Lucid Dreaming Supplements

There are a number of supplements on the market that can affect you one way or another on how your sleep is. Many people today use supplements to lucid dreaming or to improve their quality of sleep. Since a lot of information on supplements and how they affect our dreams are spread all over the internet, I wanted to provide a way to view that information in one area. I could honestly write a whole book on each supplement, but this guide will be a more simple version to understand.

I learned this information from years of self-exploration, reading peer-reviewed documents on supplements, and books on lucid dreaming. Additionally, there is one great book out there on Advanced Lucid Dreaming Supplements that is worth reading if you have time. It is important to note that mixing and matching supplements can be dangerous and some people are not healthy enough to take specific supplements. I have used all these supplements that I talk about, but in no way is it a good idea to trust my use as means that its safe for you. You should consult a real doctor before you use them and use them at your own risk. Never use dosages that are higher than anything ever recommended as they can cause serious harm to your body and prolonged use can also affect your body in unexpected ways. I support safe use with everything I talk about, and what is safe for one person doesn’t make it safe for another.

The brain operates off of a number of neurotransmitters, but the ones that most people pay attention do during sleep are the neurotransmitters acetylcholine, serotonin, and GABA. Most if not all lucid dreaming supplements effect those neurotransmitters in some way, causing a person to go to sleep, forget, remember, or have more vivid dreams. Looking hard and long enough you can find that there have been laboratory experiments with these supplements that will show indication of what they are doing and how. My goal is to provide that information as clearly as possible here.

I have provided a list below of the supplements most used in lucid dreaming and out of body experiences. I have broken them up into sections of what they most seem to be doing, however, they can do many things at once. I also grouped some together as they are doing the same things.

Improving Memory

  • 5-HTP and Magnesium Glycinate
  • Choline Bitartrate, Alpha GPC, and CDP Choline
  • Huperzine-A and Marijuana
  • Galantamine
  • Lions Mane (Mushroom)
  • Velvet Bean
  • Mugwort (Artemisia Vulgaris)
  • GABA
  • L-Theanine

Improved Quality of Sleep

  • Calea Ternifolia
  • Melatonin
  • Valerian Root and Lemon Balm
  • Niacin
  • Chamomile Flower
  • Passion Flower
  • L-Taurine

Improving Vividness

  • Reishi (Mushroom)

5-HTP and Magnesium Glycinate

General Information:

5-HTP and Magnesium Glycinate are precursors to serotonin and serotonin is involved in wakefulness and memory.  The more serotonin in your brain during the sleep often means there is less of acetylcholine. Since REM is caused by acetylcholine being at its highest, we often want to promote acetylcholine during sleep so that we can “remember” our dreams. Serotonin though can push acetylcholine away meaning it reduces REM sleep until its gone.

How it Effects our Dreams:

If used during early in the night, serotonin will build up in the brain pushing REM to be activated later in the night. REM rebound will occur which means that more dreams than normal will occur later on in the night. REM rebound is the state where the brain recuperates REM time as a deficit with interest. Because of this, you will have more dreams later in the night. Since acetylcholine is highest when our memory is also highest, we most likely remember REM based dreams for this reason. NREM dreams are produced when acetylcholine is still low, making them hard to almost impossible to remember.

Examples of its Effects:

If you have ever had a long night of drinking you often wake up and remember your dreams as being very vivid and full of life. The reason for this is because alcohol releases serotonin into the brain and represses acetylcholine until it wears off which is often in the early mornings when you become “sober”. Though I don’t recommend a heavy night of drinking or drinking in general, this is an easy to understand example.

How to Best Use:

It is best to use 5-HTP or magnesium glycinate for lucid dreaming before going to bed. This will push back your REM and acetylcholine later into the night when you’re most likely to wake up and remember your dreams. If you are trying to remember non-REM based dreams such as OBEs, you could use 5-HTP or magnesium glycinate during the daytime and before sleep, giving yourself a few hours of sleep and then setting an alarm to wake up during the periods of time that 5-HTP would wear off. 5-HTP has a short half-life, meaning that it’s metabolized by the body pretty quickly, so you would want to take it directly to sleep if you wanted to have the effects felt later on.

