Research has shown there are ways to train yourself to take control of your dreams.
If your dreams are particularly boring, or you just want to have a little more fun at night, scientists say you may be able to control what you dream about. What’s even better is that it’s possible to take control of your dream and do whatever you want.
There’s only one problem – you have to practice. If you have no self-discipline, forget about it. However, if you can easily make a plan and stick to it, these research-based techniques (suggested by many psychologists and sleep experts) could be just what you need to change your dream life.
It’s possible to use your dreams to find solutions to your problems. Start by thinking about the problem before sleeping. If this generates an image, hold it in your mind so it’s the last thing you see before falling asleep.
You can also place objects on your nightstand that represent the problem. For example, an artist experiencing a creative block could place a blank canvas next to the bed. In order to remember your dream, stay in the same position you wake up in. The distraction of moving can cause you to forget half of what you dreamed about.
Choosing your dream
If you want to dream about a particular subject or person, or if you used to have dreams of flying and want them back, use the same technique described for problem solving. Looking at a photo of the person or idea you want to dream of could be enough to trigger it.
This is the difficult part. The other techniques have a much higher success rate, and don’t require as much practice or discipline. Lucid dreams aren’t easy to come by, but studies show that following these steps can help you achieve them.
Start keeping a dream journal
Place a pen and notebook next to where you sleep. When you wake up after dreaming, remain still until you’ve remembered everything you can. Write down as many details as possible. Over the coming weeks you’ll be able to see patterns that will help you with some of the other steps in the process.
Give yourself “reality checks”
If you stop to ask yourself if you’re dreaming, you’ll likely know the answer. But getting into the habit of asking yourself during the day increases your chances of asking yourself while you’re dreaming – and the only way to have a lucid dream is to realize that you aren’t awake. Throughout the day, keep asking yourself if you’re dreaming. Do it as you read text or flip on a lightswitch. It may seem silly, but if you were asleep, those tasks wouldn’t work in the same way. If you flip a lightswitch and the sky turns purple, and you’re able to ask yourself “Am I dreaming?” you’ll know that you’re inside a dream and you can begin to control it.
Redistribute your sleep
Scientists believe that late morning dreams are the longest and most intense, and many agree that redistributing your sleep is the most reliable method for inducing lucid dreaming. This is how it works: set an alarm to wake you up four hours earlier than normal. Get up and go about your business for two hours while imagining that you can control your dreams. Then get back in bed and sleep for another two hours. Those delayed final two hours of sleep are the most rich with REM activity, and they’re your best chance at achieving lucidity.
Identify your personal dream signs
Here’s where your dream journal comes back into play. Go through your dream entries and highlight anything that appears more than once. Identifying the objects, animals, or people that recur are is another way to tell yourself that you’re dreaming. For example, if you always dream about your deceased grandmother, keep saying to yourself “The next time I see Grandma, I’ll be dreaming.” With any luck, the next time you dream about her, you’ll realize you aren’t awake.