Problems with MILD: close, but no cigar?


For the past month now, I have been trying to obtain lucidity. I have been reading the information on this website and forums, along with other sites, almost nightly usually 15 or 20 minutes before I go to bed. However, nothing seems to be working.

Every night I have been going to sleep performing MILD, thinking the exact words “the next time I’m dreaming, I’ll remember that I’m dreaming,” additionally reminding myself to wake up after my dreams so that I can remember them and perform the WBTB technique. My dream recall has improved ever since starting this, and I am usually able to recall at least one dream a night now compared to maybe one a week from before; and I am usually waking up one to two times a night now, usually once around 3 AM or so and once right before my alarm clock goes off. However, I’ve still failed to have a single lucid dream.

One thing that’s been particularly frustrating is that I’ve been missing some extremely obvious signs that I’m dreaming. Perhaps the worst of these was a few weeks ago, when I dreamed that I went down to the local bookstore to purchase a book. That book was “Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming.” The cashier even asked me if I had “had one” yet as she was ringing up the book, to which I replied “nope.” Also, on several occasions I have had false awakenings where I discussed how odd the dream I just had was with others, only to wake up again.

After a few instances of these, I realized that I was being lazy and forgetting to perform reality checks during the day, and that maybe this was the reason for my lack of LD’s, so I made sure to start performing them often, particularly when I heard or saw anything particularly odd or anything dream-related. Yet after a week or so of performing reality checks often I still haven’t had a lucid dream.

Is there anything that I’m doing wrong, or maybe some crucial step that I’m forgetting? I know that there’s no real “secret” to lucidity, and that it can take months just to have a single LD. However, the fact that I’m starting to actually dream about becoming lucid, without actually becoming lucid, makes me think that I’m very close, yet still doing something wrong.

Hi, 20273. Interesting name. :smile:

It definitely sounds like you’re getting close, if you’re dreaming about analyzing your dreams, and buying LD-related books. I know it can be frustrating to be so close and yet continue to miss all the obvious signs night after night, but it’s important to be patient. It sounds like you have a pretty good routine set up, but it never hurts to add a few more techniques into the mix. Have you considered playing around with external induction? This involves using a device in the real world to remind you intermittently throughout the night to check if you’re dreaming. As a classic example, you could create or locate an audio recording which repeats the words, “Am I dreaming?” every few minutes throughout the night. Even though you’re asleep, stimulus from the real world will still get through to you, and this may well prompt you to “wake up” within the dream.

I can’t stress how effective reality checks can be. Most of the people I’ve spoken to had their first LD after a few days of obsessive reality checks. In my case, I’d set my watch to beep every hour, and hearing this, I’d glance at it a few times to see if I could change the time it displayed. A short while later, I found myself doing this in a dream, and that’s when I first realized that I was dreaming. It helps to associate your reality checks with a series of events that occur in both the real world, and in your dreams. If you can form a subconscious link between catching the bus, and performing a reality check, then you have a much greater chance of automatically following through with this in the middle of a dream.

Alternatively, you might want to look into WILD. This method is easier for some than others, but it’s something you can try while you’re still awake, so you aren’t relying as much on a subconscious trigger. It sounds like you’re probably familiar with this technique already, or at least what it means, so I won’t bother describing it here. Just a pointer, make sure you aim to wake yourself up after six hours of sleep, if you can. Due to the length and frequency of the REM sleep cycle, this gives you the most chance of waking up directly from a dream, and offers you the ability to return straight back into the dream without having to endure a moment of unconscious deep sleep first. Even if you don’t succeed with WILD, the attempt itself will ensure that lucid dreaming is the last thing on your mind when you fall asleep, and there’s a much greater chance that you’ll realize you’re dreaming later in the morning.

Finally, the more sleep you get, the better. If you can afford to get ten full hours (perhaps on weekends), then you’ll have a much better chance of lucid dreaming. You dream as much in the last three hours as you did in the first seven combined, so you can essentially double your chances (and double your recall) on that night just by sleeping in a few extra hours.

Feel free to ask if you have any other questions, and good luck. :smile:

20273, was having the same problem as you then everynight before I would make it the last thought in my head that I would wake up from my dreams. Well it started working and I can usually be at at least a low level of lucidity every morning. It’s really great, it’s like I close my eyes and open them and I’m in a LD. Btw, I’m spending most of my time meditating in LDs it’s AMAZING!!! Try it if you remember 20273, I know you can do it!!

Thank you both very much for your replies. Atheist, I am particularly interested in your suggestion regarding a watch that beeps every hour; in particular because it seems that my previous RC’s were kind of sloppy, in that I would only do them when something odd or dream-related happening reminded me to do them. Hopefully a watch that beeps hourly will get me doing them consistently. This technique also seems like it would be doubly effective, since if I left the watch next to my bed at night, still beeping hourly, this would also be the perfect way to perform the external induction technique you mentioned. Hopefully when the watch beeps in the middle of the night I’ll hear it in my dream and instantly do a reality check. I’m definitely going to go out tomorrow and buy a watch that beeps and try this out.

Also, regarding WILD, I have tried it a few times after waking up in the middle of the night/early morning. However, when I have tried to perform it, either one of two things have happened. About half the time, I was so tired that I fell asleep immediately. However, other times I have kept staring at the simple yellowish patterns, eventually having rather vivid auditory hallucinations (but still just plain visual patterns). The next thing I would remember, a while later I would just have a normal non-lucid dream. Perhaps the oddest results happened just a few nights ago, when after the auditory hallucinations and all I suddenly had a very strange sensation that I was suddenly “in a dream”, still conscious, but everything was still dark. I tried rubbing my hands, spinning, etc. but nothing happened. I woke up soon afterward. Alternatively, twice I have also tried counting “1, I’m dreaming,” etc., but I ended up falling asleep; focusing on visual patterns seems to be more promising. Is there perhaps anything I should be doing different for WILD?

Also, my summer vacation has recently started, so now I’m getting a full night’s sleep 5 out of 7 nights a week, in comparison to the 7-hour nights every single night that I used to get. (I work early weekend mornings in addition to school.) I have already noticed a big difference in the length and number of my dreams. I am certainly going to get an hourly-beeping watch as soon as possible and start performing those reality checks, as it seems like this may be the one final step to finally having a lucid dream.

Hi 20273, welcome to the forum!

Have you tried to combine WBTB with MILD? I’m not sure from your story, but if you have’t tried that yet, then do so. It was what gave me my personal beakthrough with LD-ing. You already have gotten used to waking up a few times at night, so these instances are excellent for this method. Try to experiment with the amount of time you stay awake (before going back to bed and doing MILD for about 10 - 15 mins). Alternatively, if you wish to persue the road to WILD’s, a method I kind of “invented” which brought me my first really stable WILD’s can be found here. Go have a look if you’re interested, and good luck with it!

While I have been primarily combining WBTB with MILD, I have usually only waited a few seconds to a few minutes before going back to bed. I will definitely try to start experimenting with staying up longer. Also, your spinning variation of WILD also sounds very promising; in particular, the way you describe the “forcing” in your link reminds me of that odd sensation I mentioned in my last post. When I wake up early next morning I am definitely going to try that, along with the usual MILD beforehand for backup. I also bought that watch today, so hopefully even if both MILD and WILD fail the watch technique will be yet another backup! Thank you very much for your suggestions.

You said earlier that you have had false awakenings on several occasions. If you start doing reality checks every morning when u wake up, you will relize you are dreaming the next false awakening you have.


I am reporting back to say that a few days ago I finally had my first lucid dream. I was visiting family out in the middle of nowhere for the past week, which gave me plenty of time for sleep. I continued letting my watch beep every hour and doing an RC: looking at my nose. Finally, one night, I looked at my nose in my dream, saw it wasn’t there, and I was lucid.

Of course, the LD lasted about 20-30 seconds and consisted of me trying to stay lucid as my dream suddenly faded. (It felt like my eyes were closing and I was struggling to keep them open.) I woke up right after that. I am not disappointed at all, however, since I now at least know it’s very possible for me to become lucid. I’m now going to continue to experiment with the same techniques and once I have my next LD I’ll try some of the various methods for stabilizing the dream. Thank you all for your help!

Congrats 20273, good luck on your LD yourney! :happy: