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.


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.


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  1. After reading some of these stories, most sound like mine. I know when I sleep and I can wake myself up when I have these dreams. Mine are “out of body”, with random things disguised as people (and sometimes in the face of someone I know) that try to lure me away from my body. I never leave my room, and my body is always in my view. If these things do happen to get me away from my body, I find my way back, “get in” myself, and wake up. This can happen a few times within the span of 10 minutes, like last night, when I had to look in a mirror that’s not in my room (only in my dreams room?), to get back in my skin to wake up. After a few attempts of going back to sleep and waking myself up and telling myself to dream of something else, I eventually do. The dreams are not any better, but at least these things aren’t trying to body snatch me anymore.

  2. I honestly don’t know what to think, I thought I was waking up from my roommate opening the door, I don’t know why but I semi opened my left eye and kept my right eye closed , felt like I was actually doing this and I hear the light sounds of my roommate opening and moving around near her area , (side note I don’t actually know if it was her , I couldn’t see her it was a dark figure but since it was her ) I was somewhat on edge but don’t know why , don’t remember what happened next but then I wake up again same place furniture was the same but my room had four gigantic windows and I could see there were bright green leaves ( very beautiful) and a bigger women busted in and stood in front of my bed and said a few things how she was happy to see me and stuff I started to feel uncomfortable but she came closer to me and kissed me then went back in-front of me and said something very inappropriate like do you want to see my chest I said hell no , what the fuck , then she did it anyway I started to have a sick feeling in my stomach I yelled get out and she disintegrate right in front of me, I got out of bed then I saw a different version of my roommate I told her I need to report it I could “feel “ my heart beat and gasping for air in this dream she said “ are you okay ?” I said I don’t know, then she said something it was clear but I couldn’t understand stand her I figure it was a different language one I haven’t heard of, then proceeded to ignore her got back in bed then woke up in a car this time and I was waiting for my BF and shows up with half of his truck the bed was missing and I asked where was it he said I lost it on the high way in a nonchalant way, then this is when I actually woke up, seem weird right, I have always had vivid dreams like every night good one scary ones and out of this world dreams I usually remember about 2 to 4 dreams a night to the point I can make a book of all my wild dreams

  3. I did not read all of the stories so not sure if anyone else has had the same experience as me so here we go.

    I’m 45 and have been able to lucid dream since I was young. Also, when I was young, I also had Alice in Wonderland syndrome. I suffer from migraines, sleepwalk, experience night terrors, and suffer from sleep paralysis.
    My brain has gotten pretty good at hijacking my dreams and preventing me from waking up sometimes. I have spoken with my wife about this, and she knows if I am making funny noises when I am asleep to wake me up as well. So, the worst experience I had I was sleeping next to my wife and was frozen. I could not breathe or move and was aware I was dreaming. I am screaming in my dream and my wife finally wakes me up only to say are you ok? I start to tell her what happened, and she says, “oh you were only making a quite mumbling sound” and I start to realise I am still asleep, and I say to her this is actually still the dream and I’m stuck to my bed again unable to breathe screaming. This goes on so many times I cannot count. It goes on as my fear grows and I start to think I will never wake again and am stuck in this eternal loop. Sometimes I am trying to convince her it’s a dream and others I see her lying next to me asleep just begging her to wake me up. I can hear myself talking to my fear telling it how smart it has become as it knows how to circumvent my pre prepared plans to avoid it. In this scenario eventually I wake up. I ask my wife why you didn’t wake me last night I was screaming out for you. She responded oh you were not making any sound at all until just 5 minutes ago. I am scared to death and exhausted and feel like I am in a dream world all that day.

    This is one of many but to date the worst.

  4. Ok, so I have had nightmares and nested dreams since I was very young. I have often had nested dreams that were not nightmares, too, and they’re fine. As a child, when I would have a false awakening I would be overcome with a sense of oppression and impending doom and I would see humanoid figures, not in the corner or just outside my vision, but directly in front of me or on top of me or at my bedside. Usually only one figure, but sometimes two. One of them is always wearing a hat, although the hats have been different and the figures don’t really feel familiar to me. When I was 9 or 10 I decided to try and wake myself from these dreams, which I successfully did by telling myself “it’s just a dream” over and over. The other thing that would consistently pull me out of these false awakening situations is screaming. It would take a lot of energy but I would slowly mumble then increase to a shout and I would wake up shouting. I actually hadn’t had one of these false awakening doom dreams for several years and then just had one last night; I saw a hatted figure again, squatting on my feet which I could distinctly feel. The false awakening was preceded by a sensation of my whole bed or whole house vibrating. When I opened my eyes in the dream everything looked normal, not hazy or wrong colors (I will mention that I wear glasses and so when I wake up in the middle of the night I really can’t see anything anyway) except there was a freaking ghoul or whatever in a hat on my feet who then swooped down to lay entirely on me, at which point I shouted “no!” And woke up. But when I really woke up I was so frightened that I was afraid to move or open my eyes or breathe too deeply. I don’t think this was true paralysis because I made the choice not to move sort of, I was scared to I stayed still as a defense mechanism rather than actually being physically unable to move. The figure was much more specific and detailed in this dream than it was in the ones I had as a child, but I find it interesting that they’re often wearing hats and that it’s always a false awakening type of situation where my surroundings appear as normal. I’m sort of at this point now where I want to try seeing the dream through, see if I can maintain lucidity through it and just see where it goes. Maybe I can steal that hat.

  5. I constantly get stuck in a loop where I think I woke up and I’m cuddling my boyfriend, one of our dogs, or having a conversation with him. It’s pretty normal for there to be at least 10 different versions until I finally wake up for real. Each time I know it’s a dream pretty quickly because something doesn’t physically feel right so I try to shake myself awake only to land in another loop. Pretty frustrating because sometimes the conversation is about something important like a dinner plan and I’ll forget I didn’t get to tell him in real life until it’s too late.

    • I have this same thing happen over and over now. Recently started I’m 35. I’m so aware now and hate the loops so much when I finally awake I’m anxiety ridden. Because I’m begging ppl to wake me I’ll feel like they did for a min then boom realize I’m in another loop! It’s horrible for me!

