An insomniac college student's journey to lucid dreaming

This will be a lengthy post about my current progress, because I need some guidance. I’ll try to keep it as short as I can. If you don’t feel like reading everything, the last paragraph has a straight question you might be able to answer.

So, I’ve managed to get lucid a few times after I learned about lucid dreaming and read a bunch of stuff on the topic, so you’ll hear no skepticism from me.
Unfortunately most of the times they didn’t last long, since more often than not I’d get too excited and fatally lose grip on the dream. I remember the spinning trick working once, though.
As of now, I managed to become lucid only thanks to the nose-pinch reality check I randomly did in a dream. It never failed so I’m pretty content with that.
There were a few instances where I told myself “Wait, I’m dreaming.” and then carried on normally without becoming lucid. Heh, bad luck, I guess.

Anyways here’s the situation:
I’m a college student and a huge nerd. I spend my life in front of a monitor and I will do so until the day I croak. Even my studies and my work require me to spend time in front of a monitor (I’m a CG artist), with all the disadvantages to my sleep cycles that follow.
I’ve had a hard time falling asleep for as long as I can remember. For me to come home and just slip into bed and fall asleep require me either to be drunk, completely exhausted (as in, walking from one place to another for a whole day, e.g. when I’m on vacation visiting a city), or staying awake through the night (which happens more often than not).
When I’m finally sleeping however, even the alarm clock has a hard time waking me up. I’ve had to download an app that let me set my alarm clock to sound again if I didn’t check on it 15 minutes after shutting it off the first time, just to get me to not oversleep. Even then, I still manage to go through a few cycles of this.
My sleep routines are all over the place. Usually I end up staying awake through the wee hours of the night, oversleep and then have an even harder time getting tired the following night and so on, until one night I decide not to sleep (not that I have much of a choice), eventually nap for a few hours in the afternoon and manage to “set back my clock” to at least before sunrise.
I try aiding myself with melatonin pills, but sometimes they don’t work as well as they should.

So, back on the topic of lucid dreams, I mostly tried WILD and MILD, since WBTB was out of the question, but every time I’ve had a lucid dream was not thanks to me actually trying.
I’ve tried wearing headphones in bed, listening to white noise, but that didn’t work either.
So basically I’ve had periods where I constantly tried and then the motivation died down.
This is one of the periods where I got my motivation back but now I want to get some help, aswell.
It got triggered a few nights ago when I went to bed feeling unusually tired, then suddenly I felt increasingly numb and like I was on a rocking boat and that feeling persisted for a while. I thought “maybe I’m going into sleep paralysis, I should try going lucid”. I never felt conscious sleep paralysis so I wouldn’t know, maybe it was nothing. In the end, it didn’t result in anything good, but hell, I’m not giving up now.

I’ve kept a dream journal for a while, but other than the “classic dreams” like falling teeth and unexpected exams (which I haven’t had in a good while), my dreams all pretty much all different. On the bright side, I manage to remember dreams pretty well and usually the “alarm clock snooze cycles” I do at the end of my sleep are usually do to me having been dreaming and wanting to go back to continue. Just today this was the case and just before the fun moment was supposed to begin I couldn’t go back to sleep again. How lucky of me.

Anyways, I think my best bet would be doing reality checks out of habit in my dreams, but I have a question. I remember reading somewhere that reality checks done randomly don’t help and that you should be doing them only when you doubt reality being… well, real.
I mean, it doesn’t happen very often, now does it? This way it becomes hard to develop an habit. But is it really the case? Or did I just read a bunch of bull?

In any case, this is my story. I’m grateful for any advice you can give me. As usual, it’s almost 5:00 am over here and I’m off to try getting some sleep.

Random RCs are good since most of the time we think it is real life when dreaming. :thud: But while doing the RC really expect it to work and never do them casually while thinking this won’t be a dream.

Heh, no question about that. Always have, always will. Luckily the feel of failing a RC in a dream is already burned into my mind, so I know what to expect.

Last night I managed to have that rocking, numbing feeling again and yet again it went nowhere. After a while I simply opened my eyes again, rolled over on the other side and then fell asleep as normal. I did perform a check but I was awake.

Let’s say I manage to remain conscious while falling asleep. Do I have to wait hours for the REM phase to kick in or will it be sort of instantaneous?
A better question would be, will I FEEL the passage of time until REM kicks in or not?
And what should I expect from sleep paralysis?
Or better yet, how do I know I successfully performed a WILD and I’m in sleep paralysis? Other than having a lucid dream, of course.

I’ve read some accounts that reported sleep paralysis as a scary experience, but to hell with them. It won’t kill me, and I know I’ll unconsciously breathe if it comes to really feeling like suffocating. I know it’s physically impossible to hold your breath until you die. And hell, I’m willing to go through the feel of suffocating every night until I manage to overcome the fear, if that gets me to become lucid.

