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Never had a problem with sleep paralysis. I'm told holding your breath is both possible and a decent way to jolt yourself awake because your body goes "oh shit someone's choking me". That or you're some kind of superhuman who can choke himself to unconsciousness at will, but that still solves the problem of shadow people.
Now, lucid dreaming. Bear in mind that half of what you'll find, including what I'm saying, is likely to be broscience with no bearing in reality, so try things out and pick what works.
Supplements: There's a ton of different guides and shit out there, and I'm not into them well enough to really make a ton of recommendations, so I'll just say you might get something from taking a pill or two of vitamin B before bed. Some people swear melatonin helps, but I dunno. Talk to your doctor about that if you wanna try it, it shouldn't be dangerous but just say you're having a little trouble sleeping and mention you've heard it might help, Lord knows it might even be available OTC.
There are some who swear by Valerian, but the science is all over the place on that and some claim it's harmful, so yeah.
Generally I'm not a fan of supplements. They never did much dream-wise (although it did help me sleep better than usually, so there's that) so I've largely stayed away from that.
Pre-sleep tricks: If you can fall asleep on your back, that's great. The goal here is to trick your body into thinking it's sleeping before your brain shuts completely down (for reference, this is known as Wake-Induced Lucid Dreaming, or WILD). I personally can't, but still give it a go sometimes because the numbness and not-entirely-wakeful consciousness is pretty nice.
Other than that, skip the coffee and energy drinks thirty minutes before bed. Nothing wrong with a bit of food, but you're trying to fall asleep.
Habits: There are ways to check if you're awake if you're ever in doubt, but unless it's a habit you'll probably forget to do so because everything makes sense in the context of a dream even if it'd be crazy IRL. Start developing habits that'll help you check your state of mind. My personal favourite was/is to try to push my index finger through my palm. Since you're awake, go ahead and try now. It won't feel that way in a dream: Results vary, but usually involve your finger moving right along its merry way. Do this right, and you'll realize you're asleep. Good job, that's step one.
Other options for this include, but are in no way limited to: Checking digital clocks and trying to read them, watching for false awakenings/deja-vu, having a detailed morning routine involving one or more of these. Basically checking that anything that's consistently weird in dreams is behaving normally. I don't recommend going full-on Inception and carrying around fucking spinning tops and whatever, though, unless you've got a locket with a picture of your dead child or something, in which case I apologize.
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