  6. So I put my phone away at 1:20am and turned to my right. I fell asleep. I was walking around my school and I felt really uncomfortable like I wanted to just rip my skin off. I felt really sick and I kept pacing back and forth. Then I went to my maths class but the room layout was different. I was struggling to do any work because I felt so sick but acted normal when people tried to talk to me and ask me questions. And then I couldn’t take it anymore and ran out the classroom. I kept staring at the floor and felt so sick. Then I looked at my hand and it had 10 small fingers. And I told myself to get rid of half of them to make them normal. I had really big hands. And then I realised I was dreaming because I remembered I had 5 fingers and if I actually did half them I was going to have 2. I felt really sick still and couldn’t get out of the dream. I heard people calling me nonstop and I recognized who they were. Then I just kept feeling weird. I woke up but I was only able to open one eye. I could see my bed and my pillows everything was normal. But I couldn’t move at all. My whole body was numb. I tried really hard until I was able to lift my arm up. I lifted it up really slowly and picked up my phone. My arm was in front of me but I couldn’t see it. I kept putting it in front of me and kept lifting it higher but turns out I didn’t actually move my hand. I let go of phone and for some reason it fell on the back of my head. I felt the pressure and my head felt cold But I realised that my arm didn’t move so it didn’t actually happen. I tried really hard to open the other eye and move. Then I actually woke up and was able to move normally and realised it all was a dream because I remembered I put my phone on the desk. I turned around slowly and checked my phone. And it was only 1:36.

    • I just woke up from a nesting dream 5 minutes ago and i keep on waking up 10 minutes during my dream. My last dream happened at 3:13 then 3:23 until i made it to 3:43 im scared to go to sleep.

  7. I just woke up after several dream loops….it started off with a normal dream then suddenly I thought I woke up only to find that I’m in my room in a dream loop…I felt scared like there was a presence in the room…the dream then reset and I woke up again but this time to sleep paralysis within the dream loop…I felt a dark presence and I was unable to cry out…then I was suddenly able to move and grabbed a bottle of water by my bed and had a drink only to realize that I was still in a loop…I turned and saw what resembled a dark shadow by my bed…I lifted my hand up and asked it to please leave me alone…I then woke up again walked to the door, the corridor looked different, all the photos that were hanging on the walls were scattered on the floor…I started crying and went to find my family …. Dad was not in his room but in another bedroom that doesn’t exist, he got up and seemed surprised about the pictures, I told him I’d also seen a dark entity in my room and he hugged me… The loop then reset again to sleep paralysis and I began crying and moaning as no sound would come out….it reset again and I begged for someone to come and help me…I saw someone wearing a white nightie and realized it was my mum…I called to her and she started telling me something unrelated to what I was experiencing… She tried to help me but she seemed hazy and foggy…the dream reset again and the ceiling looked really strange…I forced myself up to have more water … And I finally woke up feeling breathless and exhausted but glad that it’s over ….I’m afraid of going back to sleep…

    • This has happened to me before as well and has happened more commonly lately, I’m wondering what it means.
      Is it because I’m pregnant or is it because I quit drinking? I’m curious and I hate these dream loops, they’re distressing.

  8. I dream of something preventing me from waking up.
    I have a dream and then wake up, but I’m not awake, it’s another dream. I’m aware that it is another dream so I try to wake up. And then something prevents me from actually waking up.
    It’s never the same thing or figure. But some on them fight really hard to keep me asleep. Sometimes I’m on the verge of waking up, to the point where I know my eye are flickering, and I see images of my actual reality. And then something drags me down back to sleep. And when I actually wake up I pinch myself but it takes a while for me to feel the pain. Theses in between dream states are always very disturbing. They have brought me to tears. And sometimes so afraid to go back to sleep.

    • I have suffered from the exact details all night, every night for over 15 years. I can’t stop the cycle. I don’t know how to cope with the fact that every time I fall asleep I am trapped inside my body and fully awake inside the looping vivid dream cycle. I fight all night long to wake myself up. If I am lucky I can open my eyes but I am always pulled back in.
      It’s very traumatizing and I am afraid to sleep. My physiatrist has me on Adderall because I can’t stay awake and will often be in this loop cycle for 13-20 hours oversleeping for several days in a row unable to wake myself up for days.
      My life is being destroyed by my unknown sleep disorder. I have developed nonepileptic seizures because of the trauma and anxiety I can’t drive or work. My entire life is controlled by this loop of night terror lucid dream false awakening for oversleeping stuck inside my own thoughts every night over and over again. The more stress I have during the day the worse it becomes.
      How can my body do this and keep me asleep for up to 22 hours in a row?

  9. Last night, I had a creepy dream. I saw myself waking my mom up but no matter how hard I try I can’t wake her up and also I can’t touch her. Then, I saw myself sleeping that it seems like I am dead…I also tried to wake myself up in that dream…it’s like I am telling myself to wake up but it’s just too hard. After that, I woke up running out of breath.
    After I woke up I saw my mom sleeping in the position just like in my dream.
    I can’t stop thinking about it…because it seems so realistic.

    Did I really die? I(soul) saw my dead body and came back to life, or it was really just a dream?

    • Hey I’ve experienced something similar I believe that what you experienced was an out of body experience…they can be really distressing … I just had several repeat dream loops and false awakenings… I really don’t enjoy them…. hope you are ok … Take care xxx

  10. My false awakening dreams are very distressing. I become aware that I’m not really awake and often feel paralyzed and like I can’t breathe. I feel like I can’t survive in this state, so I try to wake myself up but it is physically and emotionally very difficult. I have sleep apnea and use a CPAP machine. The not being able to breathe is different from the dreams I had before my apnea diagnosis. In the pre-CPAP dreams, it would be something like being underwater and not being able to get to the surface to be able to breathe. In the false awakening dreams, it is more a feeling of not being able to breathe because of paralysis. After I wake up from one of these, I am usually upset and afraid to go back to sleep for a while.

  11. My false awakenings usually take place in my current house usually with the lights on, a twist of paint color, and the styles of furniture differ, and occasionally work is involved with horrible twists. My nest dreams usually end with nightmares between each dream within the dream. My sleep paralysis is always in dreams and shared its similarities with my false awakenings including paint color, furniture style, and lights being on.

    • The dreamed sleep paralysis is a cruel extra isn’t it. I think it is that, which makes me realise during each round, that I’m in fact still asleep. Then onto the next round.
      You mentioned twist of colour, I think my colours are toned down slightly. Our brains love messing with us I guess.

      • I had the weirdest dream where I kept waking up, and every time I woke up and looked around, and felt foggy. I have derealization, which definitely doesn’t help and I couldn’t tell if it was a dream for a long time. It was a continuous loop and it kept going and suddenly I snapped back to reality and I still can’t tell right now if it’s a dream or not because I was looking at my phone like 4 times and each time it disappeared in my dream.

  12. had a false awakening or a nested dream the other day it kept happening, thought i was getting out of bed like 4 times. i heard the kids outside then i didn’t, to me it felt i was there for a while the last time i tried to wake up so it seems there was some minutes in between. i didnt hear anything but i was awake the whole time. so im not religious but i said Yahushua wake me up! forcefully and i did. i felt peace when i said his name i think it helped me to get control of myself. i had an out-of-body experience which freaked me out and i saw a tv on a wall and 3 steps going down to the front door, my cousin moved like a year later and when i walked up 3 steps the tv was in the spot but like a mirror image of what my dream was. so what i said before is not the same it was creepier not having control. it creeped me out, I’m that 59% that does not like waking up like that and i wish they would do a study on just that.

  13. stranger than fiction. This has been going on for several months. Each dream is different for me. Everything seems okay as I reach the end of my dream until I feel the ground or something moving beneath my feet and I realize that falling through the ceiling floor.
    One time, I was coming home from the dentist office and felt the ground shaking underneath my feet. I tried to grab something heavy but , I couldn’t because in the back of my mind if I just let go then, I’ll be alright. Two hours, felt like hell while free falling from the ground and it got darker and darker & darker until I saw a bright light. I ended up at a library with a stack of books on my head and dust around me as if a house is being destroyed.

    • This is so crazy! I have insomnia because of my fear of falling asleep. I would fall through the ceiling onto my bed and felt like I was falling back into my body. I don’t like that falling feeling. It freaks me out and it feels so real. When I first started experiencing it I was so young. Maybe I was 3 or 4. I would be experiencing things like f icing the car with my little brother and I remember we lost control and the breaks weren’t working. One dream I got shot. I felt everything in every dream. I just woke up at 4:32 am to research this dream I just had. People were picking in my brain and I could feel it and smell the numbing spray and though they numbed me whatever they were poking at in my brain made my eyes twitch, my lower back twitch, and I could feel it intensely in the very front of my head and the very back. It was so uncomfortable. It was a disgusting feeling. I felt a similar feeling of all of a sudden being back in my body…if that makes sense. I don’t even want to fall back.

  14. I usually get dream loops and lucid dreaming which seem harmless, sometimes they’re frustrating but initially not so bad, but this time was hard! I knew I was dreaming every time I ‘woke up’ out of each loop. The second I’d ‘wake up’ I knew I was still in the loop by the slight changes in the bedroom. I tried everything that usually works to get myself out of it but I was struggling to get out. It started getting scary when I would ‘wake up’ crying from the previous loop and run around to find whoever was in my dream to help me and get me out of there, I’d scream at them and provoke them to wake me up and even asked them to kill me so I can get out the dream. The only solution that got me out was drowning myself which I guess had that calm/relax feeling like I was sleeping, which eventually got me out of it. It would be great if I can find a better way other than death to get out of it next time!!

    • Kayla! I literally felt the same exact way in my loop, I kept telling people in my dream, to help me get out that I wasn’t supposed to be there & they just looked at me creepily & smiled. I don’t remember what helped me wake up but I think that every time I tried waking up from the loop I did it forcefully & stay dreaming but eventually I moved slower when trying to wake up & that is what woke me up. Crazy that you had to kill yourself in your dream to wake up! I thank you for your comment as I felt so strange and scared this morning.

  15. Does anyone else’s typically involve alcohol?? I get nested false awakenings for what feels like hours. I call them “dream traps” and it is both annoying and freaky. Also, my subconscious is ridiculously convincing and I always look normal in mirrors, can perform tasks such as running, read, and leave the room, look at the time (clocks, unfortunately, aren’t common anymore) count my fingers and ask if I’m dreaming and arrive at the conclusion of no (when I an in fact dreaming)… haven’t found anything bombproof to tell the difference yet. I also remember dreams quite well, so once when this happened I counted 14 nested dreams. It’s honestly quite trippy. Also worth noting I may have mild narcolepsy, in the process of getting it checked out, but was wondering if this was more common for people with sleep disorders or not!

    • I don’t know if this will help you, but it’s helped me. I have a lamp near my bed. I put a red light bulb in it and leave it on all night. When I “wake up”, I look for the light. If it’s not there, I know I’m still asleep. I don’t know why it’s not in my dream, but it isn’t, so I can always tell the difference now, even if I’m scared or being hurt in my dream.

  16. Well, the false awakening it’s been very regular this past few weeks. For example, last night I “ woke up and turned the fan on, talked to my husband I apologized for turning it on because I knew he was cold but I was sweating and he replied as always “ it’s ok baby” and went back to bed.” This morning I was wondering why the fan was off since I turned it on during the night. I asked my husband and he said that I didn’t turned it on and I didn’t talked to him during the night. I was very confused.

  17. I’m having those dreams generally when I’m feeling tired or stressed. Yesterday I dreamed the worst one. I tried to wake up for at least ten times and every time I wake up I was in another dream. I tried all things I should do for waking up from this fake dream but I couldn’t. I even tried to jump out of the window or from bed to floor but I couldn’t. When I’m literally awake I was in another room. Scary a lot.

  18. Last night, I had a false awakening in 4 stages. Stage 1: I woke up in my bed and I tried to get up but my body was paralyzed I couldn’t talk or move, so I immediately realized it was a dream and “woke up”. Stage 2: I was able to advance a little further and sit up but I was still paralyzed from the waist down so I could not stand so I rolled around a bit trying to get my legs to move and ended up falling off the bed. Again, I realized I was dreaming and “woke up” from this stage. Stage 3: This time, I was able to get out of bed, I opened my window blinds, and received a phone call. I answered the call, so I did not immediately realize I was still sleeping like I had in the first two stages. I was talking on the phone when I saw a black figure looking around the corner. I realized I was still sleeping, and I felt threatened by the figure immediately. I tried to run out of my room to get away but as I went to through the door, I found myself landing back in bed AGAIN. Stage 4: I finally woke up and was fully awake, but now I’m experiencing sleep paralysis. I just stared at the wall screaming in my mind for my body to move and do something. I felt something in the room with me then I saw what resembled a black bird fly off my bed and through the wall. It’s as if once the bird went through the wall and left the room I was suddenly able to move as if it had some sort of grip over me….

