- The hand reality check: The dreamer looks at their hands and they may appear to have more or less than five finger.
- The nose reality check: The dreamer pinches their nose shut and if they are able to breathe without using their nose, it is a dream.
- Try to stick your finger through the palm of one’s hand.
- Check the time on your digital watch (remembering the time), looking away, and looking back. The time will probably have changed randomly and radically at the second glance or contain strange letters and characters.
- You can try to read something, look away, and see if the same text is there the second time you read it.
- You can try to fly but don’t try jumping out the window or something else that might harm you.
- Flip a light switch on or off. Light levels rarely change as a result of the switch flipping in dreams.
- Looking into a mirror; in dreams, reflections from a mirror often appear to be blurred, distorted, incorrect, or frightening. (See our article on mirror dreams)
- Look at the ground under your feet. If you do this within a dream the difference in appearance of the ground from the normal waking state is often sufficient to alert the conscious to the dream state.
- If you listen to music while you sleep, listen to see if the lyrics are changed or if the tempo (or speed) of the song changes.
A more precise form of reality testing involves examining the properties objects within the dream to judge their obvious reality. Some lucid dreamers report that objects examined closely within a dream have all the sensory properties, stability, and detail of objects in the physical world. Such detailed observation relates to whether mental objects and environments could effectively act as substitutes for the physical environments with the dreamer unable to perceive significant differences between the two. This has implications for those who maintain there is a spiritual or supernatural world that might be accessible through out of body experience or after death.
Reality tests should be done every hour throughout the day, or more frequently, especially before going to sleep and if you wake up in the middle of the night. If you are waking up after 5-6 hours, do some reality tests and go to sleep again may help.
The following is a list of some of the test the dreamer might use to make this determination:
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