Lucid Dreaming

The term "Lucid Dreaming" describes the experience of recognizing during a dream that you are dreaming. The dreamer is consciously aware of the fact that he is dreaming. Because of that, he is able to alter the dream course and all the contents of the dream. Lucid dreaming can start in the middle of a dream, when the dreamer realizes that the experiences that are occuring can't be real, or it can start at the beginning of the dream when the dreamer still knows that he was awake before and therefore should be dreaming now.

Anyone can learn to dream consciously. Some people have a lucid dream the first time they hear about it, others (like me) need more training and more time. But once you've had your first lucid dream, others will follow.

Purposes of Lucid Dreaming:

There are a lot of purposes Lucid Dreaming can serve. I have listed the more famous ones below:

Having a lot of fun. Lucid Dreaming is in my opinion one of the best ways to have fun. You can do everything you ever wanted to do. If you need a few ideas what you could do, read the part of this text called "exploring the dreamworld" or watch movies (Examples of movies that can give you ideas or motivate you to have lucid dreams: Matrix, Peter Ibbetson, Waking Life, What dreams may come, Star Treks holodeck-adventures...

Overcoming nightmares. If you know that you are dreaming, you have nothing to fear anymore. Nothing can hurt you, no monster can do you any harm. Especially reoccuring nightmares should be easy to recognize as dreams.

Therapeutical purposes. If you want to cure yourself of a psychological problem, you can use Lucid Dreaming to help you. You can use it like guided imagery, but it's much more realistic and vivid. If you have problems with being in a small room, go in your dreams into a big room and make it slowly smaller. If you have fear of spiders or snakes or of any other animal or human being, meet them in your dreams and slowly get used to them. They can't hurt you in a dream (well, it can hurt if they attack you in a dream but you won't be injured afterwards and they won't have a chance if they try to attack you, because in a dream you can be a lot more dangerous than them).

Solving problems. Lucid dreaming can be useful for creative problem solving. Before going to sleep, decide on the problem you want to solve and frame it in form of a question. For example, "What could help me to become lucid more often". When in a dream, ask the question and seek the solution. You can ask a person that in real life would be an expert on that subject or you can just say the question out loud and wait for the answer to appear.

Rehearsal. Lucid dreaming can be used to train things that you want to do better in real life. Some people train the movements they need in sports in their dreams. If you for example want to try a new technique in some martial arts, you can create an opponent and fight him as often as you want (As seen in Star Trek-Holodeck-Klingon-Training-Simulations)

Healing. Mental imagery is used by some people to increase their health. Visualizing a healthy body can facilitate healing and in a lucid dream, these images will be much more vivid than if done in waking state.

Use Lucid Dreaming to induce an out-of-body-experience...

Activating hidden information. In dreams you have better access to your subconscious. If you have read a book, ask questions about the book to someone in your dream. Or watch the contents of the book as a movie. In Photoreading (by Paul R. Scheele) Lucid Dreaming is used to activate the informations your subconscious recieved while you were scanning through (or photoreading) a book and therefore improving your reading speed.

Meet people in your dreams. In your dreams you can meet and talk to every person you want. Some people use this to talk to friends or family members who have died in order to really say goodbye to them for the last time or just to be with them. Others use this to become better at talking or to improve their selling ability. They create the person they want to persuade in the dream and try out every sentence they want to use in real life on that person until everything fits and sounds good.

Dream Recall:

In order to have a lucid dream, you should first be able to remember your dreams. A lucid dream can easily be remembered, but it is easier to have a lucid dream if you remember your dreams. If you remember your dreams, you will know after a while what things you are dreaming about and how your dreams are and therefore be able to detect your dream state more frequently.

The best way to learn about your dreams is by keeping a dream journal. A dream journal also can be motivating. It can give you a reason to remember your dreams as detailed as possible. You should acquire a note pad, a diary book or a piece of paper and put it next to your bed before you go to sleep (so you won't have to get up to reach it). When you wake up in the morning, don't move your body and go over the dream you were just having in your mind. I normally start with the ending and go back through the dream to the first point I still can remember. Try to gather as many details as possible. When finished, go to your dream journal and write down your dream.

I will now go through each step and give you some tips:

Before going to sleep, tell yourself that you want to remember your dreams. Tell yourself that as soon as you wake up you will remember all your dreams. I normally do this in a self-hypnotic trance. But you can also just use autosuggestion by repeating the suggestions a few times. There are other possible suggestions:
"I will wake up from all my dreams and I will at once remember them."
"As soon as I wake up I will ask myself: What did I dream."
"I will have interesting and meaningful dreams."

Stop saying that you never dream or can't remember your dreams, instead say that you always remember your dreams and that you can easily recall them.

Some say that you shouldn't consume alcohol or any drugs or whatever before going to sleep in order to have a good dream memory. But I a lot of times do remember a lot more dreams if I was drunk the day before (I have the strangest dreams when I had a lot of alcohol). So find out for yourself what increases or decreases your dream recall.

Get plenty of sleep. After about 5-6 hours your REM sleep lasts longer than before and more time is spent in REM sleep than in non-REM sleep. That means, the more you sleep, the more REM sleep you have and the more likely it is that you remember your dreams (and have lucid dreams). After 8 hours of sleep, the dream periods can be 45 minutes to an hour long.

If you sleep too deeply to awaken from a dream, set the alarmclock to wake you up during a dream. REM periods occur at approximately 90 minute intervals, so set your alarmclock to beep 4.5, 6 or 7.5 hours after going to sleep.

When you wake up, the first thing you have to do is to ask yourself what you were dreaming. You have to learn to do this before anything else enters you mind, because other things can disturb your remembering process. One possibility to make this easier is to place a sign which says "What did you dream?" or an object that reminds you of your dreams somewhere where you can see it immediately upon awakening (next to your bed, on your alarmclock or on the pile of clothes for example).

Don't move your body. Stay in the same position, relax your body and let your mind drift closer to your dream. Don't force your mind to remember anything, just relax and wait for a clue to arise.

If you don't remember anything, go through the names of all the people you know and the things you normally do during the day. If you think of a person or anything that was in your dream, it might trigger the remembrance of a dream. This can also happen during the day when you see something that was in your dream. Sometimes the whole dream reappears in your memory the same moment you see or think of that thing.

Sometimes when you wake up you still have a specific feeling. You still feel whether it was a funny, horrific, erotic etc dream. Concentrating on that feeling can help you to remember a dream.

A good way to remember a dream is by using a reverse remembering technique: You start at the end and go backwards through your memory. The first time you try this can be hard, because your mind isn't used to remember something in reverse sequence. If you want to remember a list of objects, your mind automatically wants to start at the beginning. But you can improve this by doing some training: Before you go to sleep, go through each memory you have until you reach the moment you got up. Or memorize a list of objects and recall each object in reverse sequence.
When you have reached the first thing you can still remember about your dream, you can go forward through the whole dream again. You will probably want to write it down in a forward sequence, so prepare it in your memory this way.

If you only remember pieces of your dream, still write them down. Every time you do this will improve your dream recall. Writing down just pieces of a dream can trigger the entire dream or even other dreams you had that night. (It once happened to me that I at first only remembered a few pieces of one dream and in the end I had written down five detailed dreams. I wrote for more than an hour...)

Telling your dreams to someone you trust can be helpful too. Saying them out loud can make them feel more real.

Don't wait until the morning to write down your dreams if you wake up and recall them in the middle of the night. They will disappear from your memory if you don't write them down as soon as possible. If you want to go back to sleep as soon as possible, only take notes and write down the rest in the morning. If you have at least a few clues about your dream, it is easier to remember the rest of it. If you don't have the possibility to write something down in the middle of the night or if you are too lazy to get up and write them down, memorize the main pieces of your dream by using a mnemonic technique.

There are different ways to write down your dreams:

You can write down every single detail you remember. Or if you haven't got the time, just write down notes you can understand later and go through the dream a few times in order to link the details of the dream to the notes.

