Types of Lucid Dreams
There are several types of lucid dreaming. For some one or the other comes more naturally, where for others hard work and persistence can lead to success with any of them. The way we break down the types of lucid dreams is as follows:
Types of Lucid Dreaming: Passive vs. Active
Lucid Dreaming vs. Dream Control
This is a subtle difference. In fact, dream control is actually a subset of lucid dreaming. With lucid dreaming you are aware that you are in a dream and realize the difference between that state and regular dreaming. Dream control adds another layer, and suggests that you can actually control what is going on around you. This difference is one that for some people is significant. Some have more luck with passive lucid dreams where they do not take control but merely enjoy and learn from what the dream brings. The other terms we use, then, for this type of lucid dreaming are “passive” and “active”.
Passive vs. active lucid dreaming techniques
Depending on whether you are going to take an active or passive approach during your lucid dreams you may choose different techniques. For example, you may find that dream-induced techniques (see below) are a little more challenging if your goal is passive lucid dreaming since you may already be quite active in the dream when you notice your dream signs. On the other hand, using wake-induced techniques you may be able to more gently slide into the dream state and remain passive.
Using music or supplements
Depending on whether you intend to be active or passive, you may or may not decide to using lucid dreaming supplements or lucid dreaming music. There may not be a general rule, but you may find, for example, that when you use certain supplements your dreams are much more vivid and fast-moving and it is therefore harder to take a passive approach. On the other hand you may find that certain music actually creates calmer more soothing dreams, allowing for that passive approach.
Types of Lucid Dreaming: Wake and Dream Induced
Wake induced types of lucid dreams
Wake induced techniques (WILD) are those where you go directly from an awake state into the lucid dream. Wake induced techniques are popular with those who will be using nap time to try dream lucidity. It is also the favored techniques by those who will wake themselves up at the time of night when they are in rapid eye movement sleep. Some people find that wake induced techniques are easier at the beginning because they allow for a gradual entry and create at least some short but meaningful experiences of dream control. Others find that wake-induced techniques are not optimal because they never fully achieve full dream immersion.
Dream induced types of lucid dreaming
Dream induced techniques (DILD) are those that use dream signs and other triggers to alert you that you are dreaming while you are already sleeping. These are probably a little more popular because they occur during natural REM sleep when you may be a little less likely to wake up. Dreams may be more vivid during these times. In addition, for those who do not like naps, or for whom naps interrupt nighttime sleep, dream induced techniques are much preferred.
Many people ask which types of lucid dreaming is “best” or “easiest”. This is often hard to answer. As far as whether DILD or WILD lucid dreaming is easier, it is often just individual differences that guide that. Some people have an easier time using wake induced techniques during a nap for example, while others find that dream signs are their trigger during dream-induced experiences.
Specific Types of Lucid Dreams
Repeating, scary, rehearsing, fantasy, time travel, exposure: This is a different way to look at the types of lucid dreams, having more to do with content than with techniques. You can choose the content of your lucid dreams in order to help with something in your waking life, live out a fantasy, or get some sort of insight. Here is more detail about these types of lucid dreams:
- Repeating lucid dreams are those where either a scene, some characters, or a unique action is repeated. Repeated experiences can be interesting if you are hoping to draw meaning from your experiences – the themes of the scene, personalities of the characters, or the specifics of what you can do can point to your hopes, fears, or just generally what is on your mind at a subconscious level
- Scary dreams can also give insight into your fears and anxieties, and can certainly give you an opportunity to try to face them and overcome them. Scary lucid dreams can also occur as your subconscious becomes uncomfortable with the idea that you can control your dreams.
- Rehearsing during dream control provides a way to face a fear, practice for an important event, or learn a new skill. Rehearsing is hard to do for the beginner because it takes a longer dream that is sustained in a lucid state.
- Fantasy and time travel can be an exciting way to do things and see things that you would not otherwise do or see. You can do things in your dreams that you could not otherwise do. This is one major reason that people undertake this craft in the first place.
- Exposure provides a way to face a feared object or person. For example, if you are afraid of spiders you can pick up a spider in your dream – it cannot really bite! Or if you are afraid of public speaking you can face a crowd in your dream.
You may have decided to pursue lucid dreaming to have one specific type of lucid dream, or you may be excited by several of the possibilities. There may even be ideas that you have not thought of, and visiting various lucid dreaming forums, talking to other lucid dreamers, or going about this with a partner may help you discover them. When starting out we suggest that you choose the methods that create the most success, and then when you build confidence you can move on to others.
Types of Lucid Dreaming Techniques
Above you read about the two major types of lucid dreaming techniques, WILD and DILD. But there are also more subtle types of lucid dreaming techniques that it are worth mentioning, as follows:
Types of Lucid Dreams Using Symbols
The major way that we induce lucidity is through using signs and symbols that we are not awake. In other words, there are certain perceptions that change or are different when we are in a dream state. By looking for these signs and symbols in our waking life, and therefore making that a habit that follows us into the sleep state, we can trigger many types of lucid dreams. Some examples of these signs and symbols include reflections that change or are distorted, extra fingers of toes, the inability to come down after jumping, and the faces of others changing.
Types of Lucid Dreams Using Questions
Types of lucid dreaming techniques that involve questions you ask during the day, such as “am I dreaming” or “is this a dream”. These cornerstone questions are designed to make their way into your dream state, just like other repetitive and memorable things that happen during your day tend to do. These techniques are very common and easy, and can be combined with the above quite easily.
Types of Lucid Dreaming Techniques Using External Stimuli
If you use a lucid dream mask you can produce external stimuli in your dreams, including sounds and lights that show up in the dream. These masks are able to sense when your eyes are moving (rapid eye movement or REM) and that triggers them to flash or make a sound. Many have reported that these aids do provide a trigger that can help you know that you are dreaming. We suggest that you learn different types of lucid dreaming techniques before you use a mask so you don’t come to depend on it.
Types of Lucid Dreams Summary
As you can see there are several types of lucid dreaming and differences in how they are achieved. You should learn all about the different types of lucid dreams, types of lucid dreaming techniques, and the major methods to induce lucid dreams. If you are a beginner you should try each idea and stick with it for a little while, and if you are more advanced try something new and see how it works.
You may want to experiment with different lucid dreaming techniques in order to find out which types of lucid dreams are easiest for you to achieve. Let us know which types of lucid dreams you tend to have, and share any information about the types of lucid dreaming that worked best for you.