Choline Bitartrate, Alpha GPC, and CDP Choline

General Information:

Choline bitartrate, alpha GPC, and CDP Choline are precursors to choline which is a precursor to acetylcholine. In short, they make acetylcholine which the end result is an increase in acetylcholine in the brain, increases memory, and REM. Since we know that memory is important for dream recall, these are key in lucid dreaming supplements. It seems that alpha GPC is the best source of choline when it comes to the three as it has shown to be a little more effective at least turning into acetylcholine.

How it Effects our Dreams: 

This increases our memory recall by increasing the amount of acetylcholine in the brain. This also increases the amount of REM that we have which would also increase the number of dreams we have (remember). This is still debatable though as we have shown that people have dreams during the NREM (non-REM) phases of sleep and the presence of acetylcholine during NREM phases would most likely improve our dream recall of these NREM dreams.

Examples of its Effects:

Unusually I have to refer to the same example as before with the heavy night of drinking. After the alcohol has worn off, your dreams seem to increase and you seem to have more vivid and a higher recall of your dream details. This is because your acetylcholine is higher after you are becoming soberer.

How to Best Use:

It is best to use choline precursors later at night as you will most likely be having more dreams during that time. A wake back to bed method (WBTB) where you set an alarm and then go back to bed after taking a supplement such as choline bitartrate and alpha GPC would most likely be the best option. The reason for this is that the longer you sleep the more sleep-wake cycles you go through as the night goes on, and your REM stages continue to increase. This makes it easier to improve the chances you will remember your dreams as well. I personally tend to think there is no bad time to take choline bitartrate and alpha GPC unless you have troubles going to sleep. Remember that serotonin and acetylcholine are in charge of your sleep-wake cycle and taking an acetylcholine precursor could increase your wakefulness as well.

Huperzine-A and Marijuana

General Information:

Huperzine-A and Marijuana all operate as an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor which promotes the build-up of acetylcholine in the brain by stopping an enzyme from breaking it down. Marijuana is a highly effective acetylcholinesterase inhibitor but it’s still unknown to me why it produces memory issues as it should increase memory.

How it Effects our Dreams:

When used these acetylcholinesterase inhibitors reduce the breakdown of acetylcholine and allow our brains to use it more. This increases the amount of REM we have throughout the night as well as increase our memory recall over a period of time when normally serotonin is present. This would allow us to recall our dreams better over a period of sleep.

How to Best Use:

Most people recommend using acetylcholinesterase inhibitors after performing a wake back to bed method (WBTB). This ensures that you have a buildup of acetylcholine naturally since your serotonin levels should have dropped at this point allowing for more REM. Once you wake up you take this and allow it to work on building your acetylcholine levels up as you dream and are now able to remember your dreams more.

Galantamine

General Information:

I have spent a great deal of time researching galantamine over the last few months to better understand its effects. This supplement is a hidden gem when it comes to not only affecting your memory recall but also affecting your dreams. Galantamine is a powerhouse when it comes to being aware when your dreaming due to its effects on the neurotransmitter glutamate. Glutamate acts as an excitatory neurotransmitter when it comes to the nervous system and because of that, it allows for better memory recall and awareness during sleep.

How it Effects our Dreams:

Galantamine allows for memory recall to occur during sleep. It changes how our minds work during sleep as well. Rather than having a brain that is using GABA to depress the nervous system which also affects the hippocampus and reduces memory recall, galantamine makes it so that the brain is excited, aware, and able to remember what is happening during dreams.

How to Best Use:

The best time to use galantamine is a wake back to bed method. Its suggested that you get at least 4-5 hours of sleep before using. It can be increasingly hard to get back to sleep with galantamine due to the excitability of the mind at this time, so take caution.