I think something to remember is not to focus on the sleep paralysis; it’s an UNECESSARILY present step to WILDing. You should focus more on trying to strike a balance so that your awareness is small enough for you to sleep, but sufficient to elicit lucidity. Personally, I think it would be very hard for you, as an insomniac, to WILD. If I were you I would place my bets on DILD with it’s many variants or if you like WILD, DEILD. This one has the added benefit of not waking you up too much which makes it possible to WILD without fear of losing sleep. I would also suggest SSILD, done after a mini WBTB (like the ones you have after snoozing you alarm), because it’s not only an LD technique but also a relaxation technique which I assume would help you with your insomnia problem.

Technically I barely even figure on the insomnia scale, I just have trouble actually falling asleep while under the sheets. Once asleep though, the only way I can wake up by myself is if I’m feeling sick and/or nauseous in the morning, which doesn’t happen often.

Coincidentally, just today, after yet again failing a WILD, I think I managed a DEILD. Woke up briefly, didn’t even know what time it was or if it was even daytime or not, managed to remember that I was trying to induce lucid dreaming, went back in the same dream, lucid. Fun, because suddenly everything became much more vivid. I kinda wanted to let it unfold by itself, so I eventually lost lucidity. I really need to make a list of things to do or I’m just gonna waste opportunities.
Later I yet again engaged in my snooze cycles with the alarm with another, normal dream. No luck this time though, just yet another waltzer of wake, snooze, dream, repeat.

Managed a DILD via RC today.
Spun around and rubbed my hands to cement lucidity, I was just about to bring myself to finish off the normal dream with my newfound “abilities”, when everything started to fade.
I woke up to my alarm with my hands clamped together in a desperate attempt to maintain control. Just my luck. Obviously my body wasn’t up for the usual cycle of eternal alarm snoozing for some reason.

late post is late whoops

No I totally get you on this and I have a very similar problem!

When I first joined this site many years ago LDing was the opposite of a problem and I generally had little trouble with it. Thing was I joined this site when I was 12 (and had been lucid dreaming for years before that) so I didn’t really have a whole lot of responsibilities and things to worry about. Unfortunately as I got older my mental illness started causing a lot of physical symptoms, the biggest one of which is chronic fatigue which cause me to nap a lot during the day and have trouble falling asleep at night. I also got extremely busy with school and full time work over the summer so needless to say it has been nearly impossible for me to have an LD - if I’m lucky I will get a very weak one every few months or so. I feel like this is somewhat of a hill all young lucid dreamers have and is one of those things we find different ways to cope with.

In my case, I take herbal supplements to kind of bolster a lot of the chemicals related to sleep. I actually don’t take melatonin because for whatever reason, it actually doesn’t make me tired. I have heard that melatonin functions as a circadian rhythm stabilizer and isn’t actually supposed to be used to induce sleep. I use Valerian Root Extract which is sold in the grocery where you would buy melatonin usually. Supplements don’t work for everyone but it has certainly helped me regulate my sleep patterns when I can’t sleep and help with dream vividness. That being said, supplements aren’t for everyone and there is a bit of a stigma around them. For one, if you’re in the United States, herbal supplements aren’t regulated by our Federal Food and Drug Administration so supplements may not always be what they advertise so you definitely want to do your research into companies ESPECIALLY with herbal supplements.

If supplements aren’t your go-to or if you want something to “supplement” your supplements (haha), I would definitely recommend meditation. It sounds super new wave and kind of weird I know but building skills such as mindfulness not only helps people who struggle with a lot of stress and/or mental illness but also builds a lot of skills in terms of learning to look at your surroundings and help you live your life in a generally more aware state of mind. I also like to use visualization meditations in order to better hone my abilities in terms of dream control when actually lucid but it is something you have to keep up with daily and I know from experience that’s not something a lot of college age kids really have time to do. WILDs are something I have been trying to do for years (never successfully) and I personally think that meditation helps build the skills required to perform it properly, because I also share the same problem of I am constantly “too aware” and cannot seem too strike the balance between being conscious, but not enough so you can fall asleep. On that front I am still a great fan and encourage the classic “hold your nose” and try to breathe through your fingers technique to work the best for me but still you have to do them right and mindfully like moogle said.

In terms of noise, I personally haven’t found binaural beats or white noise to do anything for me, mostly because I require absolute silence to fall asleep so the noise would actually be a bit counterintuitive for me personally but I think that listening to it during these meditations or right before bed would really help.

All in all, I think 19-24 is a tough time for all lucid dreamers as we deal with the stresses of life and the transition into adulthood but it is definitely a good time to think about and start building skills that will make lucid dreaming easier for us in the future! :content: