Reality checks saying i'm not dreaming when i am

i have this prolbem where when i do a reality check in dreams the reality check says i am not dreaming. so far this has happened in 3 dreams, one of them i did the reality check multiple times thruout the dream but it still didn’t work. could someone please help/explain what i’m doing wrong?

Dreams are based on expectations so it isn’t enough to just go through the motions of a reality check. You should always do a reality check expecting it to fail, so you should always expect it to actually prove you’re dreaming, even when you’re awake. If you do the nose pinch RC for example, you should expect to breathe every time you perform it, otherwise the expectation that you won’t be able to breathe will carry over into your dreams. Of course, sometimes RCs can still return false results. So usually it’s better to do a few different kinds of RC in succession, just in case one RC decides to be finicky in a specific dream.

Also on a related note, you should also always be genuinely questioning whether you are dreaming or not when performing a reality check, since it’s easy for RCs to work in your dreams but to ignore their results if you’re used to dismissing their results when you’re awake.


What Mew says is so true. Many lucid dreaming advice says that you should do RCs very often in your waking life and often. But it is actually important not to form a normal habit. Instead, try making the cues that trigger you to do a RC a habit, but not the actual routine itself.

Lucid dreams are the exact opposite of mindless habits - they are awareness, clarity, consciousness. When I am doing a RC I am taking my sweet time with it. First I form a strong expectation of what is supposed to happen. As Mew pointed it out the expectation must be failure! Then I do the RC. Well, most of the time they do not fail. Then I question whether this was really supposed to happen. In waking life I may have to repeat this process a few times until I am fully convinced (especially if really something weird just happened that triggered me to RC). In a dream, I may even become lucid off of a passed RC, simply because of the questioning aspect. Something just does not feel right so why did my RC pass? It makes no sense, it must be a dream!

Also, always do multiple different RCs, no matter the result of the first ones. In RL you want to make sure your mind is not tricking you in the way you described. In DL you want to be sure what’s up before you jump out the building and try to start flying.

1 Like

I want to offer a bit of a different perspective. I’m not sure I’ve ever had luck with RCs even once in the 19 years I’ve been LDing and I’ve managed to have lots of LDs despite this, so don’t lose hope. :smile_cat: It’s possible that you will find a way to make RCs work for you; if you don’t, there are other strategies you can use.

The troubles I have with RCs are twofold—maybe this will sound familiar to you, maybe it won’t. If it does, my recommendations might work out well for you.

For one, I have the same problem you do with RCs not working. I can generally read text, clocks look okay, lightswitches often work, my hands and fingers remain solid, etc. I don’t think I’ve ever tried holding my nose (although I generally can’t breathe underwater), but that would be a really unusual thing for me to do in a dream, which brings me to the other issue.

My dreams are usually very different from my waking life even if they work in a lot of obvious elements from it—it’s not uncommon for me to be a different person in a different universe with different laws of nature and society and so on. I’m also usually very caught up in the plot, and because the settings are so far away from my waking experience, my moment-to-moment thoughts are very different from anything I might think while awake (even if my personality is similar). Because of this, it’s hard to get any mental states or habits from the day to make into my dreams afterwards. The only times I can think of are when I spend the whole time I’m awake monotonously engaged in a single activity (like when I’ve spent the whole day programming with only brief interruptions to heat up food), and I’ve found it kind of oppressive to do RCs at that kind of frequency.

If you’re similar to me in these regards, you may have better success and more fun if you try a different approach. There’s MILD and the like (where you repeat a phrase like “I’m aware that I’m dreaming” many times before bed), but I’ve had the same troubles with that I’ve had with RCs since they’re kind of similar. What has worked for me well is WILD.

If you haven’t tried WILD (or any of its many variations) I recommend giving it a try. The same things that can make it hard for RCs to work (vivid, absorbing, otherwordly dreams) can be something of an advantage` with WILD, as it can result in nicely stable and detailed dreams right from the get-go. It takes practice and can be frustrating early on before you’ve gotten it to work, but it’s possible to get pretty comfortable with it over time. I don’t try it every night because I can lose sleep doing it :stuck_out_tongue: but when I do try it works out often enough to be satisfying for me. You might find the same :blush: