How to Control Your Dreams

Three Parts:Recording your dreamsPracticing wakefulnessGetting control in dreams

Controlling your dreams is one of the most captivating experiences a human being can have. Have you ever wanted to re-dream your most imaginative dreams, or simply be the king or queen of your sleeping subconscious?

Part 1
Recording your dreams

  1. Image titled Control Your Dreams Step 1
    Buy or start using a small notebook. This will be your dream journal, or a dream diary. In your dream journal, you'll write down what you hope to dream and what you remember dreaming.
    • Set the journal close to your bed and keep a pen nearby so that you can quickly write down what happened in the dreams you remember when you wake up. If you leave it any longer, the memory quickly fades.
    • You could write your dream journal in a word processor on a computer, but it's recommended to write it in freehand. You'll spend more time putting pen to paper, making a larger connection in your brain between the dream and your recording of it.
  2. Image titled Control Your Dreams Step 2
    Write down what you want to dream about in your notebook. Call this your target dream. Do this every night before you go to sleep. You are imagining the environment you want to experience when you fall asleep.
    • Draw pictures and write down directions, using lots of detail. In fact, put in as much detail as possible; get to the point where you think you may have too much detail. Even the smallest things are important.
    • The trick is to tell yourself what you are going to experience when you dream, so that you can become aware of your dreaming state while you dream.
    • Don't watch television or movies before you go to bed, or you may dream about what they involved instead of your target dream.
  3. Image titled Control Your Dreams Step 3
    Record your dreams. Every morning, as soon as you wake up, write down your dream. Even if you didn't have the dream you anticipated having, write it down. See "Tips" below for recommendations on what to record.
    • Like an athlete practicing a routine, you are training your mind to recall its dreams. The more consistently you train your mind to recall its dreams, the sharper and more heightened your dreams will become.
    • Write down any parallels you remember between your target dream (the dream you wanted to have) and the dream you actually had. Be as specific as possible. Think about the similarities and differences. When interpreting the dream, keep in mind that dreams do not offer exact images or answers to your questions the way that your brain does in a waking state. Instead, the brain communicates by means of metaphors.

Part 2
Practicing wakefulness

  1. Image titled Control Your Dreams Step 4
    Read through your target dream. Every night, right before going to bed, go through it as many times as possible to set it fast in your head.
    • After reading something one or two times, your brain thinks it knows what the words mean and gets lazy: it only processes the outline of the words and not their sense. Be sure to fully grasp the sense of your target dream so that you feel you know it inside and out before you go to sleep.
  2. Image titled Control Your Dreams Step 5
    Lie down, close your eyes, and think hard about your target dream. Relax. Think of specific details.
    • Daydream about the images from your target dream as they appear in your subconscious. Your subconscious will generate a lot of images that have nothing to do with your target dream, so cycle through the ones that are irrelevant and try to focus hard on relevant images.
    • Imagine the sounds and dialogue in the background of your target dream; really try to hear them in your mind. Try to feel the sensations associated with your feeling, mood, etc.
    • If no sounds or images appear clearly, try reading through your target dream again in your dream journal.
  3. Image titled Control Your Dreams Step 6
    Walk through your target dream. Do this in the first-person point of view, from start to finish. Imagine what it would seem like through your eyes.
    • Try to walk through the target dream in the exact sequence you expect it in your dream.
    • Think hard, but maintain a calm posture. Do not get tense. Just relax.
    • Go to sleep with these images and sounds in your head. Remember to record your dreams, whatever they are, when you wake up.

Part 3
Getting control in dreams

  1. Image titled Control Your Dreams Step 7
    Try "reality checks" throughout the day. A reality check is when you ask yourself: "Am I awake, or am I dreaming?" This will ultimately help you tell the difference between the dream world and reality when you are asleep.
    • Reality checks call attention to a fundamental difference between dreams and reality: in dreams, states are fluid; in reality, states stay the same. In dreams, text will change into different words; trees change color and shape; clocks tell time backwards instead of forwards. In reality, text stays the same, trees stay rooted in the ground, and clocks move clockwise.
    • A good reality check to perform, both in reality and dreams, is looking at text. Suppose a poster in your room says "Justin Bieber." Turn away for a minute, and look at the poster again. If it still says "Justin Bieber," the reality check says that you're awake. If you turn away, then look at the poster and it says "Selena Gomez," the reality check will tell you that you're dreaming.
  2. Image titled Control Your Dreams Step 8
    Ace your reality check. When you're having a dream and realize that you are having a dream, then you start to be able to control most of what happens in your dream.
    • When you make the leap and realize you're dreaming, try to calm yourself down. If you get too excited about finally being able to control your dreams, you might accidentally wake up from excitement.
    • Try small activities at first. Again, this is about staying in control of your excitement and not accidentally waking up. Even mundane things like cooking food, climbing a ladder, or skateboarding can be fun when you realize you're in full control.
  3. Image titled Control Your Dreams Step 9
    Gradually build up to bigger activities. A lot of people enjoy flying, swimming deep into the ocean, and time travel. Try moving huge objects, passing through walls, or even telekinesis. The dreams that you can have are limited only by your imagination!


