How to Have Wake Induced Lucid Dreams (WILDs)

By far the best brain hack I ever experienced was the Wake Induced Lucid Dream – or WILD.

It does exactly what it says on the tine: during a WILD, your awareness transitions from a physically awake state into a sleeping lucid dream state.

Though this is definitely not the easiest lucid dream technique put there, it does bring to the table two major advantages:

Lucidity on demand – you choose when to experience a lucid dream.
Peak lucidity – it’s the most vivid type of lucid dream.

In this article I will explain how to have a Wake Induced Lucid Dream using two methods: visualization (using your hypnagogia) and the out-of-body exit.


This WILD technique stems from Tibetan Dream Yoga, a Buddhist philosophy used by monks as a path to enlightenment. It will help if you’ve already done meditation before and even more so if you regularly meditate.

Before we begin, its also important to note that while this technique does usually require practice, it is also completely intuitive. There are people who simply and naturally taught themselves to WILD when they were children. Some call it; “dreaming yourself to sleep”.

The key here is you getting to know your body’s sleep signals. Once you can pin point your natural triggers and responses to falling asleep you’ll soon be able to exploit these and have lucid dreams.

Step 1. Relax into The Corpse Pose

Our aim here is to replicate the process of you falling asleep with one notable difference: as your body falls asleep, your mind will stay awake.

That may sound like a bizarre concept, however it’s not only entirely possible but it becomes much easier with practice. You’ll be surprised at how natural it feels once you manage to achieve this for the first time. You’ll be able to slip straight into the dream state with full awareness on cue.

Lets begin, your body should already be very relaxed and loose. That’s why it’s always easier to do this after waking up from a deeper sleep (the ideal time to have a WILD is after 4-6 hours of sleep).

Wake Induced Lucid Dream – Step 1 – The Corpse Pose

Step 1: Relax into the corpse pose

Lie on your back in the corpse pose, this is laying flat with your toes pointing upwards and your palms facing up. Different sleeping postures can also work, but I find this one more effective due to it allowing your blood to easily reach all of your limbs.

Let your mind empty of all thoughts and gaze into the darkness of your closed eyelids. If any thoughts happen to pop up, just simply observe them and then cast them away. Never interact with any of your thoughts or let your inner monologue kick in.

Let your breathing become slow and deep. Focus on breathing in for four seconds, holding it for seven, and then breath out for around eight. (This can also be used as a great stress-reliever during the day.)

Aim to do this for around ten times, after which you’ll be totally relaxed.

If you struggle with entering a state of quiet meditation then use brainwave entrainment. It’s helped me enter the altered states of awareness necessary for WILDs and OBEs on many occasions.

Step 2. Observe Your Hypnagogia

After a while, you may notice the onset of the hypnagogic state.

The most obvious sign involves phosphorescent patterns flowing behind your closed eyelids. Let yourself become mesmerized by the colours and let it draw your awareness inwards.

Feel free to interact with your hypnagogia if it helps to draw you deeper into the meditation. Some choose to ignore it, instead allowing what’s beyond the hypnagogic imagery to produce the dream.

As you drift deeper, your hypnagogia may also simulate sounds (such as distant music or voices) and you may feel physical sensations like floating or being tipped out of bed. This is entirely normal and often means that your mind is asleep by this point.

Hold on to your consciousness awareness however, as you will need it to go lucid.

Wake Induced Lucid Dreams – Step 2 – Observe Your Hypnagogia

Step 2 – Observe your hypnagogia

You may have woken up in the night and found yourself already immersed in this deep, dreamy state. Your body is placid and relaxed. And your mind casually drifts between your bedroom and the dream world.

If you jump straight out of bed to use the bathroom at this point, you’ll have to start all over again. The same goes if your partner starts rummaging around in the bedroom. To continue in this state you need absolute peace and stillness to mentally immerse yourself.

If the conditions are right, your internal dream world will begin to evolve. It will do so either directly from the hypnagogic images or from the space beyond it. Whichever way it comes from, embrace it.

While this is happening you must silently repeat the this phrase: “I’m dreaming… I’m dreaming… I’m dreaming…” This is the hardest stage as the temptation to let go and fall back to sleep is the strongest. Just hold on for a little bit longer.

If you become startled by any unusual hypnagogia, remember it’s just the dream world crossing through into reality.

I once heard a man’s voice outside my bedroom window yell “All the dogs are missing” while I was completely relaxed in this state. There was no one there as it was all in my head, but it felt ‘real’, so expected the unexpected.

On the odd occasions this can lead to sleep paralysis. Don’t be alarmed by it, instead try to use it to your advantage.

The most common feeling is that of your body becoming a distant memory, you’ll no longer feel it within the bed and your mind will start to make leaps into other realms. Try and enjoy this peculiar feeling.

Step 3. Create a Dream Scene

If by this stage you can feel the dream state coming on in fleeting but intense snatches then you’re ready to start the beginning for your lucid dream.

If not, then simply enjoy the hypnagogia for a while longer. Don’t pressure yourself to succeed at every attempt as the reality is that you’ll probably need to practice just getting to this point many times before you can launch into a lucid dream. But stick with it as its a great feeling once accomplished.

If you’re ready to go then you have two options:

The visualization method or The out-of-body exit, I usually use the former. Not that my mind always gives me a choice that is.

3a – The Visualization Method

If you’re already quite skilled with visualization then you can start to picture your desired dream scene in your mind. Layer up the landscape like how an artist would begin to paint a landscape. Alternatively you can recall the face of a desired dream character. What ever you do make it vivid.

Once again, you can either create the images from your moving visual hypnagogia (it’s easily controlled with willpower at this point) or you can choose to draw the imagery from beyond your field of vision.

As the scene intensifies in your imagination, picture yourself right in the middle of the action. Calmly explore your surroundings and immerse your awareness as fully as possible.

Kinetic sensations such as walking, running or riding a bicycle are a great way to “teleport” your awareness into a dream body so try and move around as much as possible. The key here is to try and forget about your real body and inhabit a new lucid dream body.

Wake Induced Lucid Dreams – Step 3 – Visualization Method

Step 3a – Visualize your desired dreamscape

Once your mind is absorbed into the vivid daydream, you must now allow your body to fall asleep altogether. To do this by forget, or even deny, your real body’s existence. Your physical state should be completely limp and relaxed; remember that phrase; a distant memory of an old body. Your body is no longer yours to control, you don’t even remember its existence. This is dissociation.

Once you have achieved total dissociation, the moment you transition is unmistakable. You will quite litterely ‘POP’ into your daydream that has now become a highly vivid lucid dream world. It will surround you in three dimensions and become fully tangible and interactive.

The dream is now easy and effortless and you will not believe how you just did that. You are now lucid dreaming!

(Tip: Do a reality check for good measure. Verbalize your desires. You will have full dream control.)

Learn to Lucid Dream

3b – The Out-of-Body Exit

Here’s the other route to a Wake Induced Lucid Dream.

Sometimes you’ll find yourself so swept up in your hypnagogic meditation that your body will fall asleep before you have the chance to visualize any dream scene.

If this does happens then your awareness has nowhere else to go except for your own bedroom. The difference is, that now you are lucid dreaming. It is a dream bedroom, and you are lying in a dream bed.

At first it will be hard to tell as the room will look incredibly lifelike, even if it’s not your normal bedroom but somewhere else like a hotel room ect. Just try to look for strange minute oddities, there’s always something to give it away.

At this point many people believe they are experiencing an out of body experience due to the startling realism and the lack of any clear transition.

Scientific simulations of the OBE state coupled with the considerable crossover with the WILD technique strongly indicates that this is a type of lucid dream. (You can choose to believe what you want, I’m just saying there’s no need to shatter your existential philosophy when all that’s happened is you had a Wake Induced Lucid Dream.)

Here are some clues to help you recognize when you’re in this state:

Vibrations: You may come to experience hypnagogic vibrations, or even just a loud buzzing sound. It will often seem to appear from nowhere and feel like electricity, or a fast vibrating in your head. You may even wonder if your head is going to explode, but it wont actually be painful; it’s just a very noisy distraction that simply means you’re on the brink of falling asleep consciously. Think of it as like changing frequencies on a radio. This is just the white noise between channels.

Sleep Paralysis: This is when your body goes to sleep and it enters REM atonia, or sleep paralysis. Your mind does this to prevent you from acting out your dreams. However, if you’re trying to WILD and go the out-of-body route then you will have a greater likelihood of becoming aware of your REM atonia. It will feel like your limbs are numb, or a heavy bed sheet is moving up your body. If at any point you become scared, you can easily snap out of this state by simply moving any part of your body which that is not yet paralysed. Otherwise, relax and embrace it. This is the start of your lucid dream.

