By Jason Cassidy & Aaron Jolly
Becoming a skilled lucid dreamer takes persistence and patience. Many aspiring lucid dreamers find the practice to be elusive at times – lucidity is not always so easy to attain. And while I recommend the practices in the app, I also don’t want people to become discouraged if they are not successful in having lucid dreams right away.
So, while I’m not encouraging the use of any lucid dreaming pills per se, if you’re interested in having lucid dreams, but you haven’t had any luck getting lucid so far…you might want to try some of these over the counter supplements.
Many sensationalist claims guarantee quick and effective results and while these should be approached with caution, there is considerable anecdotal evidence to support their efficacy.
In my experience (and backed by scientific evidence cited below), some of these supplements combined with the behavioral practices work really well for quick and easy lucid dreaming.
Let’s take a look at the five most popular lucid dreaming pills and supplements.
Top 5 Supplements and Pills for Lucid Dreaming
Galantamine increases the clarity of present moment awareness. It also supports the retention and retrieval of memory. When used at night, dreams appear more vivid, and as a result, dream recall is enhanced. In addition to improved dream recall, many find that galantamine use produces more stable, longer-lasting lucid dreams.
It is also a great supporting supplement for practicing Wake Initiated Lucid Dreaming (WILD). This is when you maintain consciousness as you fall asleep, allowing you to enter the dream lucidly.
Galantamine is a naturally occurring substance found in the Amaryllidaceae family of plants, including the snowdrop, daffodil, snowflake and spider lily.
These plants have been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years. In the ancient Greek epic The Odyssey, the Galanthus snowdrop is used by Odysseus to counter the delirium and forgetfulness induced by the sorceress Circe’s drugs which were flowering plants within the Nightshade family.
Since non-lucid dreams are veiled in the shade of forgetfulness, memory enhancing supplements like galantamine seem to counter the haziness and reawaken a sense of mental clarity during the dream.
Galantamine has been used in modern medicine since the 1950s and is approved by the FDA for treating Alzheimer’s disease. It increases the availability of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which has been shown to enhance alertness, sustain attention, facilitate learning and memory, and also promote REM sleep.
Dream researchers have shown that galantamine is effective in increasing the frequency of lucid dreams. With a sample of 121 participants, LaBerge, LaMarca, and Baird found that 27% of participants reported having a lucid dream after a 4 mg dose of galantamine, while 42% of participants reported having a lucid dream after an 8 mg dose. Participants in this study used galantamine in conjunction with the Wake Back To Bed (WBTB) method.
Recommended dose: 4 – 8 mg. (2 hours before waking if you’re practicing WBTB.
Side effects may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, insomnia, and low energy the following day.
2. Huperzine A
Huperzine A is a natural alkaloid compound found in the Huperzia Serrata clubmoss. It is used in ancient Chinese medicine and is prepared as a traditional herbal tea called Qian Ceng Ta. In its modern synthetic form, Huperzine A has been used in the treatment of cognitive decline and memory impairment.
Much the same as galantamine, Huperzine A increases the availability of acetylcholine. Galantamine and Huperzine A both inhibit the production of an enzyme called acetylcholinesterase, which is responsible for catalyzing the breakdown of acetylcholine. If this process is inhibited, it means there is more acetylcholine available at the connections sites between neurons. In addition to that, there is an increased receptivity to acetylcholine, allowing for more of the neurotransmitter to be produced.
Although there is no research into the effects of Huperzine A as a ‘lucid dreaming pill’, it affects the cholinergic system in the same way as galantamine. As a result, one may expect similar effects while practicing lucid dreaming. This is supported by anecdotal evidence from lucid dreamers, who report considerably more vivid dreams and confirm its effectiveness in increasing the frequency of lucid dreams.
Recommended dose: 200 – 400 µg/mcg.
Dose-related side effects may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, and insomnia.
Another supplement that is often used along with galantamine and Huperzine A is Choline. Choline is an essential nutrient found in many natural food sources. It contributes toward a healthy diet and is required in the production of acetylcholine.
As a supplement, there are three different types, which include alpha GPC, choline bitartrate, and choline CDP. It has also been shown that participants with lower choline levels display greater memory impairment.
As mentioned earlier, Galantamine and Huperzine A are effective in treating memory impairment, and all three of these supplements can be used to enhance your lucid dreaming practice.
The effectiveness of these supplements supports the importance of ‘remembering’ in the practice of lucid dreaming. Many lucid dreamers recommend using choline in conjunction with Galantamine or Huperzine A to provide an additional boost.
Recommended Choline dose: Alpha GPC 300 – 1200 mg.
Choline Bitartrate 400 – 800 mg.
Thomas Yuschak, author of Advanced Lucid Dreaming: The Power of Supplements recommends against using choline CDP as it may interfere with deep sleep.
