It's really important to maintain good sleep hygiene as you're learning how to have lucid dreams. If your lucid dreaming practice is negatively impacting your sleep, it's going to be harder to stay motivated. And if your sleep quality isn't very good to begin with it’s going make it even harder still. Furthermore, poor sleep will take a negative toll on your physical health and your mental health, so let's have a think about some ways to improve your sleep quality.
Things you should avoid
Now, first of all, there's a few things you want to avoid during this six-week course. For example, I recommend that you avoid intake of caffeine and other stimulants from around early afternoon or midday. Otherwise, if you've consumed caffeine or stimulants later on, this can make it harder to fall asleep and lead to a poorer quality of sleep.
You're also going to want to minimise your intake of alcohol. A couple of drinks here and there is fine, but any more than that – even though it helps you fall asleep at the start of the night – will give you more frequent awakenings later in the night and make it more difficult to have a good night rest. So, try to limit your consumption of alcohol for the duration of this course.
Another substance to avoid is cannabis. Cannabis is known for making it harder to record dreams, and what we find is that the THC specifically actually reduces the length of your REM sleep periods. These are the periods where most dreams occur. Now, if you're using cannabis medicinally, you might want to speak to your doctor about some solutions for this, such as having your dose earlier in the day so it's not in your system at night, or maybe having a low THC formulation.
One thing to avoid that you might not have thought of, is multivitamins and B vitamins. B vitamins specifically can increase your energy levels, so you're going to want to take these things earlier in the day as well – otherwise it can be harder to fall asleep.
Now, beyond things that you might ingest, you want to avoid things like bright screens and bright lights. The reason for this is that the white / blue spectrum of light actually interferes with the brain's ability to produce melatonin. It basically gives you a signal that it's not yet time to sleep and makes it harder to fall asleep once you stop using the device.
If you are used to using a phone or watching TV before bed, one thing I recommend is that you swap that for reading a book instead. When you're choosing a book, I recommend something that's either about dreaming or lucid dreaming, or choose something that involves ideas or situations that you would ideally like the dream about. So, you might choose fantasy books or adventure stories.
As you're reading, keep the light dim. You can use something like a warm light or a salt lamp, or even a candle. This is going to be easier for you to go to sleep (but don’t fall asleep with a candle burning!).
Strategies to maintain good sleep quality
There are a few techniques you can do to help you relax at night. One really good one is meditation, which I'm going to talk about next week. You can also do things like having a hot bath, which actually helps you to fall asleep. The way it works is it increases your core temperature, and then when you get out of the bath there's a decrease in temperature. This signals the body to become more lethargic and makes it easier to fall asleep.
If these things are not enough, then you might need to think about other things that might be causing you to stay awake. If you're feeling stressed, again things like meditation or relaxation techniques can really help. Try to minimise stimulation before bed, so no action-packed movies or no stressful interactions if you can possibly avoid it.
Now, a few other things that you might like to consider. First of all, think about if there's any light coming into your bedroom. For example, through a door or a window. If there is, you might like to take steps to block it out for the duration of this course. This is especially important later on, when you'll be learning techniques that involve waking up during the night, doing a technique, and then going back to sleep.
You'll want to be able to go back to sleep easily without that interfering with your sleep quality. One thing that I do is I use metal clips. You can buy them at any stationery store. They open nice and wide, and you just use them to clip a black sheet or a blanket over the curtain rail so that there's no light coming into your bedroom.
You can also use an eye mask, and even if you've already blacked out the light coming through any doors or windows, just having a little bit of pressure over your eyelids can make it a little bit easier to fall back asleep.
Now if there's any sound keeping you awake, there's a few options. One is to get yourself some soft earplugs that you can safely and comfortably sleep with. Another option is to use a white noise generator. If you look up on YouTube, just search “white noise”, or you can download apps that create this for you. It's basically just ambient noise, which you quickly get used to. This makes it harder for you to be disturbed by any sudden noises or sounds that might happen around you.
The importance of a healthy diet
You're also going to want to think about your diet during this course, because not only is your diet related to your overall health and well-being, it's also related to your dreams and your sleep specifically. In fact, certain dietary deficiencies are correlated with poor dream recall, so you're going to want to make sure that your body is getting everything that it needs during this course.
You're going to want to make sure that you eat vegetables each day, lots of lean proteins and good quality fats. Make sure that you avoid your consumption of sugar, refined carbohydrates like white bread, and other kinds of junk food. It's good to eat foods that are high in choline specifically, because choline helps the body to produce more acetylcholine, which is the neurotransmitter that helps you to bring on rapid eye movement sleep during the night. Good sources of choline are fish, eggs, and organ meats, and if you're someone that doesn't eat animal products you can also get choline from nuts, spinach, and beans.
Now if you are concerned that you're still not getting enough of the nutrients that you need each day, something that you can do is just take a multivitamin with your breakfast. This isn't a substitute for a healthy diet, but it can help to cover the bases to make sure you're getting a little bit more of all those little trace nutrients that you might be missing out on.
If you do choose to do this, make sure that you don't just get the cheapest one you can find. The reason for this is that all the different vitamins and minerals have many different forms, and some forms are easier for the body to absorb and some of them are very hard for the body to absorb. The cheaper ones usually have the hard to absorb forms in them, so choose a good mid-range vitamin or if you want, go for one of the high range multivitamins. The one that I often use is this one here. It's the Ethical Nutrients Super Multi Plus. This is quite a good mid-range multivitamin in Australia.
In your logbook each morning there will be a few questions asking you not only about your dream recall, but also about your sleep quality and the amount of sleep that you're getting. Try to be consistent in the way that you fill this out each morning – that way you can track your sleep quality and your sleep duration over this six-week course.
If you identify any dips in your sleep quality, that tells you that it's time to think about ways to improve that so that you're maintaining good quality sleep for the entire duration of this course. If you do this, it'll make a more sustainable lucid dreaming practice, and you'll have a much better time while you learn the techniques.
If you've enjoyed this video and if you're interested in learning how to have lucid dreams, then I invite you to check out my Lucid Dreaming Training Course. My course is based on the latest scientific research, including my own International Lucid Dream Induction Study. The course is also based on my experience of teaching people all over the world how to have lucid dreams one-on-one via Skype. I’ll teach you my best tips and tricks for learning lucid dreaming, and at the end of the course I'll show you how to make your own personalised lucid dreaming training program based on the techniques that were most effective for you. If you'd like to find out more about the course, simply visit:
Thank you for watching!