Lion’s Mane (Mushroom)

General Information:

More and more research is being conducted with Lion’s Mane as it has shown to have great results in its ability to improve memory and cognitive function. Not only is it great to improve memory, it has been shown to regrow the myelin sheath that improves communication speed from neuron to neuron. There is also information being released of Lion’s Mane’s ability to remove the plaque that is believed to be the cause of Alzheimer’s.

How it Effects our Dreams:

Lion’s Mane has been shown to act as a neurotrophic and allows for improved memory as well as cognitive function. When the brain is most need to remember as well as think would be when we are dreaming. The reason for this is that serotonin levels are most high when we are in light sleep which is considered some of the most reflective and lucid time for dreaming. This doesn’t necessarily mean that we will have a “lucid” dream but does mean to improve our ability to remember and think regardless of when we are dreaming. Individual results have been found to represent more vivid and higher number of remembered dreams while using Lion’s Mane.

How to Best Use:

Paul Stamets, the go-to for all things mushrooms, have suggested that Lion’s Mane is used daily to improve cognitive function. He also suggested combining Lion’s Mane with niacin to improve its ability to be more effective as due to the niacin flush.

Velvet Bean

General Information:

Velvet Bean is one plant that has some of the highest extract rates of L-dopa. L-Dopa is a precursor to dopamine which is important to our cognitive function, memory, dreaming, and our reward systems. Low levels of dopamine are also believed to be one of the leading causes of depression. Dopamine is also highly addictive and is the reason that nicotine is considered one of the most addictive substances in the world, because of its ability to release dopamine in the brain.

How it Effects our Dreams:

In the year 2000 research was released showing that dreaming was a separate process not reliant on REM to occur. The research showed that dreams were produced in the frontal areas of the brain right above the eyes. This activation of this area of the brain was also caused by dopamine. Additionally, it was shown that dopamine was required for memories to form, and not acetylcholine. Acetylcholine seemed to be important in making choices but dopamine seems to be important in remembering, and especially for remembering dreams. Velvet Bean improves the ability to have more dopamine in the brain, which in result would lead to more dreams and memories of these dreams.

How to Best Use:

Using before bed prior to sleeping should help improve your ability to activate the areas of your brain which result in dreaming. It’s important to note the anything that deals with dopamine has the possibility to become addictive and or cause other harms, so please keep the use of this supplement to a low dose and take breaks.

Mugwort (Artemisia Vulgaris)

General Information:

Mugwort is somewhat a hidden treasure when it comes to lucid dreaming and sleep. Its also becoming one of my favorite dream supplements. Mugwort is a bitter tasting supplement that is also used to prolong the age of beers. It also has been said to affect serotonin levels as well as GABA in the brain.

How it Effects our Dreams:

Mugwort seems to improve sleep onset and push back REM to later states of the night. It also affects memory of dreams due to its relationship to the GABA neurotransmitter. This relationship to GABA increases the ability to recall dreams at later periods of time in the night when GABA transmission is less and the brain is able to create long-term memories.

I would say seems because there isn’t a lot of data on mugwort and how it affects our sleep. The sad part of this is that mugwort seems to be a very powerful lucid dreaming supplement. What I do know is that mugwort has improved a number of awakings I have during early night sleep, I have experienced vibrational stages of out of body experiences with it, and it seems to be extremely useful to induce out of body experiences.

How to Best Use:

Find an extract of mugwort so that you don’t have to make tea or take much of the plant material. It tastes horrible in general. Use before going to bed as a pill. This will allow for you to experience the wakings as well as the vibrational states in out of body experiences.

GABA

General Information:

GABA is a neurotransmitter and also a supplement that people can take. GABA relaxes the mind. It is said to reduce the excitability of neurons. It also plays an important role in REM and when there is more GABA in the brain during sleep, there seems to be less REM. GABA is also one of the reasons that we are unable to remember dreams because the presence of the neurotransmitter, creates blackouts in the hippocampus making it impossible to create a long-term memory.