  • Record the following in your dream journal:
    • Date
    • Was the dream set in the past, present or future?
    • Who was in the dream, known and unknown
    • Your feelings, your mood
    • The story that unfolded
    • Anything visually striking, such as colors, shapes, numbers, figures
    • Was conflict involved?
    • Did you deal with problems as they arose?
    • Was there anything in the dream you've dreamed about before?
    • The ending.
  • In your dream, if you have a fear of spiders, don't say, "I hope there won't be any spiders." This enables your subconscious to think about spiders and place them in your dream. This can be useful when you wish to conquer your fears, though.
  • Sleep in a quiet area with no distractions whatsoever (no laptop or iPad!). Focus completely on the dream you are about to have.
  • Make sure you plan to get plenty of sleep. Getting too little sleep might decrease your chances of lucid dreaming.
  • Another way to realize that you're dreaming is to draw a symbol on your hand. As you fall asleep, think "When I look at my hands, I will realize I am dreaming." If you wake up and it didn't work, try again. Eventually you will simply think "My hand!" in your dream and you'll start controlling your dream.
  • Another way to control your dream is to look at an analog clock and try to make the second hand move backwards. It won't work when you're awake, but try the same thing in you dream; if the second hand moves backwards you will realize that you're dreaming.
  • Keep a symbol on your ceiling or near your bed that you can easily look at. Stare at it for a few minutes before you go to sleep, and stare at it for a few minutes when you wake up. This may help you remember your dreams with greater clarity.
  • If you try to concentrate as you fall asleep, you may stay awake. The point of the aforementioned activities (writing target dreams down, etc.) is to focus on your subconscious thoughts instead of your conscious ones.
  • Dream control isn't the same as lucid dreaming, although they have similarities between them. For more information on lucid dreaming, read How to lucid dream.
  • If you think you are dreaming, look at your hands and try to count your fingers. You will be physically unable to count your fingers in a dream, whereas in real life it is no problem.
  • Try not to dream about upcoming events (competitions, tests, etc.). If your dream is not good, it will just make you more nervous about these events in real life.
  • Imagine you are in the dream when you are awake. Draw a picture of your vision. It doesn't matter if you are good or bad, just draw what you think before you go to bed every night. It will help you think and fantasize about it!
  • When you are writing down your dream, do it quickly so you don't leave out details or forget it.
  • Set your alarm to 3 am, which is most likely your deep sleep time. As soon as you wake up, think really hard about what you want to dream of, look at a picture, or play a song, and just lay back down. Chances are pretty good that you're already half asleep.
  • Think about what you want to dream of over and over and count down from a high number before you go to sleep. Repeat this process every night.
  • Be sure not to just add random imaginative details that didn't even happen.
  • Don't think of things you don't wish to happen. Your subconscious will use your fears against you!
  • An app called Dream:ON may help you influence your dreams.
  • Don't be afraid of the dream. If you are scared, remember that it is only a dream!
  • If you find that writing down the dream isn't working, you could try making a comic out of your dream. It wouldn't just record your dream but will also give you something happy to work on. It's just like writing with pictures!
  • Just be aware that it might not happen for a couple nights. Be patient.
  • When you are awake, make a simple habit of looking down at your hands and counting your fingers. When you are dreaming, you rarely have the same amount -- or color and shape -- of fingers as you do when awake. With practice, this habit will carry over into your dreaming state and you will be able to realize if you are dreaming or not by looking at them.
  • Don't think of the things you don't want to dream about because you will end up dreaming about them. Also if you had a negative or stressful day think of the positive times.


  • You will not immediately be able to control your dreams. It usually takes a couple tries for beginners, and may even take a couple months before you can fully control your dreams. If you're especially impatient, it may not work at all; relax!
  • Be careful - some people don't fall asleep that easily after being (rudely) awakened in the middle of the night!
  • If you're still and silent long enough, you may experience sleep paralysis. This is normal; people sleep through it every night. Sleep paralysis may also cause WILD (Wake Induced Lucid Dreaming), but it's generally not something you should be afraid of.
  • Don't do anything inappropriate or really, really stupid in your dreams: as these can start leaking into your life (believe it or not, some people think, "Well if I can do it in a dream, I can do it now!")

Things You'll Need

  • Notebook
  • Pencil or pen

Article Info

Featured Article

Categories: Featured Articles | Dreams