The Top 9 Lucid Dreaming Techniques Compared And Explained


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

You’ve probably realised by now that there are LOTS of lucid dreaming techniques. there are so many in fact that I’ve had to create a sort of glossary of all the terms and names for them all. 

I’ve often linked to my main category page for lucid dreaming methods and techniques in the past, but I’d like to actually list all of the lucid techniques here and comment on each one. I feel it’s important to say a bit about each technique before you decide to go and try and learn them. 

The reason for that is that not all the techniques are easy, and some of them actually do damage your sleep quality.

For that reason I’ll list the top 5 lucid dreaming techniques and comment on each one, as well as link to a more detailed guide on how to DO the technique. ratingEffect on Sleep
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The best lucid dreaming techniques

As I said these are in no special order, although I will mention the BEST lucid dreaming technique (in my opinion) at the end of the article). Any links should open in lovely new tabs so you don’t lose your place. Here are the main techniques we’re going to cover in this article:

  • The WILD
  • The WBTB
  • The MILD
  • The SSILD
  • The all rounder
  • The 90ILD

By the way, I made a video going through these techniques and edited it with some of my travel clips. Hope you like it! 

1: The WILD

Quick summary: The WILD technique is an important thing to learn. It involves keeping your mind awake as your body falls asleep and allows you to create a dream scene around you in real time. Very effective when you know how to do it, very DIFFICULT when you don’t. Not for beginners.

The WILD is a strange one. It’s actually one of the most effective and reliable techniques, once you’ve learned how to do it. The trouble is almost no one can really perform the WILD well and reliably.

WILD stands for wake induced lucid dream and means essentially keeping your mind awake while your body falls asleep. It’s similar fundamentally to the WBTB but slightly different. With the WILD, you can start it at any time of day or night.

The WBTB however, you must first sleep for 6 hours and THEN try and lucid dream.

How to do the WILD

The WILD is simple but difficult. Here are the steps needed to induce a lucid dream using the WILD technique. This can be done at any time of day or night but it’s much more likely to work in the early hours of the morning.

  • Start by closing your eyes and laying down. Relax all muscles and make sure you’re as comfortable as possible. Soften all muscles and try not to focus on anything in particular. Much like meditating, you’re trying to get into a relaxed state. Using a biannual beats track or a supplement could help with this.
  • Next, aim to not move ANYTHING. Don’t move anything for about 30 minutes or so, or as long as it takes to get to the next stage. While you’re laying there, you should be completely aware and ready to lucid dream, so don’t let yourself get too relaxed and just fall asleep.
  • Over the course of about an hour you’ll start to see shapes, colors, patterns and even hear sounds in your head. This is normal and it’s known as the hypnagogic imagery stage of your sleep. You’re normally already sleeping when it happens, so enjoy it!
  • After a while of this stage, you’ll start to be able to interact with what you’re seeing. It might start by you reaching out in your minds eye and touching a shape or something you see. This moves onto being able to manipulate the shapes, or changes the colours.
  • Play around with this for a while and at a certain point (it’s a different point for everyone) you’ll feel ready to ‘break through’.
  • This means you’ll feel like you’re FULLY in the dream and you can walk around and stand up. this is very hard to explain, and even harder to actually DO if you’ve never done it before, but it feels much like standing up after sleeping, and waking up.
  • What you’re really doing is building a dream around your, while you’re still awake in your mind. Your body however, is falling asleep, or even already asleep.

This does mean that you’re going to experience sleep paralysis if you get too excited and try and leave the dream, because your body should have been paralysed at that point or before. If you do manage to accidentally wake yourself up during this stage, don’t panic.

Just try and naturally open your eyes and shake off the sleep paralysis, it will go away soon!

2: The WBTB

Quick summary: The Wake back to bed technique is a simple yet effective technique for beginners. It isn’t great for your sleep and you will feel tired the next day, but at least you can have a lucid dream faster!

How to do the WBTB technique

The Wake back to bed technique is a simple yet elegant solution to lucid dreaming.

The WILD technique works GREAT, but the real problem is the timing. You see we dream during the REM stage of our sleep. (Rem means rapid eye movement). We have several REM stages of sleep throughout the night in what are called ‘sleep cycles’.

A sleep cycle is a period of time usually about 90 minutes which we go through various sleep stages, for example deep sleep, light sleep, REM etc.

MOST dreams happen during REM sleep, and most lucid dreams happen when REM sleep is the longest. We have the longest periods of REM sleep in the early hours of the morning. In fact, for most of us we only dream for a few SECONDS or minutes during the first few REM stages of sleep.

So you can see why trying to lucid dream in those precious few seconds is a wasted effort. Much better to target the juicy 10-15 minute long REM sleep in the early hours of the morning, right?

And that’s what the WBTB technique does. You’re going to ‘wake yourself up’ in the early hours of the morning, and then go BACK to bed trying to lucid dream. It’s a great solution for a lot of people and it can help beginners lucid dream, but it’s NOT good for your sleep quality.

You see, by interrupting your sleep during the early hours of the morning, you actually end up feeling rough the next day. You’ll feel tired, annoyed, and even depressed because you’ve not got a full nights sleep. That being said, if you just want to have your first lucid dream FAST, it’s a great way of doing that.

How to do the WBTB technique

There are a few things you’ll need to know.

We’ve covered how sleep cycles work and why you’re trying to target your longer REM sleep periods. There are a few things to know about this technique, so here’s how to do it!

Start by doing some meditation before going to bed, and this is just to get you in the right frame of mind. You want to be relaxed, and fall asleep as fast as possible before trying this. Try taking a sleep aid supplement or maybe even listening to a mind machine or something before bed.

Before going to sleep, set your alarm on your phone to go off about 6 hours from the time you go to bed. Your alarm tone should be something soft and soothing, but still vivid enough to actually wake you up in the morning.

Now go to bed, and relax! Don’t think about anything, and don’t even try and lucid dream or anything like that.

When you hear your alarm go off, try not to open your eyes. Turn the alarm off if you can, and then lay there, completely still. Go back to sleep with a STRONG intention to lucid dream. You can actually try and perform the WILD technique if you want, it will work very well at this time.

And then you’re in a lucid dream! You can do anything you want, but here are some ideas to start with. Make sure to stay focused and if you wake yourself up, the best part about this is you’re ALREADY in the best time of night to lucid dream..

So just try again! Just write what you remember down in your dream diary, and start again by just going back to sleep. Make sure to keep the INTENTION to lucid dream in your mind. For example you could repeat the phrase ‘I will lucid dream’ to yourself in your head as you’re falling asleep.

The lucid staircase

Another technique that works well for a lot of people during the WBTB is they imagine a staircase. As you’re trying to fall back asleep, close your eyes and think about a long deep staircase. Tell yourself that every step you climb DOWN, you become more lucid.

That’s it. And now just imagine yourself slowly walking down the staircase step by step. Tell yourself that you’ll get more lucid with every step. You can actually do this going both ways, a staircase to heaven or down into the ground.

  • Another great variation of this is to count from 1 to 1000. In between each number say ‘I’m lucid’. So you’d count:
  • ‘1, I’m lucid, 2, I’m lucid, 3, I’m lucid, and so on’. Lots of people reported that this worked VERY quickly, especially when they tried it during the early hours of the morning when they were already tired and ready to lucid dream.

3: The MILD

Quick summary: The MILD technique is a more soft approach to techniques. You can learn to do it and it works regularly, sometimes without you having to actually practice much. Probably my most used technique, and it works really well combined with other things like SSILD, WILD and other techniques. Great for beginners to learn, but can take some time to see results.

The MILD or mnemonically induced lucid dream, is a very effective and reliable lucid dreaming technique. It can be used to ‘randomly’ have lucid dreams even when nothing else seems to be working.

I actually really like this technique because it works so well for beginners, and it doesn’t actually take much effort to learn it. Unlike the other techniques here, however, I’d like to devote an entire post to showing you how it works and explaining it.

Read more about the MILD technique here (opens in a new tab). This is probably the one I would suggest reading the most, because it forms the basis of ‘passive lucid dreaming’ for the long term. Very useful, and if you get this one right, you’ll be able to be one of those lucky people who seem to have random lucid dreams without really trying.

4: The SSILD

Quick summary: The SSILD technique is all about your senses and being aware. It links very nicely to the all day awareness technique and can be used to form part of a more mindful life routine. Easy to learn but can be tricky to get lucid dreams from as a beginner, unless you’re ALSO meditating and doing other things like that.

The SSILD stands for the ‘senses induced lucid dreaming technique’ and can be used along side other methods as well. You can for example, use this one after having just woken up ready to do a WBTB.

Really the WBTB is just about waking up at a certain time in the morning and trying to lucid dream.

  • In my opinion, you can use whichever actual technique you like at that time and it will sort of be a blend between that technique, and the WBTB.
  • So the actual technique itself is all about getting in tune with your senses. It’s based on cycles of awareness of your senses. So you’d start by focusing on things you can see, then move onto things you can hear, and then what you can smell or feel.
  • Don’t expect anything! This is where I went wrong. You need to perform this technique without expecting or assuming anything particular will happen. Just experience and be aware of your senses, and see what happens.

5: The all rounder (secret technique)

The all rounder refers to a method or collection of methods, which I call the all rounder. This isn’t a specific technique but rather a list of things I would suggest to focus on. These things are:

  • Meditation: Meditation has always been a great way to lucid dream, and you’ll experience more lucid dreams naturally just by meditating more often. It doesn’t have to be weird or confusing, and it takes only a few minutes per day.
  • Writing your dreams down: Write your dreams down every single morning, and make sure to never miss a day. If you an’t remember anything, just write down ‘no dreams recalled’. This builds the habit and makes it more likely you’ll lucid dream.
  • Doing reality checks: Do reality checks throughout the day and make sure to not forget. We’ve created a lucid dreaming app that helps you remember to do reality checks, but you can just set alarms as well.
  • Any time you see something strange in waking life, do a reality check. Also do one every morning as soon as you wake up. This means that every time you have a false awakening, you’ll actually just have a lucid dream.
  • Practice all the other techniques, one every week or two. This is a big step here, just practice a random new technique every fortnight. That’s it! Just trying something new will shake up your chances and make your brain more likely to lucid dream. Try it! But whichever technique you try, stick with it for the two weeks before changing it.

6: The 90ILD technique

The 90ILD technique is a technique I created that enables beginners to lucid dream within 5 minutes. I’m really proud of it and I think it has the potential to change the lucid dreaming landscape, because beginners can come in and experience lucid dreams on their first night. 

This also doesn’t rely on supplements, machines, devices or anything else. It’s just pure lucid dreaming magic. 

I don’t want to give away too much here because I really want you to go and read the whole technique in detail, learn it and practice it. If you’ve not had any lucid dreams yet, it’s the best chance you have of lucid dreaming really quickly.

What’s the best lucid technique? 


It’s hard to say what the best lucid dreaming technique is, but I’d probably say the all rounder I just mentioned. It’s not really a commonly known ‘techniques’ but if you do those things, you’ll have lucid dreams more often, and more reliably than any of the other lucid dreaming techniques.

Some other people report having great success with techniques like the MILD or the WBTB however and I would tend to agree with that. I think the WBTB technique is a good one for beginners just because it’s fairly reliable.

You know fairly surely that if you learn and practice the WBTB you’ll have your first lucid dream fairly soon. Of course there are no guarantees, but it becomes more likely.

What’s the hardest technique? 

The hardest technique fro my experience is probably the WILD. It’s the most simple but also the hardest to get right. That’s because it involves keeping your mind awake for a long period of time while your body falls asleep, and for most people that’s almost impossible.

What I would say is that by meditating at the same time as trying this technique, you can increase your chances. I found that in people who were NOT meditating, it’s almost impossible to do the WILD because people who aren’t meditating just can’t focus on something for that long without getting distracted…

Let alone begin relaxed enough for their body to fall asleep, so it really is a challenge for most people.

What’s the most reliable lucid dreaming method? 

For me the most reliable technique has always been the MILD, and the WBTB. These give me results almost every time (not quite, but very often!) and they’re easy to learn and remember. You can learn the basics of them tonight and get started with lucid dreaming (on a basic level) quickly.

What do MOST people try first? 

Most people often try the WILD technique first because it’s the most commonly spoken about technique and it seems to be the easiest, but most people who try it also fail. I’d say it’s the technique that puts the most people OFF lucid dreaming because it’s so hard to get it right.

There are people who swear by it and think it’s super easy, but they’re in the minority. The most emails I get about a single topic is ‘I can’t get the WILD to work for me’. But then once you’ve cracked it, it gives you reliable lucid dreams every time. I’d say learn how it works and give it a try, but then save it for when you try something like the WBTB.

Make SURE you lucid dream

If you’re really serious about learning to control your dreams and you REALLY want it to happen, you need to build up the HABITS you’ll need to lucid dream. These are very important, and learning the wrong things will mean you’ll waste HOURS. 

I created a highly effective step by step Lucid Dreaming BOOTCAMP course that FORCES you to lucid dream. If you don’t lucid dream within 2 weeks, you can get your money back.

Here’s some of what you’ll learn in the bootcamp course: 

  • Exactly what to practice, which techniques, reality checks, exercises and ideas you should do on specific days for 30 days (and how to do them) so you can just save loads of time
  • It’s like I’m taking you by the hand as if I were there coaching you personally (which would cost several hundred dollars and take lots of time). Many students love the bootcamp because it feels like I’m personally helping them do all of this, and making it less confusing!
  • The weird ‘island visualisation’ technique I created to help you drift into a lucid dream much faster than normal, and stay in your lucid dreams for much longer than most people!
  • Specific lucid dreaming induction techniques and the BEST way to practice them (This includes the Wake back to bed, The Wake induced lucid dream, the Mnemonic induced lucid dream and lots more, but with my unique TWIST to make them more effective!)
  • A way of talking to yourself that will give you lucid dreams and ensures that you KEEP having lucid dreams. It’s almost like you’re training your own brain to have MORE of the experiences you want!
  • Exactly WHEN to practice each specific thing! I’ll tell you on each specific day, what techniques, ideas and methods you need to practice or think about on that day to lucid dream. It’s like I’m personally coaching you and making SURE you have a lucid dream!
  • And remember, you can do these exercises and techniques in as little as 3-5 minutes per day (Of course, you could spend longer if you want, it’s up to you and how much free time you have, but it can and will work with just 3 minutes per day)

Get the step by step Lucid Dreaming BOOTCAMP course that FORCES you to lucid dream. This will work for you, even if nothing you’ve tried before has worked. Don’t take my word for it, read the huge load of reviews on the page.