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.