Dreams are often unrealistic. This single, simple principle can keep your mind brisk enough through the hazards of a waking day to induce a lucid dream during sleep.

Let’s reflect on that simple principle. To begin with, dreams don’t always follow the laws of physics. We can often fly like birds or walk through walls. Personally, I breathe in water. Continuing that pattern, our perception is often warped. We sometimes see things larger or smaller than they usually are. Our reflections in mirrors look like an entirely different person. When we look at our watch, the numbers displayed are completely unproportionate to the time of day. You might have experienced all of none of these phenomena during dreams. Either way, the principle stands.

The way we can apply this principle is also relatively simple in nature: at random moments during the day, confirm that you are awake. If you find that you are dreaming… presto. You have just become aware of your dreaming state. You have just become conscious. You have just become lucid.

So how to we perform these “reality checks?”

The first step is to learn what constitutes a reality check. Here’s what doesn’t:

  • Checking for a physical body
  • Checking for clearness of sight
  • Checking for sense of touch

These are all things that occur commonly in dreams, and they don’t take particularly effectively to being your reality check perimeters.

Here’s what does:

  • Checking the time or a piece of writing, looking away, and checking again; written word and numbers frequently change during dreams. Digital watches are said to change numbers more frequently than analog watches.
  • Checking the lights. Light switches frequently fail to work in dreams.
  • Try breathing with your mouth and nose shut. This is often possible in dreams, but obviously not in waking life.
  • Try to put the finger of one hand through the palm of another. Hands are often ethereal objects in dreams, and therefore sometimes pass through other solid objects.

In order to make doing reality checks a habit, and in order to start doing reality checks in your dreams to start becoming lucid, you need to start performing them in your waking life. Some people choose to set their watches and perform reality checks every hour, others choose to perform reality checks when they perform other common actions such as opening a door. A handy minimalist method is to write a reminder on your hand to simply perform them frequently. Always perform reality checks after waking up, to make sure you aren’t having a false awakening.

Once you start doing reality checks in your waking life, it will inevitably become a habit and begin leaking into your dreaming life. You may suddenly remember to perform your hourly reality check while in the dream state, perform it, and realize you are dreaming. You may do the same when opening a door, or doing another associated action.

There is always a chance of a reality check failing, which is why you should always perform reality checks two or more at a time.

Reality checks have a very good reputation in the lucid dreaming community for being one of the most effective and least invasive methods of inducing lucid dreams. Start performing reality checks today, comment, and tell me your results!