The world of lucid dreaming is a vast one. Some people are not even aware that it exists, while others have been practicing for decades. Unlike regular dreams which usually happen without an individual realizing it’s happening or remembering anything about them afterward; lucid dreaming refers to any dream where you are conscious and aware that you’re dreaming whilst you are asleep.

An important part of inducing lucidity is to do what Dr. Stephen La Berge called ‘critical state testing’[1] (reality checks).

This article covers everything you need to know about how to perform lucid dream reality checks properly so that you can start doing them today!

Lucid Dream Reality checks Infographic

What is a Lucid Dream Reality Check?

A lucid dream reality check is a state of mind where you continually question your reality to see if you’re awake or asleep. The idea behind reality checks is to help you become more conscious of your surroundings whilst awake, therefore transferring that level of consciousness into your dreams during the night.

There are many different techniques for performing lucid dream reality checks. Some will be more successful than others but the main idea involves building a heightened state of awareness to help you recognize when you’re dreaming so that you can become lucid.

Best Time to Do Reality Checks

In truth, there is no wrong time to do a reality check, but a series of right times such as dhjkhsj jhjfdl ejfjaendl dhjkhsj jhjfdl ejfjaendl dhjkhsj jhjfdl ejfjaendl dhjkhsj jhjfdl ejfjaendldhjkhsj jhjfdl ejfjaendl- NOW!

Some people will set alarms or use apps to routinely remind them to complete their reality checks and this is fine if that is what works for them but there are other times when you should check your reality to increase your chances of becoming lucid.

1. When Something Strange Happens

As above when I tested you by writing gibberish, seeing something a little odd, unusual, or out of place is the perfect opportunity to complete a reality check.

2. When Something New Happens

Another opportunity that should not be ignored is when something happens for the first time. This could be opening a gift, meeting someone new or starting a new job etc.

3. When Something Rare Happens

Seeing somebody that you haven’t seen in ages, getting caught outside in inclement weather, and finding an alligator in your pool can all be examples of things that do not happen often – depending on where you live of course.

Again, this is the time when you should be testing yourself and your perceived reality.

4. When You See Something Resembling a Dream Sign

You should certainly complete a reality check when you see something that may resemble one of your dream signs.

Dream signs are unique to us and we have to build our own collection of symbols, patterns, and recurring occurrences that appear in our dreams.

5. When You See Your Dream Characters

Everybody has their own cast of dream characters and when you see one of these people; much like a dream sign, you must test your reality to see if you are in fact dreaming.

3 Tips for Performing Reality Checks

1. Understand What You’re Doing and Why

The first tip to performing an effective reality check is to make sure that you understand what you’re doing and why. Many beginners fall into the habit of doing a quick 3-second check just because that’s what they have read that you should do without thinking about how or why it is important.

As a result, many people don’t take it seriously and just do a quick half-hearted check for the sake of it and become disappointed when it does not yield immediate results.

Take some time to really understand what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and why it is important. This will help build a deeper level of understanding which will also make performing reality checks far more effective.

2. Take in Even the Smallest of Details

The next step to ensure that your reality checks are effective is to be fully aware of your surroundings and try to take in all the small details.

Look at the bird flying in the distance, look at your hands, look at the vehicles driving by or the people walking past – take in the details and see if there is anything unusual happening.

3. Question Everything

As I mentioned above, whenever something new, unusual, or weird happens – you should always question it.

Whenever something strange happens, look at your surroundings and try to pick up on the little details that may seem out of place or unusual in some way.

The Importance of Doing Reality Checks Regularly

The more often you test yourself for reality, the better. I personally do them throughout the day as my reality is constantly being put to the test because there are always instances where something new or unusual happens.

This also ensures that I am always conscious of what is happening around me, questioning everything as it comes my way which makes lucid dreaming all the more achievable.

Common Mistakes with Lucid Dream Reality Checks

The number one mistake that I see most people make is becoming discouraged when they fail to become lucid quickly. Like anything worthwhile, it can take time to work and it relies on the individual’s level of awareness.

Another mistake made by beginners is that they rush their reality checks. Some are just doing it because the app told them to without them really taking in their surroundings and questioning their reality in the right way.

Do not give up! Instead, spend your days doing reality checks regularly and allow your subconscious mind to catch onto the pattern you are forming. It may take a while but you will get there!


The likelihood of becoming lucid is increased when you increase your awareness and take in even the smallest of details. When something new, unusual, or weird happens – always question it!

Experiment with different reality checks to find out what works for you and always look for your personal dream signs. It may take some time but eventually, if done regularly enough, testing your reality with result in lucidity.


How important are reality checks?

Reality checks are a fundamental part of all dream-initiated lucid dreaming techniques. They do not only serve to help you induce lucidity when you complete them, they also help you to build a heightened awareness and state of mind throughout your waking life too.

Can you lucid dream without reality checks?

Yes, lucid dreaming can be achieved without completing reality checks. Reality checks are an important part of dream initiated lucid dreaming but lucid dreaming can also be achieved directly from a waking state.

How many times should you do reality checks?

There is no hard and fast rule that governs how many times per day that you should be completing your reality checks. There are differing schools of thought about this from 4 to 25 times per day but ultimately; what works for you may not work for someone else and vice versa.

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[1] Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming (LaBerge and Rheingold, 1990) – Buy Now on Amazon