    • I’m glad there’s a name and other people that have experienced the same. The nightmare I had was I think 3-4 stages if you count me waking up and staring into nothing for 20 mins before being able to move. (T/W: child death, gore) 1st part: I was watching a horrible video on my phone of a flood affected area and a child had drowned and the parents were slamming his head into the ground to wake him up and his head started making crunch noises, next part of the vid pans into another child who had drowned in a yellow rain coat with his eyes swollen and shut and his face purple. My fiancé came into the room and took the phone out of my hand and screamed at me about watching it. I got up and chased after him and then “woke up”. Part 2: This time I woke up next to my daughter and freaked out and carried her out of the bed while she was asleep and tried running out of the house hoping to get away from the nightmare but now I see a shadowy figure. It stares at me before quickly approaching me and I froze and realized I was dreaming. I kept telling myself it’s a dream and to wake up and tried moving my fingers and then “woke up” again. Part 3: This time I get up and my daughter’s still sleeping next to me and I get up, only that I don’t and I just watch myself laying there w her. The room is shadowy and I tried telling myself to please wake up and trying to move my actual limbs. I try making myself walk and finally my phone vibrated in the real world which ultimately woke me up. Part 4(ish): I just lay there still unable to move limbs for a good while. Trying to recollect everything I had just witnessed and letting out a relieving gasp. I look around and looked at my daughter still in the same position from when we fell asleep and the same position of the last two parts of my nested dreams. I finally moved my arm and touched her face to make sure it was reality. I actually started crying and finally got up to grab water, pinching myself to make sure it was really me. I never want to experience this again as I’ve dealt w it for a few years now every so often but never this violent.

  19. This past Monday night I falsely awoke in three stages. I was having a normal dream where I was in a school portable and was about to fight some girl. I put my hand in a fist and felt my nails in the palms of my hands. That is what made me realize I was dreaming, so I tried to wake myself up. I woke up in a dusty basement apartment, nothing like my real apartment. I quickly realized I was still dreaming and tried to wake up again. The second time I woke up in an apartment similar to mine. I was in a normal bed and the room was dark much like my bedroom. I got up and went into a kitchen I’ve never seen before (looked like a city apartment kitchen like up in NY, not like a south Florida kitchen like my real one) where there were 3 large display cases full of Chinese themed knick-knacks. That’s when I realized this was not my apartment and I was still in a dream. The 3rd time I woke up I was finally in my bed in my room but I was super drowsy as if I was being pulled back into the dream state. I really had to fight it by focusing on my TV which had the Samsung smart TV screensaver on it. After struggling for about 10 minutes I was finally able to awaken. I stayed up for about 10-15 minutes so I wouldn’t fall back into the same dream sequence. I didn’t dream for the rest of that night. Really felt like something was trying to keep me asleep.

    • Yes!!!! It feels like you’re having the deepest dream of your life I don’t know why it’s so hard to wake up from those and sometimes I’m unsuccessful at waking up fully and I fall back asleep and don’t even realize it because I was just wake and I have to get myself out of it all over again…

  20. Came across this site after googling “I keep dreaming I’m waking up feeling groggy and disoriented”. I’m still in bed while writing this and seeing that other people have experienced these dreams have brought me some calm and comfort.

    I just had a series of at least four dreams where I would realize I’m in bed. Some recurring elements of these dreams are that I feel very heavy and lethargic. I would always try to get up from bed but it always proves to be a struggle. If I do try to make it on my feet, walking and making my way around the room proves equally as difficult.

    I would also hear strange sounds, some just beeping, sometimes voices or even distant yelling or screaming. Sometimes I “wake up” in the dream and I just have this loud ringing in my head that persists throughout the false awakening.

    I just started having these recently. I never had them when I was in my 20s and prior to googling them, I thought it was sleep paralysis. As far as I can recall I’ve always had them in sets. The sudden onset of these false awakenings last year and this year have really creeped me out. I don’t think I’m stressed or anxious about anything and there’s nothing significant weighing on my mind.

    • Thank you for your descriptions. Pretty much my same experience. The feeling of exhaustion and lethargy during the dream is really tiring when I do finally wake up. It’s like sleep paralysis during a dream about it. I do mental exercises before bed to help. Sometimes they work, sometimes not. Such a puzzling disorder.

  21. I think I just had this happen to me. So I woke up around 1159 at night because my room was warm so I turned on the fan. I laid in bed and tried to fall back asleep then in my dream I was trying to fall back asleep as well. I knew I was dreaming because some things were different like in my dream I had posted a Snapchat picture and I knew for a fact I didn’t. I then turned to the other side facing the wall in my dream, there was a jump cut to me texting a friend about a movie than before I know it I get thrown out of bed. I can’t talk but only a little same with moving then manage to yell and run out my room! I grabbed my food as I ran out (I had leftover take out today) and by my door, I saw my dorm neighbor going back to his room (that I rarely see) and I apologize to him for some reason and he replied its cool. I then walk to the end of the hallway of where I love (looks very different) I walk a bit then go back inside to then waking up on my side on the same sleeping position in that dream. I was afraid to move at first because it felt so real and unrealistic at the same time.

  22. What is the difference between our dreams and our so-called awakened state? Are they not both being witnessed by the same “awareness”? Do they not both feel real as we are experiencing them, and are they not both temporary experiences… Even now, we are in a dream, dreaming that we are awake!

    • When i have these kinds of dreams, it always feels so real. i don’t remember specific details, but i can always feel myself moving and trying to get up, but my eyes can only ever see the same thing. so ill be trying to call someone on my phone and i know that my phone is in my hand because i can feel it and even hear it, but my eyes can only see what was in front of me when i was laying down. one time, i couldnt breathe anymore and i woke up calling out for my roommate because i thought i was having a heart attack. interestingly, i only have dreams like this when i sleep during the day, so i guess they’re easy to avoid. i just woke up from one of these dreams where i kept asking siri to call someone to help me but she kept calling random people who weren’t even in my contacts. i could hear my own voice. it felt so real i asked my roommate if i had just been talking. of course, i wasnt. it was all just a dream.

  23. I’ve suffered from insomnia and sleep paralysis through most of my life, and am generally just a terrible (and incredibly light) sleeper. Over the past two years, I’ve developed a sleep pattern where I nap for about an hr a day at about noon, when I can.
    I would dream I was waking up, but I can never get far from where I’m laying. Like, it feels like I’m being sucked backwards on to the bed/couch/wherever. Everything is blurry around me, I can see my own body. And then I will ‘wake up’ realizing ‘oh I was asleep, that’s why I couldn’t get up’, but I’m still asleep! This pattern will repeat ten to twenty times. Each time it happens, a new sound is introduced, and a greater sense of fear is invoked.
    For example:
    I ‘wake up’ unable to move, and I can hear my cat meowing. Try to get up, I can’t.
    I then ‘wake up’ again, and now it’s something loudly banging on the wall, and I’m afraid someone is trying to break in, but I can’t get up, I can’t turn my head. I tell myself I’m asleep.
    I ‘wake up’ and now I’m staring at my blankets, with no sound, and no understanding as to why I was afraid. But I still can’t get up. I can only blink and study my blankets in clarity.
    It goes on and on. At some points I can throw my blankets away, but the minute I start to get up, I’m like stuck in this blurry hyper speed world.

    Nice to know these are called something.

    On a side note: these nested dreams are completely different from my sleep paralysis, but it makes me wonder if I’m stuck in some half way point between wakefulness and sleep paralysis in these dreams, because they definitely are not pleasant.

  24. So I just had a false awakening I was dreaming and knew I was dreaming and wanted to wake up so I did but it was into another dream it felt real at first it was in my bed in my room where I fell asleep so I thought it was real I pulled my phone from under my pillow and was looking stuff up on google when I realized that I couldn’t read the screen so I knew I was in another dream this happens every other day when I take a nap and then I get this long ringing in my ear or head whenever I notice I’m in a dream anyways I told myself to wake up again and it was into another dream but I knew I was dreaming soon as I wake up in my bed again because my ear was still ringing and I couldn’t move so I seen my finger right next to my face so I was able to move it this time and put it to my tongue and then after moved it closer between my teeth and bite but I didn’t feel anything everything started shaking so I calmed down because I remember reading this post and after the shaking stopped and the ringing in my head stopped I tried to force myself awake and then the ringing and shaking intensified to a higher point then it was at in the first place so I started screaming my wife’s name who was in the bed sleep next to me over and over and over until I could hear It in the real world and then she heard me but it was just a whisper that made it thru and when she said “what babe” I finally woke up fully …. every time this happens I get a ringing in my head or ears why is this has anyone else had this happen to them so I can understand it better

    • Literally had the same dream except I started thinking I was actually dead since I couldn’t manage to wake myself up like I usually do. I started just hoping that someone would find my body at least because I didn’t want to stay earthbound lol and then today I got stuck again and it has led me here. Today as soon as I noticed I was dreaming I started experiencing false awakenings and paralyzation and I got to the point where it was just total darkness and I felt I couldn’t breathe and I started focusing on catching my breath and eventually woke up.

    • I experience exactly the same and find it really unsettling. I get the loud ringing noise in my head when I become aware I’m asleep (or the presence of the ringing tells me I’m dreaming) and at this point things in the dream environment become “different”. to reality. I feel the heaviness in my eyes as I’m trying to wake up in each false awakening and find myself in yet another false awakening. This cycle seems to go on all night, but when I do manage to really wake up I usually haven’t actually been asleep for very long. My movements in the dream become difficult, if I try to fall out of bed to wake up I fall in slow motion for a long time and land softly so I don’t wake up. I have tried just “going with “ the dream which has resulted in some good lucid dreaming on occasion, but it’s difficult to keep control of that. I think the fact that you’re unsettled by actually being aware you’re dreaming means unsettling things start to happen while you’re dreaming and just make you want to wake up more! I do find this happens more when I’m feeling stressed or anxious. People think I’m crazy when I try to explain it, so I am comforted when others describe experiencing the same things!

  25. So I’ve had ‘night terrors’ & ‘sleep paralysis’ for years now. But this past month I’ve seemed to be getting a completely different type of dream, and from reading this article I seem to be getting nested dreams!! One night I woke up in my bed around 4 times but each time I was waking up inside my dream. My whole body was a dead weight and I could hear things going on around me and voice’s right next to me. After the fourth time re wakening I seemed to have managed to say ‘wake up Meg, wake up Meg’ around probably 10 times and I woke myself up!!! That thought of that is so crazy. Night terrors what I’ve had since I was little, I’ve never been able to wake myself up from. So the way I’m able to do it now is mind blowing to me. I am so hoping that I can step into a lucid dream the next time I have a nested dream. Thank you so much for this article as it’s really out my mind at ease!!

  26. Went to bed two hours ago. I play Rainbow Six Siege, my dream was about me like in a ranked match i think, I’m not sure, I was holding an F2 i think. And then all of a sudden some guy was talking about how if i didn’t give my age then i would die and i was entering my age in sorta 1980s spinner. Then i could see through my shut eyes in my bed. I heard panting, and saw a great dane walk up to my bed and that’s when i woke up i think. I shut my eyes tighter and started yelling in my head “Wake up wake up wake up” and woke up after about 5 tries. It felt so real. I genuinely thought i was going to have a heart attack.

  27. Had several “nested dreams” tonight while on nightshift at work. I support adults with mental health illnesses and in the dreams, I kept seeing one of the people I support go out the smoking door but when I said his name it was someone else breaking in. This happened in every dream but they all had different stories from there on out, the worst and most vivid being a bunch of drug addicts breaking in. For some reason, my dogs and my boyfriend were in the building and I had to get my dogs out to my car then text my boyfriend saying we needed to get out of there.

    I estimate that I was “stuck” for about an hour and a half and when I finally woke up I said my coworker’s name loudly to make sure I was awake. Apparently, I was talking a few times but she couldn’t really make out what I was saying. In my dreams, I was struggling to call out to my dogs or scream so I wonder if that’s what I was saying.

    I usually only have these dreams when I fall asleep on my back, which I accidentally did tonight. It left me quite shaken for a while.