A Presence: If you do become afraid during sleep paralysis then you might accidentally invite unwanted characters into your lucid dream (yes, you are already lucid dreaming at this point; you’re self awareness is just stuck in the wrong body). Sleep paralysis induced dream figures can be rather menacing. It just depends on your own thoughts and beliefs. Just remember, you are dreaming and you are in control.
The moment you realize it’s happening, you can start to launch your out-of-body exit.

It’s called an out-of-body experience because your awareness is “locked” into your body lying in bed. You’re holding on to a distant sense of your physical body under the effects of REM atonia. You’re between bodies.

This is one of the quirks of out of body experiences. It’s most likely caused by your minds confusion of the conscious brain switching from waking reality to the lucid dream world, while at the same time your perceived surroundings remain the same.

You might be able to climb out of bed normally. However, it’s usually hard (even impossible) to move your limbs. Its not a problem though, this is a dream after all. You absolutely can sink or float out of your body.

Wake Induced Lucid Dream – Step 3b – Out of Body Exit

Step 3b – Float, sink or swing out of the paralysis

Try to picture yourself floating in water. Or try and imagine how it feels when you’re swinging really high on a swing. You can be freed from the illusion that your dream body has succumbed to sleep paralysis using these kinetic sensations.

Alternatively, you may wish to visualize a new dream scene by saying to yourself “I’m going to the beach now”. You’re already lucid dreaming, so it’s easy to instantly switch scenes with the power of thought. This is how dream control works.

If, on the rare occasion, you find that you’re not alone in your bedroom (and by this I mean uninvited dream characters, who may present themselves as angels or devils or even Peter Griffin) welcome them in and ask for a little help.

Say: “Can you take me to the beach?” (Or anywhere to get out of the paralysis environment.)

Expect that they will. Expectation drives everything.

Troubleshooting Wake Induced Lucid Dreams

Learning how to induce a WILD, it can take time and an understanding of your body’s sleep signals.

The first WILD you expereance will always the hardest. This is because you don’t know what you’re aiming for. Just try and stick with it, make it a night-time meditation habit. Even a failed WILD attempt is good practice.

And when you do pull it off, you’ll be amazed at how easy and seamless it all felt.

The most common complaints with WILD are that either people find that they can’t relax enough, or that they become too relaxed and fall asleep. So keep these points in mind:

Total relaxation is essential. It’s just like falling asleep normally. You won’t ever be able to sleep if you’re constantly tossing and turning, or if your head is full of thoughts.

When I first started practising WILDs, I spent a lot of time listening to brainwave entrainment. This creates an effortless meditation, clearing your mind and relaxing your body.

Meditating like this for around 30-60 minutes regularly can help to prime your mind and body for more lucid dreams. It’s also good for stress relief, concentration, learning, and encouraging abstract thought. Mediators are naturally easy lucid dreamers. The two skills go hand-in-hand.

Conscious awareness is key. Practice and mental conditioning are important to stay conscious while your body falls asleep, but it is not as hard as you may think.

Practice WILDs when you are relaxed but not completely exhausted. This is the reason why earlier I mentioned how it’s ideal to have a WILD after 4-6 hours of sleep.

Focus on your dream visualization and choose a mantra that brings you into the moment.

You don’t have to be a yogi. The WILD technique will only take a few minutes from start to finish. When used in dream re-entry, it can happen in seconds.

Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams (The MILD Technique)

I am going to show you how to perform Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams (aka MILD) which was first created by Dr Stephen LaBerge of The Lucidity Institute. Dr LaBerge created this technique while studying at university in order to produce lucid dreams on demand. It is a very effective technique and ideally suited for those just learning about Lucid Dreaming.

The MILD technique will help you to increase your self awareness, this makes it easier for you to be able to recognize when you are dreaming. It also involves cultivating a lucid dream with certain affirmations. This programs your next dream to contain pre-determined triggers to help induce lucidity.

A mnemonic is any learning technique that helps to boost your memory. For our use, you are placing a cue within your unconscious mind. This will help you to remember your prior intention to lucid dream before you went to bed and it will help you to recognize when you’re dreaming.

The following Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams tutorial is focused towards beginners. You don’t need any special skills or knowledge. It’s broken down into four parts:

Dream Recall
Reality Checks
Lucid Affirmations
Visualize Your Dream
How to Have a Mnemonically Induced Lucid Dream

You can perform the first two steps of the MILD technique right now. The two latter steps are to be performed just before you go to bed. The last two involve meditation and visualization, these work best when you are both physically and mentally relaxed and ready for sleep.

Step #1 – Dream Recall

What’s important to note is that its really important to have a good percentage dream recall rate. This means that you are able to not only remember but also write down at least one dream every morning.

