WBTB – Wake Back to Bed Technique

WBTB, or Wake Back to Bed, is one of the most popular lucid dreaming techniques for beginners and advanced lucid dreamers alike. It’s easy to combine with other lucid dreaming techniques, particularly WILD and MILD, and it’s similar to the Cycle Adjustment Technique. Here’s how this method works and how it can work for you.

How Your Body Works

Throughout the night, your body alternates with REM sleep, when you’re more likely to dream and much more likely to become lucid during your dreams. But you spend much of the night, in fact, in deeper forms of sleep, where your brain is too deep into unconsciousness to dream, let alone become lucid.

However, with WBTB, you’re essentially trying to wake your body and brain up at the beginning of a REM cycle. The longest REM cycles tend to happen after between four and a half and six hours of sleep. When you use WBTB, you’re trying to catch this cycle, wake up, and go back to sleep, falling right into REM. Since you’ve just been conscious and will probably fall back to sleep so easily, lucid dreaming is easier to achieve.

How to Practice WBTB

Go to bed when you normally would, but set your alarm clock to allow you about six hours of sleep. When you wake up, you want to stay awake and alert for between twenty and sixty minutes. Make your feet hit the floor, and actually get out of bed for this part, or WBTB isn’t going to work!

During this waking period, try to occupy your brain with lucid-dreaming related things. Skim forums about lucid dreaming, or read some of the latest books about it. After your time is up, go back to bed, and start relaxing. You can start winding down your brain by using MILD, visualizing about your next dream, or listening to a calming recording. WBTB will be best if you can get back to sleep relatively quickly.

That’s it for the WBTB technique! When you fall back to sleep, you’ll go straight to REM, and you can be in and out of lucidity – or even have one long lucid dream! – for up to about two hours before you go back into a deeper mode of sleep. It’s best to set your alarm to really wake you up within two hours, or you risk waking during one of these deeper sleep phases, which can leave you feeling pretty groggy for hours afterwards!

Some Tips for WBTB

  1. Make sure you’re still getting enough sleep to get through the day when you’re using WBTB. Some people only practice it on the weekends. If you want lots of lucid dreams throughout the week, you may need to go to bed a little earlier or squish up you morning routine so you can sleep a little later to make it happen.
  2. If it doesn’t work in the first week or so, vary the time cycles for your WBTB practice. Wake up a little earlier to see if that works better for you, particularly if you only get six or a little more hours of sleep per night. You may also want to play around with how long you stay awake. I find that I can’t keep myself up for more than half an hour because my brain gets too active after that, and it takes way too long to get back to sleep.
  3. Don’t be afraid to combine WBTB with other techniques. Many use MILD, as was previously mentioned, but you can also use stimulants like chocolate during your waking period, as the caffeine kick can enhance lucid dreaming, or you can use specific visualization techniques to try WILD if you’re a more experienced lucid dreamer.
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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