How it Effects our Dreams:

GABA has been used to improve on increasing sleep stages besides REM. GABA pretty much has shown to relax our dream states and cause us to have more the relaxing states of NREM sleep stages. There is not a lot of research out there to read about this but here is a good reference for you to peek at. It’s not known if this supplement really works that well due to the possibility of it not crossing the blood-brain barrier.

How to Best Use:

Like many of these supplements, the best way to take it is before going to sleep. This will help push REM further out to later in the night and allow for you to have a more restful night, as well as higher chances to remember your dreams. I would go as far to say that it would be recommended to take well before going to bed allowing for its effects to take place and allow you to improve your dream recall after your brain goes into recovery mode from GABA use.

L-Theanine

General Information:

Acting on the Glutamate receptors in the brain, L-Theanine blocks the production of glutamate in the brain. This allows for higher levels of GABA to be present in the brain. This causes drowsiness as GABA increase is a depressant to the central nervous system. When L-Theanine wears off, the increase of Glutamate in the brain will result in more vivid and clear dreams, as memory and awareness increase.

How it Effects our Dreams:

Dreams will be more vivid and awareness of the dream will increase. This will take effect after L-Theanine wears off throughout the night.

How to Best Use:

Using L-Theanine before going to bed will increase the dream vividness after the supplement wears off. If your goal is to have vivid dreams right at the point of sleep, it would be suggested to use L-Theanine 5-6 hour before sleep as it seems to peak at about 5 hours after use. You should feel drowsy during the day as well as have an increased sense of forgetfulness.

Calea Ternifolia

General Information:

Calea is often used in lucid dreaming herbs because of its ability to induce sleep easier for some people. Calea Ternifolia is found in Mexico and was used by Mexican Indians as a dream herb to talk with past ancestors during sleep.

How it Effects our Dreams:

Not a lot of information is available from studies done with Calea. Calea seems to be inducing sleep onset much earlier than without as well as increasing dream recall and spontaneous awakenings.

How to Best Use:

The best time to use Calea is before going to sleep. This would help in reducing sleep onset and allow for more vivid hypnogogic visuals as well as improved dream recall. High dosages of Calea are not recommended as it can cause sickness and diarrhea.

Here is a nice article explaining some of the uses for Calea and dreaming.

Melatonin

General Information:

Melatonin is a natural hormone produced in the pineal gland which is located in the brain. The brain uses melatonin for a number of reasons. It improves sleep onset by creating tiredness and is a strong sleep-inducing aid. Its created in the brain from transforming serotonin into melatonin when a light is no longer present (entering the eyes). Slight amounts of light have been shown to completely stop melatonin production, hence the reason it’s so important to not have any light during times when you are trying to sleep.

How it Effects our Dreams:

Taking melatonin before sleep can help reduce time to sleep onset allowing for better rest. It also can make dreams more vivid and real looking. Melatonin has been linked to a possible precursor for DMT in the brain which would be a seat for the reasons that dreams happen. Melatonin may also interfere with the process of turning serotonin into melatonin which would push REM to occur later in the evening. Overall melatonin has shown to have long-lasting positive effects on sleep.

How to Best Use:

It’s best to use melatonin before sleep onset so that it can assist you in going to bed easier. This will reduce the time that it takes for you to sleep and improve your sleep quality. Possible improvement in dream vividness can also occur with melatonin. Melatonin is best to be used when a light is unavoidable in your sleep area.

Valerian Root and Lemon Balm

General Information:

Valerian Root and lemon balm are both grouped together because they are both mild sedatives. Valerian Root is one of the most common sedatives as people often use it for teas to help them sleep better. Lemon Balm does pretty much the same thing but doesn’t taste really bad like Valerian Root does. Be warned, valerian root smells and tastes pretty bad.

How it Effects our Dreams:

Valerian Root and lemon balm allow us to have a more relaxing and restful sleep. This is caused by the tranquilizing effects from the plant allowing our body and muscles to relax more during sleep throughout the night.

