Have you ever thought about how many hours of sleep you get and how it affects the amount of dreams you can remember/get lucid in?
Stephen Laberge, a scientist at Stanford University who studies dreams and other people say that you will have a greater chance of remembering your dreams if you wake up after 4.5, 6, 7.5, or 9 hours of sleep because apparently...
We have 5 dream cycles in intervals of 1.5 hours, with the REM stage occurring at the end. (The cycles can be seen in the chart) REM means Rapid Eye Movement. It's called that because in this stage of sleep, our eyes are moving rapidly in different directions. This is because while we are dreaming, our 'dream eyes' are moving in unison with what we perceive to be our eyes in the dream world. In the REM stage, sleepers also demonstrate other characteristics that are similar to waking sleep and also have a combination of alpha, beta, and desynchronous waves (in each successive cycle after the first 2 cycles, the REM period becomes more frequent while the others become non-existent). So if you set your alarm to go off after 7.5, or 9 hours of sleep, you are very likely to remember a dream! (take into account the amount of sleep it takes for you to fall asleep, for me it takes about 20 minutes. If you have 8 hours of sleep you may be able to remember 4-5 dreams per night! And once you can remember at least 1 dream per night, you can then adopt further measures to increase your chances of having a lucid dream.
Its probably better if you can train yourself to wake up without an alarm clock, maybe by mentally setting a time to wake up in the morning and making sure your subconscious is going to follow your orders.
In addition, during the REM stage of sleep, our body undergoes a phenomena called 'sleep paralysis.' This is a biological mechanism that our body employs so that our physical body does not mimic what our dream muscles are doing in the dream. Otherwise, you could seriously hurt yourself by running into furniture or something! Sometimes, people actually wake up and remain in sleep paralysis. Sleep walkers are an example of people who don't experience sleep paralysis!
There are other methods that can be employed to make you lucid dream!
1. Reality Checks
If you want to have lucid dreams, you need to be able to recognize that you are dreaming while you are dreaming. To do that your subconscious has to be programed to recognize that you are dreaming while you are dreaming. You can program your subconscious by impressing commands upon it with your conscious mind, aka the mind you are using at this moment to read this...So how do you do that? You basically habitually 'check your reality' while you are awake, and you do it at least once an hour while you are awake.
Another way to impress commands upon your subconscious is to literally speak with your conscious physical mouth and you say, I will do this, I will do that! So in this case, it is, "I will remember my dreams." Your subconscious is most vulnerable to suggestion when you are in a tired state of mind, aka when you are in bed as you are falling asleep. When you are in your bed, say to yourself at least 20 times, I will remember my dreams. If you don't want your roommates to hear you, then just say it in your mind. And make sure you say it with conviction and certainty and confidence or else you won't believe that saying it could affect your subconscious, aka the signal is too weak!
3. Dream Masks!
Spend money on a dream mask! They have motion sensors that detect your eye movement (which occurs during REM sleep and then flash red LED lights that are bright enough to reach your dream world but not bright enough to wake you up. There are also other masks that use a timer and go off during a time that you are likely to be lucid, and therefore are less accurate, but much cheaper.
4. Go to sleep sober.
Drugs and alcohol can affect your brainwaves and mess with your REM cycles. If you don't believe me look it up for yourself!
Take B vitamins or nootropics like galantamine, Alpha GPC, CDP Choline, Choline Bitartrate, L-Theanine, and others before you go to sleep! Or Use herbs such as mugwort, Calea zacatatechichi, Silene Capensis, and others! Check with your physician, or take half the dose at first and see what its like!
6. Improve your sleep conditions
Get more pillows! Reduce the light and noise in your area. If its nice outside leave the window open a crack. No electronics 1 hour before you sleep! Electronics affect brainwaves. No food 3 hours before you go to sleep. Having a full stomach while you sleep affects your processes.
Anything else? Add it below!
The amount of hours you sleep per night can also affect your mood and energy levels, among other things. Find your optimal sleep schedule. It takes 2 weeks to make or break a habit. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time for 2 weeks straight. Start with 7.5 hours per night. (Assuming you have a somewhat healthy lifestyle otherwise...) Then reflect and decide...Were your energy levels optimal, and were you able to think clearly?...if so could you sleep less?, or in a different position? (I hear sideways is the best)
Or were you tired and lethargic and lacking thought?..if so maybe increase sleep to 9 hours for the next two weeks.
Once you remember at least 1-2 dreams a night, you can then focus your energies on how to enhance the lucid dreaming experience. That discussion is not the primary focus in this topic, although it may be some day if I decide to edit it!
How to remember your dreams.