  28. Weird I came across this article as well as I’ve just woken up 10 minutes ago from this sort of dream started of as normal with my friend whom I’ve known for years and my kids in a weird what felt like foreign town knowing I had to go pick my lil uns up from school I fell asleep on the sofa in that first dream just to think I was actually waking up for real when I end up waking up on the end of a bed in another dream a grey old looking dog with black ears and black patch on his back smallish with a green eye on the left I realised then I was still dreaming I took this opportunity to go into the next room where I saw my grandad sitting in the corner reading the paper in a brown leather chair table to his left had silver legs and a green top with an old brown cassette player on the table looked to the opposite side of the room my grandad was sitting to see white bookshelf fill of books then from under the table my old dog lady was there was nice to see her again I even called her name shes not with us now but I found this interesting and was happy to see her then I walked back into the room where I woke up where the bed was and I saw my other dog jenna english Springer spaniel again was shocked in my dream happy to see her then the old grey dog who I’ve now found out was benji one of my mums old dogs who came up to me and touched my nose with his I kinda started panicking a bit just before but that touch of the nose woke me up properly. I know this sounds weird but obviously I needed to find out about it so I found this article I didn’t have a bad experience to be fair but still a bit panicky once I realised I couldn’t wake up but now I look at it I’m glad to have had that experience :)

  29. Just this morning I woke thinking that the get-together at a restaurant with some MS colleagues I dreamt about really happened. As soon as I woke up, it struck me that I had no memory of paying the bill and saying good-bye to my friends! Embarrassed and bewildered by this memory lapse–and the possibility that I stiffed them–I resolved to call one of them and apologize, until I gradually realized it had only been a dream. It wasn’t the first time I woke thinking a dream really happened.

    Several years ago I woke up convinced that there was a kitten living in the back seat of my car that I had ignored and neglected for a full two weeks. I even had (false) memories of two times I heard it mewing from the back seat while pulling out of a grocery store parking lot, and did absolutely nothing to tend to the poor little thing. Now I woke with the terrible thought that it has probably starved to death. Mortified and ashamed, I got up and dressed–it was 4 a.m.–went to my car and opened the passenger door, expecting to smell rotting flesh. There was none. On the way back to my apartment, I slowly realized I had dreamt the whole thing. I soon put together the cause. I’d been repressing feelings of guilt and shame for several years that I neglected caring for my mother during the early stages of her final illness. She suffered in silence for weeks until my sisters were available to help and mom was delivered into professional care.

    What’s more, I have multiple sclerosis (MS) and work as a patient advocate. I’ve written several articles about sleep dysfunction, which is just one among the many symptoms MS causes. My research and content have focused on personal experiences plus what I’ve read about possible causes from sleep study technicians–nothing like what you have shared above, so I’m really grateful for your insights here.

    I’ve had nested dreams/other false awakenings/sleep paralysis; auditory and visual hallucinations while caught between sleep and full wakefulness; and recurring nightmares caused by traumas that I denied in my waking life, and which resolved when the issues finally surfaced during my waking life and I had to face them.

    Many of the experiences your other commenters have described ring true for me as well.

    I’d like to subscribe to your blog but I don’t see an option for that. Anyway, I’m so glad I found your page! –Best, Kim

    • I thought I saw my stepdad walk through the living room carrying water bottles but when I got up I told my mother she told me she didn’t see him I think I was dreaming it freaked me out.

  30. Just had a false awakening experience for the 3rd or 4th time!.. in my dream I suddenly became aware that I was sleeping, I desperately wanted to wake up and I could not open my eyes.. every time I opened my eyes in my dream I was somewhere else, wearing something else. I remember specifically being in my old bedroom at my mom’s, I remember feeling that I had a backpack on and, absolutely freaked out cuz I had no idea how I got there. I started to cry and my heart was racing.. then I remembered again, that I was asleep I forced myself to ever where I had fallen asleep and put that image in my head.. slowly the image of my living room appeared, and I was finally awake! It was the most intense experience I’ve ever had!! The most aware I’ve ever been while sleeping! But that is not my first or only experience!

  31. My false awakenings seem slightly different- I always end up realising I’m asleep because within the dream my vision is hazy (as if I’m seeing through my eyes half closed) and my movements are really sluggish (as if I’m half paralyzed)

    So far, I’ve always been too concerned with trying to actually wake up to think about turning it lucid- although in some ways they already are in the minutes before I realise I’m asleep- for example, within the dream I will be trying to get out of bed but can only drag myself with great effort out and onto the floor, I have to use the walls to try to claw my way to standing- and for me it only ever happens when I have gotten too much sleep or am having a nap.

    Does anyone experience them like this? (Heavy body and broken sight?)

    • yes, I get that exact experience! I remember one particular loop where I kept “waking up” over and over again in my bed, but I could never get very far from my room; usually, i couldn’t even get out of bed because my limbs wouldn’t cooperate. sometimes I couldn’t find the doorknob or the light switch. there was even one iteration where a friend suddenly came into the room and pushed me back down to the ground after I’d managed to get up!

    • Ok, freaky. I have ALMOST the same exact thing happen to me only when I take naps. I will have my false awakening but all my eyes can see is a frozen image and In the dream, I can “feel” myself moving my arms and trying to move but the image is stuck and my body feels like it’s moving in slow motion or feels very heavy. I’m panicking that I am aware I’m sleeping but can’t wake myself up to see the image properly. Once I wake up for real, I feel dizzy, drained and disoriented.
      It’s so horrible.

    • Heavy body for sure. It’s like I’ve had a stroke. Sometimes all I can do is barely sit up. I struggle to speak. Like It takes all my strength to yell out raspy shouts which is actually me weirdly sleep talking. It scares the hell out of anyone I may be sleeping near. I call out to people I’m partially aware that are in the room or nearby and sometimes they are present in the dream as well. I beg for them to wake me up. The dream presence of them just makes it worse. It’s only when yelling catches the attention of them in the waking world that I get any relief. It’s miserable.

    • Yes, I have the vision thing, but it’s like everything is darker than normal. We have a streetlight outside our bedroom window, so there’s a faint glow around the edge of the blackout blind. If I’m having a lucid dream or false awakening then that glow isn’t there, the room feels darker than usual and there’s an ominous feel to everything. Also, I get the heavy sluggish movement, another clue that I’m not actually awake. Once I’ve figured out I’m dreaming, I try hard to wake myself up because I don’t particularly enjoy the experience.

      Had a false awakening last night, hence me finding this website today. I dreamt I was out of bed, pacing around the bedroom. I went downstairs, floating rather than walking, but the usual shadowy outlines of the furniture were shimmering, so in my dream I decided I didn’t want to see any more of that, and went back upstairs. Thankfully it didn’t take too long to wake up after that. The bedroom felt calm, and the glow from the streetlight was back, so I knew I was actually awake, and my wife assured me I hadn’t been out of bed pacing around the room.