If you wake up and are struggling to remember your dreams, then they are probably not very vivid. If they aren’t vivid enough then the likelihood of you becoming lucid within them is pretty poor. What’s more, even if you are able to spontaneously become lucid within a dream then you will not even be able to remember it!

There are some quick and simple ways to improve your dream recall already posted on this blog, so have a search and you will easily find the articles in question.

Step #2 – Reality Checks

Throughout your day you should be constantly asking yourself “Am I dreaming?” and trying to distinguish whether you’re awake or dreaming with a simple action,  called a Reality Check.

The best way to do this is to set an alarm on your phone every hour. When it rings I try to push my hand through a solid surface while asking myself “Is this real?” If I’m awake then obviously nothing happens. But if I’m dreaming, my hand goes right through the surface!

This causes me to become lucid within my dream and everything begins to move into focus. I become self-aware and conscious within my dream and I’m able to control it.

Reality Checking is a simple way to trigger this moment of introspection. It also helps to switch checks as well, for instance; sometimes I try to float, sometimes I just simply look at the palms of my hand (within a dream paying close attention to detail can also prompt lucidity). Sometimes I just look at my phone as numbers and letters are often jumbled in non-lucid dreams.

You can choose any reality check you like, just ensure that the waking result will differ from the result within your dream. By constantly checking your reality, you are priming yourself for greater self-awareness in dreams. I usually perform at least 10 reality checks every day, sometimes more.

Step #3 – Lucid Affirmations

Begin by lying in bed and just before you go to sleep go through some lucid affirmations in your mind. This really is where the term Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams comes from as you are going to program commands into your memory ready to be recalled later on in your dreams.

Repeat one or more of the following affirmations in your head:


Next time I’m dreaming, I will remember I’m dreaming
The next scene will be a dream
I will have a lucid dream tonight
I’m dreaming now

When you say these words in your mind you should really feel the words as you say them. If at any time your mind begins to wander just draw it back to the topic of lucid dreaming. You need to stay focused and repeat the affirmations until you’re just about ready to drop off to sleep (how long this takes depends on you personally; it may be 2 minutes or 10 minutes). Then proceed to the final step.

Step #4 – Visualize Your Dream

Once your mind is ready for sleep we can begin the visualizations; personally this is my favourite part of Mnemonically Induced Lucid Dreams. You should only perform this step once you are deeply relaxed and feel you could drop off to sleep quite easily.

Try to imagine that you are back within a recent dream but this time you are going to mentally act out the ending differently. You must visualize the dream in as much detail as possible, then look for a dream sign. A dream sign is usually some unusual character, location or object which reveals the dream to be fantasy and not fact; something or someone you wouldn’t expect to see in real life. Once you see the sign say to yourself: “I’m dreaming!”

Even though you are just day dreaming and not lucid dreaming continue to experience an imagined lucid dream fantasy. Do whatever you would do if this was in fact a real lucid dream. You might decide to fly and explore the landscape, or go in search of a fantasy dream character.

It’s during this process that you will likely fall asleep, and that’s ok. The main purpose of Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams is to ensure that your very last thought before you drift off to sleep is about lucid dreaming. Later the same night you will have a much higher chance of becoming spontaneously lucid.

Occasionally, something brilliant will happen. The imaginary dream world that you are fantasising about will suddenly merge into a real lucid dream. Your body has fallen asleep but your brain is so preoccupied by the imagined dream world that you actually remain conscious. You’ll find yourself within the landscape and can experience the dream with full intensity. When this happens, your MILD attempt has become what’s called a WILD (Wake Induced Lucid Dream).

Tips on Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams

During the 1970s, when Dr Stephen LaBerge was developing the MILD technique, he found that certain interruptions of regular sleep patterns can improved success rates. These interruptions included waking up to have sex, vomit or meditate. This led him to conclude that: wakefulness, interjected during sleep, increases your chances of becoming lucid.

So, if you wish to have more lucid dreams by using the MILD technique then you may want to wake yourself up in the night and bring yourself to full consciousness for just a few minutes. It can be something as simple as spending 20 or so minutes reading about lucid dreaming. As you return to sleep, perform the MILD technique again.

Another way to use this example is to practice MILD during afternoon naps. I find this most effective when I am a little sleep deprived from the night before. This makes it easier to fall asleep during the afternoon. However I am not suggesting that you endure forced sleep deprivation; simply make use of this principle if you just so happen to be particularly sleepy during the day.