Senses Initiated Lucid Dreaming (SSILD) is a modern hybrid of Wake Induced Lucid Dreaming (WILD) and Dream Induced Lucid Dreaming (DILD) technique that got popular in 2011 on the Chinese lucid dreaming forum. It is easy to learn, effective, and gives consistent results over a long period of time. SSILD was designed to help beginners with lucid dreaming.
How to perform SSILD cycle
Senses Initiated Lucid Dreaming (SSILD) requires you to learn a cycle first, then you can use it to perform SSILD. The cycle of SSILD goes as followed:
Focus on sight
The first step would be focusing on your sight, this can be performed by closing your eyes and paying attention to the darkness behind your eyelids. Try not to strain your muscles, because your goal is to let your eyes rest and being totally relaxed. It is normal to see nothing behind your eyelids, and don’t try to spot visuals by moving your eyes around.
Focus on hearing
The next step would to further relax your eyes and focus your attention on your ears. Try to listen to your internal sounds, such as:
- The noise inside your head.
If this is not possible, you can focus on external sounds as well, such as:
- The wind
- Cars outside
- Ticking clock
Focus on touch
The last step in the cycle is to sense of touch. Try to focus now on your body, and feel it. Try to spot any unusual sensations such as:
- Spinning Sensation
You can also try to focus on external feelings such as:
- Weight of your blanket.
- The feeling of you touching the bed.
- The temperature of the air.
- The heat of your pillow, or the cold of the pillow.
- Or even the feeling of your stuffed animal.
By repeating the cycle you are enabling yourself to SSILD. This makes your state of mind optimal for lucid dreaming to occur. The common mistake with SSILD is to try too hard because they don’t want to fail in any of these cycles. The best thing to think about while doing SSILD is, that you should expect nothing. The moment you are trying too hard to experience a phenomenal during the cycle, you are basically trying to force the technique and this can make you less relaxed, and you end up failing the experience.
How to perform SSILD
The best way to perform SSILD is by going to bed early, and to wake up after 4 or 5 hours to perform the cycles of SSILD. There are multiple rotations of this cycle and multiple ways to perform it. The most common way is 4-6 warm-up and 3-4 as technique.
1 – Ready for bed
It is important to have a good sleep schedule to perform any of the Wake Induced Lucid Dreaming (WILD) anchors such as SSILD. It is good to have a sleep schedule where you sleep for at least 8 hours.
To increase my chances of lucid dreaming, I love to do meditation before I go to sleep. Meditation can increase the chance of lucid dreaming, but it also improves dream recall and the vividness of your dreams. You can learn more about meditation in this article: Meditation and Lucid Dreaming.
2 – Alarm, Intention, Mantra’s
The next step should be to wake up after 4 to 5 hours to perform the cycles of SSILD. You can do this easily with an alarm, but this can make you completely awake. This means that you are unable to fall asleep again. To prevent this you can do intention or mantra’s instead. These are techniques that can replace an alarm to wake up in the middle of the night.
Intention is a way to put an intent to do something, this means that you can set an intent by saying a sentence or by doing something in a visualization. The best way to do this is by saying a sentence and really believe in that to work. For example, you could say “Wake up after 4 hours of sleep” and you will wake up after 4~ hours of sleep automatically. It can be hard to believe in your suggestion to your subconscious, so there is an alternative.
The alternative to intention is mantra’s. Mantra’s work the same as intention, but instead of saying a sentence once, you are saying this sentence over and over again until your subconscious will remember it. You could say “Wake up after 4 hours of sleep” for a couple of minutes before you fall asleep, to make the mantra work. Mantra’s are more beginner-friendly, and you should try them out.
3 – Waking up during the night
The best thing to do when you wake up is to write in your dream journal. If you are also doing MILD, you can do a reality check and a mantra or visualize a dream. You should not try to do the technique right away. The best thing to do is to wait for at least 5 to 10 minutes. Try to not wake yourself up too much.
4 – Prepare before the cycle
The best thing to do is to lie down in a comfortable position. Try to lay down in a position that makes you fall asleep easy, but doesn’t make you fall asleep directly. This may seem difficult, but you can find out the best position.
For me, it is on my side. I fall asleep quickly on my stomach, but don’t fall asleep on my back. With this information, I can decide what position I should use, and that is on my side. You can even go deeper into this, if you have multiple pillows maybe one pillow you fall asleep easier on that the other pillows.
5 – Warm-up SSILD cycle
It is helpful to warm up SSILD first. You can do this by doing the SSILD cycle quickly 4 to 6 times. You should do this for only a couple of seconds for each step. It can be hard to do it for the first time, so you can do the warm up cycle a couple of times until you find yourself ready to do the actual cycle.
6 – The SSILD Cycle
Now you are ready to do the actual SSILD cycle. Slowly perform the SSILD cycle and repeat it 3 to 4 times. You should take your time for each of the steps. Thanks to the warm-up cycle step, you probably be already relaxed, and you will find that focusing on your senses becomes a lot easier.