      All very strange, glad I’m not the only one!! :o)

    • This is EXACTLY what I was trying to look up. This has happened to me a number of times. I feel like I know that I’m asleep and I’m trying to wake myself up but I can’t keep my eyes open and I can barely move my body. When I do finally wake up (for real), it feels as if I’ve literally pulled myself out of the dream with great effort.

  32. so the other day i was asleep in bed.. and i knew i was asleep but i got off the bed and started walking around i remember pinching myself to see if what was happening was real.. i couldn’t feel the pinch but i seen myself doing it.. then i woke up a little freaked out but more interested so i went back to sleep and it happened again everything was so vivid .. in this dream/ false awakening i could feel touches but not pain.. like i could feel pleasure.. then i remember i was running outside then i somehow ended up in this hospital. i wasn’t hurt i have no clue why i was there.. but i was looking at the clock and it said 12pm and i remember thinking i have to get back cause i have to go to work in real life and if it was 12 i was late.. so somehow i woke myself up and i walked out to the living room where my bf was and i was telling him the whole thing from start to finish.. i was questioning whether or not i was truly awake cause that’s how vivid this was.

  33. It is possible that I can suddenly change the plot of my dreams when I experience that I’m dying in my dream, and it’s like I’m sleeping but I’m aware that I’m having a dream. And I don’t think it’s a lucid dream, it’s different.

    • Idk exactly what the dream was about but something creepy was happening I guess kinda idk. Then I went outside at night in the dark and cold and a little snow to get toys my child left outside and heard/saw a glimpse of what might have been a coyote so I ran back. When I got back I went into a regular door instead of the garage type door bc it closed fast. And as soon as I closed it a scraping/banging noise started. And I’ve had real sounds end up in my dreams before that wake me up so I was trying to wake up and open my eyes but I got my husband up and he went to check it while I kept trying to wake up all the way and after a few minutes the noise stopped but I didn’t hear him downstairs anymore so I got up and he was laying in the bed asleep.

  34. Does anybody ever wake up from a dream and still see parts of their dream in their waking life until they dissolve into thin air? It’s happened multiple times now where I was dreaming about something before I woke abruptly and I would see a person or object from the dream in my room. One time I dreamt I walked into a spider web. I woke up trying to get the webs off my face and I saw a glowing orange web as I opened my eyes and it floated away and disappeared over the course of a few seconds. Sometimes I’ll see people or animals too. I’m just not sure what to think of it all

    • Omg yess I have this problem. But with mine I saw this huge hand as I was staring at my pillow and seconds later it was just my pillow.

  35. It starts with hearing someone in the room as I sleep. But I can’t move or talk to tell them to wake me up so I’m stuck still. Then I start to panic and fear I won’t wake up. And soon I have a false awakening, and I go downstairs to tell my parents to wake me up, but they say I’m already awake. I explain, “We are like How the Grinch Stole Christmas and we are but living on a snowflake and while this life lasts you thousands of years, it is merely seconds of falling in mine.” Then I wake and try more methods for them to wake me up. I’m stuck in a loop. And this is separate, but before I woke up in real life, I felt that I was laying with someone in the same state of being frozen like before. So basically every time this happens it ends how it began the last time this happened to me, because last time this happened I was laying with my boyfriend. There is a pattern to these dreams, but why. I absolutely hate them and I’m so tired, but there’s no way I can go back to sleep now.

  36. I’m 33 years old. Apparently from reading this I just experienced nested dreams. I was at my mother’s house and my children were sleeping in the other rooms here. In actuality, this is where we are staying tonight. Back to the dream. I saw some sort of apparition. Be it a ghost or demon. I woke up. Left the room I’m sleeping in, but hit my knees and could only crawl. I was trying to get to my daughter’s room. Something was pulling me back. I woke up again. Wiped my head and said goodness. It was only a dream. Now I walk out and there are huge dogs growling at me and I tell my mother about the dream I had of the demon, the dogs growl louder. She asked if I thought it was Jessica. I asked who was Jessica?. She replied that she was my ex. We had been in an accident together and she passed as a result. The apparition appears again in my mother’s room. Only this time making some growling noises. I wake back up again. Walk out the bedroom door and somehow end up in the back of a truck. My ex-fiance Kristen is there. She tells me to grab the baby. I reach for the baby and he’s headless. I start screaming and asking where his head was and she talks as if it’s ok. It’s detachable or something. The baby dies. I wake back up in the bedroom. This time I’m back to crawling to my mother’s room. Crying and screaming bc this demon has me again. It’s walking behind me as I crawl. I look at my mother in her doorway crying it’s behind me. Then my voice goes from my regular tone to me almost speaking in tongue. I escape to some kinda mythical land where Kristen and I are holding each other. Then I really wake up. I’ve had crazy dreams before but this tops em all. I had to get it out while I still had full recollection. Mind you I looked at my clock before I started writing this and all of it took place in twenty mins of being asleep. I’m about to get in bed with one of my children lol. I’m glad y’all had the spot for me to get it out of my head in writing while I looked up what the meaning could’ve been. Thank you

    • Oooo wow and along comes me, some kind of witch taunting me flying around the room can’t see it attacking me, I roll over see my son in my bed. I realise I’m dreaming think I wake up for my son to be jumped in by the witch I then slap it realising it’s my son. I start speaking in tongues have squashed my son he’s not breathing think about ending my life. The witch’s arm comes out my son like I hear the words gods not forever and then I finally wake up. My son is in his own bed! No one can tell me no different them realms to dam real to not be real. Thank god I come back to this one……..p.s it’s my third false awakening dream this past couple of weeks. I’ve had a few of the years. This week I’m stressed though and have had caffeine before bed and paracetamol and sumatriptan for migraine. U? X

