Lights ON or OFF for Lucid Dreaming: What’s Best?


🌙 Written by Kai Riverstone, international lucid dreaming expert and teacher. Learn how to lucid dream in 7 days or less.

You’re getting ready for bed, and you want to control your dreams tonight, but should you leave your light on or turn it off to lucid dream? What will help you lucid dream?

Here’s the deal:

In your bedroom, the little things which most people wouldn’t think are important CAN actually make a big difference to the quality of your sleep, and therefore the quality of your dreams. Even little things like sleeping in the right position can make a difference!

Turning your light on or off is no exception. To start off, let’s talk a little about your natural ‘circadian’ rhythm. This means the natural way your body responds to the cycles of day and night (Or light and darkness in most parts of the world).

Let’s talk about your circadian rhythm:


Your circadian rhythm

Naturally, your body and mind fall into a ‘circadian’ pattern, whereby you feel ready to wake up when the sun rises in the morning, and you start to feel tired when the sun goes down at night. If we were all living without houses then we’d naturally all start to wake up at sunrise and start to sleep when the lights go out.

What’s happened over time however, is that people have been changing this more and more, and staying up later and later using artificial lights in their houses.

Why is that a bad thing?

Because this slightly changes the pattern and makes it slightly harder to wake up in the morning. If you feel very tired when your alarm goes off in the morning, this could be a reason why. You’re forcing your body to stay up much later than it’s meant to EVERY NIGHT by keeping your lights on.

Now, of course life has changed quite a bit from the times when we didn’t have houses with electric lights and that sort of thing. Society has changed, and you can’t always go to sleep when the sun goes down. In most cases, people are still WORKING when the sun goes down in the winter, let alone being at home getting ready to sleep.

So, what’s the answer?

Lights on or off for lucid dreaming?

Seeing as we can’t just change our work schedule so that we go to sleep when the sun goes down, (at least most of us can’t) we CAN change a few things about our habits.

We can decide how much ARTIFICIAL light we expose ourselves to at night. Now, I think you know where I’m going with this.

In order to lucid dream you should sleep with the light OFF.

This is because naturally your body needs darkness in order to get in ‘sync’ with the natural cycles of day and night. If your light’s always on then you won’t get the quality of sleep you need to have a good rest, and a good lucid dream.

All the time you’re exposed to artificial light, your body secretes ‘wake up’ hormones which keep you from falling asleep. Now, at the right time during the night, these wake up hormones are PERFECT for lucid dreaming.

Side note – When you’re about 2 hours away from your normal wake up time your body starts creating ‘wake up’ hormones which start to awaken your mind and make you more ‘self aware’. This is why trying to lucid dream in the early morning is the BEST time to do it, because you’re in/around your REM sleep stages.

These hormones are useful, but NOT when you’re trying to go to sleep. I get emails fairly often in which people ask me ‘should I have my lights on or off for lucid dreaming?’ and I always respond with something like this post.

Blackout curtains A little note about curtains. As I’ve said, it’ best to turn OFF your lights if you want to lucid dream, but what about your curtains? It’s sometimes a good idea to use ‘blackout’ curtains which block out ALL light from outside from entering your room.

I think these can be a good idea, BUT at the same time, they stop light coming into your room in the mornings, which means you don’t get that ‘wake up’ hormone being released in the early morning.

Final tips

I would advise to turn your light OFF in the evening if you want to lucid dream, and also have curtains that don’t block out all the light. To help you fall asleep even faster, check out our list of falling asleep tips or get a sleep optimisation program!