Wake-initiated lucid dreams occur when “the sleeper enters REM sleep with unbroken self-awareness directly from the waking state“.There are many techniques aimed at entering a WILD. The key to these techniques is recognizing the hypnagogic stage, which is in between being awake and being asleep. If a person is successful in staying aware during this stage, that person will eventually enter a dream while lucid.
There are key times when this technique has a higher rate of success. While success at normal bedtime after having been awake all day is difficult, it is relatively easy after sleeping for 3–7 hours or in the afternoon during a nap. Techniques for inducing WILDs abound. Dreamers may count, envision themselves climbing or descending stairs, chant to themselves, control their breathing, count their breaths to keep their thoughts from drifting, concentrate on relaxing their body from their toes to their head, or allow images to flow through their “mind’s eye” and envision themselves jumping into the image to maintain concentration and keep their mind awake, while still being calm enough to let their bodies sleep.
During the actual transition into a dream, dreamers are likely to experience sleep paralysis, including rapid vibrations, a sequence of loud sounds, and a feeling of twirling into another state of body awareness, of “drifting off into another dimension”, like passing from water into air. A notable sensation is also “seeing” gradual sharpening and becoming “real” of images or scenes they are thinking of and trying to visualize. This in contrast to the indefinite sensations felt when imagining something during waking.