What It’s Really Like Being a Lucid Dreamer (What They Never Tell You)


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

What’s it actually like to be a lucid dreamer? To be able to control your dreams every now and then, and direct the dream to be what you want? Well I’d like to share my experiences in this article.

To actually be a lucid dreamer is pretty special. Lucid dreaming can feel amazing when you do it every few days, and when you actually HAVE the experiences, you feel like a superhuman. It’s like you’re in control, and for that short time in the dream, it’s YOUR world. You decide what happens and how it feels.

What’s it like to be a lucid dreamer?

Firstly, it’s not what you expect. The chances are that through the power of social media or imagination you’ve got this image of lucid dreaming in your head (if you’ve not yet experienced it) and the chances are it’s going to feel DIFFERENT to that image. We almost never get it right when imagining what lucid dreaming feels like.

So the actual lucid dreaming experience itself will likely feel different than what you imagine it to be.

I don’t really have this experience to draw on because I never HEARD about lucid dreaming before actually doing it.

I had my first lucid dream as an accident, so I really didn’t know what to expect before going into it.

The trouble comes I think, when you read loads of stories and articles about lucid dreaming BEFORE actually having had one.

This leads to you expecting certain things, and imagining certain details before you’ve had the experience.

It can make you direct the experience and even change it based on what you expect to happen.

This can lead to things like lucid nightmares or experiences where you’re not in control BECAUSE you’ve read a scary post or story about lucid dreaming which made you subconsciously expect it to go wrong.

You can combat this by constantly reminding yourself that your expectations guide the lucid dreams, and then when you become lucid for the first time you’ll still have that element of control and mystery. Anyway, that’s enough about what lucid dreaming is, let’s talk about my experiences as a lucid dreamer, and how it feels on a day to day basis…

The daily routine of a lucid dreamer

My daily routine starts of course in the morning. I’ll wake up and for me the first part of the day is always the most important. I perform a handful of small tasks which are as follows:

  • Before opening my eyes, I talk to myself in my head, and recap the dreams I’ve just had (If I can remember any at that moment). This stops me forgetting details by becoming overwhelmed by the senses and thinking about the coming day.
  • I’ll slowly open my eyes, and go to write down my dreams in my journal by the side of my bed. This process takes anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes depending on how detailed the dreams were and what I can remember.
  • As soon as I’ve finished writing my dreams down I’ll perform a reality check. Now, often I mix these two steps up and do a reality check first thing, THEN write the dreams down but I always do one of those two tasks first.
  • Once I’ve woken up a bit, written my dreams down and done a reality check, I’ll stand up, go to the toilet if I need to and sit in my chair in the corner of the room, and meditate. I’ll meditate for anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes.
  • Then I’ll do another reality check, stretch, drink a big glass of water and go about my day.

The routine sometimes changes in terms of the amount of TIME I spend on each step, but that’s usually the order I do things in. This routine really does set me up for the day, and then from here I might move into my other more goal focused morning routine where I visualise my goals, think about what I’m going to do and get motivated to work etc.

How this routine helps me lucid dream

This lucid dreamers routine is not something I’ve always done. It’s developed over the years based on my experiences and just what I’ve found to work. The reason I do each step is important. I perform reality checks first thing to avoid false awakenings, after my scary false awakening loop experience I don’t want to take any chances.

I then meditate to build self awareness, reflect and build my all day awareness which just overall makes lucid dreaming RANDOMLY more likely.

The dream journalling method I use is simply to NOT open my eyes until I’ve clearly got the previous dream in my awareness and I’m thinking about the details. I found that if you open your eyes straight away, you almost instantly start to forget the dream and what happened. This can be slowed down if you keep your eyes closed while you focus on solidifying the memory. You could also supplement this with the dream anchoring technique whereby you fix an intention on an object in your room.

Say for example, it’s a teddy bear, you tell yourself that every time you see that teddy bear you’ll remember your dreams in vivid detail. Tell yourself that enough and you’ll believe it and it will happen. It’s a common NLP technique, but I tend not to use that one as much anymore because the closed eye recap seems to do the trick for me.

Do you NEED to do a routine like this to lucid dream?

No, not at all. You can easily lucid dream with no such morning routine, I’ve just found that it makes it easier. If you want to take lucid dreaming to the next level, and get serious about it, then this is what I would suggest you do. The chances are once you’ve had a few lucid dreams (Using whatever technique you like) you’ll naturally realise you should be doing this routine and you’ll start doing them anyway.

You’ll WANT to do the tasks in the routine because once you’ve had a bit of experience with lucid dreaming, you get a feel for what things work and what things don’t. You’ll figure out that if you do certain things, you have more lucid dreams and you’ll naturally include these things in your daily routine if you want to have more lucid dreams.

Struggles of being a lucid dreamer

In terms of struggles of lucid dreaming, I think the main one has to be sleep schedule. With so many techniques and ways of lucid dreaming involving waking up at different times, trying various lucid dreaming teas and herbs, and everything else, it’s hard to stay consistent with what you’re doing.

The result is that one day you might wake up at 3AM to try a WBTB or something like that, the next day you might lay in until 11AM doing dream chaining and so on. It’s hard to stick to a sleep schedule, if you’re super excited about trying all these other things. I wouldn’t actually say it’s that bad, because every lucid experience you have makes you a better dreamer in the long run.

I’d rather have a few sleepless nights or days where I’m tired if it means I get to experience new types of technique, and gain more knowledge about lucid dreaming. I think it only really becomes a problem if you’ve also got to wake up at the SAME time every morning and perform during the day for example if you have a 9-5 job or you’re still at school.

Doesn’t it make you tired?

Lucid dreaming doesn’t make you any more tired than regular dreams, no. BUT if you’re practicing certain types of technique, then yes it can make you feel groggy the next day. My advice recently has been to move towards the techniques that require LESS interruption of your sleep like the DILD and MILD techniques, that way you won’t feel tired the next morning.

What my friends say about lucid dreaming

The other aspect of a lucid dreamers life is that as a lucid dreamer, you’ll want to share your experiences with other people, right? It’s human nature, you want to be able to tell people about what you’re doing and what you’re experiencing. The trouble is not EVERYONE you tell will be as psyched about lucid dreaming as you.

Some people will be interested and want to hear it, some won’t really care, but SOME people will actively tell you it’s nonsense. Despite there being tonnes of evidence that lucid dreaming’s real and MILLIONS of people doing it all over the world throughout history, some people still think it’s not possible, or that you’re crazy.

I get it, because if you’d told me it was possible when I was a kid I would have.. Well actually I was pretty open minded as a kid and now, so I’d probably have believed you and researched it but still. I get that for some people it’s hard to be open minded about such things, so as a lucid dreamer you have to be careful about who you tell, especially in the work environment where you could end up creating the wrong impression.

Luckily I’ve worked with some very open minded and awesome people so when I told my work colleagues about what I do they were interested and asked questions! Not everyone is that lucky though and sometimes you’ll be met with opposition when you tell people about lucid dreaming.

Does lucid dreaming hurt?

So you may have read somewhere online that lucid dreaming can hurt. When there are so many horror stories about just about anything these days, it’s hard to know what’s real. I’m here to tell you that lucid dreaming most certainly does not hurt.

The confusion comes when you have people who dream ABOUT painful things like being in a fight or falling off something. In the moment, it can feel painful while you’re in the dream, and YES you can feel pain in lucid dreams, but it doesn’t harm your waking body.

You’ll always be able to wake up and NOT feel any pain whatsoever. So you should take comfort from that, and know that whenever you lucid dream even if something hurts you in the dream itself, you KNOW that it can’t harm you in the real world.

Final words

The life of a lucid dreamer is an amazing one, and the chances are if you ARE a lucid dreamer your waking life will become pretty awesome too. It’s hard to be an avid lucid dreamer and NOT want to experience cool things in waking life too, so you’ve got a hell of a ride ahead of you. Keep questioning things, striving for greatness, and enjoying your life!