December 3rd, 2010

Wake-Initiated Lucid Dream (WILD): What to Expect During Your Transition to The Dream World

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Transitioning from an awake, physical state to the dream world without breaking consciousness is one of the most strange and unique experiences you can have. For non-lucid dreamers, the transition happens after they have already lost consciousness, so they don’t remember it. For lucid dreamers, the transition to the dream world is one that they will never forget. To avoid confusion, here is an overview of the two types of lucid dreams.

Types of Lucid Dreams

Dream Initiated Lucid Dream (DILD): Starting in a dream, and becoming lucid while in your dream. This is the most common type of lucid dream. For most dreamers, this is the easiest type to initiate.

Wake Initiated Lucid Dream (WILD): Starting awake and conscious, and initiating a lucid dream without breaking your state of consciousness.

Hypnagogic Imagery

Wake-Initiated Lucid Dreams are sometimes referred to as an out of body experience or astral projection. WILD techniques are usually not successful at normal bedtime. The best time to practice these is in the late morning hours or during an afternoon nap. While WILDs are more difficult to induce than Dream-Initiated Lucid Dreams (DILDs) initially, once mastered, WILDs can be induced at will.

Sensations During a WILD Transition

It is difficult to put the waking transition to the lucid dream state into words. It is something you must experience for yourself. It is one of the most strange and unique experiences you will ever have. However, here are some common sensations you may have when transitioning to the dream state.


  • Early part of transition: Hypnagogic imagery- random speckles, geometric shapes, bright light and images that a person sees as they are moving into a sleep state
  • Middle part of transition: Dream imagery starts to take shape. Dream images last longer and become more vivid.
  • Final part of transition: Dream imagery takes over your sense of sight. It’s as if a light came on.


  • Early part of transition: Hypnagogic sounds- random sounds accompany hypnagogic imagery. Sometimes these can be very loud and alarming.
  • Middle part of transition: Sounds start to last longer and become audible. You may start to hear dream characters from the dream you are entering before seeing them.
  • Final part of transition: Sounds become fully audible. You are able to hear and understand sounds from the dream scene.


  • Early part of transition: Body parts begin to feel like they are floating, you begin to feel mild vibrations, and may experience a faster heartbeat
  • Middle part of transition: You start to identify more with your “floating” dream body instead of your physical body
  • Final part of transition: You start to feel intense vibrations, sudden acceleration. You identify fully with your dream body.

You will often go through several cycles of these. For example, if you get too excited or move your physical body as you initially start to transition to the dream world, you may stop experiencing these sensations and have to start over and let your body relax. After you relax for a while, you will experience these sensations again and have another chance to transition to the dream world.

Entering the Dream Scene

Here are the ways I have experienced entering the dream scene, from most-common to least-common:

  • Fast transition: Body has floating sensation and vibrations. Sudden brightness and transition to the dream scene. Take control of my dream body.
  • Slower transition: Body has floating sensation and vibrations. See hypnagogic imagery, brightness. Feel acceleration and finally enter the dream scene. Take control of my dream body.
  • Fast transition: Body has floating sensation and vibrations. Hear hypnagogic sounds first,  then sounds from dream, and transition to the dream scene. Take control of my dream body.

Different Types of Dream Scenes Entered

Here are the two types of dream scenes I usually enter:

  • Random dream location: Typically similar to a waking life location I have been to. I usually enter the scene laying on the ground in my dream body. These have been at outdoor locations more often than indoor.
  • Laying on bed in my apartment: Very realistic-looking apartment, similar to a false awakening (dream within a dream). The view is the same as if I’m sitting up in my bed. I see my body on the bed and step out of it (out of body experience).

Strange Experiences and Sleep Paralysis

You may have some other strange experiences during the transition due to sleep paralysis. For example, I had an experience of opening my physical eyes while still in my dream body (documented below).

Sleep paralysis: The American Psychological Association defines sleep paralysis as the “brief inability to move or speak just before falling asleep or on awakening… accompanied by hallucinations.”

Read my Review of Sleep Paralysis: A Dreamer’s Guide eBook by Ryan Hurd

I had a bizarre experience when I started to transition to the dream, and experienced sensations of sleep paralysis, but managed to open my real eyes. I was in my dream body, so I had the sensation of looking left and right in the dream environment, but my dream vision did not change. It was like I was looking at a picture. It was very bizarre. Here are some notes from that experience:

Woke up around 6 AM. Go back to bed. Feel vibrations and floating, signs that I was about to enter a dream. Thought I transitioned to my dream but saw darkness. I opened my eyes and saw an odd view of my room. It was a sideways view from me sleeping on my left side looking towards the window. I tried moving my head and looking around, but all I saw was a “picture” of that same view. I was in my dream body, but because my real eyes were open, I could not see the dream environment. After a few minutes of this, I woke up.

Looking back on this, I should have made an effort to close my physical eyes so I could fully enter the dream environment. But I was too confused at the time.

Your Experiences

What have your experiences been with transitions to wake-initiated lucid dreams / astral projection / out of body experiences? Add a comment or tweet to join the conversation.

Learn More

To learn more about lucid dreaming, sign up for your Free Lucid Dreaming Starter Handbook.

This post is part of the Dream Evolver Series

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2 Responses to “Wake-Initiated Lucid Dream (WILD): What to Expect During Your Transition to The Dream World”


July 20th, 2011 - 10:15 am

I’ve experienced lucid dreams before, but always during a dream followed by waking up as soon as I realized I was dreaming. I’ve also experienced sleep paralysis before, but always when waking up from a dream.

Last night I had my first hypnagogic experience. I had taken a long nap earlier in the day at unusual hours (7 p.m. to 9 p.m.). I woke up to pick a friend up from work and fell back asleep at 12:45.

At some point in the night, I woke up and rolled over onto my back. As I was falling asleep, I suddenly realized I was experiencing sleep paralysis. Since I had experienced it before, I relaxed rather than panicing to awaken myself, but became confused as I entered a dream state almost immediately. I remember being conscious of my room, even being able to open my eyes and look around, but while continuing to dream. I saw a lot of shapes and symbology and had a clear sense of lucidity. I was able to choose the shapes and symbols I saw (on a black backdrop) and would enter dreams accordingly. I was also able to alter the path of my dreams. The dreams were the most vivid I’ve ever had and changed and progressed rapidly. My memory of them upon waking was perfect; it didn’t seem fuzzy with only a few key elements sticking out. I woke up about an hour later and had the sense that I had been dreaming the whole time, however, I somehow knew that I was not in REM.

This morning I did some research about what I had experienced and learned of hypnagogia. I’m pretty sure that this is what happened, especially since I experienced sleep paralysis and lucidity while entering a dream state. When describing the experience to friends, I explained that I felt like I had entered a state somewhere between consciousness and sleep, while having lucid dreams throughout. It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life and I hope it happens again.


July 22nd, 2011 - 4:59 pm

This morning I had the most realistic astral projection experience I can recall on. I pulled an all-nighter and sometime between 5-6am I was researching WILD to follow up on my interest in oneirology. After reading the procedures and background I fell asleep. I didn’t mean to induce the experience, it was completely accidental. After a couple dream cycles, I’m guessing, I woke up gently while the paralysis was still active. My eyelids easily slid shut and I began to feel the floating sensation, although I can’t remember if there were any vibrations. I was thrown into the dream/ astral projection. It was in outer space and it blew my mind how real it was! I saw each star and the different shades of blue and deep purple and I was panicking a bit because it reminded me of the ocean, which I’m not too fond of. I was floating in first person view and feebly trying to frog swim around. As I was rising towards a Nebula I woke up into another dream. I was in a class on how to induce lucid dreams with about twenty or thirty other people. The boy next to me was concerned because I was so serious. The dream was one I recognized before, so I was experiencing some overwhelming dejavu. From then on the dream was weird and soon after I woke up.

This was the strangest experience; there’s nothing like it. I’m now on the hunt for all materials related to this topic and intent on mastering it. If you’re reading this, I highly recommend you explore the possibilities :).

Sweet dreams,
– Dani

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