On top of the page write down the date. You can also write down the time you woke up and how long you've slept. This will help you make connections between your dreams and your daily life.

You can give every dream a title. It will be easier to find the dream in your dream journal and it can be helpful if you want to analyze your dreams.

If you wake up in the middle of the night and want to write down your dreams and you are not alone in your bed and you don't want to wake anyone up, keep a flashlight next to your bed.

Instead of a note pad you could use a tape recorder. This way you won't have to get up and don't need any light to record your dreams. There are other advantages as well. You can speak faster than you can write and therefore can record more details. It reflects back to you what you sounded like and perhaps what you were feeling when you recorded the dream. Some dreamers use the tape recorder for the first part of their dream recall: When they go backwards through their dream they speak their dreams as they remember them and record their voice. Then they listen to what they have recorded and write down the dream in normal sequence.

You can draw some things that appeared to you in the dream. I sometimes draw a floor plan of the places I've been in my dreams.

Write down the places you were visiting, the people you met, the things you and other persons did, the objects you saw. Write down any feelings you had when you woke from the dream. Write down the colors of the clothes of the people or of the objects. Try to write down the precise content of any dialoge from the dream or of any sentence you read in the dream. This can sometimes be very funny, because these sentences normally make sense when you are still half-asleep and writing them down, but when you read them later they don't make any sense at all.

In order to learn about your dreams, you can also record what you did during the day, what movies and TV-shows you watched and what special things happened. By comparing the two entries, you will be able to make connections between your waking life and your dream life. It can help you to find out which activity might trigger which kind of dream.

Carry your dream journal or a note pad around during the day. Some things you see or hear during the day can trigger the memory of a dream. Sometimes, when you remember nothing when you wake up, the dream memory can come back to you during the day.

Reality testing:

In order to know that you are dreaming or just to make sure that you are dreaming (before you jump out of the window and try to fly), you can do some reality testing. The dream reality resembles in a lot of ways the waking reality, but there still are some differences. By applying these differences you can find out in which reality you are right now. If you ask yourself if you are dreaming, use a reality test to get the answer. The only problem with reality tests is that they don't always work. Sometimes you have to repeat them a few times or try another one. It is always better to use a few different techniques than to rely on only one. And not every technique works the same for every person. Try to find out which technique suits you best.

Things in your surroundings change sometimes. Especially written things like texts, letters and numbers frequently change.
Technique: Find something written, read it, look away, look back and see if it is still the same. If it has changed, you might be dreaming. If you wear a digital watch, you can use the numbers on it as a reality test.

Things in your surroundings can be changed consciously. You can concentrate on something, visualize what it should look like and see if it changes.
Technique: Look at a text or a picture and try to change it while you are looking at it. If it changes, you are probably dreaming. There are a lot of other things that can be changed. Some ideas I have found are: Change the sunlight (reverse day and night), change the weather (let it rain), stop your heartbeat, increase or reduce the speed of something (like the speed of your watch or of your movements)...

The dream isn't always as logical as reality. Most of the times there are some details that are completely wrong: Something can have the wrong color or a strange shape or it can just be at the wrong time at the wrong place. A lot of times you meet persons that can't possibly be here or you think you are in a familiar place, but if you look around you recognize that the door is now where the window should be. If you aren't conscious of your dream state you normally don't care about such things and take everything for granted.
Technique: Look out for things that can't be real. Look at the details and try to remember what they look like in reality (This can sometimes be hard because in a dream you can have fake memory. If you, for example, meet someone that you have never seen in real life, the dream can create a complete background story that tells you where you know this person from and all the things you did together.)

The gravity in the dream can be different than in waking reality. You can fly (one of the best methods for travelling in dreams and also one of the greatest things you can do in a dream) and objects can be lighter than normal.
Technique: Try to fly. Jump into the air and try to stay there or just do it superman-style by stretching out your hands in front of you and lifting off the ground.
Another technique: Just jump. In the dream it can happen that you don't fall back to the ground the way you would in reality, you fall back much slower. It's more like when you would jump on the moon. You also stay longer in the air than you would in waking life.

