Learning how to control your dreams

In a new study, researchers from the University of Adelaide in Australia have found a specific combination of techniques that can increase the chances of having lucid dreams, in which the dreamer is aware that they are dreaming and is able to control what happens while dreaming. Although previous studies have described techniques for lucid dreaming, they have reported low success rates. Published in the journal Dreaming, the new study involved three groups of participants, and investigated the effectiveness of three different lucid dream induction techniques:

  1. reality testing – checking several times a day to see whether or not you’re dreaming.
  2. wake back to bed – waking up after five hours, then staying awake for a short period before going back to sleep in order to enter a REM sleep period, where dreams are more likely to occur.
  3. MILD (mnemonic induction of lucid dreams) – waking up after five hours of sleep and then intentionally remembering that you are dreaming before returning to sleep by repeating the phrase: "The next time I'm dreaming, I will remember that I'm dreaming," as well as imagining yourself in a lucid dream.

Of the 47 people who combined all three techniques, participants achieved a 17% success rate in having lucid dreams over the period of just one week, and among those who were able to go to sleep within the first five minutes of completing the MILD technique, the success rate of lucid dreaming was as high as 46% of attempts. The research allows scientists to explore the potential benefits and applications of lucid dreaming. To find out more go to Reality testing and the mnemonic induction of lucid dreams: Findings from the national Australian lucid dream induction study.