Know Your Dream Signs

Dream signs are events, places, characters, or even specific emotions that reoccur in your dreams. Each person has their own unique signs that help them realize when they are dreaming.

Knowing them can be the difference between having a Dream Induced Lucid Dream (DILD) or just a regular dream. So how do you find out what your signs are?

Discover your signs

Follow this step by step guide for discovering and using your signs:

  1. Practice dream recall.
  2. Keep a dream journal.
  3. Reread your journal. After several entries, go through and reread them. Start to notice things that happen often in your dreams.
  4. Identify. Highlight, circle, or underline commonalities. They could be people, places, events, objects, or emotions (see descriptions of the types below).
  5. Dream incubation. Now that you know your dream signs, visualize yourself noticing them in a dream and becoming lucid. Repeat in your mind "the next time I notice (dream sign), I will realize that I'm dreaming" as you're falling asleep.
  6. Perform a reality check. Whether you are awake or dreaming, if you notice one of your signs ask yourself "am I dreaming?" 

Types of Dream Signs


We've all had dreams about being around celebrities, seeing deceased loved ones, or hanging out with old friends who we don't see anymore. 

I often dream about friends and family from my hometown. Since I now live 1,000 miles away and only visit 1-2 times a year, "seeing" them has induced many lucid dreams for me. 

If you notice that your dreams contain people or characters like this, make a note. Seeing them can be highly unlikely or even impossible in real life.

The next time you catch yourself bowling with the Pope, tell yourself that you're probably dreaming!


What locations do you dream about? Are they familiar or unfamiliar? 

Here are some that you should take note of:

  • Places you've never been to (i.e. the Moon, Santa's workshop, Australia, etc.)
  • Places you don't visit often (i.e. childhood home)
  • Places that you don't recognize (i.e. alien civilization)


I once had a dream that I pulled a retainer out of my mouth to show a friend. When I pulled it out, I looked at it and thought "Hey, I don't have a retainer." This triggered my lucidity and I shouted "this is a dream!"

Have you had a dream with something that didn't belong? Maybe there was a jacuzzi in your kitchen, or a friend was wearing an eye patch, or your car was a different color.

Look through your dream journal to find objects that should have made you realize that you were dreaming.

Past Events

We often have our dreams in the settings of familiar events, such as:

  • Life events. Wedding, vacations, etc.
  • Scenes. High school/college classes, an old job, or a sporting event. I often have dreams where I find myself sitting in my high school social studies class taking an exam, except I haven't studied and none of the questions look familiar.
  • Current events. Something that happened recently, either in your life or in the news.

Note these common dream occurrences. If you get the feeling that what you are doing has happened before, it might be wise to do a reality check.


The most common recurring emotion that we experience in our dreams is fear. This originates from stress and often manifests in the form of nightmares.

Getting chased by someone, being naked in public, losing our hair and teeth, and falling are all common nightmares...and we've all experienced them. If you find yourself having the same nightmare over and over again, it's time to take control.

A nightmare actually helped me have my very first lucid dream. When I was 10, I had nightmares about being surrounded by an indigenous tribe that lived in my backyard. They labeled me as an outsider and would intimidate me, night after night. It wasn't until about the fourth time that I finally realized it wasn't real, and I became lucid for the first time in my life.

Over the years I have found that nightmares are often the best dream signs for these two reasons:

  1. They are the most engaging dreams because of how emotional they are.
  2. They "haunt" you (happen over and over again) until you can overcome the fear that you're holding onto. 

This combination seems to heighten the dream experience and increase awareness.

If you realize that you are in a nightmare, you have the ability to confront your fear and transform it into a blissful fantasy.

› Dream Signs


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