Induction of lucid dreams: a systematic review of evidence

Conscious Cogn. 2012 Sep;21(3):1456-75. doi: 10.1016/j.concog.2012.07.003. Epub 2012 Jul 28.


In lucid dreams the dreamer is aware of dreaming and often able to influence the ongoing dream content. Lucid dreaming is a learnable skill and a variety of techniques is suggested for lucid dreaming induction. This systematic review evaluated the evidence for the effectiveness of induction techniques. A comprehensive literature search was carried out in biomedical databases and specific resources. Thirty-five studies were included in the analysis (11 sleep laboratory and 24 field studies), of which 26 employed cognitive techniques, 11 external stimulation and one drug application. The methodological quality of the included studies was relatively low. None of the induction techniques were verified to induce lucid dreams reliably and consistently, although some of them look promising. On the basis of the reviewed studies, a taxonomy of lucid dream induction methods is presented. Several methodological issues are discussed and further directions for future studies are proposed.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Donepezil
  • Dreams / drug effects
  • Dreams / physiology
  • Dreams / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Indans / pharmacology
  • Piperidines / pharmacology
  • Sleep


  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Indans
  • Piperidines
  • Donepezil