Your body is not really your body, it is just imagination. Normally it is easy to believe that everything around you is not real, but you mostly still are acting as if your body would be your real body. Always remember in a dream that (almost) everything you see, hear and feel is not real.
Technique: Close your nose with your hand (by squeezing the nose between the sides of the thumb and index finger) and try to exhale (or inhale) through your nose. It works in the dream because it isn't your real hand that is closing your nose.
Another technique: Try to stick your hand through a wall. Remember that the wall isn't real while you are doing that. And remember that your hand isn't real as well. Or push one object through another one, or the fingers of one hand through the palm of your other hand.

Electrical devices sometimes don't work in dreams. Especially light switches don't have the effect they should have.
Technique: Try to turn on the light. If it doesn't work, you could be dreaming (but before you jump out of the window and try to fly, check the light bulb).

The calculations between the vestibular system and the visual system don't always work correctly. If you turn your body around, it doesn't mean that your view of sight also changes the way it should.
Technique: Turn fast around. If your field of sight doesn't change at all or still turns when you have already stopped, you are probably dreaming.

You can sometimes remember that it is a dream. Your memory will most of the times try to give you a reason why you are here and what you are doing here, but if you ask yourself if this memory really makes sense you could be able to detect that it is only a dream.
Technique: Remember what you have done a few minutes or hours ago. Ask yourself how you got here and why you are here. You might be able to remember that the last thing you did was going to bed. Or you could have no past memory at all or a very strange and illogical one.

In a dream, your hand is sometimes bigger than in real life, or it has a different shape.
Technique: Examine your hand. Does it look real? Are there any lines on your hand and if yes, do they look the same as in real life? Compare the fingerprints on your dream-fingers to the ones you remember from when you were awake.

(Some people believe that pinching is useful to prove yourself that you are not dreaming, mainly because there are a lot of old child-stories or TV-shows (at least in German-TV) where people say "pinch me, I think I am dreaming". Pinching doesn't work very good as a reality test. You can hurt yourself in a dream and you will have pain. You won't be really hurt, but your mind believes so and it can be really painful. You can probably easier suppress pain if you know that you are dreaming, but other reality tests are much more reliable.)

Lucid dreaming induction techniques:

If you wake up after 5-6 hours of sleep, stay up for 30-60 minutes and then go back to sleep, the probability that you have a lucid dream is increased. During these 30-60 minutes, read something about lucid dreaming, practice reality-testing, read your old recorded dreams or use a lucid dreaming training software for some time.

Learn as much as possible about your dreams. Go through the entries in your dream journal an reread your dreams. Try to detect patterns in your dreams. Try to find connections between your daily life and your dream life. Try to find as many informations you can find about your dreams. Search for your own dream-themes and use them to become lucid. If you know what you will dream of then it will be easy to find out when you are dreaming.
Try to find dreamsigns in your dreams. Dreamsigns are objects, places or events that frequently appear in your dreams. If you know your dreamsigns, you can train your mind to automatically ask yourself if you are in a dream whenever you see one of these signs. (This, for example, doesn't really work with my dreams. As soon as I associate anything to lucid dreaming, I don't dream of it anymore. I haven't got any nightmares anymore because of that, I linked everything that I didn't want to dream of to lucid dreaming.)
One way to detect patterns in your dreams is done by making a list of the occurences in your recorded dreams where you should have been able to detect that it was a dream. Categorize these entries. You will soon recognize which categories have a major influence on your dreams.

Remember to do a reality test every time something strange happens. Examples of strange things that frequently happen in dreams are: Flying with no visible means of support. Being able to breathe underwater. Having an exam and not being prepared for it. Falling from a very big house or hill (change your falling into flying). Malfunctioning devices (Lightswitches etc). Meeting someone that couldn't be here (because he is far away or deceased). Having false awakenings a few times in a row and always recognizing that you still lie in bed and didn't really get out of it...

