Knowing that you are dreaming could be important, especially if you are falling prey to an intense dream. You may want to check your status if you would like to have a lucid dream or to know if you are awake, or dreaming after a strong impression or an accident. Sometimes our dreams can seem more real to us than our lives when we are awake, but it is possible to learn to identify whether we are asleep or not.
Part 1 of 3: Evaluating Appearances
Step 1. See if you are dreaming when you are awake
Although it seems contradictory to you, the advocates of lucid dreaming indicate that it is important to check during the day if you are sleeping or not. This is because if you get in the habit of checking it while you're awake, it will carry over into your dreams.
- If you deliberately check during your waking hours, you will create a specific habit in which your mind will try one or more of the following reality check methods: reading a sheet of paper when you think you are sleeping, trying to move objects or look at the clock. When you try it in a dream and you cannot do it "normally", failure will let you know that you are not awake.
- If you are really awake, it would be good for you to think about why you are worried about whether you are dreaming or not. For example, have you used any drugs or been poisoned? Are you the victim of an accident or are you hallucinating? Maybe you have a concussion or have you injured yourself in some other way? If you are hurt or mentally and emotionally overwhelmed, seek medical assistance or signal someone as best you can to help you.
Step 2. Take several "reality checks" as they are known
If you are dreaming, things will not be as they normally happen. Reality tests are an important part of lucid dreaming and are a means by which you can be more active in yours. Some people who have lucid dreams like to do reality tests during their waking hours because this increases the chances of having such a dream.
Step 3. Analyze your environment
Appearances can be very deceptive in the dream world, where distortions are frequent and even the most normal. If the dream happens in your house or in some other place where you spend a lot of time, look at the common objects. Is there anything that looks different from the last time you saw it? For example, is there a window where a painting should be? These are clear signs that you are dreaming.
Step 4. Be aware of the people around you
If you are talking to someone who has been dead for years, this will be a strong sign that you are dreaming. The reason you are talking to him is a completely different area of dream interpretation, but the fact that he is present as normal means that you are dreaming.
- Are you talking animatedly to an enemy as if it were your best friend? You will definitely be dreaming!
- Does your grandfather suddenly have super powers or are your siblings nice to you?
- If you are not in a familiar environment, can you recognize the people who are close to you or are they complete strangers?
- Are there people present that would be impossible in real life? For example, do you have an eight-year-old sister named Fiona while in real life you are just a boy? Or are you standing next to a copy of yourself, a talking animal, a fictional character, or a mythical creature? So you are dreaming.
- Do people act the way real people never would? For example, finding extremely fascinating objects on a daily basis, not being surprised when you start to levitate or freaking out over something that isn't really creepy, and yet shaking up an erupting volcano.
- Don't people know things that they really should? For example, is there a person who claims to be a geography teacher, but believes that America does not exist?
- Does everyone know your name, even strangers? Do they know details that a stranger does not (for example a stranger on the street who knows that you have always wanted a dog despite never having told them)?
Step 5. Look at yourself
Look at your hands, feet, legs, etc. Do they have the usual shape? Do you have the correct number of fingers? Do you have any part of your body disfigured? Does the color or size of your hair look the way it should or have they changed in length, texture and color? Try to find a mirror. How does your reflection look in it? In a dream state, it is very likely that you do not have your real appearance. The reflection will generally be blurry and distorted.
Part 2 of 3: Testing Yourself
Step 1. Test your strength and abilities
If you can fly or lift extremely heavy objects, you obviously won't be awake. However, keep in mind that a lucid dreaming state can be a good opportunity to perform real physical actions that help you in the real world. Some health professionals use it to help people recovering from an injury visualize their bodies healing. However, the capabilities listed here are signs that you are dreaming. Put them to the test in the ways mentioned below.
- Try to levitate or float. If you can do it, you will be in a dream state.
- Can you speak normally? If your voice is very hoarse or does not come out of your mouth, it is more than likely that you are dreaming.
- Try jumping instead. Can you get to the moon by jumping or stay in that position for an abnormally long period of time? Did you jump straight up and then land abruptly on the ground?
- Can you move objects around in a room or area without getting close to them?
- Can you turn appliances and lights on and off with just your thoughts? Also, note that it is very rare that the intensity of the light changes when you flip a switch when you are in a dream state. Note that not all proponents of lucid dreaming believe this is a reliable test, as for some nothing changes when the lights are turned on or off.
- Can you make objects appear in front of you just by wishing?
- Can you breathe underwater or teleport? If so, it must be a dream.
- Do you have superpowers with the "excuse" that you've always had them, but forgot?
- You seem perfectly normal, but strange things happen with the locations? For example, if you walk the streets of Paris, but get lost and end up in New York, then you must be dreaming.
- Have you forgotten how to do normal things? (like suddenly not knowing how to write your name or even speak).
- Are you doing something ridiculous? For example, you try to repair a leaking faucet using a putty knife, you try to catch a supermarket for no apparent reason, or you pee in public for no reason. Similarly, if you do something ridiculous, does no one seem surprised?
- Similar to the previously mentioned toilet dream, sometimes in dreams, people urinate and still feel like they need to. In real life, this could mean you have an infection, but if you seem fine, it could be a dream.
- Are you younger or older than you should be?
- Are you pregnant even though you haven't had unprotected sex lately or even as a virgin?
Step 2. Check everyday events
A good test to know if you are dreaming or not is to check if the habits you have when you are awake are distorted or do not agree with what you normally do. For example, if you usually turn the key once to secure a door lock but in your dream you do it three times even though this would not be possible if you were awake, you will have a sign that you are dreaming.
Step 3. Take a reading test
Try this method when you are awake. Read the newspaper, look to the side, then go back to it and read it again. Hopefully the text hasn't changed! The objective of this exercise is to reinforce it as an action of your mind for when it is dreaming or not. In dreams, reading is difficult because words are distorted. Try looking away from the text and then looking at it again. If you are in a dream, there is a good chance that the text has turned into something different.
- Have something to read on the side of your bed. If you just finished a lucid dream, you may still be dreaming. If not, and you are actually awake, you can read the text on the side of your bed.
- Look at the digital or analog clock. This exercise is a variation on the distortion of texts. Likewise, if the digital numbers look blurry, change, or don't make sense, you're probably sleeping.
- It evaluates complex designs, which is another variant of the text and clock test. Look at designs like brick, pavement, or furniture. Do these stay the same or do they change?
Part 3 of 3: Dreams Versus Reality
Step 1. You must know the common signs of dreams
There are certain shared and very typical dream cues that will tell you that you are dreaming instead of sitting wide awake. These dreams often take advantage of our unconscious fears and almost all of us have had a version of them at some point in our lives. However, scientists have realized that we actually have quite a bit of control over our dreams and can use techniques to avoid those that we would not like to have.
- Think about what you would like to dream before sleeping.
- Let an image appear in your mind that you associate with what you want to dream.
- Keep that image in your mind when you are falling asleep.
Step 2. Be aware of frequent dreams that have physical components
Dreams with physical sensations are very frequent and can make you feel as if you are actually flying, falling, or running. Often times, you get thrown out of them when they startle you. Some of the most common are those mentioned in this list:
- Fly unaided.
- Falling off, but not coming to an end (although, a sudden start in a fall may be enough to fully wake you up).
- Having a monster, dangerous person, or strange creature chasing or attacking you.
- Have a paralysis; something terrible coming up, but you just stay sitting or standing in the same place because you can't move.
- Having a blur where you cannot see clearly, and which is usually accompanied by the inability to fully control your thoughts and actions.
- Not having some parts of the body (for example, not having teeth is very common in dreams).
- Have time to do weird things. For example, a "day" that feels like it only lasts a few "minutes" or when it's going to be 9 in the morning, but it's dark.
Step 3. Ask yourself if you have a typical nervous dream
These usually mean that you haven't done something, are naked, or are not ready for something different. Sometimes they are related to events in your own life that you might feel nervous about. Some of these dreams are:
- Get lost in a familiar place;
- Being naked in public (walking in the city center, sitting on a bus or in a class, etc.);
- Normally reliable mechanical devices don't work normally, especially if you need to get out of a situation.
- Take a test when you don't know the answer, or when you are naked and you don't know the answers!
- The bath dream that can be harmful, because if you think that you are awake and you sit in an imaginary bath, you could actually wet the bed. No, this dream is not only for children!
Step 4. Are you watching a TV show or movie or reading a book?
In that case, check to see if it makes sense. While some entertainment shows (like SpongeBob SquarePants) can be a bit irreverent, they still make sense given the trends in the context. Some fanfiction is just a bunch of random nonsense, but if it's an official job and doesn't make any sense at all, it's probably a dream.
- Does the plot make sense or is it just a bunch of random happenings?
- Are the characters completely out of place and inexplicable? For this to be a sign of a proper dream, it must be more than just "the writers were having a bad day." For example, if Spock has a seemingly emotional moment, which is not really a sign of a dream, but if he has crazy mood swings, everyone thinks it is normal, and neither he nor the others are under mind control, then he probably is. be a dream.
- Is it some kind of weird crossover? (like Rugrats / Star Wars, Arthur / The X-Files or Star Trek / My little pony). Strange crossovers do happen, but they could be the sign of a dream.
- Is it a story that you are familiar with, but things happen differently? (For example, you are watching Finding Nemo and a scene appears where Marlin tries to have an intellectual conversation with a barracuda).
- It just doesn't make sense given the canon? For example, if Hermione Granger had a wizard father, you could be dreaming, since in Harry Potter, her parents were Muggles (non-magical people).
- Doesn't it fit the tone of the play? For example, talking to animals is normal in Animaniacs, but if there's such a scene in Bones, you're probably dreaming.
Step 5. Consider where you are
Sometimes, in dreams, where we are does not make sense.
- Do you remember how you got there? If you don't remember and you don't have any mental problems, you are probably dreaming. Even if you know how you got to that particular place, you are probably dreaming in case you don't remember preparing to travel there or waking up in the morning. Even if you are lost, can you remember how you got lost?
- Is it a hybrid of places? For example, if you can describe it as “kind of New York, but kind of Chicago,” you are probably dreaming.
- Are you in a place that doesn't exist? (like Hogwarts or Narnia).
- Does the place have things that are highly improbable or impossible? (for example if the grass is purple or something like that).
- Can you access other places from where you are that would be impossible in real life? (for example, a building in Australia that has a door leading to London)
- Are you working in an unusual place, or are you in school or university despite it being a holiday, graduating, or not attending that particular institution? And if you are in a school or some other place to learn, are they teaching you something crazy like how to levitate?