Mindfulness, memory, & lucidity
There is an interesting connection here between memory, lucidity, and the importance of mindfulness in lucid dreaming. Mindfulness comes from the Sanskrit, sati, which means remembrance. In mindfulness practice, mindful moments often occur by simply remembering to focus on the breath. These moments are marked by recognizing when the mind has drifted off into worrying or daydreaming… or just somewhere other than the present here and now.
At some point during the daydream, you snap out of it (or back into it); you remember to come back to the breath, and simply by remembering – mindfulness returns. This is very similar to becoming lucid in a dream. The mind wanders about, fully caught up in the dream until you remember to contextualize and come back to the present moment.
Mugwort is the common name for the aromatic plant Artemisia Vulgaris. which is derived from the ancient Greek goddess Artemis.
There is much folklore surrounding this plant as it has been used for healing purposes in Ayurvedic medicine and many other indigenous cultures, including those of North America, Asia, and Northern Europe. In the European Middle Ages, it was even considered a magical herb for protection against maleficent spirits.
As a dream supplement, Mugwort reportedly increases the vividness of dreams – enhancing clarity, detail, and intensity. The Artemisia Vulgaris plant also contains a psychoactive component called Thujone, which may be responsible for this increased vividness.
Some other common uses for Mugwort are as an essential oil, herbal tea or incense. It has also been used to relieve fatigue due to its stimulating properties.
Recommended dose: 100 – 400 mg before sleep. 3 – 9 drops of standard tincture
Side effects include grogginess upon awakening and possible allergic reactions
5. Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6, another essential nutrient, is great for increasing the vividness of dreams and improving dream recall. Vitamin B6 helps convert amino acids into the neurotransmitter serotonin. Research has shown that a 250mg dose of Vitamin B6 increases the cortical arousal of neural pathways during REM dream sleep.
Participants of this study reported increased scores of vividness, bizarreness, emotionality, and color. Later research, conducted with a larger group of participants, demonstrated that Vitamin B6 increased dream recall but had no effect on the other self-reported measures of vividness, bizarreness or color. It is still considered to be an effective supplement for lucid dreaming due to its memory-enhancing properties.
Recommended dose: 100 mg before sleep.
Vitamin B6 can be taken daily as a regular supplement.
A few more lucid dream supplements…
There are additional supplements available over the counter, which provide a medley for optimizing dream-affects. The most popular brands are LucidEsc, DreamLeaf and Claridream. The main ingredients in each of these are Huperzine A and Choline, either in the form of alpha GPC, choline bitartrate, or both. These ‘lucid dream pills’ are accompanied by a unique blend of natural herbs, such as mugwort, valerian root, and chamomile, to enhance sleep quality, increase dream vividness, ease digestion and relieve any symptoms of nausea.
In your search for lucid dreaming supplements, you may also come across 5-HTP and melatonin. While these supplements show potential for use in lucid dreaming, the research supporting them is inconclusive and often contradictory.
How to use lucid dream supplements
Before taking any pills or supplements, make sure you know what you’re taking. Please use responsibly and always read the instructions.
Just as food supplements are not a substitute for a balanced and healthy diet, neither are lucid dreaming supplements a substitute for a healthy lucid dreaming practice. None of these lucid dreaming pills or supplements, in and of themselves, are capable of inducing a lucid dream. They support faculties such as alertness, memory, and attention, which are necessary for inducing and maintaining lucidity.
So, lucid dream supplements are best used in addition to your lucid dreaming techniques and practices which you can learn here! The most effective technique applied with these supplements is the Wake Back To Bed method, which is taught in the app.
Many lucid dreaming experts warn against using these supplements regularly. The brands listed above recommend waiting 3 to 7 days between each use. This also applies to Galantamine, huperzine A and choline. Always start with a lower dose and as with any other method, try these lucid dream pills for a few weeks and see what effects they have before deciding to try another.
Be gentle and take it slow. Once you get a taste for lucidity, see how your practice is without them. Can you still have lucid dreams? As your practice develops you may begin to see that lucidity is a natural side effect of practices such as mindfulness. With that in mind, supplements can still be useful if you need a boost, or if you’ve been out of practice for a while. May they support you on your journey as you wake up to the wonders of your dreams.
 Plaitakis and Duvoisin, 1983 – Homer’s moly identified as Galanthus nivalis L.: physiologic antidote to stramonium poisoning
 Jones, 2005 – From waking to sleeping: neuronal and chemical substrates
 Himmelheber, Sarter and Bruno, 2000 – Increases in cortical acetylcholine release during sustained attention performance in rats
 Ridley et al., 1984 – An involvement of acetylcholine in object discrimination learning and memory in the marmoset
 Platt and Riedel, 2011 – The cholinergic system, EEG and sleep
 LaBerge, LaMarca and Baird, 2018 – Pre-sleep treatment with galantamine stimulates lucid dreaming: A double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study
 Wallace, 2012 – Dreaming yourself awake: Lucid dreaming and Tibetan dream yoga for insight and transformation
 Effects of Pyridoxine on dreaming: A preliminary study
 Effects of Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) and a B Complex preparation on dreaming and sleep