Nested Dreams Within Dreams

Updated on June 20, 2019
Howard Allen profile image

Howard is a regular lucid dreamer. He likes finding ways to increase his lucid episodes and enjoy the dream world.

Have you ever woken up and started your day—got dressed and headed for the bathroom or kitchen—only to wake up again?

Confused, you lie there for a while, trying to figure out what happened. It felt so real, but here you are still in bed.

Still feeling a bit unsettled, but relieved that's all over, you swing your legs out of bed and stand up, ready to get the day going . . . and then you wake up again.

Having a single false awakening is disorienting enough, but having several in a row is downright baffling. What's going on?

In this article, we'll take a look at nested dream:

  • meanings,
  • experiences,
  • causes,
  • prevention, and
  • induction.

Just because you're getting breakfast ready doesn't mean you're awake.
Just because you're getting breakfast ready doesn't mean you're awake. | Source

What Do Dreams About Waking Up Mean?

First, be aware that the possible meanings of a false awakening aren't scientific. These are the traditionally accepted interpretations for this type of dream. Whether you accept any of these meanings, or believe dreams have any meaning at all, is totally up to you.

The usual interpretation for dreaming about waking up is that you're not paying the proper attention to something in your life. This could mean you're not:

  • using an ability to its full potential,
  • recognizing an opportunity,
  • or handling something that needs to be dealt with.

This traditional interpretation is closely related to familiar expressions about waking up, such as:

  • Wake up and smell the coffee.
  • Wake-up call.
  • Wake up to (something).
  • Open your eyes.
  • An eye opener.

The dream is figuratively telling you to wake up, open your eyes, and start paying attention! There's something that needs to be tackled or developed further.

What Are Dream Loops Like?

They're usually very ordinary, consisting of whatever you'd normally do upon waking up. Typical activities include getting dressed, showering, eating, and going to the bathroom.

People who have a problem with bed-wetting could find false awakenings problematic. Urinating in your dream can cause you to pee yourself in bed. If this ever happens to you, it's good to be in the habit of reality checking every time you enter a bathroom. In my experience, dream urination has a heightened physical feeling. You could also come to recognize this sensation before it's too late.

Alternately, some double dreams have a more ominous vibe. They can feel like a less intense version of sleep paralysis. You can move and things seem mostly normal, but there's a strange feeling around you. This off-putting sensation can sometimes be a trigger for a lucid dream.

If you find yourself completely wrapped up in the dream experience, as we usually are, nested dreams can be highly confusing and a cause of anxiety. Panic can set in as you feel like you're never going to wake up.

What Causes Dreams Within Dreams?

It's not known what brings on these episodes. They seem to be more likely on nights when the sleeper experiences a lucid dream. It can form the beginning or the end of the lucid dream, or it can happen in a different cycle.

Some people say they have them more often when they're feeling anxious or excited about the next day.

How to Prevent a False Awakening

The simplest way to prevent them is to catch the first one. You'd have to be in the habit of reality checking every time you wake up to achieve this.

The other obvious preventative measure is good sleep hygiene, which involves relaxing before bed, having a consistent pre-bed routine, and having a comfortable and quiet room, among other things. This is a good subject to research if you have any kind of sleep disturbance.

Waking to a slightly threatening atmosphere could mean you're in a dream loop.
Waking to a slightly threatening atmosphere could mean you're in a dream loop.

Is Dreaming About Dreaming Abnormal?

Fortunately, no. Many people report having this type of dream. It's normal to dream of a wide variety of unsettling things, and this seems to just be one of them.

Of course, that's assuming that this type of dream doesn't occur frequently, or that it doesn't have an excessive number of layers. If I had a nested dream with 20 false awakenings, I would start to think something was wrong. If you experience them to an excess, it might be worth getting a professional opinion.

What's the Highest Number of False Awakenings Someone Has Had?

People's claims about this are impossible to confirm. It would be possible to get an experienced lucid dreamer to induce this situation, but that's a bit different.

I've read of people claiming to have more than 10 in a row. The most amount of dreams within dreams I've heard claimed was from Bertrand Russell. In his book Human Knowledge, he says he had about a hundred false awakenings in one session. This was under the influence of an anesthetic, though, so that's also a bit of a different situation.

How to Have a False Awakening

If we could induce nested dreams, we'd be able to transition into lucidity quite easily. Unfortunately, I'm not aware of any reliable method of causing a false awakening from a regular dream.

If we're already lucid, though, a false awakening could be triggered as a dream extension technique. As the dream is fading out, we could say, “When I wake up, I'll still be dreaming”. This should be enough to remind us to reality check upon waking up.

This transition could also be used in a lucid dream that takes a bad turn. If things get unpleasant and out of control, spinning while thinking of waking in a dream could work. Keeping your gaze on a fixed point is also effective for breaking up a dream scene. Thinking about waking up while doing this could create a new dream scene.

My Experience With False Awakenings

Mine have been fairly standard. I've had a few where I start my morning routine only to have it restart, and I've had the other type that feel a bit foreboding.

When I was younger I occasionally had the dream urination ones that led to a partial bed-wetting. Now, I recognize that feeling and can avoid them.

My more recent false awakenings have led to lucid dreams because I recognize the problem now when the second one occurs. I'll sometimes catch the ominous ones on the first occurrence. The sort of atmospheric irregularity they have is well set in my mind from my sleep paralysis experiences.

Like some of you, I'd like to have more nested loops because they're an excellent dream sign. But it seems we don't have much say in the matter. However, we can learn to use the ones we get to our advantage.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, exemplore.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://exemplore.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)