What Is A False Awakening?

A false awakening is a dream that convincingly feels as though you just woke up. You might even compare them what Bill Murray's character experienced by reliving the same day over and over again, in the film Groundhog Day.

It is quite common for people to experience them involuntarily during the early morning hours. When this happens, you may think your dream is over and that you just woke up, when in fact you are in a new dream. These experiences are usually extremely vivid, making them difficult to notice. 

What Do False Awakenings Feel Like?

Most false awakenings begin by getting up out of bed and starting your morning routine: breakfast, shower, driving to work, etc. The dream forms an identical look and feel to your house and routine, making it extremely realistic!

They usually end innocently as you finally wake up in bed and realize that it was all just a dream. However, they have the potential to turn into a more frightening and even nightmarish situation.

Instead of having just one, it is possible to experience multiple awakenings in succession. When this happens, you feel as though you just woke up and went about your day, only to wake up in another dream, then another dream, and another…

This experience can be very scary as you start to lose a sense of what is real and what is not. Am I really awake or is this still just a dream? Am I forever trapped in this nightmare? How do I get out of here?

How To Stop a False Awakening

Unlike most dreams, where strange and impossible things might occur, false awakenings almost always seem natural. Luckily, there is a simple way of knowing whether you are dreaming or not. Performing a reality check will turn your next realistic dream into a Dream Induced Lucid Dream (DILD).

Reality checks

A reality check is a simple test that is used to determine whether you are awake or dreaming. These tests can be done discreetly throughout the day to increase your awareness and have more lucid dreams.

Get in the habit of performing a reality check every time you wake up in the morning. It is a simple process that only takes a few seconds, and can save you from falsely awakening again. Here are a few examples:

  • Look at your alarm clock. Notice what time is displayed. Does it show the time you normally wake up (7:00 am)? Does it show an odd time (1:15 am) or even an impossible time (13:67 am)? Also, notice how the numbers look. Do they shift or change in any way? Look away from the clock for a second, then look back. Does it still display the same time?
  • Look at your hands. Do you still have 5 fingers? Try to stretch one of your fingers out to an impossible length by pulling on it. Does it stretch or look different?
  • Push your fingers through a solid object. This is one of my preferred reality checks. Simply try to press your fingers through an object, such as your nightstand or your leg. Do your fingers pass through like a ghost or are they met with solid resistance?
  • Look in the mirror. Do you see your reflection? Does it look like you? Does anything seem to change or is it a solid representation?

Make sure you ask yourself “Am I dreaming?” and critically analyze what happens when you perform any reality check. 

Obviously, if you perform these reality checks and experience dreamlike or impossible results, you are quite possibly in a dream. If you find that you are in a dream...you did it! You are now lucid dreaming!


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