You could notice, that your eyes feel more relaxed, and you can get visuals such as colors, lights, or movement. You could also hear external sounds in the background. Try not to get excited, because you should observe and move to the next step of the cycle. My recommendation is to do every step of the cycle for at least 60 seconds or more before you decide to go to the other step of the cycle. Time is flexible, and you could decide on your own.
You may get distracted by a lot of thoughts. This is an indication that you are close to the sleep state and close to falling asleep. People who practice with meditation knows how to deal with it and that is why people who meditate have an advantage with SSILD.
The people who never experience this before, your goal is to let the thoughts pass by without interacting with them if you fail to start over the cycle from the beginning.
7 – Return to sleep
Your goal is now to fall asleep as soon as possible. You can do this by laying down in your most comfortable position. The faster you fall asleep the more likely you will become lucid. Do not stress or worry about falling asleep quickly. Just do it!
What can happen after falling asleep?
There are lots of scenarios you can end up in, and it is important to become familiar with all the possible outcomes.
1 – Hypnogoia
The state before falling asleep is called hypnogogia (wiki), in this state you may experience hypnagogic sensations. These include:
- Seeing lights, images, or colors.
- Hearing sharp noises, and more.
When this happens, you are close to performing SSILD. The best thing to do is to observe the state and try to not interact with images. After some minutes this can turn into a dream, and you can do a reality check to see if you are lucid or not. You probably are in your bed, because your subconscious remembered that it was in a bed before falling asleep. You can visualize a new dream scene or go exploring in your own house.
2 – False awakening
SSILD is known to cause false awakenings. False awakenings are awakenings in your bedroom, but it is actually a dream. You sometimes can’t see the difference from being awake or being in a false awakening. The best thing to do is a reality check every time you wake up in the middle of the night to prevent this from happening. It can give you free lucid dreams!
3 – Dream Induced Lucid Dream (DILD)
You can also end up having a DILD. A DILD is when you become aware it is a dream from within a dream. This can happen because you did SSILD, it could also be because you woke up during the night or did another technique that would increase your awareness in dreams.
4 – Waking up
It could also happen that you wake up again later in the night. This is a perfect chance to repeat the technique and to write down some dreams in your dream journal. It can be that you are exhausted, so you can decide to take shorter SSILD cycles and fall asleep quickly again.
5 – Sleep paralysis
It is also possible to experience sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis is a state where you are unable to move, and you are half awake and half asleep. In this state, you often see hallucinations while you are stuck in your bed, and this is amazing. Some people may explain to you that it is a scary phenomenon, but it is actually not scary at all if you know a thing or two about sleep paralysis.
You can read more about sleep paralysis in my article: Lucid Dreaming and Sleep Paralysis.
It is also a great opportunity to become lucid, try to visualize a dream and there is a big chance to become lucid. You can learn more about this in my Visually Incubated Lucid Dreaming (VILD) guide.
Frequently asked questions SSILD
There are lots of questions about SSILD, and I will go over some common questions.
Can I do SSILD when I go to sleep?
Yes, you can perform SSILD before you are going to bed, but the chance of this working is pretty small. This is because you start sleeping in NREM stage. In this stage, you still dream, but they are hard to remember. You may not even remember that you had a lucid dream, or you will experience nothing at all. Of course, is this the dream way of doing so, sadly this does not work well, and you could better use this time to do meditate, MILD, reality check, intention, or a mantra.
Can I combine SSILD with other techniques?
Of course, and I even recommend you doing so. Combining techniques can make it easier for you to become lucid. I would highly suggest you to do combine SSILD with MILD. This is because MILD works well with WILD techniques and DILD techniques. That is why SSILD is perfect because it is a hybrid of them.
Can I swallow while doing SSILD?
Yes, don’t worry about moving, but if you do swallow try to start again at the beginning of the cycle. It is more important to do the cycle well, than worry about can I move or can I swallow.
I don’t feel anything when doing the SSILD cycles
It is okay to feel or see nothing at all, It is important that you focus on your senses and relax. It is better to not worry about anything while doing this technique, than worry about everything. Just believe in yourself that you can do it, and you will succeed eventually.
I can’t fall asleep quickly… what should I do now?
This is a common issue with a lot of people, but with SSILD your ultimate goal is to relax. Relaxation makes it easier to fall asleep. It is not important to fall asleep quickly, it is important to do not worry about it. The moment you start worrying about falling asleep you will fail to fall asleep quickly.
My eyes are itchy, or I get watery eyes.
This is a common issue, and the problem is that you are on your phone or putting on a bright light. You fix this by using the blue light filter on your phone, or by having a light that is not bright. The itchy eye can also mean that one of your veins of your eye got inflamed. The next night you will probably don’t have this issue.
Great lucid dreaming technique everyone should at least try. This technique can help beginners who struggle with both DILD and WILD techniques to find the middle path with a hybrid technique called SSILD.
Try to find the technique that fits the best to your needs, you can do that by checking out the summary of popular lucid dreaming techniques. It has links to all the techniques.