The Wake Back to Bed technique is one of the most popular, valuable and effective ways of becoming lucid within a dream. No one is really sure who came up with this technique and it is generally believed to have grown in an organic way from the lucid dreaming community as a whole.
One of the great modern day pioneers of lucid dreaming, Dr Stephen LaBerge ( you can check out some of his amazing books HERE ), carried out research into taking naps after a period of being awake. It’s very essence is to become mentally alert prior to returning to sleep. This probably contributed greatly to its wide acceptance among lucid dreamers enthusiasts attracted by its simplicity and its effectiveness.
WBTB Lucid Dreaming
The Wake Back to Bed technique is often used together with other lucid inducing techniques and therefore gives you a great opportunity to experiment with different tweaks and tricks which can often result in better results.
This technique, when stripped back to it basic form, is simple yet very effective and is ideal for those who want a fast track approach into the world of lucid dreaming.
1 Retire to bed – In this stage of the technique the aim is to interrupt your sleep just before you enter into the all important REM stage. We do this with the good old alarm clock (or smart phone). The first time you do this it is advised that you set the alarm to awaken you after five hours, assuming you get the regulation 8 hours per night. You can experiment with this over the next week or two, usually between 3 to 5 hours seems the optimal period, but this can vary greatly depending on the individual. What I did was to adjust my alarm by 30 minutes per night until I found a timing that worked for me. Unfortunately this didn’t give me the precise results I expected, but that’s not to say it won’t work for you.
2 Awaken and remain awake for a short time. – In this second stage of the technique it is crucial that you get out of bed and engage in some nominal activity for around 20 to 60 minutes. This will greatly increase your chances of success. I have found, though trial and error that 25 to 30 minutes is my sweet spot, but yours may be different. I tend to read a lucid dreaming book, or flick through my dream journal. You must do whatever you need to do to make your mind active and alert, but not so much as to make retuning to sleep difficult. If you find that you are still a little drowsy mentally when you go back to bed, this could seriously affect your success.
3 Return to bed – As you lay in bed, mentally reaffirm your intention of recognising you are dreaming when it occurs. Then just allow yourself to relax completely as you fall into sleep. Upon awakening follow the normal procedure of not moving and remembering the dream. If you do become lucid, make sure you make a note in your dream journal of the all the details, time awake, what you did etc.
The sole intention of the WBTB technique is to increase your mental alertness before returning to the REM stage of the sleep cycle. And even in this vague stripped down version it still has a good chance of helping you to achieve lucidity, although your intention, brain chemistry and getting the timings right can be crucial to its success.
Pros of the Wake Back to Bed technique
- It is a simple technique in it process and effectiveness.
- It can be combined with other processes or techniques to take it to another level.
- Sometimes an unplanned disturbance in your sleep, such as a need to use the toilet can lead to an unplanned opportunity to experience a WBTB lucid dream.
- You can experiment with it yourself and adjust the timings to tailor it especially for your needs. You can become your own lucid coach!
Cons of the Wake Back to Bed technique
- It is sometime unreasonable to subject your partner to a disturbed night sleep.
- It can sometimes be too basic in its process, needed additional techniques to help it succeed
- The success of this technique can be variable with sometime unpredictable results.