By: Jonathan Joseph
When people think about lucid dreaming, or any kind of dreaming for that matter, they typically think about the dreams taking place at night. In some ways this is true, but I’m gonna let you in on a little secret: the best time to induce lucid dreams isn’t at night, it’s in the morning.
Seasoned oneironauts and beginners alike have found that because REM periods are longer after 5-6 hours of sleep, dreams are more vivid and robust in the mornings, and therefore more likely to be memorable and/or lucid. This is also the time that oneironauts have greater success in achieving a WILD, or Wake Induced Lucid Dream. These are can be quite difficult to achieve since they rely on extreme physical relaxation to put the body to sleep while the mind remains awake. However, in the morning when you first wake up, before you move or stretch, your body is still mostly asleep, and just needs a slight nudge to slip it back into the full-sleep state. Sleep inertia in this case will work in your favor! Now all you need to do is add a little mental energy and intention and you’ll soon be able to catch that WILD. Here are the steps:
1. Go to sleep at night.
I’ve said this before, but it’s important to lay down at night to sleep and NOT psych yourself out. Oftentimes people will put pressure on themselves to have a lucid dream or start induction techniques immediately upon retiring to bed, and are unsuccessful which leads to frustration. But, at the end of the day like that, the mind and body just aren’t primed for dreaming. You can should set lucid dreaming and dream recall intentions as you fall asleep, but don’t try to force yourself into a dream at this moment. Your main goal is to fall asleep. Period.
2. WBTB (Wake Back To Bed)
Yep, the foundation for getting the most out of almost any lucid dream technique. Set your alarm for 4-6 hours after you go to bed (I like 5 hours), and wake up with the alarm. Use the restroom, get some water, write down any dream memories in your journal. Try to stay up for 5-20 minutes. Some people say you can stay awake for up to 90 minutes, but I find it tough to get back to seep after that much time. After you’ve been up for a bit, go back to bed. Simple.
3. Begin the WILD Induction
There are many methods out there to induce a WILD. Here is the one that I’ve had the most success with; I call it the Hot Hands method though I’m sure it has other names. After you lay down again, start off like you’re just falling back to sleep as usual. Take some deep breaths and tell your body you’re going to sleep. Just as you begin to feel your mind lose normal conscious focus, start to imaging yourself rubbing the palms of your hands together vigorously, like you would if you were trying to keep warm on a cold day. Keep this up for about 30 seconds, really focusing on the sensation in your imaginary hands as you do this. You feel your “hands” getting hot, almost tingly. Focus on the rapid movement of you imagined forearms, elbows and shoulders as you do this.
After 30 seconds, stop the movement and notice the residual sensation on your hands. After about 10 seconds or so, start up again and repeat the cycle. As you repeat this process 5-6 times, you will eventually realize that you are actually rubbing your hands together, or at least it will feel like it. Your dream body will feel just like your real body. When you notice this, perform a reality check by pinching your nose with you “hands” and inhaling. If you can successfully inhale you’ve freed your arms out of your physical body and can start to move around in the dream body.
Fully releasing from the physical body at this stage can be tricky, but the key is to “think” yourself out and not force yourself out. Think about where you want to go or be. Start small; think yourself over to a window or door. After 3 or 4 times you’ll get the hang of moving in this state, and can then proceed to entering pre-planned dreamscapes.
Now, there is a little bit of a shortcut that you can apply when doing this to get yourself moving around and conscious that your are in the dream world.
While rubbing your "hands” together, imagine yourself in front of a mirror. It’s best if it’s a mirror somewhere in your house that you’re familiar with. Imagine standing in front of the mirror while rubbing your hands and/or during the interim periods. No need to focus too intently on it, in fact your mind can wander away from it and come back throughout the process. Don’t expect anything in particular from your reflection, but just keep the mirror in mind. If this works for you, once you’re conscious in your dream body you will see yourself in the mirror, but something in the reflection will be a dead giveaway you’re dreaming. It’s usually something funny or absurd that will make you laugh. The first time I did this I saw in my reflection that my face was the mashup of my face and my dog's face in that “faceswap” type style. It was just like a picture I had taken a few days before, and I burst out laughing. Don’t be afraid of this. I know it sounds strange and a little scary not knowing what exactly will be in a reflection, but when you’re in the moment there is no fear at all. It’s actually quite fun.
Lastly - and this happens to almost everybody - if you fall asleep or while attempting the WILD, it’s no problem at all. What will happen is you’ll likely wake up 10 or so minutes later not even aware you fell asleep. Just make the first thing that you so when you realize you’re awake is the palm rubbing technique. You may drift in an out of sleep multiple times during this process, but it’s not a problem. In fact it helps a little because this ensures that your body is asleep at points. Just remember that any time you notice you’re not doing the technique, start doing it again. You may wake up to the tell-tale vibrations or rushing sounds in your ears that often accompany the WILD induction process. That’s great! Just relax and begin to move your dream body. Once you get a feel for it it becomes quite easy. It’s just the first few times that take extra perseverance to achieve.
And that’s it. As mentioned before, the key to this is timing! This likely won’t work for you first thing laying own at night, nor will it work in the middle of the day of you’ve only got 30 minutes or so to try it. In fact daytime “nap” lucid dreams are a thing and can be successful, but you need around 2 hours to really be able to get into one. That’s for a different article though.
Give this a shot keeping in mind that it may take multiple attempts, but I can say that in my experience this has no doubt been the most effective combination of timing and technique to achieve the often elusive WILD.