Wake Back To Bed (WBTB)
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 technique that originated from scientific research, 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. Namely, waking at one's usual time, staying awake for 30-60 minutes, and then returning to bed for a nap while performing the MILD technique.
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).
** In recent research (by Daniel Erlacher & Tadas Stumbrys 2020), using a version of WBTB that shares more in common with LaBerge's early research into morning naps than common WBTB advice, sleep interruption alone (aka WBTB) was an ineffective stratergy, with only 1 subject reporting a lucid dream under these control conditions. Only when WBTB sleep interruption (30-60 mins wakefulness after 6hrs sleep) was combined with the MILD technique were subjects more likely to experience lucidity. One might argue that this simply demonstrates the efficacy of well-timed MILD.
The following technique is based on the commonly shared community definition of the WBTB technique. This is shared to accurately represent the original technique. However, the common definition does not allign with recent research into the most effective approach for sleep interruption. We have added our own notes in order to clarify.
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.
Lucid Guide Advice: sleep interruption is best performed as close to normal waking times as possible. Doing so alligns more closely with evidence gathered from scientific research into sleep interruption and morning naps. So we'd advise attempts after either 6 hours sleep, or simply returning to bed for a morning nap after a naturally waking up.
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.
Lucid Guide Advice: in all scientific studies into sleep interruption, periods of wakefulness between 30-60 minutes appear to be the most effective.
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.
Lucid Guide Advice: In all scientific studies only the MILD technique has been studied in tandem with WBTB sleep interruption. In these studies, sleep interruption without the use of MILD appeared ineffective. It is advisable to only use sleep interruption in tandem with another lucid dreaming technique such as MILD or IMP.
Lucid Dream Type:
Regained & Maintained (DILD & WILD)
(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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfyxKIGdJew
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