False Awakening: Dreaming About Waking Up

photo of a woman dreaming of being awake

Have you ever started your day, only to suddenly wake up back in bed and realize you’d been dreaming about waking up?

Perhaps you got out of bed as normal and started your morning routine, but then snapped out of an imaginary breakfast or journey to work to find yourself back in bed, probably feeling a bit confused by what just happened.

If this sounds familiar, you might have experienced what’s known as a false awakening.

What are false awakenings?

False awakenings are particularly vivid dreams in which you feel like you’ve woken up even though you’re still dreaming. It’s often only when you wake up later – for real this time – that you realize your previous waking was just a dream.

I know from personal experience how confusing it can be as I’ve had false awakenings on numerous occasions. I jokingly call them mini Groundhog days – they don’t tend to last as long as Bill Murray’s day in the movie, but do have that odd feeling of repeating the start of the day sometimes.

a man dreaming he is awake

Thankfully, I don’t have false awakenings as regularly as some people do, but have had several during the last few years.

In this article, I’ll be discussing false awakenings and suggesting some potential ways to cope with them if you find them upsetting.

I’ll also cover some interesting techniques that you could try to help you gain awareness that you’re dreaming. That way, you might be able to use your false awakening as a stepping stone to the fascinating world of lucid dreaming.

False awakening poll

I asked 557 readers about their experience of false awakenings. 59% said they found it distressing. However, 17% said they enjoy it or find it interesting. A further 11% found it can lead to a lucid dream.

infographic showing the results of a reader poll into false awakenings

Too real to be a dream?

One of the fascinating features of a false awakening is just how lifelike it can seem. Even if you have some vague awareness that you’re dreaming, the fact that you’re dreaming about your normal routine might stop you from questioning it further.

The experience often takes the form of waking up and doing something familiar and normal. For example, you might get dressed, go to the bathroom, or sit and have breakfast.

Nested dreams

Some people experience more than one episode before they eventually wake up for real. Repeated false awakenings, a kind of Russian doll of dreams, can happen in one night. This is something that many readers have described in the comments below since first publishing this article.

This extended version of multiple false awakenings is sometimes referred to as nested dreams, or dreams within dreams.

It might sound a bit like the plot of the movie Inception, but these dreams within dreams do happen, and can leave you feeling like you’re trapped inside your dreams.

False awakenings can seem so real that perhaps even on finally waking up, you might need a while to be fully convinced that you’re actually going to eat breakfast this time.

What causes false awakenings?

There isn’t a great deal of published research on false awakenings and what might cause them. When I started investigating the causes of my own episodes, I was surprised to discover a lack of information about them in medical sources.

As if to mirror its own nature, information about false awakenings is often buried inside articles and research about dreaming in general, lucid dreaming, and other sleep disorders.

Let’s consider some ideas that might help explain why they happen.

Worry and anxiety

If you’re thinking or worried about a past or future event in your life, you might find it’s incorporated in some way in your dreams.

For example, the threat simulation theory of dreaming suggests that we sometimes rehearse events in our dreams, particularly threatening events. This can lead to dreaming about possible life events rather than having more fantastical dreams. So it would make sense that we might dream about waking up and going about our everyday life rather than flying about in a fantasy realm.

Some also argue that expectations play a key role in dreaming. If you’re feeling anxious, you might expect to sleep badly and wake up in the night, or need to wake up early for an important day. This anxiety could influence your dream and create a false awakening.

Real events and everyday life

An interesting explanation could lie in the dream protoconsciousness theory. A study in 2011 looked at false awakenings in light of this theory, suggesting that our innate schemes / daily lives feed into dream content. Since we wake up every day as part of our normal routines, waking up itself becomes a concept that we sometimes dream of.

Another fascinating study published in 2021 looked at the content of 528 dreams that people had while in a sleep lab. They found that the sleep lab itself featured in people’s dreams in 40.7% of cases, either as lucid dreams or false awakenings.

Mixed brain states

It’s argued that your brain can be in more than one state of consciousness at once. So it’s possible that the part of your brain responsible for dreaming and also for waking consciousness are both active.

This could then lead to vivid dreaming of gaining consciousness and waking up. Some sleep disorders can lead to this state, as well as environmental factors such as sudden external noise.

This shares some similarities with sleep paralysis, in which we gain some consciousness while waking up from the REM sleep stage, but there is some overlap between the two. To put it in simple terms, we are neither completely awake nor completely asleep, but a bit of both as the same time.

False awakening or sleep paralysis?

False awakenings are sometimes confused with sleep paralysis, which can occur either when waking up or falling asleep. During an episode of sleep paralysis, your body is paralyzed, but your brain is conscious and aware of your surroundings.

What some people experience is a false awakening in which they dream of waking up and being unable to move. This can also be frightening, both in the dream and when you wake up and remember what just happened.

The key difference is that physical paralysis does actually occur during sleep paralysis to protect you from injury if you act out your dreams in bed.

On the other hand, the paralysis during a false awakening takes place purely within the dream. You will usually then wake up in your bed and be able to move normally.

Treatment

If your false awakening episodes have gotten you worried, the good news is that they aren’t thought to be an indicator of mental illness. In fact, they are quite common and it’s thought that many people experience them during their lives. So in that respect, they don’t usually require treatment.

If they are frequent, distressing, or affecting your quality of sleep or daily life, it’s a good idea to speak to your primary care doctor about it. They might consider the following options:

  • Practical advice to help you sleep better.
  • Investigating if there is an underlying sleep disorder.
  • Dream rehearsal therapy.
  • Anxiety or stress management.
  • Medication – in certain circumstances.

It could be that the best option is not to worry and try to accept it as a normal part of dreaming. Alternatively, there are two interesting self-help options that might help: trying to stop them from happening and using them as a tool for lucid dreaming.

Self-help for false awakenings

It’s one thing to wake up properly after a false awakening dream, and then lie in bed thinking about how strange it was. It’s an altogether different experience to become aware of it whilst the dream is still happening.

How do you gain that awareness though? If you realize that you’re still asleep and dreaming, do you then try to wake yourself up, or just ride it out and see what happens?

The answer to the second question is a personal choice, but it will also be dictated by whatever level of awareness you manage to achieve.

Let’s take a look at some techniques to consider for the next time it happens.

1. How to wake up during a false awakening

If you have a false awakening, a moment of awareness within the dream just might not happen. It’s often the case that we are simply a witness to our dreams, not an active participant.

Even if you do realize you’re dreaming, it doesn’t always follow that you can simply decide to wake up.

If you do become aware that you’re still dreaming, here are some actions which might help you wake up for real:

  • Tell yourself that you want to wake up now – you might as well start with a direct and simple approach!
  • Try to focus your mind on moving a finger or toe. When you gain control of that, move to an arm or leg if you still haven’t woken up.
  • Try blinking rapidly.
  • Focus your gaze on one thing in the dream.
  • If there’s a mirror, try to look at yourself.
  • Try and do a complex action, like running, jumping or dancing.

All of those techniques require a certain level of awareness though. You’ll either have it or you won’t in any given dream. If you’re having regular false awakenings, it might help if you remind yourself of these possible actions just before you go to sleep to cement them in your mind.

Let’s now look at what you can do if you’re not in such a rush to wake up and like the idea of exploring your dreams a little further.

2. Turn a false awakening into a lucid dream

artistic image of a woman dreaming

If you’re the adventurous type, the idea of lucid dreaming may be an exciting and fun one.

False awakenings are often reported by those with a strong interest in lucid dreaming (for example, World of Lucid Dreaming) as a potential bridge.

In some ways, it’s a fairly straightforward concept. First, check that you’re dreaming and therefore become aware that you’re still inside the dream. Then get moving and explore to your heart’s content.

How exactly do you start checking that you’re dreaming? The theory goes that you need to plant the idea in your head that you’re going to start doing ‘reality checking’ in your dreams. Then cross your fingers that it happens.

Reality checking

Here are some techniques to do what’s known as a ‘reality check’, and find out which side of the dreamworld your feet really are:

  • Try and remember facts or figures. It can be difficult to recall factual information, such as your address, phone number, or someone’s date of birth. If you find it difficult, it’s a sign you may be dreaming.
  • Try leaving the room in your dream. The next room or hall might change into something which shouldn’t be there.
  • Try to read any writing in the dream. Reading can be difficult in dreams, so words or numbers might blur or morph.
  • If in doubt, you probably are asleep. Despite the fact that your brain can create incredibly vivid scenes, if you’re not sure if you’re dreaming, it’s more likely that you are than aren’t.
  • If you’re doing a complex task in your dream, perform a reality check. If you’re in the bathroom, see if you look normal or not. If you’re eating breakfast, check if the food tastes as it usually does. In bed, check if the bedding has the right texture or feel.

The theory goes that any of these reality checking behaviors can trigger awareness that you’re still asleep. If that doesn’t wake you up, then you’re free to explore a whole imaginary world of possibilities.

If you’ve never experienced the kind of awareness that doing these things would require, don’t worry about it. Perhaps reading this article and remembering the concepts might help trigger that awareness in the future.

Please keep in mind though that the various suggested methods to induce lucid dreaming still don’t have strong scientific backing.

For example, a review of the evidence for lucid dreaming techniques, conducted by researchers at Heidelberg University in 2012, found that the techniques don’t work on demand. They concluded that:

None of the induction techniques were verified to induce lucid dreams reliably and consistently, although some of them look promising.

However, lucid dreaming does happen, so there is hope. A German study in 2011 found that 51% of the 919 participants had experienced a lucid dream at least once in their life.

New research into reality checking and false awakenings / lucid dreaming

In 2019, researchers analyzed an older web survey about false awakenings and lucid dreams. They found that 62% of the 90 people who have regular lucid dreams also had false awakenings, transitioning from one to the other.

They also found that people who are regular reality checkers tended to have more false awakenings (76% of respondents who reality check).

Moreover, people who check their state with such reality checks were more likely to transition into lucid dreaming from a false awakening.

This research lends some initial support to the technique of reality checking as a way to both cope with false awakenings, and theoretically turn it to your advantage in the form of the opportunity to enjoy some dream control.

As the researchers say:

This appears to be the first empirical datum in support of the frequently self-reported ability of lucid dreamers to turn “actively” their FAs into lucid dreams. 

Buzzi et al.

3. Can you prevent false awakenings?

The idea of lucid dreaming understandably won’t appeal to everyone. If you have bad dreams, stopping them in the first place might seem like a more beneficial option.

In this case, there are some techniques that might help prevent them. At the very least, perhaps you might be able to stop them from happening more than once in a night.

Please note that these ideas aren’t guaranteed to stop your false awakenings specifically. In many ways, they are suggestions that are thought to help with sleep problems in general.

  • Avoid caffeine and other stimulants, especially in the evening.
  • Avoid alcohol in the evening.
  • Try to calm your mind before going to sleep. If you struggle with anxiety or stress at night, you might find it helpful to do some relaxation exercises in bed.
  • Do regular exercise. It might also help to go for a short walk in the evening before bed.
  • If you have a false awakening, get out of bed for 10 to 15 minutes before going back to sleep.
  • Stick to a regular sleep pattern, and try to avoid becoming sleep deprived.

Your thoughts

Have you experienced a false awakening or a series of nested dreams? What happened and what did it feel like?

Feel free to share your story and views in the comments below. I’m sure other readers will also find your experience useful and interesting.

932 Comments

  1. I just had the most jacked-up dream. This is the first time, though, that it is nested. It felt so real, just like I’m sleeping in the room with my kids. At night, my husband comes to wake me, and I see a dark figure hovering in the corner of our room. I scream, and then wake in the same place with my kids sleeping in the room, just like in real life. My husband comes to wake me, but I can’t because I’m feeling this dark, heavy, oppressing spirit on top of me trying to squash me. And then I wake up in a loop in the same scenario, but it feels so real and is mimicking my life in real time, until I see or feel something ominous or grotesque. Then I wake up, but I’m still stuck in my dream. I finally knew I woke up for real when my husband shook me, and I lighted sage incense all around my house. It’s the third time in my life I’ve felt that oppressive energy lying on top of me, trying to push me down. I felt I was being tricked or played around with. I woke up angry and annoyed.

  2. I’ve only had one awakening dream in my entire life, but I remember the details of this dream vividly. I had this dream in late 2019 when I was going through a breakup with someone I had known for over 10 years, and we share a daughter. At that time, I was experiencing a challenging phase; I was about 24. To summarize, I found myself waking up in different realities. These weren’t fantasies; they felt like genuinely realistic situations, as if my consciousness had tapped into a “Multiverse” containing different outcomes I had contemplated at various stages of my life. Some scenarios were ones where my daughter did not exist, or I had moved to a new city for college, and so on. It wasn’t until the second awakening that I realized I was dreaming, yet I couldn’t control the environment. Interestingly, to “teleport” to a different reality, I would just go back to sleep. The manner in which I would wake up was consistent — the best way to describe it is how the Undertaker would rise in the wrestling ring. Each time I woke up, I would quickly scan the area and absorb my surroundings. I can still recall the intense feelings of panic, fear, and confusion. It became challenging to distinguish what was real. In the final dream, where I felt the happiest, I woke up around 2 or 3 AM. To my right were my ex and my daughter. They wondered why I was awake so early, urging me to return to sleep. My daughter, who seemed about 4 years old, told me, “Daddy, if you don’t go back to sleep, you’ll be late for work.” Then, my ex rose to attend to my newborn son who was crying. Yes, in this reality, I had a son. As I caught a brief glimpse of him, the entire scene began to fade to black and blur, with even the sounds slowly diminishing.

  3. October 1, 2023 – I woke up from a dream and was trying to remember everything from this crazy dream. Then, I woke up for real and realized I had been dreaming about dreaming, yet I was still asleep. It’s a very odd use of memory. Interesting.

    I can’t recall the exact crazy part since I dream so many impossible and improbable things. However, it occurs to me that I often dream of people I have never seen or met, who likely do not exist at all. Other times, I dream of folks I actually know or knew. Occasionally, it seems I dream of strangers that I met in a former dream.

    Here’s the thing: many other people also dream of strangers, but they do not dream of the people I personally know or knew. Only I do that.

  4. If you’re stuck in a series of false awakenings, try this:

    Start surfing the net. Surprisingly, there are reports of dreamers watching TV shows that are fully detailed, for as long as an hour. However, if you try watching different YouTube videos, read various news events and especially – look up something in a language you don’t speak. You’re likely to realize at some point you’re in a dream.

  5. I frequently have false awakenings. Often nested, repeated attempts to wake up, I know I’m dreaming because I can’t see myself in a mirror if I look at one (in the dream), and I often feel heavy in the waking dream, uncoordinated. It can be distressing and frustrating because I want to wake up properly and I feel like I’m fighting my mind to awaken. I’ve had lucid dreams as well, but they tend not to be as frustrating, more freeing. I think my false awakenings are more connected to anxiety and poor sleep in general, but I’d like to know more about them and lucid dreams.

  6. I have had regular dreams that I wake up, then actually wake up. However, the ones that are more concerning and affecting me mentally are the dreams I have of a regular day. I recall memories, and I am unsure if they are real memories or something that happened in the dream. For example, I will dream that I have been out for food with a friend, and the dream turns into a memory. So, without knowing that I’ve dreamt it, it is already stored? I can’t explain it as well as I want to, but it’s frightening me.

  7. While I was sleeping, I heard my phone notification sound in the lounge. I lay there for a moment, then thought I had better check the phone! When I was in the lounge, I picked up the phone and saw it was from Aust Post. Immediately, I thought it was a scam, deleted it, and went back to bed. I instantly fell asleep. When I woke up the next day, I thought I must check that message. I didn’t until around 9ish pm, only to find no deleted message. I looked through the whole phone, but there was nothing. Then I started going through the events of last night, slowly realizing how truly bizarre everything really was! I didn’t put on any lights as I have problems with my eyes, so I couldn’t have looked at the screen to delete it! So, I thought I would look up what really happened. I think it was a dream within a dream, which I find exciting.

    • The very simple explanation is that Lucid dreaming is a state in which a person becomes aware that they are dreaming and can actively participate and control what happens in the dream.

  8. I have experienced a false awakening earlier, which is why I am here reading about what it is all about. Then I discovered the concept of nested dreams. I woke up around 5 times in a row, believing I had already woken up. I was already sharing my nightmare with my family, only to realize it was just a dream. When I finally woke up in reality, I was crying. This is the second time I have experienced this.

    • I have been experiencing something similar for a couple of months now. It is now at the point it is happening on an almost daily basis. I have suffered with sleep paralysis for around 15 years on and off and at first I thought it was a form of sleep paralysis, but it’s different. I’m struggling to wake up from my dream, and then I think I’ve woken up only to find I’m still asleep. I fight against it trying frantically to wake up and it’s terrifying. I feel scared and desperate, and don’t really want to ask my doctor about this. I take a lot of medication and I’m wondering if my meds have anything to do with it.

  9. I’m not sure if it was a false awakening or reality. While asleep, I woke up to my own muffled scream and saw a male’s arm wearing a light blue short sleeve shirt with either tiny red/black and white flowers or tiny motorcycles/bikes on it. He was manipulating my blinds anxiously. I believe I was in a paralyzed state as I fell back asleep. The following morning, I noticed the sliding bar on the door was askew, my belongings on the balcony had been moved about a foot away, and the door was unlocked. I am uncertain if this was a dream or reality, as my two dogs were sleeping peacefully without barking or growling. It was a scary experience, and I still feel a bit fearful. I remember what I was wearing at the time, and after the faint scream that woke me up, the man was fiddling with the blinds. I was too afraid to move. I would appreciate a reply or any feedback. Thank you.

  10. I had a false awakening last night for the first time in my life, I woke up drugged and started to panic. I could barely move. I could hear muffled voices, and my vision was really blurry. I could barely keep my eyes open but could see 2 blurry dark figures grabbing me, and taking me somewhere. Then I woke up in a panic in real life. It happened around 3am and I woke up at 3.30 am first time ever.

  11. I have experienced many false awakenings during the past couple of years. I have always been able to notice that I am dreaming from small inaccuracies in my surroundings. For instance the color of my nail polish, the age of my dog, the time of day, the tv being on when I know I turned it off before bed. I usually notice these things fairly quickly and try to remain calm or take control of my body by moving my fingers like suggested in the article. These dreams have always been lucid for me only they are almost always highly unpleasant and scary. I have confronted dream family members and friends and they respond defensively and try to come after me. The worst false awakening I had was a nested dream where I had woken up checked the time and went back to bed then had a lucid dream with a false awakening directly after. When I “woke up” I was greeted by my mom and I began telling her about my dream. I told her I was ready to get up and start the day and she looked at me crazy and said it’s only 2am. I knew this was wrong because I had woken up already that night. I reacted rashly and said you’re not my mom. she responded with how did you know and chased me down the hallway until I woke up.

  12. Up” again by laying on the floor and going into this seizure like state where it was as of I was traveling back to my “reality” but I ended up in a false awakening where I was in a room next to a man I called “dad” and my dog was there but suddenly my dog starts to cower and I look to our door and a huge man is there who obviously broke in and I thought he was a friend of mine so I call him by that friends name and it wasn’t him and then I realized I was dreaming still and quickly closed my eyes and forced myself to wake up again. I finally woke up in my bed but I was so jarred, I had to check to see if my husband was my husband. I’ve been plagued with sleep paralysis and false awakenings since I was a child and recently they’ve come to a head where I can’t have a good night sleep anymore without feeling like I was almost “trapped” in my dreams. Your article was somewhat soothing for me because I was truly at a point where I was concerned about my mental state. This dream, as ridiculous as it was, was the most JARRING lucid dream I’ve ever experienced. The dream people were literally asking me about their counterparts in my world. I remember telling one person, ” I feel bad about waking up and leaving you all behind but it feels good to know you have lives away from me when I do”…

  13. I have these dreams where I’m lucid enough to know I’m dreaming and then I’ll interact with the people in my dream and tell them I’m dreaming and they usually act shocked like they don’t know what I’m talking about..so sometimes I’ll close my eyes in the dream and force myself to wake up but usually it ends up in me having a false awakening. It’s not always back into me having a normal routine though, it could be any scenario, but usually I figure out I’m sleeping still and wake up. One of the most jarring dreams I ever had is that I “found myself” in another dimension with all these people from different dimensions and we were competing in some life or death game. Days passed even. But eventually once it dawned on me how dangerous this was and that I didn’t want to risk my life, I told an authority figure in the dream that I had to go back to my dimension so I could get back to my daughter. He took me down these corridors to speak to a manager but I ended up taking it up on myself to “wake myself

  14. Wherever I know that I’m dreaming it’s usually a scary dream and some type of monster is biting my hand and laughing at me because it knows I’m trying to get away and it’s taunting me but I can never really make out what it is saying.

  15. I have been having reoccurring nightmares or weird dreams. I have seen plenty of articles and studies about sleep paralysis, and that may explain some of them. But, there is one that I keep having, I’m trapped in someone else’s body and mind. I see what they see, hear what they hear, feel what they feel, and it feels so real, it’s like I’m really there and I’m really them. I don’t know what to make of it and it worries me!

  16. I recently just had this. I’ve actually had 3 times of having false awakening. I noticed in my false awakenings, my eyes are difficult to open. Either they cannot open fully or one eye can’t be opened even if I forced it with my hands. Also, in my dreams, I can’t go anywhere far. Like, I ‘woke’ up in my bed then go downstairs then I wake up again. Other times, I can’t even move, if I move, even in the slightest, I’d wake up again. I always find it creepy tbh.

      • Oh, same experience here! I talked about it around me and no one ever had that. As Surbhi said, the internet isn’t a big help either. I’ve been wondering if our eyes are actually trying to open in real life. But yeah, not being able to move is the spooky part for me too, and that’s usually how I know I’m not actually awake but can’t do anything to wake myself up.

  17. I have experienced false awakenings a few times and usually, they are not good. I find myself thinking ‘I’m gonna die’ and I panic and try so hard to wake up. I’ll usually wake up in a panic. I do suffer from panic disorder so I’m not sure if they are connected. I just don’t like these things from happening they are no fun for me.

    • Do you feel like your being possessed? Like something is taking over your body and mind? Just asking to better understand what I am going through.

      • I had a false awakening today where I felt a darkness “hugging” me or seeping into me I was aware I was dreaming but it was hard to move. I ended up getting out of bed in the dream and stumbling to the doorway of my bedroom where I collapsed. I felt like something was trying to take over my body and I felt almost intoxicated or weakened by it. I’ve also had multiple dreams where I wake up in someone else’s body and have to live as if I was them. I am usually able to act like them pretty well because some how I know everything about their life. But it is weird when I wake up.

      • Yes, just tonight I had a dream where it felt like something had a hold of my body. I was completely immobilized and unable to move, speak, or do anything. The presence felt extremely evil, and this experience repeated itself five times before I actually woke up. Each time, when I finally managed to force my arm to move, I reached for my phone to turn on the flashlight. However, to my surprise, my phone was dead even though I remembered placing it on the charger. On the final attempt, when I grabbed my phone, it was miraculously on and functioning, confirming that I was truly awake. I felt exhausted but terrified to go back to sleep now. The whole ordeal felt as if I was genuinely awake the entire time, and it lasted for about an hour.

  18. Just of interest, In my mid twenties had talk therapy with hypnosis. I am now in my late seventies, still going strong, and loving it.

  19. I experienced a false awakening in the form of a woman I never met. She told me “sorry” and walked all the way to the end of my bed. I told her “help me get up” and she nodded no, LOL!

    I remember being super tired to even get up. It was trippy, it was the very first time that it happened to me.

  20. I’m having lucid dreams and false awakenings and I was recently diagnosed with anxiety. I think it has something to do with it.

  21. I’ve been having nested dreams recently. They’re actually terrifying to me because I usually have a hard time moving. There were a few times when something was actually in my room just watching me. I know I’m sleeping and I’m constantly thinking to myself to wake up, but it usually doesn’t work. I don’t know if I’m having a bit of a sleep paralysis moment along with the nested dreams, but once I wake up, I’m scared to go back to sleep.

    • This is exactly how it happens for me. It’s terrifying and sometimes it won’t just be watching me, it will be violent and I can’t escape it, I wake up, and it starts again. I’ll become aware it’s a dream, I can’t scream and my movement is restricted, occasionally I can move my hand enough to try to pinch myself but there’s no pain and it won’t wake me, I just have to see it through. It’s exhausting.

  22. I’ve been having dreams that seem real. Like my son calling me and saying that he’s on his way to my house and as soon as I hang up with him I wake up thinking that he’s on his way but he never called. Another time, I walked to the kitchen and going back to the room my mother-in-law said something to me and I responded and it wasn’t like I could see myself from a dream. It feels real. Like I’m actually there but then I wake up trying to remember if it really happened. It feels like I’m going crazy. It makes me question myself. Please help. I’m really scared.

  23. On Saturday night this past weekend, I had a dream and I realized I was dreaming and woke up in another dream. Then I realized I was still dreaming. This happened almost 8 times, then I woke up again (this was the strange part) and I did a reality test. Then everything did as it does in real life, and I thought it was real until I woke up for real!

    • I experienced the exact same thing today! Totally did not understand what was going on. I’d just have a dream which I’d be unable to control or like, wake up for a few seconds then go back to sleep and suddenly jump into another dream then another and they all seemed like I had woken up multiple times but it was lesser than the real number of times I had woken up.

  24. I often fall asleep and know I’m sleeping. I can see my body lying there, but can’t wake up and I try to get up but I end up still lying down. Then I’m able to yell out in real life my husband’s name to wake me up.

  25. I almost always have false awakening loops when I take naps during the day. I always get scared that I won’t be able to wake up in reality and will get stuck in my dream, or even die or something. They almost always turn into lucid dreaming, but I’m never really in control. The more loops, the more confused I get. Sometimes I remember to slap my own face, this is a trick that really helps me realise I’m dreaming, if I feel nothing, I know I’m dreaming. But sometimes I’m so sure I’ve really woken up this time, only to eventually realise I’m still dreaming. I try to avoid naps now, but sometimes a person’s gotta nap you know.
    I also experience sleep paralysis in the false awakening loops, these are the scariest parts, because I really feel like I will get stuck in this state forever.
    Lately, I try to do some breathwork when I’m too stressed to sleep. So today, while experiencing yet another false awakening loop during my nap, I started focussing on my breathing and it ended up in some weird out-of-body experience. I felt my soul being pulled outside my body and by focussing on my breathing I was able to pull my soul back (it was sometimes a fight and difficult to pull my soul back). In some loops, this was more like me trying to imagine this soul pulling to gain consciousness, and in some loops it felt like it was something real.
    Anyway, the focus on my breathing somehow calmed me a bit and made it all less scary. So I hope I remember it next time.
    But I’ll always hate these false awakening loops. Just let me nap in peace please.

    • So crazy that you mentioned a nap, because I do also find that when I nap I have nested dreams more. Today I took a thirty minute nap, in my dream, I was able to look down at my hands and count them, then realize I was dreaming. I’ve been writing my dreams down more to try and practice lucid dreaming. So when I figured it out this time I created a door in my dream (supposed to be a door the subconscious) and I almost went in, but then I woke up. Maybe I was too confident. Waking up was definitely weird.

  26. In my teenage years, I used to have loads of pre-awakening dreams.
    I used to get up, go to the bathroom, get dressed for school, feed my guinea pigs, have breakfast, then walk up the road to catch the school bus. Then I’d wake up, to start with I used to get a bit confused waking up the second time for real, but then I just accepted it.
    I’ve also had my share of sleep paralysis, which terrified me to start with as I was conscious of trying to move. As I got older I made a conscious choice to relax when it happened, I’d obviously fall back to sleep and be ok. Reading up about it helped to understand what was happening and why…

  27. I lucid dreamed in my sleep realizing I wanted up explore and play in this Fantasyland that is my brain. No limits. Realized I was dreaming from the scene and decided to start jumping but I was flying… so vivid, so beautiful. Like Luigi in Mario 2. So much fun. And as for awakening dreams I’ve had some not in a while but where I would get out of bed and get ready shower eat do all the things that I do in the morning. Thought I was ready to go off to school, and then I woke up and I was confused cuz I was like I just did all this and now I’m late, now I got to do it again. Jesus that was annoying. But I love my dreams. I love interpreting them and I’ve also had sleep paralysis experiences and reoccurring dreams. Dreams are very intriguing and need way more studying. I’ve also had bad dreams some that reoccur also some that actually at the time I didn’t realize but months later thinking about the dream just how divided and odd it was but it actually wasn’t predicting my future. Crazy right? I like dreams. I love them in fact.

  28. I connected false awakening with having caffeine in the evening, and anxiety.
    But weirdly, I sometimes experience sleep paralysis with false awakening together. I dream about sleep paralysis only to wake up again thinking now I can move but again to have sleep paralysis. Then when I finally can move, I experience paranoia dreams in which there is a stranger and I’m terrified of him/her. I’ve been chased or I wonder around my house feeling I’m watched and trying to find who.
    95% of my false awakening are nightmares which cause me huge anxiety when I wake up, 5% is normal chores on a normal day.

    • I can definitely relate to this, I have similar dreams. It isn’t fun at all! There are some other concerns about what I’m dreaming as well.

  29. I was living in Germany and was a young mother of 25. My marriage was in a bad way and my then husband was not allowed near my flat. I woke up from asleep and got myself out of bed to stand on some lego bricks of my sons. I made my way into my living room and noticed I hadn’t shut my patio doors. I panicked knowing my husband could have got in so I locked the doors (boom). I was awake again, shocked I made my way out the bed to repeat the same thing lego etc (boom). Wake again but unable to move this time and noticed a woman crouched by my bed with a baby. The baby started to fall but I couldn’t move to catch it (boom). Awake again… I was terrified what was happening. I nipped myself so hard I cried. Got out of bed, stepped on lego bricks again, same thing – patio doors ajar. Shaking and crying, I locked the doors, put every light on and blasted the TV till the morning. I found out later that my husband had tried to get in. It was like I had been getting warned to lock my doors.

