CAT – Cycle Adjustment Technique

The Cycle Adjustment Technique, or CAT, is one of my favorite lucid dreaming techniques for beginners because it’s simply really easy. You do have to be committed to learning how to dream lucidly with this type of technique, though, because it can be easy to give up on. It involves lots of discipline, but if you have plenty of that, it will dramatically and simply increase your chances of having lucid dreams.

CAT is just what it sounds like – adjusting your cycle to make it more conducive to frequent lucid dreams. It will actually give you up to four lucid dreams a week – about one every other night. Your goal here is to make your brain more active during the early-morning REM cycles, which can lead to more vivid dreams and lucidity during dreaming.

How CAT Works

Your body has natural cycles, called circadian rhythms, that make it easier to sleep when it’s dark and stay awake when it’s light. But you also have learned rhythms. If you’re like most people, you don’t sleep the entire time it’s dark, or you might wake up long after it’s light out. You’ve learned these cycles and can adjust them at will.

In fact, it takes a surprisingly short time to adjust your body from one type of cycle to the next. Shift workers who go from an afternoons shift to a nights shift, for instance, can get their bodies switched over in the space of a couple of weeks, and CAT doesn’t ask you to make nearly such a dramatic shift!

Basically, you’re going to spend one week waking up ninety minutes earlier than usual. It sounds tough if you aren’t a morning person, but it’s really not much. If you’re concerned about not getting enough sleep during CAT, put yourself to bed a little earlier than usual during this week, but be consistent about sleep and wake times. It’s very important when practicing CAT that you actually get up ninety minutes early, so practice putting your feet on the floor as soon as the alarm goes off, or you’ll “snooze button” yourself back into oblivion!

After a week, start getting up ninety minutes early just every other day. Your body now expects to get up earlier. This means that on the days you’re sleeping in later, your brain will be more active ninety minutes before you wake up, which makes it much easier to become lucid while having early morning dreams.

Some Tips for CAT

Here are just a few things to know about CAT that might help you out:

  1. CAT can be combined with other lucid dreaming techniques, but it doesn’t have to be. You can use it with MILD and specific reality check cues, particularly.
  2. Every day you go to bed, set your intention to wake up at the earlier time. This way, your subconscious will start rousing your brain that early, even on days you’re going to sleep in.
  3. On the days you wake up early, do anything except go back to sleep. Also, prepare your mind for the other days by doing frequent reality checks during these early morning hours.
  4. If you wake up early on a sleeping-in day, try to get back to sleep or use WILD to induce a dreaming state. You can also use MILD and binaural beats to get into a dream state.

CAT is a great technique for beginners, but many experienced lucid dreamers also find it helpful. There’s no pressure to have a lucid dream every night, which can take a while to learn, anyway. Also, you can use CAT for as long as it works for you. Just keep up the discipline and get up early every other day, and you’re likely to consistently have lucid dreams on the in-between days.

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"The result of the struggle between the thought and the ability to express it, between dream and reality, is seldom more than a compromise or an approximation." - M. C. Escher