How to Best Use:

Use before laying down to sleep. Create a tea or use in a supplement pill form. You should feel the effects after some time allowing you to relax a little bit more.

Niacin

General Information:

Niacin is one of my most favorite supplements, not because of its ability to allow its users to have a great nights rest, but because we have a history together. I have personally used niacin going on 12 years and have used it to improve my sleep on restless nights. Niacin is an essential vitamin that is required by the human body. Most of us get enough niacin today due to coffee and foods being fortified with niacin, but most of us don’t get the important benefits of a niacin flush. A niacin flush releases a protein called PGD2 from our cell bodies. PGD2 is considered the most potent sleep aid known to mankind. Not only is PGD2 being stored without release a bad thing for our sleep, it’s also a leading cause of male baldness.

How it Effects our Dreams:

Niacin releases PGD2 when we intake around 500 mg of niacin. This flushes our body with this sleep-inducing compound and makes our bodies go to sleep. A lack of PGD2 in the body could result in restless sleep, as it’s shown to not be only important to our sleep, but possibly the reason for sleep altogether. I wrote up a whole article about this supplement and how it affects our sleep here.

How to Best Use:

Use 500 mg of niacin once every other day before going to sleep. A niacin flush will take place in about 10-15 min after use. The flush will make your body warm for some time and make your body feel like it itches, but will soon fade away. This will help you not only sleep better by helping you to fall asleep after, but also will reduce the number of times you wake up over the period of the night.

Chamomile Flower

General Information:

Many people have used chamomile flower in order to improve their sleep as well as heal themselves from colds. Chamomile is one of the most powerful flowers we have that can do amazing things for the body. For sleep, its often used to calm the body before sleep, and does have effects on helping is sleep quicker much like many medications today.

How it Effects our Dreams:

Chamomile flower is useful for dreaming in that it can help us get to bed faster so that we can start to have dreams. Another great use for Chamomile flower is that calm the mind down when we have racing thoughts or are stressed about the day before. Since focus and paying attention to our non-thought process are helpful in having Lucid Dreams and Out of Body Experiences, Chamomile Flower is a great tool for us to use before sleep.

How to Best Use:

Best use is to drink some Chamomile flower tea 30 minutes before sleep. This will ensure that you have absorbed the active components of the tea, and allow yourself to sleep better. It has shown that Chamomile does not deserve REM or Non-REM dream phase, so it does not seem to have any negative effects.

Reshi Mushroom

General Information:

Uknown to most, Reishi is a great lucid dream aid as it helps dreams become more vivid, and reflective like. Reishi also has great health benefits as its anti-inflammatory as well as shown to help strengthen the immune system.

How it Effects our Dreams:

Not much research has been shown to how Reshi is affecting our dreams, however, there are numerous reports of Reshi making dreams more impactful and often more nightmarish. From these reports, we can come to some ideas of how Reshi is affecting our dreams, possibly by inducing light sleep NREM dreaming which is often resulted in being more nightmarish in nature. I have personally used Reshi for the health benefits and found that strangely my dreams became very impactful and meaningful. This is why I found other reports like this on the internet and even uses for Reshi in lucid dreaming.

How to Best Use:

Take before bed for a long night of impactful and sometimes terrifying dreams.

Passion Flower

General Information:

Not a lot of research has been done on Passion Flower, but what has been done on this plant has shown to have positive effects on being a great sleep aid. It also has the ability to reduce anxiety.

How it Effects our Dreams:

With is calming effects it should act much like other sleep aid supplements and allow the dreamer to get to sleep quicker and help calm the mind down. This will help with focus and attention for those trying to achieve some type of lucid control over their dreams, as well as help them get to sleep faster.

How to Best Use:

Take in a tea before going to bed. Wait at least 30 minutes before going to bed to ensure absorption is complete. Go to sleep and expect to be able to sleep easier and more quickly.