Place pieces of paper with messages like "You could be dreaming" or "Do a reality test" at specific points throughout your flat/house. Change them from time to time, because you will get used to them too much and ignore them after some time.

A lot of things in dreams are determined by your expectations. If you don't think you can and will become lucid, you wont.

During the day, regularly remember to ask yourself if you are dreaming. If you never question your reality when you are awake, you will probably also never do so when you are dreaming. To check your current state of reality, simply do a reality test. There are different possibilities to remind you that you could be dreaming:
-Write something on your hand that will remind you that you should do a reality test. Some write a "C" on their hand (standing for "consciousness"), I write "Dream" on my hand. Every time you look at your hand you should now automatically do a reality test.
-Set your watch to beep at certain intervals in order to remind yourself to do a reality test.
-Hang signs around your home to remind you to ask yourself if you are dreaming. Or associate some objects in the house to this question. Associate your hands with being in a dream. This technique became famous through Carlos Castaneda's books. If you look at your hand in a dream you should become lucid.
-Link the reality tests to things you use or look at a few times every day. If you have a mobile phone, always ask yourself if you are dreaming when you look at the phone. If you work on a computer, always do a reality test if you check your e-mail or if you press the windows-start-button...
-Turn drinking games into dreaming games. Watch TV and every time an actor says something characteristic for that show do a reality test.

If you think that you are awake (you can never be 100% certain of that), imagine what it would be like if you were dreaming right now. Imagine that everything you experience is not real, everything you see, hear, feel, taste and smell is created by your mind. It is a strange feeling, but I like it (a lot of people have experienced it after watching Matrix). Try to hold that feeling as long as possible. Try to be as long as possible conscious of the fact that you could be dreaming right now. Decide what you would do if you were dreaming. Visualize yourself doing this activity.

When you are daydreaming, try to stay consciously aware of the fact that you are daydreaming. Before falling asleep I normally start to do some kind of daydreaming. I then always tell myself that it is a daydream and try to stay conscious of this fact as long as possible. This seems to improve the ability to have lucid dreams. This technique works best when you wake up in the middle of the night and want to go back to sleep. I then normally start daydreaming which will go over to a normal dream. If I do a few reality tests during these daydreams I will have a lucid dream afterwards.

MILD-Technique: Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams:
This technique was developed by Dr. Stephen LaBerge. Wake up earlier than normal and go through these steps:
(1) Wake up from a dream and recall your dream as good as possible.
(2) While returning to sleep, tell yourself over and over "Next time I'm dreaming I want to remember to recognize I'm dreaming". Concentrate on this thought only, if your mind wanders and you begin to think of something else, let that go and return to your intention to remember that you are dreaming.
(3) See yourself as being back in the dream you just had (or another one you've had recently if you didn't recall one upon awakening), but this time see yourself realizing that it is a dream. Look for unusual things that suggest you are dreaming (dreamsigns) and tell yourself that you are dreaming. Visualize yourself carrying out your plans for your next lucid dreams, for example flying.
(4) Repeat step 2 and 3 until you feel your intention is clearly fixed or you fall asleep.

WILD-Technique: Wake Initiated Lucid Dreams:
This technique works by remaining conscious until you start dreaming. Wake up earlier than normal. While lying in bed and starting to fall asleep, a lot of things can occur. Identifying these things and remaining conscious of it can lead to a lucid dream. At first, hypnagogic imagery will appear. This can be an image, strange patterns or a 3d-object that appears in front of your eyes. Then there will be hypnagogic sound, sound that seems to come from outside like a buzzing sound or strange music or whatever. During all this, remain conscious of the fact that you are falling asleep. Watch the images and listen to the sounds and identify them as signs that tell you that you are close to a dream. Stay calm and relaxed and after a while you will become a part of the images and be in a dream and know that it is a dream.

