The Lucid Dream Exchange

Five Successful Techniques for Lucid Dreaming

© Robert Waggoner 2009

1) Suggestion:

Clear your mind. Relax. Repeat to yourself thoughtfully one of the following:

“Tonight in my dreams, I will realize I am dreaming and become consciously aware.”
“Tonight in my dreams, when I see something strange, I will realize I am dreaming and become consciously aware.”
Or fill in the blank with a dreamsign which is both common and unusual in your dreams (for example, if your dead Aunt Ruth frequently appears in your dreams):
“Tonight in my dreams, when I see ___________ (my deceased Aunt Ruth), I will realize I am dreaming and become consciously aware.”

Imagine yourself happily writing down your lucid dream in the morning!

2) Waggoner’s Modified Castaneda Technique: Finding your Hands

Using the Carlos Castaneda approach consistently each night before sleep is how I had my first lucid dream.  I believe it works by establishing a simple stimulus-response associational link. Practicing repeatedly develops the association between the stimulus (the sight of your hands) and the response (“This is a dream!”).

1) Sit in your bed, and become mentally settled.
2) Stare softly at the palm of your hands, and tell yourself in a caring manner that, "Tonight while I am dreaming, I will see my hands and realize that I am dreaming."
3) Continue to softly look at your hands and mentally repeat the affirmation, "Tonight while I am dreaming, I will see my hands and realize that I am dreaming."
4) Allow your eyes to cross, and unfocus; remain at peace and continue to repeat slowly.
5) After about five minutes or once you feel too sleepy, quietly end the practice.
6) When you wake up in the middle of the night, gently recall your intention to see your hands and realize that you are dreaming. Try to remember your last dream; did you see your hands?
7) At some point in a dream, suddenly your hands will pop up in front of you and you will instantly make the connection, "This is a dream!"  Try to stay calm and explore the dream environment. Later, when you wake from your lucid dream, take a moment and write it down in your dream journal -- write the entire dream; how you realized you were dreaming; what you did while aware that you were dreaming, etc. Congratulations!

3) Stephen LaBerge’s MILD Technique

The following is my interpretation of LaBerge’s visualized role-playing technique:

1) Get into the practice of memorizing your last dream in detail, when you spontaneously wake up at night. Simply lie in bed, and recall the last dream in detail.
2) Then LaBerge suggests that you take your recalled dream, and clearly imagine that you have become lucid at an appropriate point. Visualize yourself becoming aware in the remembered dream.

3)  Next, intend to become lucid in the next dream by suggesting, "Next time I’m dreaming, I want to recognize I’m dreaming."
4) Do the above until you feel determined. Expect to become lucid and aware in your next dream as you fall back asleep.

LaBerge also recommended that lucid dreamers conduct a "reality check" to verify that they were dreaming. A "reality check" could be something as simple as levitating or flying -- if you can do these actions in the dream state, then obviously it is a dream!

4) Paul Tholey’s – A Critical Question?  Or a Lucid Mindset

In 1959, Paul Tholey developed an idea to achieve critical awareness in dreams, writing: “If one develops a critical frame of mind towards the state of consciousness during the waking state, by asking oneself whether one is dreaming or awake, this attitude will be transferred to the dreaming state. It is then possible through the occurrence of unusual experiences to recognize that one is dreaming.”

Throughout the day when confronted with an odd event, ask yourself, “Am I dreaming or not?” Then consider, “How do I know?”

Some have suggested putting a red ‘C’ on your hand with a marker, and then each time you see it, ask yourself, “Am I dreaming?”   You could then do a reality check, like try and levitate.  Eventually, this may transfer over to your dream state, and when you wonder “Am I dreaming?” and do a reality check, you will find yourself levitating, and realize, “This is a dream!”.
5) Nap to Lucidity Technique

Independently noticed by many lucid dreamers (and confirmed by the Lucidity Institute), the Nap to Lucidity Technique significantly increases the probability of a lucid dream.

A) Wake about 90 minutes before your normal waking time.

B) Spend the next 90 minutes reading or thinking about lucid dreaming, then return to sleep with the intent to become lucid.

Using this technique, the number of lucid dreams skyrocketed in the final sleep period, when compared to baseline records. ( Lynne Levitan, Nightlight, Vol 3, # 1, “Get Up Early, Take a Nap, Be Lucid”)

Miscellaneous Thoughts

For some people, lucid dreaming requires some persistence.  So try to do one of the above practices consistently.

Also, consider what you might like to do in a lucid dream.  Get interested, curious and excited about that!  This develops emotional energy.  If you don’t know what you’d like to do, start reading the lucid dreams of others at The Lucid Dream Exchange and find something that make you wonder, “Could a person really do that in a lucid dream?” 

If this is your first lucid dream, remember not to get too excited upon becoming lucid, since this normally will wake you up. If getting excited, look at your hands, or the ground or focus on something boring in the lucid dream to stabilize it.  Good luck!

-Robert Waggoner
Author of Lucid Dreaming: Gateway to the Inner Self

If you have additional successful techniques, you can send them to Robert at  He will consider them for inclusion.  Thanks!


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