  30. I just experienced it now. It’s 4:00 am.
    The 1st dream was full of grandmas and something happened that I find creepy, so I decided that I wanted to wake up. I keep saying hotdog in my mind and decided to say it out loud. When I opened my eyes, I’m in my room with my friend. I ask if I had a nightmare, she said yes, and I told her I keep saying hotdog to wake up but she said are you awake? Then she vanished. I closed my eyes again saying hotdog. I open my eyes without her and I can move, but when I touch my phone the light on the other side of my room went on, so I closed my eyes again, sigh, kinda frustrated like I want it over. Then I opened my eyes and I’m still in my room but I cannot move. I try to move my elbow and punch, then I woke up, touched my phone, and searched for this thing.

    • That’s so strange… It’s after 4 am for me, and I actually started dreaming about my grandma. I knew that something bad was going to happen to her, so as I throw up in my dream, I think I’m now awake. I try to open my eyes, but I can’t, and I can tell something feels unsettling. Then I feel my cat next to me (she isn’t in the room, though), so I reach out to touch her, but my arm goes numb. I roll over and then realize, again, that I’m probably not awake. I try so hard to open my eyes, slap my face, and scream for help, but nothing happens until I wake up and have to try my hardest to feel for my phone. Basically, I had to pry my eyes open. I came straight onto here. It was so creepy, and I’m too scared to go back to sleep.

  31. I just had a false awakening. I was taking a nap with my boyfriend on my side, and then “woke up” and relaxed around the bed. When I thought I need to rise and do other stuff, I can’t. I “woke up” again and realized I was dreaming. This time I woke up and tried to get out of my room, but the second room is an apartment (I live in a house). I realized I was dreaming, I “woke up” again, now in the room with a wardrobe (in reality, there’s nothing). I realized it was a dream after I tried to open the wardrobe, and tried to wake up again, I “woke up” again a couple of times, but not going too far because I tried to wake up for real.

  32. Actually, some strange thing happened to me as I’m doing research on dreams, and listening to so many videos regarding the lucid dreams, and I’m having lucid dreams. As said, we get confused about whether it is reality or not. To check the reality one option is to count your fingers and I did the same because the event that happened in my dreams was the death of my father and I was not able to accept that. But then I remembered to count my fingers and it was six so I was so relaxed at that movement, but wanted to get rid of that dream so I pinched myself and was out from there.

    • My strange dreams have been going on for a long time.. VERY realistic 3D dreams, and when I wake up in not sure if “it” really happened.
      But last night the dream was extra real.. and I realized I was dreaming but I kept the scenario going to see what was going on. I was physically shaking hands with somebody ( not important) and I was watching my housemate Lear that she was dying ( which she IS, but doesn’t know it).
      Eventually, I decided to wake up but made sure to remember everything. I was reminded of John writing the Book of Revelation.. not knowing if he was in reality or not. But I knew both “dimensions” were very real.
      Go figure…

  33. So, it’s 3:23 AM EST and I’ve been up for an hour researching what just happened to me. I don’t feel too comfortable talking about what exactly happened, but I couldn’t wake up. Kind’ve avoiding specific details, in the dream, it started off around 6 pm and I just had dinner with my sister and other parts of the family. We sat all in the living room and before we could start watching a movie, I “wake up.” I say, “Oh.. must’ve fallen asleep and carried myself to bed!” and I went to go get something to eat and drink, and probably stay up and watch TV a little. But as soon as I got to the TV, it was playing static/distorted images and before I could even think about being awake, and I did still question what just happened, I’m “awake” again, face down on my bed and partially covered by my blanket. It was cold, I wanted to move but I suddenly couldn’t. It’s completely dark in my room, more than normal, and I’m generally afraid of the dark, so when something I couldn’t see puts the blanket on me itself and then grazes its hand on my body overall, I immediately freaked out – but I couldn’t move! I was trapped until I “Wake up” again. At this point, it becomes the first need and desire to genuinely wake up. I get out of bed, trying to move around and out of my room but WHOOPS there’s a second door behind the first one, and the handle is all distorted and facing downward, I didn’t even turn it and it opens. The hallway was pitch black, and almost climbing upwards? I was absolutely terrified and ran back into bed, I kept thinking “WAKE UP WAKE UP WAKE UP” and it was still hard finding which reality was mine. I eventually did, and since I’ve been awake trying to get my mind off of it so it doesn’t happen again. I have these dreams a lot, that or dreams that come back after a while, or pure nightmares. Genuinely scary if you ask me. I’ve also never been a Type 1 false-awakening person, it’s always been Type 2 where it just feels terrible and scary.

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