“From everything we know, if people really try to start engaging with the topic and maybe do some training and so on, most people at some point will have a lucid dream,” said Martin Dresler, a cognitive neuroscientist at Radboud University’s Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior in the Netherlands.
Daniel Love, a lucid dream educator in Truro, England, said that he’s observed a wide range of experiences with lucid dreaming. “Over years of teaching, I found a huge variety in the abilities for people and some people who just can’t get past certain blockages,” he said. Skilled lucid dreamers may only have one every few weeks.
There are two commonly recommended techniques for developing that skill, both of which take time and practice, and don’t always bear fruit. The first is to record your dreams in a journal and look for patterns within them. I noticed, for example, that many of my dreams take place in my parents’ attic and my elementary school gymnasium. Now when a dream takes place in either of those spaces, it should be easier for me to recognize it for what it is.
The second technique often touted for promoting lucidity is “reality checking”: questioning one’s consciousness during waking hours through simple tests like counting fingers. Once those checks become habitual, Mr. Love said, they may occur during a dream state, where logical outcomes could have dreamlike distortions — the wrong number of fingers, for instance.
The internet is saturated with other tips, of course, spilling out of YouTube videos, Reddit posts and blogs, not to mention the endless virtual classes, books, coaching, devices and even supplements, like melatonin and vitamin B6, that claim to help people achieve lucid dreaming. (In one small study of 35 people over eight nights, a drug designed originally for treating Alzheimer’s symptoms induced lucid dreams. Dr. Ralph Carlson, an educational psychologist at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and an author of the study, asserted that no one should take any drug without first consulting a physician.)