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Spiritual concepts

False awakening

 

A false awakening is a vivid and convincing dream about awakening from sleep, while the dreamer in reality continues to sleep. After a false awakening, subjects often dream they are performing daily morning rituals such as cooking, cleaning and eating. A subset of false awakenings, namely those in which one dreams that one has awoken from sleep that featured dreams, take on aspects of a double dream or a dream within a dream.

A false awakening may occur following a dream or following a lucid dream.  If it follows a lucid dream, the dreamer may start to wonder if they are really awake and may or may not come to the correct conclusion. In a study by Harvard psychologist Deirdre Barrett, 2,000 dreams from 200 subjects were examined and it was found that false awakenings and lucidity were significantly more likely to occur within the same dream or within different dreams of the same night.

Certain aspects of life may be dramatized, or out of place in false awakenings. Things may seem wrong: details, like the painting on a wall, not being able to talk or difficulty reading -  reading in lucid dreams is often difficult or impossible. In some experiences, the subject's senses are heightened, or changed.

Because the mind still dreams after a false awakening, people may dream they wake up, eat breakfast, brush their teeth, and so on; suddenly awake again in bed (still in a dream), begin morning rituals again, awaken again, and so forth.

The philosopher Bertrand Russell claimed to have experienced "about a hundred" false awakenings in succession while coming around from a general anaesthetic.

 

Observations

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