What Is A Reality Check, And How Do I Use It?

Everyone who is new to lucid dreaming has heard about reality checks, but what is it and how does it work? I will explain in this article how this works and how you can benefit from it.

What is a reality check?

A reality check is a check you do during the day to perform a reality check during your dreams. To learn lucid dreaming you have to spot the difference between a dream and being awake. A reality check is just checking if you are awake or if you are not. For people who still don’t understand what I mean. Am I awake? Yes or no. A reality check is something you do that has a difference between awake and dreaming.

What are good reality check examples?

How do you know that you are awake? You probably say:

  • I can see that I am awake.
  • Can feel that I am awake.
  • I am aware, so I am awake.
  • Because I just am!

Sadly, this all applies to the dream world too. That’s why seeing, feeling, awareness, and knowledge of your existence do not help you become lucid. (Remember that your dreams lack logical conclusions as to your waking mind.)

In order to recognize that you are dreaming, you need to be able to spark the moment of realization with a test:

  • A simple question. A simple question could be “Am I dreaming?”, this question only has a yes or no answer, so this is a simple question.
  • An “almost impossible” pre-determined action. Reality checks are an almost impossible predetermined action. This action has to have another answer in your dreams.

How to perform a reality check?

My preferred way of doing a reality check is by counting how many fingers I have. You may think that this sounds stupid, but the outcome from the dream state can be that I have 9 fingers instead of 10.

Checking hands reality check

In waking life, this method always has the same outcome. When I am dreaming this outcome can be different all the time. 9 fingers, 8 fingers or no fingers you name it, it is possible. When you practice this for a longer period of time this reality check can work when performed in a dream at least 80% of the time.

The moment I start the reality check inside the dream I realize that I am dreaming. This is a great feeling and makes you insanely happy.

When I practiced this reality check during the day time, the action of counting your fingers is not enough on its own. What I suggest is using multiple reality checks, because a reality check can fail. In a dream, when you count your fingers you realize it has 10 fingers. The dream you think that it is not a dream and continue without you being aware. I will explain some of my favorite reality checks later in this article.

Use Intention.

I also suggest you use intention. When you perform your reality check during the day you have to be sure with a simple question “Am I dreaming?”. This intention does not only give you a chance to become lucid, but it also helps you with awareness inside the dream. This awareness can be:

  • Better senses.
  • Vivid dreams.

The best way of performing this question “Am I dreaming” is to believe that the state you are in right now could be a dream. Believe is a big part with lucid dreaming. Not believing in yourself can hurt the chance of you becoming lucid. Be sure to come to really believe in your decision each time. Don’t just ask the question and forget about it. Truly believe and mean what you say to reach to a conclusion.

Without doubt within a month or so you will ask this question in a dream and you become aware of the dream state.

Top 8 reality checks for lucid dreaming

This list is based on my experience with those reality checks. I have tried everything on this list and will make it ordered from my best experience to a worse experience.

  1. Finger Counting.

    My best success was with counting my fingers. This works as following: Ask yourself “Am I Dreaming?”, check your hands and count your fingers. After you have done this answer the question you asked before you did your reality check.

  2. Finger Through Palm.

    When I was using the reality check where I count my fingers I also used this check as a backup. Reality checks can fail so have a second check to be 100% sure of your outcome. This works as following: Ask yourself “Am I Dreaming?”, check if your finger can go through your palm, and answer the question with a yes “I am dreaming” or no “I am not dreaming”.

  3. Pinching my nose.

    Pitching my nose was the first reality check I used. It is an effective reality check but is not as discreet as the last two. This reality check works as followed. Ask yourself “Am I Dreaming?”, close your nose with two fingers (pinching) and try to breathe. If you are able to breathe through your nose, you are dreaming! Of course, finish this again by answering your question with yes or no.

  4. Checking the time.

    This is an interesting one for people who are wearing a watch. If you are wearing a watch always this technique may be perfect for you. You start once again with the question “Am I Dreaming?” and then you check your watch. When the watch is going crazy you are definitely dreaming! Finish once again by answering your question with a yes or no.

  5. Focusing on my breathing.

    This is another interesting reality check. Instead of asking yourself if you are dreaming you set your Intention to breathing. Your goal is to focus on your breathing all day long. To make this easier you can set safety checks. When you are an emotional person set the intention to focus on your breathing when you are happy, sad, excited, etc.

  6. Focusing on gravity.

    This is the technique I am currently using and requires a lot of dedication. This works the same as the last one but instead, you focus on gravity. Gravity can be anything that can measure gravity. People who feel their hands differently can use their hands as a gravity reality check. You check how your hands feel all day. When you lose this feeling a lot. Put a safety check on emotions or thoughts. When you have thoughts or when you feel an emotional thing about gravity. This reality check has to be done all day.

  7. Trying to catch daydreaming.

    This reality check is for people who daydream a lot. When you find yourself daydreaming catch it and ask yourself if you are dreaming or not. This one can be really easy to execute, but when you did not catch a daydream during your day you basically haven’t performed one.

  8. Reading.

    People who read a lot of people who enjoy reading can benefit the most from this reality check. Ask yourself “Am I Dreaming?”, Read something and look away and read again. Is the text different after you looked again or is it moving? You are dreaming! Answer your question with yes or no.

As I explained before it is definitely worth it to do multiple reality checks. I recommend you do a reality check at least 10 times a day. The best way to do reality checks is when you come across your dream signs.

When you haven’t started a dream journal or you think it takes way too long. You can read my article about: How to write effectively in your dream journal.

Frequently asked reality check questions

I am the owner of a discord server called Night Realm. I often get questions about reality checks. In this part of the article, I will go over some questions and how to use this as a steppingstone.

My reality check does not work?

Some people perform reality checks and follow all the steps I explained above but do not have any results with reality checks. Reality checks work in multiple ways, They give you more self-awareness, increase the vividness of your dreams, and can make you lucid. When reality checks do not give you one of those things you are doing something wrong. The first thing I would ask this person is, do you believe your reality check. If the answer is no. change the reality check. When the answer is yes, try to find dream signs that happen often. For example, my dreams are about driving a car lately. Everything I hear someone talking about driving or when I am driving I do a reality check. Now next time in the dream I will respond and become lucid.

I forget doing reality checks

This happens to everyone who starts out doing reality checks. As I explained before you should use your dream signs as a moment to do a reality check. When you don’t have those dream signs that are happening often in waking life, you can set an alarm on your phone to remember to do a reality check. There are apps in the apple and android store that has reality check alarms. If you don’t want an app, you can also change the background of your phone or PC and change it into an image of:

Am I Dreaming Reality Check

These wallpapers are easily found when googling, Am I Dreaming Wallpaper, or Reality Check Wallpaper.

Final thoughts

A reality check is a great way to become lucid. You are in that moment of the dream and before you did your reality check, you feel the euphoria going into yourself. To everyone who is still reading, a reality check is part of the process of MILD. You can learn more about MILD by reading my article about how to do MILD the right way.

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