When I first read about lucid dreaming in chapter 5 of the Lilienfeld textbook, my mind immediately jumped to the concept behind one of my favorite films directed by Christopher Nolan, "Inception". I decided to look further into lucid dreaming because of how much it intrigued me.
The textbook describes lucid dreaming as the experience of becoming aware that one is dreaming. The book also says that a survey showed 72 percent of people who lucid dream are able to control what happens in their dream. After further investigating lucid dreaming, I found a website that acts as a "how to" guide.
The first steps are to start remembering dreams by waking up slowly and immediately recalling your dreams. You are then supposed to start recording your dreams in a journal. After you get better at recalling dreams, you must become increasingly familiar with the characteristics of your dreams. Most people have specific people, places, and situations that reoccur within their dreams, and recognizing these "dream signs" will further improve dream recall. After that, a person must pay attention to their surroundings in real life to become more aware, which will in turn make them more aware within their dreams.
When you finally do become consciously aware during a dream, there are certain ways you can check to make sure that you are actually in a dream. The "common sense" technique is the most useful, which consists of observing your surroundings and seeing if there is anything that could obviously not occur in real life. The "reading check" technique is another really easy check to do. To do it, you look at something with writing on it, look away, and then look back. If you are in a dream, the content of the writing will most likely be different when you look back the second time.
This somewhat crappy quality video shows how "Inception" describes the "memory check" method, where a person thinks back to see if there are any inconsistencies within their recent memory. Cobb explains that people often can't remember the beginning of their dreams, because they always wind up in the middle of the action. He then asks Ariadne if she remembers how they got to the cafe they are at during the scene.