wikiHow to Wake Up from Your Dream

Three Methods:Waking Up from Your DreamLearning to Dream LucidlyChanging Your Dream

Sometimes a dream can become very intense, to the extent that while in the dream you want nothing more than to wake up. The problem could be that the dream has become a nightmare, or you might have a recurring dream that is boring, confusing, or uncomfortable. Although it is common to have dreams from which you would like to wake up on occasion, if these dreams happen too often, you may want to know how to wake up as soon as possible. Here are some methods that should help.

Method 1
Waking Up from Your Dream

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    Set an alarm. If you are worried you may have a dream that you will want to wake up from, set an alarm for somewhere after 90 minutes into your sleep. REM sleep happens 90 minutes into sleep,[1] and it is during this cycle of your sleep that you dream, so having an alarm rouse you might help.
    • Some alarm clocks have more than one alarm you can set, so you can wake up from separate cycles of REM sleep. You can also use a mobile device, many of which allow you to set as many alarms as you like.
    • Be careful not to do this too often, however, as REM sleep is a beneficial cycle of sleep that helps you process information, build memories, and replenish neurotransmitters, including chemicals that give you energy and help you feel good during the day.[2]
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    Allow light into your sleep space. Leaving a light on or your curtains open may help interrupt especially deep cycles of sleep in which you dream, essentially making you a light sleeper and possibly helping you wake up from a dream more easily. Again, though, doing so too often might have other consequences on your usual ability to get the full benefits of uninterrupted sleep.
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    Call out for help in the dream. If you find you are somewhat conscious in your dream and can take action, you might try calling out in the dream. You may experience a situation where you call out in your dream, but it's more of a faint whisper. This could because your mouth isn't open in real life. You aren't actually activating your vocal chords or using air, so no sound is actually coming out. If you concentrate, however, you might be able to speak in real life, waking yourself up.
    • Think to yourself, "I'm going to actually call for help." Some people get the sensation of their brain responding with a no. Continue telling your brain that you will in fact call out for help until the sensation goes away. This might be the second or third time. At this point, try to say something. It may seem harder than usual, and that's because you are actually using your vocal chords. This time, a noise should come out, and you should wake up, realizing that it was all a dream.
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    Blink in the dream. If calling out for help in your dream does not manage to wake you up, you might try blinking. When you blink in the dream, your eyes should close. When you open your eyes again, they may actually open in real life. Doing this may manage to wake you up. This technique requires practice, so give it a try—especially during lucid dreams (see method 2)—often so that you can be ready to utilize it should you want to wake up from a dream. Assuming the technique works for you, you will be ready to wake up in a hurry if you have mastered this technique.
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    Jolt yourself awake. This technique also works well in lucid dreams, but even if you have not developed this ability, you may still be able to jolt yourself awake. Simply attempt to move in your dream with the hope that doing so will move your body in real life, thereby waking yourself up.
    • Sleep in a position that will make it easy for you to move around.
    • In the dream, try to kick your legs or move your arms around.

