A false awakening is a phenomenon in which the scene of the dream changes into that of the dreamer waking up, usually in his or her own bed. They seem to be most common in a Wake Induced Lucid Dream. This can be very misleading to the dreamer, who thinks he or she has woken up, but is still actually dreaming. False awakenings are very common, especially during lucid dreams. A dreamer can have several false awakenings in a row.
For some people false awakenings are their mainmethod of becoming lucid.
Dealing with false awakenings
There are three main ways to confirm that you are dreaming.
First, if you doubt it, you’re most likey dreaming. If you don’t know if you’re dreaming or not, especially after getting out of bed, you’re probably dreaming. Usually, we’re pretty good at discerning this kind of thing. So if you catch yourself wondering “Is this a dream?”, the answer is yes.
Second, test your memory. Try to remember the address of your current location, or your cell phone number. If you can’t come up with these details, you’re probably dreaming. Long term memory activation in REM sleep makes these details hard to get to. Some people suggest doing a “reality check” in the dream by confirming that “everything is in order.” This can be unreliable. We often do not notice incongruities, and assume we’re awake when we are in a dream version of our bedroom. Sometimes there are incongruities but sometimes not. The lucid dream world is just as real as waking life to the brain.
Third, the threshold test. This is a caveat to the reality check method. Often, walking through a threshold can break the spell of a false awakening because the next room will turn out not to be the bathroom or the hallway, but another bizarre room or a place from your past.
Reason behind false awakenings
Recurring false awakenings can have several reasons, but the most prominent of them is excessive worrying about the following day. For example, being stressed about a test/job interview going on the next day can make you dream of it. This way, your mind will simulate everything you do daily when you wake up, in the dream, fooling you into believing it is real. For that matter, a lucid dreamer is advised to test reality whenever he/she wakes up.