I Tried Lucid Dreaming for 30 Days and My Life Has Changed Forever10 min read

Published by Zach on

One-third of our life, about 9,000 days, are spent asleep. Is it possible that there is more to our sleep than just blackness followed by waking up? As I get busier, as I get older, I am constantly hunting for more hours in my day. I know, however, from academic journals and personal experience, that taking hours away from sleep is the worst possible option. What if I could find some extra time during sleep? What if that time was during dreams? But how do I gain awareness of my dreams? How will I know when I am dreaming? Can I fly during dreams? Can I study during dreams? Can I fight Darth Vader an in an awesome lightsaber battle?

One day, I was telling one of my friends about one of my dreams and she said she had flown to Egypt to see what the pyramids in her previous dream and I was like, “what? how did you do that?” She told me it was just a regular lucid dream for her. She realized she was dreaming and began to fly around. I was amazed.

Immediately, I began researching “what is lucid dreaming”. For the next 30 days, my life became all about lucid dreaming.

I tried lucid dreaming for 30 days, and my life has changed forever.

The 30 Day Experiment

I started devouring everything possible on lucid dreaming after that discovery.

I bought a lucid dreaming book, read 100 Reddit posts, watched inception and memento, and bought a fancy journal and a pen. I went to bed on night one prepared to have a lucid dream and fly to explore the pyramids like my friend. I went to bed anddddddd nothing happened.

I was bummed, what’s going on here? Why can’t I do crazy things? The last thing I remember was falling asleep and then I woke up 8 hours later with no memory of what happened last night.

I had to do something different.

I had to get more strategic, I decided to separate the next 30 days into 5 day blocks where I would commit to one thing every 5 days. Each “block” would be a level that I would complete before moving onto the next phase of becoming a lucid dreaming master.

Stephen LaBerge’s book, Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming, would be my guide.

Phase 1: Dream Journal

Phase 1, according to the internet and LaBerge, I should be recording every single dream I have at night using a dream journal.

I remember thinking, wait, so I have to wake up in the middle of the night, turn a light on, and write stuff down in a journal? That sounds like a nightmare right there! However, I did it. I wanted to have that epic lightsaber battle.

I found waking up to be really tough. A couple of times I just woke up, thought about journaling, but then fell right back asleep.

What motivated me was reading all the amazing stories from LaBerge’s book and the internet. People were speaking to long-lost relatives, rehearsing for musical concerts, or canoodling with their favorite celebrity.

At first, my recollection of dreams was abysmal. I would remember maybe one sentence describing the image of what happened. Slowly, however, I built up more and more details. Soon I was filling the page with the details from my dreams.

My hunger was building for the lucid dream though, I need to go onto the next phase.

Phase 2: Reality Checks

After completing my first five days, I wanted the next step. The next phase of my plan was reality checks. The idea behind reality checks is that if consistently check to see if you are dreaming during real waking life, then, eventually, you will begin to check to see if you are dreaming while you are dreaming.

So, I made the plan to do this one reality check where I pinch my nose and try to breath through my nose. In real life, of course, you can’t breathe through a pinched nose, but, when you are dreaming, you can breathe through a pinched nose.

I scheduled myself to do reality checks whenever I noticed it was the hour marker, whenever I drank water, or whenever I just felt weird. I remember feeling extremely silly when I first started doing this because I would look at my hands to see if they were blurry, then pinch my nose, then imagine myself dreaming and jump in the air (of course I would very quickly come back down to the ground) and picture what I would do if I was dreaming.

I remember in the hospital and on the streets people would occasionally look at me like I was crazy person and, at that time, I felt like a crazy person.

But then, something amazing happened.

A couple days into doing reality checks it happened! I had my first lucid dream!

I was stunned by how vivid and real the dream world was. My brain is generating all these images and people and things that constantly change. And now, I was really hooked, there was no way I was going back.

I wanted to have longer lucid dreams, do cooler things in the dreams, and have more frequent lucid dreams. I needed to kick it up a notch.

Phase 3: Mnemonic Induced Lucid Dreaming (MILD)

So then, I entered phase three of my plan, introducing the MILD technique. I would stick on this phase for 10 days, journaling, doing reality checks, and nightly doing the MILD strategy.

All MILD is, is when you wake up late in the night, you remember and record your dream. Then, as you fall back asleep, you repeat to yourself, “next time I’m dreaming, I will remember I’m dreaming, next time I’m dreaming, I will remember I’m dreaming.” All the while, imagining what you would do when you remember you are dreaming. So, if I wanted to fly, I would picture myself in the dream I just woke up from, realizing I’m dreaming and going off and flying into space.

Then I hit the wall.

Even though I was super motivated, and committed, I found myself not having another lucid dream for a while. I was bummed. I thought the curve for lucid dreams would be exponential, so like one every month, then one every week, then one every day, but I was wrong.

I began to lose interest in lucid dreaming.

One day I didn’t even do any reality checks.