Visualization technique:
After waking up in the morning, start to visualize something and build up the picture until it is very strong and clear. Start with something small and without details and begin to add other things and details until you have created a complete room or world where you can stay in. You will probably start dreaming during the visualization-process and you will hopefully not forget that it's your visualization you are in. To make the visualization more realistic, use all your senses: touch things, smell, taste, listen... Some ideas of what you could visualize:
Visualize a book. Add writings to the pages and try to read it. If the picture is clear enough, look up from the book and visualize the area around it. Build up everything as detailed as possible until you are dreaming.
Visualize a surface. Slowly add details to it. For example, let a brick wall appear in front of your eyes, add cracks and other imperfections, add holes where you can look through. Now touch the surface and feel it.
Visualize a blackboard. Concentrate on the black surface and let lines appear on it or wait until something appears on it. Build the pictures up and create your dream world on the blackboard until you can't see the blackboard anymore.

Drive induced lucid dreams:

Before going to bed, drink a lot of water. Tell yourself that whenever you go to a toilet, you might be dreaming and do a reality test every time you have to go to the bathroom. You will probably go to the bathroom in your dream and hopefully do a reality test. This will probably just be a short lucid dream because you will really have to go to the bathroom.

Don't drink anything for a few hours. Before going to sleep put salt into your mouth to increase your thirst. You will have the desire to drink something in your dreams, so by doing a reality test every time you have this desire or you see a glass of water (or beer!) you will probably have a lucid dream.

Do everything that should make you horny and avoid everything that would decrease your horniness. Think about beautiful women, watch "special" movies and look at pictures of women on the internet (or stop smoking, always works best to make me horny, don't know why...). Associate beautiful women or any sexual content with becoming lucid.

Behaviourism techniques:

Operant conditioning: Punish yourself every time you fail to recognize that it was a dream. And reward yourself every time you have a lucid dream. (I prefer doing only the reward-version of this technique). You can punish yourself by standing under a cold shower or by touching your tongue with a battery. Rewarding yourself will probably (hopefully) be much easier.


There are a lot of dreamsigns that seem to appear in a lot of different people's dreams. If you are able to detect any of these dreamsigns in your dreams, it might help you to know that you are dreaming.

Falling. A lot of people have dreams where they fall down from a high building into a (mostly bottomless) hole.

Flying. Flying also frequently happens in dreams. Either you are flying or a dream character is flying around.

Mirrors. Looking into the mirror can be a strange experience in a dream. I normally have long hair in the mirror in my dreams (I once had long hair, but that was 8 years ago...)

Exams. Nearly everyone that has had a difficult exam in his life had a dream about it. These dreams can appear before the exam (dreams of having the exam and not being prepared for it) or after the exam (dreams of having to do the exam all over again because of some mysterous reason).

Light switches. (Once again...) Light switches sometimes fail to work in dreams.

Addiction. There are studies that show that if you stop to do something you were addicted to (drugs, smoking, women...) you start to dream more frequently of it. Most people never dream of smoking while they do it frequently, but when they try to stop smoking they have these "oh no, I've just smoked a cigarette!!" dreams where they think they just have broken their resolution to stop it. So, if you ever want to stop something that is addictive, remember this, it might help you to have lucid dreams. (I once stopped smoking and eating meat for 2 month, just for fun. I never had any of these kind of dreams with smoking, but I had two dreams where I ate big, delicious pieces of meat...)

Staying lucid:

In the beginning, a lot of lucid dreamers wake up right after becoming lucid. In the beginning the fact that you became lucid can be so exciting that you wake up. And during the lucid dreams you sometimes recognize that you are waking up and leaving your dream. There are a few techniques to prevent you from waking up:

Remain calm. Don't get too excited when you recognize that you are dreaming. Sometimes it is really hard to remain calm. If you see a very beautiful woman and ask her if she wants to sleep with you and she says "Yes!! Of course!!!" it can be very hard to relax, but with practice you will be able to stay calm even in such situations (I normally still wake up in such cases, the women in my dreams are just too beautiful).

If your dream shows signs of ending, such as loss of detail or feeling your real body lying in bed, the technique called "Spinning" can be helpful. Spin your body around your axis like a child trying to get dizzy. This will possibly lead to a new dream, so try to remember that you are still dreaming. It can sometimes lead to a false awakening, so do a reality test if you are lying in bed after the spinning. It seems that the sensation of motion keeps you in the dream.

