photo of a woman dreaming of being awake

Have you ever had a dream in which you think you’ve woken up, only to then wake up later for real?

Perhaps you even got out of bed, started your morning routine, and then snapped out of an imaginary breakfast or journey to work to find yourself back in bed?

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

What are false awakenings?

a man dreaming he is awake

False awakenings are usually vivid dreams in which you mistakenly feel like you’ve woken up. And it’s often only when you wake up later – for real this time – that you realize your previous waking was just a dream.

Sound confusing? It certainly can be for many people, and has been for me on a number of occasions.

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 looking at false awakenings and ways to cope with them if you find them upsetting.

I’ll also look at some interesting techniques to 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. And 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. So 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. Plus you’re still asleep, so normal conscious reasoning isn’t to be expected anyway!

Quite often the experience 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.

So it’s only when you wake up for real that you realize what happened, and puzzle over what a remarkably realistic dream it was.

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 – 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 like the unlikely plot of movies like ‘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’s no scientific consensus on the cause of false awakenings. When I started investigating the causes of my own false awakening episodes, I was surprised to find that there’s very little written about it in medical sources.

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

Two possible theories are:

Worry or anxiety

If you’re worried about something important in your life, you might dream about it. Some sleep experts suggest that this is perhaps to rehearse the event in your sleep.

Your brain might then dream of waking up, perhaps as the starting point for your mental rehearsal.

Some believe 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.

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.

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, 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 the paralysis really does physically occur during sleep paralysis.

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.


False awakenings 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.

However, if they are frequent and distressing, it might help to speak to your primary care doctor about it. They might consider the following options:

  • 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 different paths you can go down in terms of self-help: trying to stop them happening, or 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? And 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.

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

1. How to wake up properly during a false awakening

If you have a false awakening, a moment of awareness within the dream 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 even dancing.

All of those techniques, of course, 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 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. Secondly, get moving and explore to your heart’s content.

But 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: 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 idea is 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. Even reading this and remembering it might help trigger that awareness in the future.

If you want to explore the idea of lucid dreaming further, there are lots of online resources which claim to help you learn the skill.

Do note 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. The 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.

So perhaps patience and a little luck are required if you’re to master the art of lucid dreaming.

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 would be preferable.

In this case, there are some techniques which might help prevent them. Or at the very least, perhaps help stop them happening again the same night.

Please note that these ideas aren’t guaranteed to stop your false awakenings specifically. In many ways, they are suggestions which 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 relaxing mindfulness 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 too tired or sleep deprived.

Your thoughts

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

Have you had an experience where a false awakening has then led to a lucid dream?

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.

707 thoughts on “False Awakening: Dreaming About Waking Up”

  1. It happened to me just now again! I normally get these type of dreams when taking a nap after lunch, and I usually had an urge to go to the bathroom. I thought I opened my eyes and tried to move myself to the bathroom, but instead, I was doing something else which reminded me that I was dreaming. So I tried again to get up, the scene went back to the initial one (like the surrounding), I thought this time I woke up, but still not. Then just tried several times before I got scared that I would be trapped in the loop forever. I shook myself heavily out of the dream. I woke up not rested. :( Luckily it doesn’t always happen. But when it happens it can be fun in the dream if I don’t need to go to the bathroom.

  2. Hi I was staying up until 5 am and then I went to sleep and while I was asleep I’m pretty sure I was dreaming of me at that same exact time sleeping on my phone. But then when I woke up i didn’t have my phone and I was really sleeping and then I went to sleep again woke up 30 minutes later and felt like I was insane like delusional , I felt like I was trapped in some sort of curse or repeated dream that I was never going to get out of and I just felt which one is the real one and is it going to stop.

  3. I always have a dream that I am laying in bed with my eyes shut but I can’t open my eyes and no matter how hard I try, I know I am in a weird state and when I am able to open my eyes I take a gasp of breath. Idk if this helps but I’m only 16

    1. I always have this same dream. Most often I’m yelling at myself to wake up but i don’t. Just last night I was dreaming I was laying in bed and something was dragging me off the bed but couldn’t see anything. I knew it was a dream cause I pictured myself yelling at myself to wake up. It seemed like forever to actually wake up

  4. I have them all the time and I’ve just had one 10 minutes ago.
    I realized I was dreaming and woke myself up only to still be dreaming. The second dream I was unable to open my eyes.
    I’m normally aware of my proper surroundings because I can hear sounds but visually I’m in a dream.
    If I have no need to get up and stop trying to fight it then I find I have control of my dream and can do a lot of
    amazing stuff like floating or flying.

  5. Before laying down I was feeling really tired. I put on the elevation church app to hear a sermon by Larry Brey. I feel asleep half way, woke up and replayed it. I fell asleep once again, but a deep sleep. I heard it finished so I “woke” up and saw my phone unplug, so I reached over to get it and I thought I was dead. I plug it back on. Something was odd. My eyes were very heavy I barely could open one eye, it was half opened. Felt very tired, so I knew I was finding to wake up but not scared. I get up to go to the bathroom to turn the light on but it didn’t turned on. I thought dam the light bulb burn out because the vent turned on, as I thought at that moment. I walked out to the dining table and reached the cord to turn on the light on the sailing fan. Once again I barely had my heavy eyes open and thought to myself again, well the last light bulb burned out on this one too. So I turned back and headed to my room. I laid down. I fell asleep again. Forcibly. I fight to “open my eyes again. This time I was struggling I take off my pants. Even though I didn’t have “jeans” pants to even take off. But I was struggling to take off. I eventually did take them off. I lay my head back, a little confused. Still trying to keep my eyes open. On my third attempt to open my eyes I noticed something was off. I was still asleep. I wasn’t scared. There wasn’t fear. I didn’t hear a song can’t remember, but my phone was still off. So I let my eyes shut and I don’t remember what I said but suddenly I finally woke up. Now I’m here to figure out what was that.

    Sorry if it doesn’t make sense, I wrote this down as soon I woke up.

    I haven’t had a false awakening in a couple of years. I always had this since a child. Usually, I would feel fear like something is about to happen. I always reached to turn the light on because that’s what gives me the clue. This time I was clueless. I think because I didn’t feel in danger.

  6. I very frequently have these nested dreams and it makes me feel very weak in the mornings. The pattern is almost always the same. I wake up in my bed and look around and think to go back to sleep and suddenly realize that I am indeed in a dream. When I force myself to lose consciousness it becomes more dreadfully vivid so I try to scream but can’t. After minutes of effort, I finally wake up yet to another of that same dream. I, in the concurrent ones, know immediately that even though everything feels normal I am in a dream so try to scream or do quick movements to wake up but every nested dream becomes worst. I have up to 10 nested dreams in a night. Thank god I have never dreamed something demonic cause I would’ve probably peed my pajamas. In any case, I don’t know what to do, I want to consult a doctor but can’t decide whether to go to a psychologist or neurologist. I think about the former because I sometimes when drifting to sleep but awake hear voices almost like sound hallucinations. Sometimes a man with a very broad noise saying “bah” or a lot of people talking about random stuff. I sometimes see flashes when drifting to sleep as well. I would like to believe I am sane, indeed besides in bed I’ve never experienced such a thing (that’s what she said lol) Jokes aside I am worried and very much appreciate any suggestion. Thank you

    1. It is very disturbing! I get them one after another to only really wake up still thinking it the dream was real I usually scream out to my mom! I also tell myself to not go back to sleep but my eyes always feel so heavy I drift off and it happened again! I get scared

  7. Just woke up about 3 minutes ago from one of these nested dreams. Absolutely terrifying. The first one I remember started as two 50 year old sweaty bald guys doing coke next to me in my bed. My partner was there because he always sleeps in my bed with me. I said I wanted to get out the bed and I told him to stay there because I didn’t trust them alone in my room. I went into the living room and there was a shadow on the floor which I hunched down to get a closer look at. It was a 3D shadow. It turned into a demon girl thing and wrestled me around the room at about 3x the normal speed the dream was going at before. I can pull myself out of nightmares sometimes by imagining my real body making a violent quick movement so I tried this and I woke up but in a new dream. This kept happening and it keeps getting shorter and shorter until I woke up. Every one reset my brain somehow so I had to keep realizing it was a dream ever time. Each one had a completely different insanely horrifying scenario that I thought was true until I realized it was a nightmare. One of my cat attacking me and trying to kill me until I had to literally rip him apart to save my life. One of the people stalking me. One of finding out I had a memory illness and had lost half of my life’s memories. The last few we’re the most disturbing. I had started to figure out that none of my wakenings were real and every time I “woke up” I would question reality and ask myself outlook “is this real please god tell me it’s real let me out I’m trapped in dying” over and over again. In the very last one as I said I’m dying my imagination took over and I actually started dying. A black hole opened up right behind me next to the bed and tried to suck me in. I was trying to grab my partner and scream his name and he tried to grab me but his face was distorted and I was terrified of him too. Between both of these things I freaked out so much I actually managed to wake up properly and I could feel that it was actually real because I could feel the air on my face and hear him breathing. I still woke him up to ask if it was real and I’m sitting here trying to find out what actually happened to me and why. Now I’ve typed all this out because it makes me feel better when I get the dream in words. Makes it less scary. I’m very anxious right now and am scared to the back to sleep even though it’s 3:30 am and I have college tomorrow morning.

  8. I have just had this happen several times yesterday and then tonight. Each time I wake I have a really dry mouth and throat and I’m scared that if I don’t wake up that I am going to die in my sleep. I’ve taken a lot of benzodiazapines recent and put it down to this and also I had read that if you work out that you are dreaming in a dream then you can control it so the last time I did and started flying and was sort of semi in control for a short while then must have lost it at some point but when it came to waking I had 5 to 10 false awakenings and all of them I’m struggling to breathe and writhing around and then realise I’m back in the same position and it was all a dream and so on and so on until I jolted awake screaming and gasping for breathe. I nearly called the NHS emergency number I was so scared. I don’t know if it’s just FA dreams or if it has anything to do with the tablets I’ve taken. One of the scariest things that’s happened to me. Any advice would be appreciated. When I woke up my mouth was actually really dry and In one of the FA’s I coughed up some phlegm from my throat and wiped it away with my hand but I woke in such a panic and grabbed for a bottle of water at the side of my bed so im not sure if it was just another FA or if I actually did that. Too scared to go back to sleep. I’ve got alarms set for every twenty minutes. Pls Help!!

  9. I’ve had what you are calling false awakening for years and years. Fortunately not very often because they are always terrifying. I believe I am awake at first because all surroundings are exactly as they should be. That never changes no matter where I am. My surroundings are exactly as they would be if I were really awake. But the happenings are always so terrifying; ie once I thought I was awake, supposedly awakened by someone stomping around the house. I could see everything in the room as it should be. Then I “realized” (in my dream) it was my daughter home from college, stomping and breathing hard and looking for me so she could hurt or kill me. In my dream I got up and hid in the corner of the bedroom with the bedspread over me arranging it so it would look like it was just thrown there. Soon I realized I had been dreaming and was back in bed, but I still was not awake. I was still, I knew, lying in the position I always sleep in and she was still stomping around looking for me. I finally really woke up, but as usual I vividly remembered all that had transpired in my dream.

    I’ve had other dreams over the years, maybe 4 or 5, that are as real as that, but never the same dream. It is always totally different with different people, but terrifying.

    1. That’s how mine usually go, it’s always very very unpleasant to the point where I try my hardest to wake up but fail after several attempts. I’ve had about 8 of these dreams. It always feels like I’ve woken up from sleep then I see something horrific or even a dark figure. There have been times when it feels like I’ve been dragged out of bed and it’s so terrifying. I don’t know what to do I’m losing sleep.

  10. I had what this article explains as a “nested dream” yesterday night. Except I knew I was dreaming right away. I had night terrors as a child and have continued to have wild and terrifying dreams, I’ve even experienced full on sleep paralysis with psychotic hallucinations. This dream was just as horrible. I can’t rememeber what I was dreaming about before the false awakening started, but I remember it scared me. Since I’ve had issues with unsettling dreams my whole life I’ve become very good at pulling myself out of them. So right after being scared by whatever dream I was having, I became aware of my dream and went to wake up like I always do, Except this time I woke up in my bed, in my dream, in my dream still. So I tried again to pull myself out, same thing. The whole time I was completely aware that I was dreaming and it made me panic. I’m not sure what it is I do normally to pull myself out of dreams but most the time if I know I’m dreaming I literally just rip myself out and sit up in my bed scared for a moment. It almost became a back to back compilation of me waking up, but I felt like I was in layers of dreams, like being very deep in the ocean and panicking as you’re trying to swim all the way back up to the surface. So I started to scream my fiancé’s name as hard and loud as I could. As I did this I could feel myself push through several layers of my dream, until I actually opened my eyes and was saying her name. She heard me and grabbed me to calm me down bc she’s used to me having bad dreams. So yeah, it was not pleasant. And now “nested dreams” is the best description I can find. But i still don’t know why it took me so long to bail on the dream, it felt like I was trapped at least 10 or so dreams deep and completely aware I was dreaming so why couldn’t I get out? And I’ve never been able to lucid dream either. I’m always aware I’m dreaming 100% of the time. But it’s either a pleasant dream that I allow to go on or I pull the plug, or I have ones like this or sleep paralysis and I’m a conscious prisoner. Dreams suck.

    1. I can relate. Just a few hours ago I had a similar experience. I couldn’t scream I tried and nearly had a voice grabbing my partner who was laying in bed with me but it took me a few dreams to actually wake up. I have many night terrors and I’m well aware I am dreaming. I should be able to control my dreams but I can not manage that. I al always aware of my dreams but struggle to control them. Lots of times i have to repeat “this is a dream” many times in order to wake up but most of the time i only wake up in the most frightening parts of my dreams. They all feel so real so vivid and downright horrifying in nature.

    2. I resonate with this so hard. Like my experiences with this are exactly like yours. I have nested dreams where I wake up so many times I think i might be in purgatory. It’s like the fact that you know you are dreaming and can’t get out of it is way too trippy for me when it is happening. I’ve had great dreams before where I’ve known i’ve been dreaming and am able to control it, but that’s usually when I accept the fact that i know i’m dreaming and decide to stay anyway. Usually, those are already good dreams though (maybe i’m not as stressed out that night or something.) The bad dreams want you to wake up when you realize it is a dream, but when you keep trying and failing it makes you feel even more trapped. Sometimes my awareness of it being a dream will take a long time to kick in again after I “wake up” but once it does it just gives me a feeling of dread. I am glad I found this page and it makes me feel better that this happens to other people

  11. I have false awakening that I usually remember vividly. Just had one two nights ago in which I got up out of bed in the dream to check that I had locked the doors (I live alone after a recent parting of ways). Everything in my house was as it should be except what should have been a window was just an open hole. That’s when the dream ended except when I really woke up I was not sure of that for a moment. It was kind of disturbing. I usually dream in color..does everyone?

    1. Whoa, so glad I looked this up. I just had an impromptu afternoon nap and had the craziest dream that I woke up in but could hardly move or open my eyes. It felt like I was covered in bricks and my eyes were almost sewn shut. In the dream I slid out of bed and slowly felt my way out into the hallway but then I realized that my body was moving like a puddle and my house seemed different. When I had a moment of clear vision, my house appeared to be under renovation, and none of the lights worked but I could hear my radio on downstairs, but when I moved to head downstairs I suddenly couldn’t tell up from down. So unsettling! Then I thought to myself “I’ll just go back to bed and sleep this off”, and so I “fell back asleep” and woke up in the dream again with the same problem and started to think I had had a stroke! So I struggled to call 911 with limited vision and kept dialing the wrong number and talking to rude people who were speaking very slowly and answering my questions with questions. Then I could hear someone downstairs at my place and thought maybe I had been drugged! I kept calling out for my dog and grabbing her for comfort and a sense of reality. I could hear her collar but couldn’t seem to get hold of her. A couple times I thought maybe I was dreaming, but was too panicked to really explore it. I’m really glad that other people have crazy sleep experiences too! I have always had very vivid dreams in which I experience complex and intense emotions I’ve never actually experienced before.
      In terms of risk factors, I always delay sleep so I can get more done in the evening, leading to chronic sleep deprivation and afternoon naps. I seem to have the craziest, split consciousness dreams during those naps. I think hormones can also play a role as I’m a whole other level of tired during my cycle and seem to exit this world entirely while sleeping.
      Full disclosure- I also pushed myself running last night, came home totally beat and proceeded to eat way too many cookies, and stay up too late considering how tired I was, lol. I was telling my coworker earlier today that I indulge too much and joked that I would eventually have an Oreo-induced stroke, lol, so maybe my psyche is trying to tell me that saturated fat is not my friend…

  12. Happens to me frequently. I’ll check the alarm clock, put some shorts on, walk to the door, then realize I’m still asleep. Might happen 5 or 6 times before I “Really” wake up. Until then my body feels like a lead weight that can’t move. I read somewhere it may have to do with shift work, and your body trying to catch up on sleep.

  13. I have nested dreams really regularly. I’ll think I’ve woken up five or six times before finally actually waking up. I find them incredibly distressing. It’s gotten to the point where I’m afraid to sleep. I had one this afternoon where I would’ve sworn on my life I was awake, but couldn’t move and was stuck staring at my wrist beneath my head (on my side). I hate it. I’ve tried to go into lucid dreaming, but most of the time I end up screaming internally to wake up for what feels like forever. I think I sometimes wake up between the dreams, for a moment or two, but I’m too tired to move and fall back into being stuck in the dream/wake cycle. But I can’t tell if that’s real or part of the dream. It’s truly horrible.

    1. This just happened to me and I completely relate to your distress. My vision was showing that I was stuck on my side staring at my pillow and arm, but my body could move, so my eyes were saying one thing but it felt as if my body was doing another, and I kept trying to turn off my phone alarm, but I couldn’t because I wasn’t actually moving since I was asleep. I knew what was happening but there was no way to get out of it. I tried moving my body around as much as I could but it wasn’t changing my sight. Finally, I woke up and reached for my phone. Such a strange experience, and not the first time either.

  14. I’m unsure if this constitutes a “false awakening”, but several times, I have woken from a dream in the middle of the night and it’s dark in my room so I am unable to see. I feel as if I am still in my dream and I may rise from my bed and begin feeling around and touching my bed and my walls to try to figure out where I am. I start to panic when I cannot find the door to exit my room. It usually takes a couple of minutes and then I realize that I am in my room and I know how to get out. Why is this happening? I actually pulled all of the blankets off my bed in the night trying to find the way out of my room!

  15. I had experienced those nested dreams. I was reading about dreams and lucid dreaming but I really didn’t try it. That what happened was unexpected and it happened by itself. I also haven’t watched Inception or similar movie before those nested dreams, actually, that dream made me watch Inception :)
    Anyway, it happened about a year ago I think and I never got it again, but i would like it to experience it again because it was scary and interesting, made me explore new things. I “woke up” 3 times and started the regular routine after waking up until i “woke up” in reality. To be honest I started doubting reality much more and I was reading much about some theories of our reality and dreams because those dreams were so realistic and I can recall every one of them. I “woke up” in them when I saw something unusual, but until that, I thought it’s reality. Really interesting experience, just weird what our brain is capable of.

  16. I keep dreaming I’ve woken up but I haven’t, I try and scream so my kids hear me and come and wake me but in my dream they hear me and come to wake me but I’m still sleeping and have to wait till I wake but it’s dustressing. The latest one is I’m dying and can hear my grandchildren saying they love me and they can hear me but they can’t I wake up heart racing, is there an answer to my dreams please?

    1. I have really similar dream sequences. Not the dying part, but the locked in feeling. It’s really horrible. I feel you. I’m going to bring it up in therapy this week. If I find anything that helps, I’ll come back and let you know.

  17. I have experienced it a minute ago. I was awake in the same room with someone whispering words that I can’t remember right now. I walked in the same room and looked into the mirror. When I found out that I was dreaming I never stopped saying the name of Jesus, and after maybe 5 times of false awakening, finally I woke up for real.

  18. I find that I get stuck in dreams and there is no way to wake up unless if someone else wakes me up or an alarm went off. Today I was stuck in a nightmare and was stuck in it until my alarm went off at 3:10 PM. Also I have found in dreams I can feel things such as pain but when I wake up there are no marks. Today I got a nightmare that a man stabbed me and I felt ALOT of pain but after 10 seconds I suddenly was having another different dream of just waking up and being trapped in my room. Ifone can explain what is happening please let me know. Thank you.

  19. For the third night in a row I’ve had what I think is flase awakenings & sleep paralysis. First two nights were just the false awakenings, but last night it was more I felt as if I never actually fell asleep, but I must have done because things were happening that just didn’t correlate when I actually woke up. (My phone went off in my dream and my arms were so heavy all I managed to do was pick it up, switch it off and throw it on the floor, same thing happened with my sons tablet, but when I actually woke up they were both still on charge next to my bed), it took a more sinister turn last night, hearing scary noises and then feeling as though I was struggling to breathe (as though someone was sat on my chest). Sleep has always been a bit of a weird experience for me, I’ve suffered with sleep paralysis (very) periodically since my teens, when I was a young child I used to be able to have dreams I could fly through your my town (I would literally look down at myself sleeping and take off throughout my house and through my town), sometimes my dreams are so vivid it takes me a while to realise that certain things I’m feeling is because I had a dream and not because of an actual event, but now false awakenings. Thank you for writing this article, I was struggling to find something the correctly identified what I was experiencing.

  20. I had a false awakening sleep paralysis (or however you arrange those words) dream this morning. It was extremely terrifying. I was lying in bed and heard shuffling like someone’s Jean’s rubbing together when they walked. Knowing my fiance had left for world at least an hour before that and I was home alone, my heart began racing in terror. I tried opening my eyes, but they were incredibly hard to open, like if you’re overtired or when the crust closed when you’re sick, except neither of those were true and I just couldn’t open my eyes. The shuffling got closer and closer until whatever it was was pacing next to my bed, inches away from me. And then, when I could finally force my eyes open, there was a slightly translucent figure on the bed next to me, kind of resembling my fiance but not at the same time, like a creepy, demonic version of him, so naturally I was alarmed. It seemed like it was something completely different just taking the figure of him, not him at all
    Like he was wearing my fiance’s body and face as a mask or costume. It started saying my name and rubbing my leg, and I was finally able to snap myself out of the paralysis part and kicked my leg out at it, trying to figure out if it was real. My leg went through it, but slowly and painfully like I was moving through water or sand. I looked at the thing, which eyes were glowing now right at me, and forced myself to say, “you’re not real.” The thing continues to stare at me and said, “do you really think so.” But not in a questioning way. I then ACTUALLY woke up, breathing heavily and absolutely terrified. This is not the first time this has happened, but it is the first time I have actually seen a figure.
    I’ve been lying in bed since 7am, exhausted but forcing myself awake because of how scared I was.
    I want these dreams to stop so badly.

    1. Has anything out of the ordinary happened in your home? There was some spirit or demon in my home for a time a few years back. I started having some bad dreams then and for a while, I kept waking up about the same time every night. There are times I wish I didn’t have to sleep so that I wouldn’t dream. That thing is gone now but I sometimes wake up at night with intense confusion.

    2. This is exactly what happened to me right now. Happens mostly in the mornings after I’ve woken with my fiance. We usually just talk a bit then I go back to sleep. When he leaves he gives me a kiss goodbye means im semi-awake again then I just go back to sleep. In that time is when everything happens and never have I had a good feeling while I’m in that situation. I always go paralyzed in my dreams not being able to do anything.
      I sometimes forget about my own rule not sleeping again in this morning after ive waken. But if I do, this happens – same thing different stories. Its terrifying, like I’m laying here, I’m so tired but extremely scared to go back to sleep.

      1. I think going back to sleep after having been awake for a little while is definitely a trigger! Today I got up for breakfast and then I came back to bed and fell back asleep. That’s when it starts and I dream I’m in bed in the process of waking up, but every part of my body weighs a ton, including my eyelids and even my mind. I struggle to sit up and it’s impossible, so I try to roll over to maybe fall off the bed and when I finally think I managed to wake up, I “wake up” in another dream that starts exactly the same, and I try everything all over again. This happens a few times until I actually wake up and it’s the greatest relief. I think this literally happens to me every time I wake up to have breakfast and then go back to sleep.

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