Another day I didn’t record a single dream.

Was it over? Was my lucid dreaming journey a thing of the past? Would I ever fly off into space?

During this time I reached out to my original lucid dreaming inspiration and she told me, “that’s ok, it happens.” She also said it was a tough commitment, you need to stay with it or else you will need to work yourself back into the flow of having lucid dreams. She said if I stop doing all of those things, you are telling yourself, whether you realize it or not, that lucid dreaming isn’t that important to you. That your dreams aren’t that important to you.

I thought back to when I first started dreaming, and my first and only lucid dream, and how awesome they were. And realized this was important to me. Getting extra time was important to me. Exploring the world of my dreams was important to me. And I recommitted.

Near the end of phase three I was still not having lucid dreams, but my dream recall was at an all time high. I was recording multiple pages of dreams per night. By the end of phase three, I knew I needed to change things up, to add an ever more powerful method, a more advanced method.

Phase 4: WBTB

For my final form, charizard, I mean my final phase, I decided to use the wake-back-to-bed (WBTB) method.

The WBTB method entails waking up 5 or 6 hours after falling asleep and then falling asleep consciously. The idea being, later in the night, your REM cycle is at it’s longest duration and you REM cycle is when you dream. However, many Redditors and even LaBerge indicate this method isn’t for the weak of heart.

Falling asleep consciously is difficult for a couple reasons. Number one, you have to be at the perfect level of arousal. If you just wake up for a little and fall back asleep you won’t have awakened your prefrontal cortex enough to help you think, and recognize, that you are dreaming. But, if you wake up too much, you just won’t fall back asleep.

Also, falling asleep consciously can be frightening. Strange noises happen, you become paralyzed, figures appear, you have to strongly believe in what you are doing and that you are safe.

The first time I tried it I was too alert and didn’t fall back asleep.

The second time I tried it I began to feel a shaking sensation and a weird humming noise and was too scared so I woke up.

The third time, however, WILD worked!

After my 10 day drought, I finally had another one. I fell asleep consciously, things became very blurry and there were loud noises, but I emerged into the dream world.

Then it just keep happening.

WBTB kept working! I had another lucid dream, lucid dream number three, a couple days later. Then another one, then another one, before I knew it I was on lucid dream number six. And in this one, something intense happened. I think my subconscious was talking to me or a part of myself was talking to me. There was a figure, that looked very similar to me, that gave me life advice.

And, being lucid, I was able to extract a little more information from this but it was very intense. The dream character was urging me to be healthier and slow down.

Now, it was time to dream big (I’ve only been waiting the entire post to type that line).

The Dream that Changed Everything

In my final week, I wanted to do something crazy. I was feeling really great about lucid dreaming but wanted to do something that was more intense than just flying around or having lightsaber battles.

It was getting down to the wire though, and I was scared it wasn’t going to happen. Night 27, no lucid dream.

Night 28, no lucid dream.


Was I really going to come all this way only to end without doing my big thing? My master plan?

But, almost as if part of me was listening, something happened.

I had an amazing lucid dream on my final night, night 30. I was in a playground surrounded by the ocean and remember thinking that was weird, but then I woke up. I immediately tried to go back to bed using the MILD technique and found myself in that same place! Instantly I became lucid and remembered my intention to fly in space. What followed was an experience I will never forget.

I was flying through space experiencing different dimensions and different shapes and had the happiest feeling ever. The dream intensified my emotions to a point where I was nearly in tears when I awoke, that’s how amazing it was. I realized that there is so much to explore, not only in the world, but in my head. Imagine the crazy things I could discover if I kept doing this for a year?

My life will never be the same. My journey into the world of lucid dreaming has just begun.


Stijn · July 3, 2022 at 1:55 pm

Thank you Zach. Yesterday, after watching your description over on Nebula, I gave this lucid dreaming a try. Since the last decades I keep a dream journal so that step was already familiar to me. I followed the instructions you described, with the reality checks, and had an instant success at the first attempt. Looking forward to further exploring this.

    Zach · July 5, 2022 at 1:42 pm

    Amazing Stijn. I’m glad it worked for you and thanks for following me on Nebula. I’ll be uploading a more comprehensive guide on lucid dreaming which will go Live on YouTube on the 22nd but, because you are on Nebula, you can check it out a week early on the 15th (nebula.app/zachhighley).

    Dream journals and reality checks are great, but when you add WBTB and WILD you can really up your LD numbers.

DaniDipp · June 30, 2023 at 4:27 pm

Hi Zach! Are you still Lucid Dreaming? How has it influenced your waking life? I’m a little scared of feeling like my dreams are the only thing I look forward to each day.

    Zach · November 18, 2023 at 8:45 am

    I am still Lucid dreaming! I just don’t do it as much. Usually I will get on a kick for about a month then go off of it. Sometimes on lazy weekends I sleep in and get a good lucid dream in. So, boring long answer, but yes I am!

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