Touch something and concentrate on what you feel. The thing you are touching is not real and if you can fully concentrate on it you will stay in the dream environment. When you wake up from a lucid dream it can happen that you feel your dream body and your real body which touches the bed at the same time. If you can fully concentrate on your dream body, the feelings of your real body will disappear again and you will be completely in your dream again. You can also do this with the other senses, like concentrating on what you see or hear. You can look at an object or at your hands and try to make their appearance more clear and vivid again.

Rub your dream-hands to prevent you from feeling your real hands.

Move your bodyparts as fast as possible. Probably has the same effects as spinning.

Fly around and perform some aerobics in the air. Doing a few loopings and turns can prevent you from waking up.

Let yourself fall backwards. By throwing yourself backwards and feeling your body falling towards the floor you might be able to stay in the dream.

Change the environment (see below). Going into a new scene can help you to get away from reality and more into the dreamworld.

Ignore the fact that the dream is fading and act as if the dream isn't fading. Just keep on doing what you were doing. (I found that technique on Blueboy's Lucid Dreaming FAQ. I haven't tried it yet, but it sounds interesting.)

False Awakening:
When you wake up, get up from your bed, start your day and then really wake up and recognize that it all was a dream, it is called a false awakening. It happens frequently in my lucid dreams and sometimes when I want to get up but don't have the motivation to get out of the bed. It can be very awful when you recognize that you are still lying in bed and that you have to try to get up once again. (I once had five false awakenings in a row. I always got up only to wake up later and realize that it all was a dream. But in the three last dreams I knew that it could be a false awakening and I became lucid.)
To avoid false awakenings and to use them to your benefit, always do a reality test when you wake up. (Put a piece of paper with the message "do a reality test" next to your bed.)

Sleep paralysis:
Your mind wakes up but your body refuses to respond. If something like this happens to you, remember that this could be a dream. I never had one of these...

DOALD: Dream of a lucid dream:
It sometimes happens that you dream that you have a lucid dream. The difference between this and a real lucid dream is that you are not fully aware that you are dreaming, you just dream about what you would do if you had a lucid dream. It feels different than a real lucid dream, you are more passive.
A variation of this is visualization in a dream. I sometimes close my eyes in a dream and visualize something, for example that I am flying. The visualizations in my dreams feel so real that I suddenly become a part of my visualizations and I really feel as if I would fly.
Another dream I had that was like this was when I dreamt I was in a computergame. I had a lot of controll over everything because I knew that nothing around me was real, but I enver realized that I wasn't in a computergame, but in a dream.

Changing the environment:

If you want to change the place you are in, there are several techniques that can help you. It's (most of the time) easy to change just small parts of the dream environment but it's normally not so easy to just say that the whole surrounding should change immediately. It sometimes doesn't work at all or it can wake you up. Therefore some of these techniques can be helpful:

Dream spinning is not only a good way to prolong your dream, it can also help you to change the scene. Decide what place or time you want to be in and/or which person you want to meet. Start to spin your whole body in a standing position and concentrate on your target. Your dream scene should change after a while.

Let a TV appear in front of you. Change the channel until you see the place you want to go to in the TV. Now go into the TV. Become a part of the show you were watching in the TV. Or you can create a picture on the wall of the place you want to go to and enter this picture.

If you are outdoors you can fly away and search for the place you want to go to from above.

Look at a distant point and then zoom in on it. (It's sometime hard to stay there, I normally automatically zoom back again.)

Close your eyes and visualize the place you want to go to. If everything works right you will soon be inside your visualizations.

Teleport to another place by using the Star Trek technique (Beam me up, Scotty).

I read somewhere about a technique where you look at a bright light and think about the place where you want to go to. I did it once by looking at a white piece of paper. The surrounding can change and the piece of paper can be incorporated in the new scene by the unconscious mind. When you look away from the light or the paper, you should be at the new place.