L-Taurine 

General Information:

L-Taurine is an amino acid and an important part of the human body. It also helps control fat in the human body. Additionally there is some research done on the supplement and its effects on the hippocampus, however not much is known to why it has the ability to calm our nervous system.

How it Effects our Dreams:

People have described L-Taurine as a sleep aid as well as causing an increase in dreams. Many people take L-Taurine to help get to sleep faster as well as increase their feelings of restfulness after waking. This most likely has an effect on our GABA receptors in our brain, but its unknown as to how or what it is doing.

How to Best Use:

Take before bed in capsule form. Wait 30-40 minuts before going to bed to insure full obsorbson and activation. Enjoy a restful sleep.

 

What to Use and When

Now that you have a big list of supplements your probably wondering, how do I use all these? Well, the answer to that question is that you don’t want to use them all at once or even all of them at any time. You do want to take the best and at the right times and for the right reasons. Think of it like cooking, not everyone wants to make a pie for dinner, you sometimes want a nice meal before dessert. Same goes for sleep. Sometimes you just want a good nights rest. Here are my recipes:

For a Good Night’s Rest:

  • Valerian root or Lemon Balm
  • Melatonin
  • Niacin 500 mg

Take some valerian root before bed as either a tea or in a capsule. Also, take 500 mg of niacin (containing the flush) before bed. After laying down rest for a period of time while the flush happens, and then close your eyes and sleep. You should wake less and have less stressful type dreams. If you feel that you are still stressed out you can add in melatonin before you go to bed.

For Lucid Dreams and OBE’s

  • Niacin (500 mg)
  • 5-HTP
  • Mugwort (extract)
  • Alpha GPC

Before going to sleep take the 500 mg of niacin, the 5-HTP, and the mugwort extract. Wait for restfulness to overcome your body after the niacin flush and relax in bed. You can perform the direct method to OBEs or go to sleep. Set your alarm to wake up after 4 hours of sleep. Once you wake up to take the alpha GPC and go back to sleep. During this whole process, you should be waking up more often than you have before. This also should increase your REM stages to be later in the night and increase the memory of those dreams. With anything, this is dependent on the person and can change from night to night.

For Advanced Lucid Dreams and OBE’s

  • Galantamine

Wake up after 4-5 hours of sleep and take the galantamine. The suggested amount is 4mg to start. Do an activity for a period of one hour. Then go back to sleep. At that point, you should be very awake, and going back to sleep should be a challenge. The reason why its considered advanced is that you should have trained yourself to be able to go back to sleep easily with focusing your attention. Some novice sleepers will not have this ability yet. Once you are asleep you can either directly enter a lucid dream or OBE state, and continue the dream. Take 48 hours breaks from use.

For Improved Memory and Cognitive Function

  • Niacin (500 mg)
  • Lion’s Mane
  • Reishi
  • Alpha GPC

Use these either daily or every other day to improve memory use. Alternate use with and without niacin. This will help you to improve cognitive function as well as improve your ability to remember your dreams. Suggested to use these before going to bed. This will not necessarily help you improve your dream recall but will give you a better nights rest and on days you take breaks from the niacin should help you improve your vividness and recall of your dreams overall.

 

Resources

Here are some great resources for you to learn more about lucid dreaming supplements:

I hoped that this helped some of you with your dive into sleep, supplements, and the mind. Remember that with supplements its always a good idea to take caution before use, to know what your using, and if anything, consult with your doctor before use. Safe use is best use for anything.

Lee is the creator of taileater.com as well as author of a number of published articles that deal with sleep, sleep paralysis, and lucid dreaming. Lee has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and is currently studying at John F. Kennedy University for his Masters in Consciousness and Transformative Studies.

Lee Adams

Consciousness Explorer, Taileater.com

I live, I die, I learn, I forget, I do it all again...

taileaters

Explore and learn about consciousness. Taileaters applies a scientific viewpoint on the strange and bizarre phenomenon that happens when we sleep so that we can try to understand it and reproduce its effects.

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