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25 Reality Checks for Lucid Dreamers

A light switch, one of the commonly used lucid dreaming reality check methods.

This list of 25 simple, yet effective reality check techniques will help you distinguish between dream and reality.

Whether you’re just getting started or already are an experienced lucid dreamer, these reality checks will help you become lucid more often.

1Finger CountingCount your fingers; in dreams, the count often changes or your fingers may appear distorted.
2Nose PinchPinch your nose and try to breathe through it; if successful, you may be dreaming.
3Light SwitchAttempt to turn a light switch on or off; the results can be unpredictable in a dream.
4Digital WatchLook at a digital watch or clock; the time is likely to change or appear nonsensical in a dream.
5MirrorsGaze into a mirror; your reflection may behave strangely or look distorted in a dream.
6Hand Reality CheckExamine the details on your hand, like lines and wrinkles; they may not be consistent in a dream.
7Reading TextTry to read a book or text; the words often change or make no sense in a dream.
8JumpingAttempt to jump; you may experience unusual gravity or float in a dream.
9Reality TotemCarry a small object with you during the day, like a coin, and check it frequently; in a dream, it may change shape or form.
10Finger Through PalmPoke a finger through your opposite hand; in a dream, your hand may not feel solid.
11Time AwarenessLook at a clock, look away, and then check the time again; it may change rapidly in a dream.
12Pinch PainPinch yourself gently; you may not feel pain in a dream.
13Tonal SoundListen to background sounds; in a dream, they may be distorted or unusual.
14Gravity CheckPay attention to how you feel gravity; in a dream, it may vary or disappear.
15All-Day AwarenessContinuously question reality throughout the day; this habit may carry over into your dreams.
16Reality AffirmationsRepeatedly tell yourself, “Am I dreaming?” during the day and genuinely consider the question.
17Breathing HandsObserve your hands while breathing; in a dream, they might move strangely as you breathe.
18Double CheckWhen something unusual happens, ask yourself if you are dreaming and perform a reality check.
19Random TextRead text, look away, and then read it again; the text may change or become unreadable in a dream.
20Visual StabilityFocus on an object and ensure it remains stable; in a dream, objects may shift or morph.
21Light IntensityPay attention to the lighting; it can change abruptly in a dream.
22Dream SignsIdentify recurring elements or themes in your dreams and use them as cues to question reality.
23Hands ClapTry to clap your hands; they may not make a sound in a dream.
24Speech CheckListen to your speech; you may have trouble speaking clearly in a dream.
25Critical ReflectionFrequently analyze your surroundings, asking if they make sense, even during ordinary activities.

5 tips on when to perform your reality check methods

If you perform your reality checking after or before a frequently occurring event or action the chances that you will end up doing it in your dreams will increase.

Here are 5 tips on events that I’ve used, and use as cues to do my reality checks:

1. When meeting someone new

Dreams often feature persons or characters that you haven’t met or interacted with in real life. Therefore it is a great cue for reality checks, increasing the likelihood of it occurring in dreams.

2. When entering a new location

When I first started with reality checking I used to do the Finger Counting method whenever I passed through a doorpost. Let’s just say that it ended up being a bit too frequent.. I still perform reality checking, but nowadays only when entering a new or odd location.

3. When seeing or experiencing something odd

Dreams are odd, that’s one of the reasons why they are so fun to explore and understand. Reality does not offer up as many weird, or odd situations as the dream world does – but when it does I always use the opportunity to check my reality.

4. When experiencing strong emotions

5. Directly after waking up

About Reality Checks

First time hearing about
lucid dreaming?

My name is Lucy, I’ve been a lucid dreamer since 2001. It all started when one of my friends told me about her lucid dream experiences.

The mere fact that she told me was enough, and that very night I became aware of the fact that I was dreaming while in my dream. Luciddreamhub.com is my attempt to do the same favour for all of my readers.

If this is the first time you’ve heard about lucid dreaming, and you want to find out more about how you can get started and leverage the benefits yourself, I recommend that you start by reading these:

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What is lucid dreaming?

Get to know lucid dreaming, a state between dream and reality – open for you to explore.

How to do lucid dreaming

Discover how to start dreaming lucidly, and start exploring your very own realm of dreams.

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Lucid dreaming techniques

Learn popular lucid dreaming techniques, and get started tonight.