What is the Wake-Back-To-Bed Method of Lucid Dream Induction?
The Wake-Back-To-Bed method (WBTB) uses your natural rhythms as an entry-point into lucid dreaming. The WBTB method/technique uses the principle of sleep disruption and circadian REM-density cycles to increase the vividness of your dreams and allow you to rehearse your dream intentions close to when you will be in the longest dream of the night (actually, morning).
As we sleep, we cycle through various stages of mental activity, from very "restful" periods where the brain displays EEG signals of high synchronicity across vast cerebral regions - indicative of unconscious, restorative brain function, to more active epochs where the EEG is erratic and resembles the fully awake brain in many ways - during REM-Sleep and dreaming. In the beginning of the night, we experience cycles filled with lots of Non-REM sleep followed by a smidgen of dreaming, but as sleep progresses toward the morning REM activity begins to gain steam until it is the predominant contributor. By the final act of your five or six cycles, REM-sleep can continue for around 45-minutes, and with it brings your longest dream sequence of the night.
Disrupting sleep is known to increase the occurrence and length of dreams. A not-so-obvious contributor to this is that through frequent (or even occasional) awakenings the mind is set to alert-mode, vigilant for whatever it is that is so important as to interfere with our rest. With this vigilance heightened, the dreaming system is also put into high-gear, running the threat-simulation scenarios it has evolved to practice. So, when using the WBTB method, we are disrupting sleep and instigating greater REM-density, but we are also doing this at an opportune time - right when we should expect the most dreaming anyway. During our brief awakening - which can be anywhere from 5- to 45-minutes, depending on what works best for you and allows you to fall asleep again - we also have the chance to mentally go over our lucid induction plan: repeat pre-sleep affirmations, think about recent dreams and how we can recognize similar scenarios as the fabrications they are next time, stabilization techniques, lucid goals, etc. This way, a trace of your preparation will remain fresh in your memory (hopefully). The WBTB awakening may also be a good time to take lucid dream supplements, to eat a snack, to relieve your bladder, to write down previous dreams.
The WBTB method is one of the most powerful, tried-and-true means to inducing lucidity. Since it involves disrupting sleep and possibly losing a portion of your daily rest, it may leave you tired the following day, especially if you cannot sleep as late as your heart's content. For this reason it is best to practice on non-work nights or after becoming familiar with how your body will react the next day. Another concern is that it can be difficult to fall back to sleep - click here to read an article about getting rest.