The key to practice is the quantity and quality of attempts made that hone a practitioner’s skills. There are several windows of time best suited for employing indirect techniques.
To begin, it should be stated that sleep follows a cyclical pattern. We awaken every hour-and-a-half and then quickly fall asleep again, which gives rise to sleep cycles. Furthermore, we experience two primary stages of sleep: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. NREM sleep includes many internal stages. The more we sleep, the less the body needs deep NREM sleep, and the more time we spend in REM sleep. lucid dreaming entrance is most likely to occur during REM sleep.
The best way to implement indirect techniques is by the deferred method. The aim of the method is to interrupt a sleep cycle during its final stage and then disrupt it again after falling back to sleep, which makes sleep light during the rest of the sleep cycle. Sleep accompanied by frequent interruptions can be put to productive uses.
When the deferred method was first made mandatory at a 3-day School of Out-of-Body Travel seminar in June 2008, the overall success rate immediately doubled.
For example, if a practitioner (let’s call him Jack) goes to sleep at midnight, then Jack should set an alarm for 6 o’clock in the morning. Upon awakening, Jack should engage in some sort of physical activity, like going to the bathroom, getting a drink of water, or reading a few pages of this book. Afterward, Jack should go back to bed thinking about how, within the next two to four hours, he will wake up multiple times and make an attempt to enter lucid dreaming during each awakening.
If Jack goes to bed earlier, then his alarm clock should be set back by that amount of time, since six hours of initial sleep is the optimal length of time. If Jack sleeps less than six hours, then the second half of his night’s sleep will be too deep. If Jack sleeps longer than six hours, then there will be little time remaining for attempts, or Jack may not even be able to fall asleep.
If a practitioner naturally wakes up in a forceful manner, it will be difficult to regain sleep. Thus, it will not be necessary for the practitioner to get out of bed with the aid of an alarm. The practitioner should attempt to go right back to sleep.
If a practitioner is able to fall back asleep after as much as 45 minutes of being awake, then it’s better to keep to that very interval, as it allows one to obtain the highest probability of success during subsequent awakenings.
Naturally, the deferred method is most applicable in cases where it is possible to sleep as long as a practitioner desires, without having to wake up early. Not everyone enjoys such luxury on a daily basis, but nearly everyone has days off when time may be set aside to practice the deferred method. It is in large measure due to the deferred method that classroom courses at the School of Out-of-Body Travel allow up to 2/3 of class participants to enter lucid dreaming in the course of a single weekend!
The second most effective window of time for entering lucid dreaming is ordinary morning awakening. This generally occurs during light slumber following a full night’s sleep.
Another effective time to practice indirect techniques is after awakening from a daytime nap. Once again, this type of sleep will be light and short, which provides the body needed rest while allowing memory and intention to be kept intact through the moment of awakening. Again, not everyone has the luxury of taking daytime naps, but if such a chance arises, then it would be very beneficial to take advantage of the opportunity.
Nighttime awakenings are the least effective times for lucid dreaming experimentation because the brain still requires a lot of deep sleep at this time. Awakening at night, the mind is quite weak and hardly capable of any effort. Even if some results are observed, awakening often ends with quickly falling back asleep. This is not to say that normal practice of lucid dreaming cannot occur at night; it just won’t be as effective as at other times. The nighttime option is best for those who lack an opportunity to use other windows of time for practicing lucid dreaming.
Understand that we awaken at night every 90 minutes, which is why a minimum of four awakenings is almost guaranteed when sleeping, even for just six hours. When the practitioner knows about this and strives to seize those moments, with time he will actually seize them and take advantage of them.