The False Awakening Loop: Why We Get Stuck In Dreams (Experiencing Dream Loops)

Blog Post by

The False Awakening Loop: Why We Get Stuck In Dreams (Experiencing Dream Loops)

Sleep paralysis is actually a harmless disturbance in our sleep cycle although it may feel like it is trapped in a bad dream, and people who suffer from sleep deprivation, trauma, anxiety or depression have a higher risk of experiencing sleep paralysis.

If you are caught in a repetitive loop of false awakening, sleep experts advise trying to wake yourself up by wobbling your toes, moving your limbs, blinking, or performing complex physical maneuvers such as dream running or dancing. False awakening dreams happen in a single REM cycle and can be so vivid and realistic that it feels like you're trapped in a dream.

In a lucid dream, you sleep until you realize that you are dreaming of an awake consciousness (see my previous post about lucid dreams). Open your eyes and assume that you are awake and not dreaming.

When you wake up from your bed and do your normal routine you realize that you are dreaming and that you are awake in real life, that is a false awakening. A dreamer may believe that he or she has woken up before he or she falls back into a dream. He or she seems to have woken up to have breakfast, brush his or her teeth, and get back in bed to begin the daily morning rituals, believing that they have woken up.

Wrong awakening happens after a dream or after a clear dream when no one but the dreamer is aware of the dream. False awakening seems to go hand in hand with lucid dreamers, at the end of the lucid dream and before the reality check that leads to lucid dreams. Wrong awakening after a lucid dream A false awakening turns a pre-lucid dream into a 1) in which the dreamers begin to wonder why they are awake but do not come to the right conclusion.

Many who have lucid dreams experience that they are able to control or even sense of the real world around them, but lucid dreams can become frightening if the dreamer tries to awaken himself. A study of 2,000 dreams by Harvard psychologist Deirdre Barrett, which examined 200 subjects, found that false awakening and clarity are more likely to occur in the same dream than in different dreams in the same night. Wrong waking occurs when hyperarousal (heightened alertness or REM sleep) prevents you from experiencing a typical dream that involves flying, falling, and other surreal events.

At this point, the dreamer might realize that something is not quite right, and this could trigger a true awakening, as he realizes that it is only a living dream.

A false awakening is a living and convincing dream that awakens the sleeping dreamer from a reality that continues to sleep. This kind of false awakening is similar to sleep paralysis, in which one dreams that one wakes up but cannot move or escape a malignant presence in one's room. Wrong awakening is a kind of dream in which the subjects dream of their everyday activities, such as cooking, having breakfast, using the toilet or cleaning up.

Dreams associated with nightmares try to break the spell of continuum. Dreamers seem to realize that they are awake when they are actually asleep. In a loop of false awakening, subjects dream of waking up ten times more than the known time they are actually awake.

The films Inception and A Nightmare on Elm Street show characters waking up as if they were a Russian nesting doll in a false awakening dream. This is a kind of matrix in which one does not dream normally and nothing prevents one from becoming aware that one is caught in an infinite loop. In real life, dreams are dreams, and false awakening is the appearance of a final variant of falling into a dream that leads to awakening in reality.

In one of the dreams I played the figure falls asleep in a dream world, the dream is abstract and trippy, it is very abstract, trippy and deep in the subconscious, and when the deep subconscious awakens the real dream world of the dream continues with all the other things that happened in the dream while the figure was asleep. In the first kind of dream, the dreamers go about their usual daily routine and when they wake up because they feel that the dream was not real. The second type of dreaming consists of monsters and beings that give the dreamers a sense of fear.

Similar to lucid dreaming and sleep paralysis, false awakening is considered to be one of the hybrid or overlapping states of sleep and wakefulness. A false awakening (FA) is a dream or double dream in which the sleeper dreams while he is sleeping and wakes up to a dream that is real while he is sleeping.

Indeed, false awakening is scary, and pop culture is exploiting the fear of being stuck in a dream loop. In our dreams we are able to re-create memories of people, intense emotions and complex situations during the night. Trying to be trapped in dreams from which you can wake up can therefore be a powerful and disturbing experience. The simulation hypothesis is that we perceive true reality as truth or illusion, which is proof of our inability to distinguish between reality and dream.

Other Blog Posts

Our Articles About Dream Meanings and Other Interesting Stuff

  1. All I Dream About Is Food!
    Learn More!
  2. Why Did I Have A Dream About My Boyfriend Cheating On Me?
    Learn More!
  3. What Do Newborns Dream About?
    Learn More!
  4. Why Do People Dream About Other People
    Learn More!
  5. Why Do I Still Dream About My Ex (Ex Dream Meaning)?
    Learn More!
  6. Dreaming About Someone Dream Meaning
    Learn More!
  7. What Does It Mean When You Dream About Your Hair Falling Out
    Learn More!
  8. What Does It Mean When You Dream About Someone Who Is Already Dead
    Learn More!
  9. What Does It Mean When You Dream About Someone Being Pregnant
    Learn More!
  10. What Does It Mean When You Dream About A Family Member Dying?
    Learn More!
  11. What Does It Mean If You Have A Dream About Your Teeth Falling Out
    Learn More!
  12. Spiritual Meaning Of Ring Breaking
    Learn More!
  13. Sleep Paralysis Treatment at Home
    Learn More!
  14. Dreams about God, Jesus and the Bible
    Learn More!
  15. Dream Meaning of Silver Pots
    Learn More!
  16. Dream Meaning Of Pulling Your Own Teeth Out
    Learn More!

Featured Dream

Want to have any of your dreams interpreted? Just subscribe to our YouTube Channel and leave us a comment with a description of your dream and we will interpret it for you FOR FREE!

Discover The Meaning of These Other Dreams


May symbolize balance, grace and flexibility.


To dream of forgiving someone does not necessarily mean you need to forgive that person, it could even mean that you need to forgive yourself and accept your life. If you have been holding on to a grudge you need to let it go and forgive the person!


May be a reminder of someone's birthday in the month of January.


To dream of a dandelion is like seeing a rose through its thorn, they represent joyous places. It means that you’ve turned a bad situation around to the best of your abilities and you are content with things. Giving these pretty weeds represents an understanding of someone or a person who they represent. Whereas receiving dandelions means you look at your relationship with the person who gave you them, or someone who they represent, as a realist. Dandelions can be seen as ugly weeds which need to be eliminated and so dreaming of spraying them would mean getting rid of the imperfections in your life. While blowing on dandelions, suggests that you want to save time want time and wishes it slows down. However, eating them is not a good sign, it means you need to be wary of your health or you will suffer.

Discover the Meaning of your Dreams

Type the symbol or element that caugh your attention during your dream (i.e. sea, baby, flying) to get the meaning and interpretation of that dream from our database of over 50.000 meanings driven by our ONIRIKA (Patent Pending) Artificial Intelligence Software