The Epiglottis Lucid Dreaming Reality Check

An easy and effective lucid dreaming reality check, done by blocking the airflow from going through your windpipe (without using your hands).

  • Published: 2020-10-28
  • Updated: 2021-06-08
  • 4 min read

Note: epiglottis (eh·puh·glaa·tuhs)

Learning Objectives
  • What is the epiglottis reality check (ERC).
  • How to control your epiglottis.
  • How to do the epiglottis reality check.

Reality checks are one of the foundational tools used in lucid dreaming. They are simple actions you take that you help determine if you’re awake or if you’re dreaming.

There’re multiple reality tests you can use, with one of the most effective being the breathing, or nose plug, reality check (plugging your nose and attempting to breathe). The epiglottis reality check is similar to the former except you can do it without having to touch your nose. Thus making the easier, faster, and one of the more covert (for when you don’t want to be seen plugging your nose or staring at your hands) reality tests available.

What is the Epiglottis Reality Check?

All you need to do is simply block your windpipe using the epiglottis and see whether of not you can still breathe. If you’re still able to breathe, then you know you’re dreaming.

What is the Epiglottis?

The epiglottis is a small piece of cartilage located in your throat behind your tongue. It’s responsible for sealing off the windpipe each time you eat, so that you don’t accidentally inhale any food or liquid. Each time you swallow, you’re naturally using your epiglottis.

diagram of human anatomy breathing and swallowing

Instructions: How to Control the Epiglottis

Although sealing off the windpipe with the epiglottis is a reflexive process, it’s also something you can easily learn to control at will.

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Pretending you have food in your mouth, go ahead and swallow it.
    You’ll feel the throat area contract, and after you finish swallowing, everything relaxes back to its original state.
  2. After you swallow, instead of relaxing your throat, keep it contracted.
    You’ll notice that you’re now unable to breathe. Although you’ll now have your epiglottis blocking the airflow, there’re still a few areas of the mouth/throat to disengage.
  3. Slowly relax your jaw and tongue.
    The tongue should no longer be touching the palate. Try sucking in air and slowly releasing all the tense areas that don’t effect the blocked airflow (if you relax the tongue too quickly, you might also automatically release the epiglottis). Once the unnecessary parts have been relaxed, you’ll naturally be left with the epiglottis. It’s a very subtle feeling of having your epiglottis move.
  4. Practice only controlling the epiglottis.
    You should now understand how it feels having it engaged. It can take a few minutes to find the right feeling of only using your epiglottis to block the windpipe while not have the unnecessary involved (i.e. tongue). Once you get the hang of it, it becomes even simpler than having to swallow.

Instructions: Complete Reality Check Process

A reality test should be more than just repeating a mindless and habitual action and moving on with your day. It needs to include a careful and critical observation of your current state and of your surroundings. If you habituate doing it mindlessly, there’s a chance that even if the reality check proves you’re dreaming, you’ll still fail to become lucid.

Here’s what the complete ERC process looks like:

  1. Question your current state.
    Being in a dream before becoming lucid will feel exactly as it does while you’re awake. Would you really question the fact that you’re in a dream right now? It’ll be exactly the same when you are in a dream, and if you make it a habit to skip this step because “you’re obviously awake,” then you’ll do the same in the dream. That’s why it’s crucial to take the time and really consider the possibility.
    Start from the point of view that you are in a dream already. Ask yourself: am I dreaming or am I awake? Are my surroundings normal or is there something weird? How did I get here? and where was I before this?

    NOTE: By this point, if you’re in a dream, there’ll be a high chance that you’re already lucid or on the verge of lucidity, but either way, you should still continue on to the next step. If you fail to detect the dream, performing the ERC and noticing that you can still breathe will result in lucidity. On the other hand, if you already have the inclination of being in a dream, it’ll help you confirm the fact.

  2. Seal off your windpipe.
    Halt the airflow in your throat by using your epiglottis to block the windpipe.
  3. Check if you can still breathe.
    Once the windpipe is blocked, check if any air still passes through. If you’re still able to breathe, then you’re dreaming.

Now repeat this reality testing process multiple times each day. It needs to become a mindful habit you do whenever you see a dreamsign, whenever you see something odd or dreamlike, or any random time you want to do it throughout the day.

If you’re interested in lucid dreaming and want to learn more, check out this page full of lucid dreaming resources.