How do I perform reality checks? How many times should I do reality checks in a single day? Do reality checks positively affect your chances of becoming lucid?
Whenever it crosses your mind, look at your hand and ask yourself this: am I dreaming right now? Make it a habit and you’ll eventually do it in a dream (asking yourself questions in a dream is in itself a sign of more awareness). Usually you only perform reality checks in dreams with already heightened lucidity though. Most of my more vague dreams are in third person. But yes, I got my first lucid dream by using this method so it works.
When you are starting out with lucid dreaming, doing frequent reality checks is probably a good idea. As to how often, the answer is simple: whenever you remember them or something triggers you to do it, e.g. discussing dreams. If you don’t remember them during the day, then analyze your dream journal entries for dream signs and try to program yourself to RC as you encounter those things.
Pick one that you like and that is easy to incorporate into your everyday life. Also imagine yourself doing them in the dream. Try many of them and narrow it down once you have more experience. What’s really important in the end is your final question:
No matter how you’re doing them, they will have a positive effect. But the extend of the their benefit varies greatly depending on how you perform them, and this is the main issue with reality checks.
Most lucid dreaming tutorials, explanations and guides introduce them as a simple tool to attain lucidity. In order to introduce the concept of lucid dreams to the uninitiated this is fine. But if you’re serious about becoming a lucid dreamer, I think it is vital to understand that the RC is not really a tool but more of a metaphor. What matters most about them is the intent to properly discern reality from dream/virtuality. Once you develop this skill, you can awake inside your dream by realization. And then RCs become a tool that you can use inside the dream to increase certainty of the dreaming state.
But while you are awake, the concept behind it is more important than the method and what it’s doing for you.
@Marvin delivers some great advice, as always!
The thinking behind the reality check is the most important. I’ve had several dreams in which I do a mindless “reality check” that should prove that I’m dreaming, but it doesn’t make me lucid because I’m not thinking or actively questioning the results.
This is my favorite way of using reality checks as part of a MILD technique! I feel like a broken record because I express this sentiment often (and perhaps I read it somewhere else on this forum once?): a good reality check is one you remember to do, but a better reality check is one that you’re triggered to do by something you encounter. If you can attach doing a mindful reality check/questioning reality with a common dream sign, you have a great chance of becoming lucid from encountering a dream sign.
I consider reality checks an important part of my lucid dreaming, but your mileage may vary based on your mindset.