Method 2
Learning to Dream Lucidly

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    Try to realize that you are, in fact, dreaming. This is called "lucid dreaming." Essentially, lucid dreaming is simply becoming aware of the fact that you are dreaming while you are dreaming without waking up.[3] Once you successfully achieve this, you can be in control of your dreams. Lucid dreaming makes the possibilities of your dreams endless, and minimizes the risk of an uncomfortable dream.
    • Make mental notes about your surroundings/environment when you are awake. When you do this in a conscious state on a regular basis, your psyche will bring these habits into the dream state as well. Then, when you dream, you can identify details about your surroundings/environment that will serve as clues that you are dreaming. Once you achieve this, you may be able to become lucid in the dream state.[4]
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    You can also wear something like a watch to focus on as you drift asleep. As long as it's comfortable but not so comfortable that it feels like your normal wear.
    • Besides just making mental notes of your surroundings/environment, you can explicitly ask yourself whether you are dreaming or awake at various times throughout the day. Again, making a habit of such a practice will very likely carry over into the dream world so that you may recognize you are dreaming once in the dream state, should you ask yourself at that time. This is called the reflection technique.[5]
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    Try the MILD technique. Stephen LaBerge developed the Mnemonic Induction of Lucid Dreams (MILD) technique as a means to helping people achieve lucid dreaming. It requires that you try to recall your dreams as completely as possible as soon as possible after waking, then tell yourself that you will remember that you are dreaming as you fall back asleep, followed by imagining that you are already dreaming lucidly and imagining the dream itself, and repeating these steps until you are asleep and dreaming again.[6]
    • If you follow these steps effectively, you may be able to become aware of the dream within the dream, thereby becoming lucid and gaining control over the dream.
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    Prevent uncomfortable dreams. Sometimes, with enough concentration, you can determine what you will dream about before you go to sleep. This is called intentionality, and it is another means to dreaming lucidly.[7] Intentionality, actually, is part of some other methods of lucid dreaming as well, so it is a good idea to practice it as you attempt to achieve lucid dreaming, even if it alone does not end up being effective for you. It is important to note that no lucid dreaming technique works for everyone or the same for everyone. For this reason, it is a good idea to try different methods, intentionality being one.
    • Intentionality basically just requires that you use your imagination to conceive of the dream you want to have.
    • Imagine the place you want to be in your dream and especially how you will get there. This can help you plan, in a sense, to dream lucidly.
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    Try light stimulus. There are several products on the market that can help you achieve lucid dreaming through light stimulus. These products are masks that have led lights embedded in them that flash near the eyes if you wear the mask while sleeping. The idea is that you could notice the lights as you dream—particularly if you went to sleep with intentionality—and this could help you remember that you are dreaming, allowing you to become lucid in the dream.[8]
    • In addition to light stimulus, there is even an app for smartphones that helps with intentionality and plays sounds that might help the dreamer become lucid during key parts of the sleep cycle.
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    Combine different lucid dreaming techniques. Combinations of techniques to help you dream lucidly strengthen the possibility that you will become aware of the dream within the dream. In order to successfully dream lucidly, try different combinations of the various techniques to see what works for you. Some techniques have even been created via specific combinations.
    • One technique combines intentionality with the mental notes mentioned above (called reality testing).[9]
    • Another technique combines journaling—waking up to record dream memories in a journal—and analysis of the journal entries for common attributes with intentionality. It is called the wake back to bed (WBTB) technique.[10]

Method 3
Changing Your Dream

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    Attempt to manipulate your nightmare away. Once you are able to achieve lucid dreaming, you may not feel the need to wake up any longer because you can change the dream into something less uncomfortable. Lucid dreaming, however, is different for everyone, and it may not be especially easy for you to change your dream—it may require practice. Nevertheless, once you have realized you are in a dream, you might be able to change things that are happening, and remove whatever is scary and making you want to wake up. This may be better than fully waking yourself up.
    • Once you are lucid in the dream, you should be able to control the dream. You will have more control if you become more aware of the dream world, so pay attention to your surroundings.[11]
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    Actively change the dream. One very straightforward way of changing the dream is by simply doing what is is you want to do. The difference, of course, is that you are in a dream, so the constraints of the real world do not apply. A common way of testing this out is to produce a brick wall and put your hand through it. Doing so is a good test of your ability to control the dream, and the realization that you are in control can empower you to change dreams that are making you uncomfortable.[12]
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    Voice your desires inside the dream. Another way of exercising control over the dream if you are dreaming lucidly is by voicing your desires. Try saying whatever it is you want to change about the dream, and you may see results. For instance, if you are being chased, try saying that there is no one chasing you, and you may succeed in making whom or whatever is chasing you vanish. In whatever situation you may find yourself in the dream, voicing your desire to change it may work for you.


  • When dying in your dream, a good amount of the time, right before you die in the dream, you wake up in real life.
  • Manipulating your nightmares is the most difficult, but is a good skill if you are tired of having to fully wake up.
  • The blinking step is usually easier than the vocal step, so if this is your first time in a dream trying to wake up, that one is simpler.


  • This is if the dream occurs consecutively, if this happens, consult a physician immediately.

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Categories: Dreams