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Wake Back To Bed (WBTB)

Girl Behind a Sheet


Wake Back To Bed (WBTB) is NOT a recommended technique. It requires sleep disruption which is known to be detrimental to physical and psychological health. It is included here for educational purposes.

The Wake Back to Bed technique (WBTB) is one of the most popular, effective*, and flexible of the well-known methods for lucidity induction.  

It is often used alongside other techniques and acts as a starting point upon which a more experimental approach to lucid dreaming can be built.  

The core principle is to increase one's mental alertness prior to returning to sleep.  Community anecdotes suggest that it is an effective "dream hack" for those who want to increase their lucid dreaming abilities.

WBTB is not a scientifically verified technique, and is simply one of the many community "invented" techniques.

In other words, as with the majority of lucid dream techniques and terminology, it is essentially entirely speculative - with only anecdotal community reports on its effectiveness.

The term Wake Back To Bed was developed and coined by a community lucid dream enthusiast Marc VanDeKeere, who ran a small but popular lucid dreaming and astral projection blog by the name of "Bird's Lucid Dreaming Website".

While almost every lucid dreaming resource mistakes WBTB as a scientifically verified technique, this isn't true. In fact, it is little more than the invention of one, then 20 year old, lucid dream enthusiast back in the late 1990s.

The timing of VanDeKeere's "invention" of this technique strongly suggests that he borrowed from earlier research by sleep researcher Dr Stephen LaBerge, which reported the effectiveness for morning naps to increase the chances of lucidity.  

However, LaBerge's data suggested a very different set of requirements for the increased chances of lucid dream induction.

Therefore, while anecdotes suggest that WBTB could be a valid tool for experimentation, it is important to remember that this is not an evidence based approach, and therefore the "rules" for this technique are little more than guesswork and suggestions based on speculation.

Importantly, the required disturbance of one's sleep cycle can lead to detrimental psychological and physical outcomes. So it is best avoided or used very sparingly.

*widely reported as effective by the lucid dreaming community (anecdotal).

The Technique

1. Retire to bed.

Set an alarm to wake you after four to five hours sleep, then retire to bed. When setting the alarm, understand that the aim is to interrupt your sleep cycle just prior to entering the stage in which REM (dreaming) sleep is  most prevalent.  5 hours is a suggestion—it is advisable to experiment with different timings for this sleep-interruption, most find somewhere between 3-5 hours ideal but it varies greatly between individuals.

2. Wake at the preset time and remain awake for a short period.

Upon waking from your alarm, get out of bed and occupy yourself for 15-90 minutes (you will need to experiment to find your optimal time - for most it is roughly 20 minutes). Do whatever is required to make your mind alert and active, but without going as far as to make returning to sleep impossible. 

3. Return to bed.

Return to bed with the firm intention to recognise that you are dreaming once it occurs. Allow yourself to relax and fall back into sleep (generally at this point, dreamers will also be employing a second psychological technique to improve their chances of success, the IMP technique is ideal for this.). Continue to sleep until your usual waking time.


Marc Vandekeere

Skill Level:


Lucid Dream Type:


(anecdotal & community reported)


Sense preference suited:


Hints & Tips:

  • WBTB requires sleep disturbance which is not recommended. 

  • Its simplicity gives you space to experiment with technique combinations, tweaks and improvements.

  • Community reports suggest has a reasonable chance of inducing lucidity.

  • An unplanned disturbance in your sleep can lead to an ideal opportunity to perform a spontaneous WBTB.

  • Its wide use among the lucid dreaming community means there is already a great deal of discussion and hints available for ways in which to improve its effectiveness

  • For a complete tutorial and history of WBTB watch our guide here:


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