A lucid dream is any dream in which one is aware that one is dreaming. The term was coined by the Dutch psychiatrist and writer Frederik (Willem) van Eeden(1860–1932). In a lucid dream, the dreamer may be able to exert some degree of control over their participation within the dream or be able to manipulate their imaginary experiences in the dream environment. Lucid dreams can be realistic and vivid. It is shown that there are higher amounts of beta-1 frequency band (13–19 Hz) experienced by lucid dreamers, hence there is an increased amount of activity in the parietal lobes making lucid dreaming a conscious process.
Lucid dreaming has been researched scientifically, and its existence is well established.
The first book to recognize the scientific potential of lucid dreams was Celia Green‘s 1968 study Lucid Dreams. Green analyzed the main characteristics of such dreams, reviewing previously published literature on the subject and incorporating new data from subjects of her own. She concluded that lucid dreams were a category of experience quite distinct from ordinary dreams, and predicted that they would turn out to be associated with rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep). Green was also the first to link lucid dreams to the phenomenon of false awakenings.
Philosopher Norman Malcolm‘s 1959 text Dreaming had argued against the possibility of checking the accuracy of dream reports. However, the realization that eye movements performed in dreams may affect the dreamer’s physical eyes provided a way to prove that actions agreed upon during waking life could be recalled and performed once lucid in a dream. The first evidence of this type was produced in the late 1970s by British parapsychologist Keith Hearne. A volunteer named Alan Worsley used eye movement to signal the onset of lucidity, which were recorded by a polysomnograph machine.
Hearne’s results were not widely distributed. The first peer-reviewed article was published some years later by Stephen LaBerge at Stanford University, who had independently developed a similar technique as part of his doctoral dissertation. During the 1980s, further scientific evidence to confirm the existence of lucid dreaming was produced as lucid dreamers were able to demonstrate to researchers that they were consciously aware of being in a dream state (again, primarily using eye movement signals). Additionally, techniques were developed that have been experimentally proven to enhance the likelihood of achieving this state.
WILD is an abbreviation for Wake Induced Lucid Dream
The concept behind the WILD technique is that you are utilizing the fact that you wake up in the middle of the REM state as previously discussed in the Sleep Cycle section fromThe Lucid Dream Primer. By waking from the REM state, it is much easier to fall back to sleep into REM faster and therefore bypassing the NREM stages that make it more difficult to remain conscious as you fall asleep.
It is nearly impossible to go from the waking state into a lucid dream when you go to bed first thing at night, because your mind has to wind down during the NREM stage of your sleep cycle.
However, if you allow yourself to wake up while you are in the middle of the REM stage, then you can go back to sleep and enter right back into finishing that REM stage that you previously woke up from (which is the dreaming stage of the sleep cycle).
To perform the WILD technique, do the following:
Set the alarm on your clock or cell phone to wake you up 5 to 6 hours after going to sleep. Try to time the alarm to wake you up during the middle of one of your 1.5 hour sleep cycle intervals, since this is when you will likely be in the REM stage.
Get in bed and go to sleep at night as you normally do.
When the alarm wakes you up, turn it off and close your eyes again.
Now that your eyes are closed again, you will begin to drift back to sleep. You may begin seeing hypnagogic imagery of faces, etc. Continue repeating “I will have a lucid dream” to yourself. Visualize yourself being conscious and aware in your dream. Try to visualize being logical about everything you see with your eyes closed.
Slowly, but surely, you will begin to feel your body entering the dream. Your body will begin to relax into what is called “sleep paralysis”, where you can’t move. This paralysis happens every time you fall asleep, but you usually don’t realize it, because by then you are unconscious and unaware that you are asleep.
Continue falling deeper until you enter the dream and you are lucid.
After the DILD technique, the WILD technique is the most popular type of lucid dream induction technique. Since mind is still in the state of REM when you wake up, it is much easier to fall back to sleep into REM, but this time, you are falling asleep with the intention of having a lucid dream. Intention is everything with lucid dreams. Get into the habit of telling yourself before you go to sleep that you are going to have a lucid dream or that you want to have a lucid dream.