Treader the Lucid Layman Presents: How to Choose Your Technique
Note: You will need to know about MILD, WILD, WBTB, and reality checking techniques to understand my post. Understanding how to improve dream recall is also recommended.
Most of the proficient lucid dreamers I meet offer vague advice on choosing a technique such as “just do what appeals to you,” or “just go do WBTB.” I believe, however, that if you know what kind of sleeper/lder you are you can narrow down the choices significantly. LaBerge himself mentioned that techniques like WILD appeals to light sleepers while MILD would appeal to highly motivated practitioners, so I am surprised that this is not brought up more often.
For the purpose of my article I will recommend techniques based on where dreamers fall on two different spectrums: 1) the speed at which you fall asleep and 2) your motivation. Confidence is also a factor, but this is something you need to work on on your own regardless of where you fall on the spectrum. I will not go into techniques in detail because my post is already too long for this setting and because my purpose is to make recommendations rather than to do your research for you. Just scroll down to the sections that apply to you, and ignore the rest… unless you are here to make suggestions or add to what I wrote.
For everyone who is highly motivated:
Keep a dream journal and do those reality checks (perhaps up to 15 times a day). Keep a mini notebook by your bed so you can make brief notes on your dreams. Keep a separate notebook to record your dreams in detail. If you get burnt out, take a break for a few days or weeks. Motivated does not mean impatient.
For everyone with a low degree of motivation:
Throw in a few reality checks here and there, at least once or twice a day. I still suggest keeping a mini notebook to take brief notes on dreams right when you wake up so you can get familiar with your dreams, but you probably will not feel like going through the trouble of making detailed notes in your dream journal. If your motivation is really low, you should rely on self hypnosis techniques for LD induction. You may get a couple a month just doing that.
For everyone without the time to get enough sleep:
If you fit in this group, you probably do not care about lucid dreams and just want sleep! I know because I have been there. On the plus side you will probably fall asleep quickly, so regular practice of WILD techniques could prove rewarding. If you take a long time to sleep: use MILD to build up your motivation, then stop and allow yourself to drift into sleep. WBTB is a powerful technique, but it is probably not for you… especially if you are in this group and you take a long time to fall asleep!
high motivation, takes a long time to fall asleep:
MILD will be your primary technique. Rather than going through the trouble of WBTB, you will wake up on your own during the night after a dream here and there to properly do the MILD technique. Since you take a long time to fall asleep, WBTB may disrupt your sleep too much to use regularly. It is still a good technique to use every once in while. When you use WBTB, I recommend waking up after only five hours so you are more likely to fall asleep right away. Since you are highly motivated (and hopefully, confident) you should have no trouble maintaining consciousness while your tired body falls asleep.
While you do WBTB: Do MILD a couple times, then switch over to a WILD technique. You must hold on to your motivation even though you are sleepy. You should fall asleep quickly. I fit into this category and I was in dreamland on “16, I’m dreaming.” Of course, I was so sleepy that I kept losing count on 10-14 and starting over at 1.
lower motivation, long time to fall asleep:
If your motivation is not powerful enough to carry you through the sleep barrier while practicing WBTB and you are not keen on practicing for awhile until you get it right then you will want to make a few adjustments to your program. Remember: for MILD to work properly you have to really mean it when you say, “I want to have a lucid dream.” Continue the MILD technique. When you do the WBTB method, sleep for six hours and stay up a while (15-60 mins) before going back to sleep. Once you are awake long enough you ought to be able to build enough motivation. Through practice you might be able to get away with staying up for shorter and shorter periods.
If your motivation is not high enough to get you out of bed in the first place, then just stick with using MILD on occasion. Or, alternately, get motivated.
Final word to the slow-sleepers: If even just doing MILD is too disruptive for your sleep cycle, then do not do it regularly. You will probably prefer to practice LD induction on days when you can sleep in. When you do MILD, stop and wait for sleep to come when it seems like MILD is keeping you up all night.
Fall asleep fast. Highly Motivated.
Your key technique will probably be to perform WBTB. No need to stay up, because your motivation is enough to get you past the sleep barrier. Just wake up after 5-6 hours (probably 6) do MILD a few times and finish up with a WILD technique. Lucid dreaming, through practice, will likely become very easy for you. I’m jealous! Using the technique in the “fall asleep fast, less motivate” category ought to work out just as well for you, so check it out.
Fall asleep fast, less motivated:
You would probably do the same as above, except you might want to stay up for a little (15-60 minutes) to build up your motivation. If waking up for WBTB is too hard for you, then try this:
Resolve to wake up after your dreams tonight.
Wake up after one of your dreams in the middle of the night.
Do not move. Play dead. Patiently wait for the dream to come. Alternately, perform a WILD technique.
Enjoy a lucid dream. When you wake up after it…
Do not move. Play dead. Wait for the dream to come back…
Final words to the falls-asleep-fast crowd:
With only a little bit of motivation and enough time scheduled for sleep, lucid dreaming will probably become easier to you than most other people. Do not get discouraged if at first it seems like you fall asleep too fast for your awareness to keep up. All you need is practice.
Final notes: Why did I write this?
I have seen all this advice before, but it was spread out all over the place. This was my attempt at creating a starting point for an informed newbie that feels overwhelmed by all the techniques available. Most lucid dreaming websites function like a workout guide that says, “Running regularly improves speed and endurance, lifting weights builds muscular strength, and stretching builds flexibility.” I attempted to create a relatively short guide that is more tailored to the strengths and weaknesses of individuals.