Lucid dreaming is a very cool experience which takes some practice to get it right. It involves consciously knowing that you’re in a dream while you’re asleep, but not being aware enough to wake you up.
This opens up interesting new experiences within your dream, which can broaden your thinking and perception of reality.
The way you begin lucid dreaming is to recognize when you’re in a dream, which allows you to consciously change parts of your dream, and explore your unconscious dream state.
It may sound easy, but it’s harder than it sounds. If you do several reality checks during the day, you’ll also start to do them in your dreams.
Doing reality checks in your dream will allow you to become conscious of your dream state, and this is how lucid dreaming begins.
The best course of action is to try several reality checks at a time, until you’re sure you’re dreaming.
Here are some reality checks you can try.
Ten Reality Checks To Help You Lucid Dream
1. Check Your Breathing
We tend to rarely think about breathing during the day. This is also true when you’re in a dream.
One of the main principles in these reality checks is to do an action, and then see if what follows is what would happen in reality, or something else entirely.
One of the ways to test this is to close your nostrils with your hand. Try to breathe through your nose, and if you can, you are dreaming.
2. Examine Your Hands
Some of the best reality checks involve checking things you are extremely familiar with, so looking down at your hands is a great way to do this. Do they look the same, as normal?
Do you still have as many fingers as you do in reality? Do your palms look the same, or is something a little strange?
3. Check the Physics
Another trick to try is to test how solid the objects around you are. Can you put your fingers through something which should be completely solid?
Test the weight of something. Is it heavier or lighter than it should be? Do you struggle to lift something which should be no effort in reality?
One of the most interesting ‘sensations’ within a dream is being able to push your hand through a wall, but still feel some resistance.
4. Try to Read Something
We very rarely read in dreams. Although text can appear, the action of reading is largely a conscious action.
While you may know what things say in dreams instantly, you can be hard-pressed to actually read anything.
Try to follow text with your eyes. If you can’t, or if the text changes in any way, you may be dreaming.
5. How Did You Get Here?
In dreams, you don’t remember things as a sequence of events. Things just happen, and you’re right in the middle of it, reacting to them as they happen.
Try to remember what you were doing before the current situation, or how you got here.
If it’s a complete blank, if it has no connection to now, or you don’t remember the journey to now, you may be dreaming.
6. Check the Time
This is another simple but very effective trick. Time moves very strangely in dreams, if you even have a concept of time while you’re dreaming at all.
Look for a familiar place to check. Are you wearing your watch? What about a clock on your wall, or on your phone? Note the time if you can see it, and look somewhere else for a moment.
When you look back, is it a completely different time? Have the numbers melted (see also The Meaning Of Numbers In Dreams)? Has the clock changed from analogue to digital, or vice versa? Is it there at all?
7. Take Your Pulse
While dreaming can recreate the ideas of physical sensations, your dreams will rarely get them right. It’s more focused on the abstract, rather than specific details.
One thing that demonstrates this is to check your pulse. Press your fingers (not your thumb, as you may struggle to find it) against the side of your neck, or your wrist. Note how fast or how slow it is.
Take your hands away, and repeat after a couple of seconds. If it’s dramatically different, or if you can’t feel anything, you are probably dreaming.
8. Turn to Someone Else
It’s rare that you’re completely alone in a dream, and a good way of checking is looking at the person or people around you. Do you know them, or are they strangers?
How do you know them? Where did you meet them, to be here now?
Try to really see them, and the details in front of you. Is there something strange about their appearance, the way they act, or what they say to you?
Ask them a question, and see how they respond. You could even ask them if you’re dreaming, but it’s maybe not a good idea to do this regularly, in case you’re actually awake!
9. Look at Reflective Surfaces
Is there somewhere you can check your reflection? Does it look as it normally should? Is there something missing, or something else there which shouldn’t be?
This can be a difficult reality check to do in a dream, as you probably don’t dream of reflections often, but it is a concrete way to check if you’re dreaming.
10. Check Your Pockets
This is something we always do in life (when we have pockets), but not usually in dreams. Make a habit of checking your pockets to see if you’re dreaming.
Do you have on you those things you never leave home without? Keys? Spare change? Phone? Nothing?
It may feel strange at first, doing reality checks when you’re sure you’re awake. But this isn’t about questioning your reality while you’re awake.
It’s about creating a new habit that will follow into your dreams, and this is the key to lucid dreaming. You’re essentially building your own toolkit in order to lucid dream properly.
Don’t just stick to one technique. Use several at a time.
You may notice that your dreams become more vivid as a result, and there’s nothing quite like lucid dreaming.