  37. I’m a 17 y/o girl. id say i woke up at like 4 am and slept back. sleeping back is often hard for me also i was restless, had one off from college so i decided to force myself to sleep bc i knew i was tired.. anyways
    i had 2 normal dreams but after the second one i realised that i know that it’s a dream and i could control it so i controlled that dream but woke up from that one into another and controlled that too.. then woke into another & another until i controlled like 5 dreams in a row
    but after that i started getting a little scared because 1) it’s been too long to be in sth that’s not real and 2)the control was slowly ending.. now the dream would do what it wants. this has happened to me before so i didn’t panic i just tried to go with it til i could actually wake up.
    another 5? false awakenings later i tried to do something myself. i tried to scream. i couldn’t. all that would come out was air. i tried to scream just cus i thought my sister who’s (actually) sleeping next to me would help. another false awakening later i tried to scream again so hard, ‘got up from my bed’, did random movements in panic and finally, i could actually scream. but nothing happened. because i was still screaming in my dream.
    i got so desperate to wake up that i would pick characters in my dream like my siblings and my mom and ask/tell them it’s not real. i was scared bc i thought they’d turn into sth scary so i wouldn’t interact with them too much.
    a couple more false awakenings later, i told my mom everything (in my dream) and told her im trapped what do i do.. she didn’t help.. maybe she just couldn’t but then one other false awakening (that was just one split second of a scary dark figure in my bedroom) later, i finally woke up.. but i was tired so i didn’t wait before going back to sleep and got stuck again. happened twice so finally i have decided to not sleep back.
    those were 15 false awakenings (to say the least) in a row. could be wrong with the sequence and didn’t mention what the dreams were but most of the dreams were scary bc when i started finding clues that it isn’t real, things would scare me. the rest were just creepy based on fears i didn’t even know i had.. and the others were weird and terrible like the ones u can’t tell anyone. only the first 2 were like normal dreams and like 2 other were lucid.
    this happened before but it’s worse now & longer and more distressing. ik it’s long lol whoever read it thanks for listening. i couldn’t find a shorter way to write this i still have my head & breath kinda heavy

    • Hi, I’m 19 and I’ve had this kind of thing happen twice. Except when I fake wake up, I can’t move and I hear stuff going on around me. Then I keep waking up over and over again. Eventually, I figure out it’s a dream, but it’s still scary. At first, I thought it was some kind of sleep paralysis, I’m glad that I’m not alone.

    • Hey, I have that, too. Mostly I have Strange scary feelings, and if I am afraid too much, my parents rush to the door and make creepy noises or they try to chase me. When my feelings are only a little bit negative, I try to go through the living room and jump off the balcony, to escape the scary house. The nice wake up, and all that scary stuff happens again. Now I don’t wanna sleep anymore. Sorry for my bad English, I’m german.

  38. I am not sure where to categorize my experiences. And it is a regular happening. In so much that I try to avoid afternoon naps – even though I might be bone tired.

    These experiences almost always happen in a noon or afternoon nap.

    I become aware that I am sleeping and dreaming. Then almost immediately I became aware of my surroundings. And it is my exact reality. My house, people talking, dog barking etc. And I know I have to wake up – but can not move.

    Then I force myself to wake up. Put the kettle on, even talk to whoever is nearby – just to realize I am still dreaming. So the struggle starts, dreaming that force me awake, doing stuff, and then find myself paralyzed in bed still. This repeats itself over and over until I eventually really wake up.

    By that time my head feels like stale cotton and is hurting like hell and I am exhausted. Like a zombie then for at least 2 days.

    Would this then be sleep paralysis going over in false awakening and visa versa in a circle?

    • Ahh this is me! Stubbled across this article for the exact reason. I had a nap and ended up in one of those horrible states. A lot of the time I’m battling with bad things happening, like a reality check, the moment I realise, crap I’m still sleeping, bad things start to happen, such as someone starts breaking in or something like that. This time it was a ghost controlling my movements. All so very strange and I feel like I’ve been stuck on a loop for hours! When I do really wake up I am so panicked and thankful to be really aware, I daren’t fall back to sleep no matter how tired I am. It’s exhausting in itself!

      • This is so similar to me! I think I had a false awakening then stumbled onto this website.
        I realised I was still asleep in my dream and I couldn’t open my eyes in my dream and because I knew for a fact that my front door wasn’t locked from when my partner left for work.. in the dream I heard footsteps and thought it was my partner and was screaming out to myself to wake up, because I was dreaming that I was asleep in the exact same position that I was… Then I finally woke up!! Was intense.

  39. I had one false awakening in my life, although I do have scary things sometimes at night. This daytime one was not scary. I was a teen or in my early twenties, still living at home, and sleeping in the basement because it was hot in the summer. My parents had gone to work. I woke up, I thought, and started up the stairs. That’s when I realized I was light, which is always my indicator that I’m “in this state.” I saw through the windows that it was a cloudy day. I went to the kitchen. The stove clock said 11:10. I started trying to see how high I could jump in my weightless state. It was kind of like jumping on a trampoline. Each time I went higher until everything around me was gray, although I don’t remember going through the ceiling, attic, or roof. I felt that I should go back and instantly dropped back into my body and sat up with a gasp, awake. I could see through the windows that it was cloudy out, and when I went to the kitchen, the stove clock said 11:15. About five minutes had passed since I had looked at it in the “state.” I only wished that I had thought, when I discovered my lightness on the stairs, to go back and look at the couch I was sleeping on to see if my body was there.

  40. I’ve been struggling with nested dreams which I sometimes believe move through episodes of sleep paralysis since I was 13. I’m 29 now and lately, it feels like it has been getting worse. I wake up so tired like I barely slept at all. I use to feel like if I slept on my side and recognized when it happened, I could awaken easily. I did. I do this think stress and pain seem to amplify these episodes more. I try my best to soothe, sleep earlier, listen to meditation music, self-talk, journal, but my anxiety about it doesn’t go away. I try to forget what I see often to have it be easier to go back to sleep. Last night, I remember waking up in a dream trying to move, smile, and just felt as though I was discombobulated (if that makes sense). I thought I woke up plenty of times only to realize I didnt. I finally woke up to see it was 3:13am ..understanding I had finally woken up. Often I think, I did wake up but I am in such a trans of sleep as well that it is hard for me to actually get up because all my mind wants to do is go back to sleep. I often hear familiar voices in these dreams, voices on TV, of family, friends, workers..it’s so strange. I really would like to be a person that can get up nice and early and get the day started but this makes it so hard. I know something is probably bothering me at my core and facing it is difficult – I wonder if this holds similar for others..even if I have a good day..sometimes I am aware something is still bothering me. A few years back, I think i was so anxious I woke up with my hands clasped around the head board really tight and I had to unwire my fingers around it when I woke up. I dont see extremely scary things but more so eerie some nights and other nights just feels like someone is messing with me and I see playful things. I have often found tuning into myself when I am really aware that it’s a dream, finding a way to not panic, and then calling on to God or believing in my own power works. I also think the part about it being a mental rehearsal is true, I have had that happen at times..where I am stressed about a situation and see that play out multiple times until I actually wake up.