Most people have experienced a dream where they thought they were waking up, only to realize later that they were still in a dream state. It’s so common, it’s even used in movies, TV shows, and books for jump scares.
Though most of us can recall it as a TV trope, some people really do have this happen to them. Do you ever worry about what this dream could mean, or if you should see a doctor? Here’s the scoop behind the “false start” dreams…
What Does It Mean If You Dream About Waking Up?
1. Before you assume that anything is spiritual, you should be aware of health issues that can cause this
False start dreams are often a symptom of poor sleeping habits or a sleep disorder. To live a healthy life, your body needs a certain amount of REM sleep, which is a particularly deep type of sleep. If you don’t have many minutes of this type of sleep, you could have problems.
Bad sleep quality can cause things like sleep paralysis, irritability, depression, “false start” dreams, and even disturbing dreams. Unsurprisingly, sleep deprivation, sleep apnea, and insomnia are usually to blame for this
If you recently started noticing that your sleep quality has been going down the tube, it may be time to talk to a sleep specialist. There may be an underlying reason why your sleep cycle is failing or why your dreams seem to be stuck between being awake and asleep.
Certain stimulants, such as caffeine, nicotine, or kava tea, can impact the quality of your sleep as well as the type of dreams you have. Alcohol and other drugs can also contribute to nightmares.
2. In many cases, dreaming about waking up may be a sign that your wakeful state is pressed for time
Most of us have had a moment where we’ve looked forward to a day pretty heavily, or where we’ve felt like we needed to be awake at the right time or else. At times, that feeling of stress can cause a dreamer to dream about waking up early in their dream environment.
This could be a sign that your conscious mind is overburdened or stressed out, and that it’s showing in your subconscious mind too. It’s strange, but it happens to the best of us.
3. At times, it may mean that your regular morning routine has been interrupted
Everyone has a certain routine that they swear by in the morning. When your regular routine is interrupted by something like a vacation, a sudden trip abroad, or even a new member of the family, it can be a very jarring experience.
If you’re not used to a new routine, you may experience a brief sense of hyperarousal, even in your sleep. That can cause you to wake up twice if you get our drift.
4. Dreams of being woken up twice are often seen as a wakeup call of sorts
Do you have repeat dreams where you wake up, only to realize you’re still dreaming? Pop psychology suggests that this could be a sign that there’s something you don’t want to address in real life, such as a habit that is causing you harm.
If you keep dreaming of waking up from a nightmare, only to have the same nightmare themes pop up again in your second dream, this may be a sign you need to have a reality check. You cannot keep doing harmful things without eventually paying the pied piper.
Whether it’s an issue with drinking or just shirking off duties doesn’t matter. What matters is that you recognize that this could be a sign from the universe saying you need to change things up.
5. If you only have this dream in a particular room and have sleep paralysis, it could be a paranormal issue
We all have heard of ghost stories that started with moving to a home and experiencing sleep paralysis for the first time. Often, the dreamer in these stories tends to mention that they started with nightmares that ended in false awakenings, then things got worse.
Did you recently move home, or have to spend some time in a place that gave you a creepy sensation? If you recently took a nap in an area that is haunted, then you may have come into contact with a malevolent being. Now would be a good time to cleanse your room.
6. This type of dream can also be caused by excessive worries
While this is not always the case, there’s a high correlation between anxiety and false awakenings. This is because anxiety can make you think about all the things you need to do rather than have you live in the moment.
Do people call you a worrywart? Worrying is not going to do much for you in the daytime. At this point, your tendency to worry about everything could even be what’s interrupting your sleep. Talking to someone can help you come up with better coping mechanisms.
7. Sometimes, this can be a sign that you had an out of body experience
If you are a believer in more spiritual practice, you might be aware of lucid dreaming and other similar phenomena. One common phenomenon mentioned by others is out of body experiences—where your spirit drifts outside of your body.
If your false awakening dream featured a moment where you were able to look at your bed and see yourself sleeping, it wasn’t a false awakening. You actually may have been experiencing an out of body moment.
Consider yourself lucky if you find out you can get into a different plane of existence. You might have a talent that you didn’t know about!
8. If you find yourself “stuck” in a dream, it could be a sign that your waking life is going through some kind of inertia
A rather scary type of nightmare involves dreaming that you are waking up over and over and over again. Every time you think you’ve woken up, you discover that you’re still in a dream. It’s an alarming nightmare that can make you question reality.
Did you have a dream where you found yourself caught in a loop? This creepy dream is a warning sign that you may feel stuck in a loop in life, too. In some cases, it also may suggest that you feel life feels unreal to you—as if things are too good to be true.
Ask yourself if you have been trying to accomplish something, only to have it pulled away at the last moment. Do you find yourself starting from scratch over and over again? If you feel cornered by your circumstances, this could be how your mind reflects that emotion.
9. If you dream of waking up in a different house, this could be a good sign about yourself
Most dreams that are false awakenings are in the comfort of your own home, but not all are. When you wake up in a random place that isn’t your home, you may have a unique interpretation to your dream worth talking about.
Dreaming of waking up in a different house, or even waking up in a hotel, indicates that you are far more versatile and creative than you think you are. Even when life throws you a curveball, you are able to find a way to bounce back when no one expects you to do it.
If you are unsure of whether this is true, write it down in your dream journal and then get to see how your life unfolds in upcoming days or weeks. You may be surprised at how many moments your versatility helps get you out of a tough bind.
10. Dreams of waking up outside, however, can be a pretty bad warning sign
When you dream of waking up outside of your home on the ground, your subconscious state is trying to give you a warning about your attitude. In this situation, the outdoors represents a primal reaction, possibly rage or obsession, that you’re dealing with in real life.
People call sleeping outdoors “sleeping rough” for a reason. It’s not a nice way to live your life. If you’re dreaming of rough sleeping, then it may mean that you are way too focused on the primal feelings you’re experiencing.
Now would be a good time to reel it in. Relax. Things are not as bad as they seem. Stop taking things so seriously and take time to recalibrate your emotions. You’ll feel better in no time, and also possibly avoid calamity if you do.
Dreams of waking up and false starts can be pretty terrifying. Have you recently experienced “false start” dreams? Tell us what happened in them and your experiences in the comments below.
Sunday 19th of March 2023
I'm a "sensitive" it's been in my family for generations. However my family is very religious and don't really see this as a gift. That being said im learning in my own. I had a very vivid dream that I would feel something watching me, whispers and laughs in a very creepy way. I'd wake up my husband screaming and kicking to wake me up he'd say that it's ok "you are awake see?" Then goes to pinch me but doesn't hurt. I realized I'm still dreaming. I hear the laugh and I wake up again. Everything is the same until the make small changes from pinching to checking my phone and its blank or calling my sister or smacking myself. This goes on about 5-7 wake ups in my drab until finally I do wake up for real. I'm crying not screaming I slap and pinch I feel it so I'm awake but it's 4AM. I'm in a trance of exhaustion and want to sleep but scared that I'd be in the loop again.