Exploring your dreamworld:

Look at every little detail you see. Things in dreams can be far more detailed than in reality. Touch things in your dream and compare the feeling to the touch in real life. I once had a lucid dream in which I was in front of the house. I touched the floor, the stones, the grass, everything. Then I woke up and went as soon as possible outside to check if it feels the same. It did! In dreams, mostly everything is at least as detailed as in reality, don't expect everything to be blurred and what some call "dream-like". Also use your other senses to explore the dreamworld and you will discover things "you've never dreamed of".

Flying in dreams is not just one of the best ways to have fun, it's also the easiest way to travel from one place to another. There are different flying techniques you can use. I normally use the superman-style. But you can also use swimming motions to move forwards in your dreams or sit on a magic carpet. (Watch Big Lebowsky if you want to see how these three flying techniques work). You can flap with your arms if you want to and fly bird-style. To increase your speed, you can create rockets that are attached to your feet. Or you can use an airplane or a hot-air balloon to help you get off the ground or you can let propellers come out of your head like Inspector Gadget does or you can jump down from a high building (But before you jump from that building, make sure that you really are dreaming!)
The first time I had a lucid dream I tried to fly, but I couldn't get off the ground. I tried to jump into the air but it didn't help. I knew that there was a cliff nearby, but as it was my first lucid dream, I didn't want to risk anything and I didn't jump down the cliff. But in my second lucid dream it was no problem to fly and I have improved my flying skill since then.
You can train your skills in lucid dreams the same way you would train something in real life: Do it frequently and try different ways to do it.
To experiment a little with your flying skills, try this:
-How high can you fly? Can you view the earth from outer space?
-How fast can you fly? Can you fly as fast that you lose awareness of your surrounding?
-Try to fly near the ground and between large buildings or trees. It's a lot of fun.

Tell other people in your dream that it is a dream and that they are not real. Ask them whether they realize that they are in your dream and prove it to them by showing them some reality tests. It is a lot of fun to confuse dream characters. Ask them what it feels like to be a dream character and get to know them better. (Once again, please don't do this when you are not completely sure that you are dreaming. But when you realize too late that you are not dreaming and that you just told a complete stranger that he is only an unimportant character in one of your dreams, you can still pretend that you are drunk or something like that.)
Or you can tell them that you are a dream caracter and that they are dreaming right now. (This can also be fun in real life...)

You can do everything you want! Nothing will hurt you (well, it might hurt, but your body is still intact afterwards), nobody else will know it and you don't have to pay for anything.

View each charakter as an aspect of yourself. A shy person in your dreams could be the shy part of yourself. Talk to these "parts" if you want to change something about them. Or ask them questions about themselves.

Look at the sky. I prefer night skies. I've never seen anything as breathtaking as a sky full of stars in my dreams. I seldom look at the sky in a non-lucid dream, but when I do I'm always really impressed!

Talk to animals, plants and objects.

Talk to famous people, or talk to people that are specialists in something you want to know more about. For example, talk to your own inner Dream-Guru and ask him questions about your dreams.

Dive. In a dream you can breathe underwater.

Have sex with the most beautiful women you can imagine.

Fly with dragons, swim with dolphins, dig with moles.

You can be anyone you want. You can be an famous star or a hero, you can be very old or very young, very big or very small.

Transform into other beings. You can be an other human, object, animal or something in between. Feel how it is to be a plant or jump around in the water as a dolphin. Transforming your body into a single point also is a lot of fun.

When you know you are dreaming you also know that your body lies in your bed and that even if you see a lot of things your eyes are closed right now. Try to open your real eyes (warning: this can wake you up or lead to a false awakening). This is a very strange but interesting experience, it's like a second world appears in the middle of the old world and the rest of the old world slowly disappears.

Dream in black and white. Or see your dream through blue glasses.

Take drugs in your dreams. Smoke a joint or go on a LSD-Trip for free. Or just tell yourself that you want to be high if you don't know what kind of dreamdrug you might try tonight.

Watch yourself from outside your body. See your body moving around from above you or change between different cameras. Or more than one camera at the same time. Or moving cameras...