Being fooled by false awakenings

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One of the dream state phenomena that people sometimes confuse with lucid dreaming is false awakening. This is the experience of realizing you are dreaming and then waking up, or so you think, because after you thought you woke up you start to notice things aren’t right and are perhaps quite surreal. That’s when you realize you are still dreaming and then wake up for real…or did you? People can get stuck in this cycle of false awakenings, each time not really waking at all but continuing to dream until they realize it and have another false awakening, and so on. The experience can be quite disturbing because you may start to have a sense of panic that you can never really wake up.

It may seem that a dream in which you have a false awakening is a lucid dream, but not really, because in fact you are still dreaming and don’t know it, therefore you are not really lucid. To enter lucid dreaming state you need to have a mental trick you can reliably use as a reality test in case you have a false awakening. Such lucid dreaming techniques can be learned.

If you have frequent false awakenings you will want to learn how to become lucid so avoid the cycle of false awakenings that may happen repeatedly in the same night and cause you to become very tired and frightened.

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