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Lucid Dream: How Does a Lucid Dream Work?
Also:Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams (MILD)

When you sleep, you dream. Most of your dreams will slip away long before you wake, and you won't remember them. You dream during the REM stage of sleep, so named for the rapid eye movement that occurs. On average, REM sleep occurs in 90-minute cycles. It is during this stage that you may experience a lucid dream.

You will recognize that what you are experiencing is a dream. You will be consciously aware that you are asleep, and the visions and sensations seen and felt by you are not real. You may hear yourself say, in the dream, "This is a dream." When you wake, you will remember your dream as vividly as you would a waking memory.

Keep a journal and pen next to your bed. Set your alarm for 5 to 6 hours after you go to bed. As you fall asleep, repeat to yourself, "I will remember my dream." When the alarm goes off, quickly write down any dream sequences that you can recall. Do this until you develop the skill of dream recall any time you awaken.

Once you've trained your mind to recall dreams, you can develop the skill of lucid dreaming. Developed by Dr. Stephen LeBerge in the 1980s, the MILD technique is commonly used to induce lucid dreaming. MILD stands for Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams. Like meditation, this exercise requires you to focus your mental energies.

There are variations on the technique, but the intent is to train your mind on the thought, "Next time I dream, I will remember that I am dreaming. I will be aware that I am dreaming."

During the day, examine your hands every 90 minutes. While you examine your hands, remind yourself to be aware of the dream when you dream. By cuing your mind to see your hands every 90 minutes, it will re-create that event in REM sleep.
This visual cue will remind you, in your sleep, to become aware while in a dream state.

When you go to bed, fix the image of your hands in your mind as you repeat to yourself, just as you would a mantra, "Next time I dream, I will remember that I am dreaming. I will be aware that I am dreaming."

When you see your hands, while asleep, you will become aware that you are asleep and that you are dreaming. Your mind now associates the image of your hands with 90-minute cycles, with dreaming and with awareness of the dream. This awareness is the experience of lucid dreaming.

The sensation of lucid dreaming has been likened to the feeling one has when they are drifting between wakefulness and sleep. But because you are lucid, you can take control of your dream.

The lucid dream is still a dream. Becoming lucid during the dream state, though, gives you power over your destiny within your subconscious mind. This power may carry over into your waking life.

Author: Shelly McRae