bathroom, and other similar tasks. Those are the everyday activities that typically occur in a false awakening, so we’re going to use them as the starting point for transitioning from a false awakening into a Lucid Dream, but because of the nature of these techniques, they’ll also help you have lucid dreams even if you never have a false awakening.
Technique #1: Use your alarm clock as a trigger for a reality check. Whenever you glance at the clock, regardless of the time of day or night, ask yourself, “Am I dreaming?”
This technique is made even easier by the fact that you can use the numbers on a digital clock or the hands on a traditional clock to perform your reality check. In dreams, we often have trouble focusing on text and numbers for more than a few seconds at a time. The letters and numbers appear blurry, or they change rapidly, or they wiggle, or they morph into strange symbols, or they change uncharacteristically each time you glance at them. For example, you might glance at the clock and see a time of 7:30am then look away for a split second and glance back again to see a time of 3:45pm. Traditional clocks often behave oddly in dreams as well. The hands might spin rapidly or the time might change randomly.
To perform a reality check, simply glance at the clock. If the numbers are behaving strangely, you’re probably dreaming. If the numbers are behaving normally, look away for a moment and then look at the clock again. Is the time still the same? If the time displayed on the clock changed in an unusual way, you’re probably dreaming.
Technique #2: Put a sign on your bathroom mirror that says “Am I dreaming?” Most people visit the bathroom immediately upon waking, most bathrooms have a mirror hanging over the sink, and mirrors are a great tool for triggering lucid dreams, which means the inevitable morning visit to the bathroom makes for a perfect lucid dreaming opportunity.
Write the question “Am I dreaming?” in big letters on a piece of paper and tape it to your mirror, or hang it on the wall where it will be impossible not to see it every time you visit the bathroom. Whenever you see the sign, perform a reality check.
If you suspect you’re dreaming, look in the mirror. Does the reflection of the room match the room itself, or are there differences? Is the reflection unusually blurry or unsteady? Can you will the room in the reflection to change? Can you push your fingers or even your whole hand or arm into the mirror? (Be gentle when you try that, just in case you’re not dreaming.)
If you really want to be gung ho about the process, you can put “Am I dreaming?” signs all over your home. It might cause a few raised eyebrows when you have guests, but you’ll be the one having lucid dreams and they won’t. If you think wallpapering your home with lucid dreaming signs is a bit extreme and decide to take a more subtle approach, I recommend at least putting a sign on the door through which you exit your house each day. It will act as a final reminder for you to perform reality checks not just while you’re at home but throughout the rest of your day as well.
Technique #3: Every morning and night when you brush your teeth, ask yourself, “Am I dreaming?” Believe it or not, dreams about teeth are incredibly common. People dream about loose teeth, rotting teeth, missing teeth, toothaches, and a mouthful of teeth falling out, and as a result, psychologists have produced an abundance of explanations for “tooth dreams”.
If you get yourself into the habit of performing a reality check every time you brush your teeth, the next time you have your own “tooth dream” you’ll ask yourself if you’re dreaming and the answer will be “Yes”. Voila! A lucid dream.
Technique #4: Every morning when you eat breakfast, ask yourself, “Am I dreaming?” If you have a false awakening that lasts all the way through to breakfast, you’ll perform a reality check and discover you’re dreaming (which probably explains why you’re conversing with Snap, Crackle and Pop about the mysteries of the universe and only now realizing that’s not entirely normal behavior).
Technique #5: Whenever you see your bed, whenever you get into your bed, or whenever you get out of your bed, perform a reality check. This will not only cut short your false awakenings but also will encourage you to think about lucid dreaming immediately before falling asleep, immediately upon waking up, and every other time you walk through your bedroom.
Stay tuned for the next article, which will describe how to turn a nightmare into a lucid dream.
This post is Part 28 in the series Mastering the Art of Lucid Dreaming.
Read part 29 here – How to Turn a Nightmare Into a Lucid Dream
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