Do you want to wake up to a dream? Count the sheep
Why would you want to wake up in a dream and lucidly dream? In this state you have a unique opportunity to become more familiar with one very important person, yourself. For if you can wake up to dream, you will find yourself in a dreamscape within your own mind. There you can explore and investigate, test, rest, fly or marvel at the wonderful scenery your brain and imagination can create. Psychologists have found that people who lucid dream are more open to new experiences, especially in the realm of imagination and intellectual curiosity. They are more confident in their own abilities, better able to find relevant information in a flood of data, and rather than submit to the world around them, they prefer to change it themselves.
And perhaps, I say this very carefully, lucid dreaming is a path to something else...
So how do you do it so that you can dream lucidly?
You have two options, either to wake up in the dream or to consciously enter it as an observer while you are asleep. I generally use the first option, firstly I feel that the brain needs to dream even normal dreams and go through the different stages of sleep and secondly I find it easier to be aware that I am dreaming in sleep.
Just the fact that you are now reading this article may cause you to dream something at night and you will remember my text. You can look at your hands, you might find your fingers getting longer, or you might have long arms like Saxana, try walking through a wall, start floating above the floor, these are all signs that you are dreaming. And you have won, you have a lucid dream that you can more or less control and explore. It may only last a moment, but it's an experience.
The likelihood of achieving lucidity in a dream is higher with a morning nap. Set your alarm for about two hours earlier than you normally wake up, and try to fall back asleep after the bell rings. The ringing of the alarm will remind you that you wanted to test reality. After falling asleep, you should very quickly reach the REM phase and dream imagery. You are then more likely to remember your intention and realize it.
However, if you chose the second way and want to try to fall asleep lucidly directly, I recommend using random or regular night waking. By the way, did you know that earlier, in pre-industrial times, people used to sleep biphasically at night? They would wake up after about four hours, and then fall back asleep after an hour or two. And imagine them talking about, among other things, their dreams.
You can set your alarm again, just like the previous method. The ringing of the alarm clock, if the sound is not too stressful, will not prevent you from falling asleep again. Some people find it easier to fall asleep after interrupting their sleep, some find it harder. If you are more likely to be the latter case and you cannot fall asleep easily, you should try to calm down as much as possible, relaxing gradually your whole body and especially the muscles in your face. Try not to think about anything, don't move and just breathe relaxed. A small spoonful of honey, the smell of lavender or a sleeping pill (or all at once) can help you fall asleep.
In Stephen LaBerge's book, Lucid Dreaming, I found a guide that is strikingly reminiscent of our old familiar counting sheep
"Five years ago, I discovered a simple technique to maintain conscious attention during the transition between wakefulness and sleep. The essence of it is to count one, I'm in a dream, two, I'm in a dream, etc., while falling asleep with a certain amount of alertness. The result is that at some point - say, "forty-eight, I'm in a dream" - you suddenly realize that you are indeed already in a dream! The phrase "I am in a dream" helps you remember what you intend to do, but it is not necessarily necessary. Mere counting is probably enough to maintain sufficient attention and to recognize the dream images as such when they appear."
By the way, Tibetan monks use a similar method of entering the dream, they call it "dream yoga".
Well, it's not easy and it will take some time to actually wake up into the dream. Lucid dreaming is a state where you are actually awake, conscious, and able to perform the simple tasks you set out to do while awake. Like going to the nearest dream character and asking them a question, or trying to fly. But don't assume that lucid dreaming will work every time. There is still a very small percentage of people who are able to have lucid dreams several times a month.
The first few successful reality tests are often accompanied by such a great emotional experience and joy that the person then usually wakes up quickly and is not able to enjoy the first lucid dream. But that's okay, because you will certainly succeed again. But it takes a lot of inner peace and patience.