Dream Within a Dream – False Awakening Dream Meaning


“I had a dream within my dream last night!” Having a dream within a dream is an interesting way for your subconscious or unconscious mind to relay certain information to you, or represent something to you the dreamer.  If you go to sleep in your dream and have a dream, it might be a way for your subconscious to change the time-frame or context of the original dream.  It may harken back to a previous situation or a glimpse of a later situation within the original dream.

Another explanation could be to bring added detail to a certain aspect of the original dream, that your subconscious mind wants attention to be brought to.  It should be noted what you dream about within your dream since it could be your inner mind trying to show you something important.

“Well, dreams, they feel real while we’re in them right? Its only when we wake up then we realize that something was actually strange.” – Inception

Besides that, a dream within a dream could be a way for your mind to show you different scenarios or ‘what if’ situations that you would not otherwise think of.  It is a way to expand on ideas that the dreamer would normally consider outside of rational thought.  The dream within a dream might also be an actual diversion from what was happening in the original dream, this may relate directly to the dreamer’s real life, as representing a real life diversion tactic.


A Dream Within a Dream Can Feel Real

By bringing attention to it in this way, you should act on it and resolve it.  Another explanation might be that when you start to dream within your original dream, you are separating yourself from something from before.  This can also have a real life reflection in that it may indicate that you tend to compartmentalize your life, seeing things as separate when perhaps you should not.

Dream Within a DreamBy having a dream within a dream it might also be a mechanism for your subconscious or unconscious mind to protect you from waking up and showing you a hidden but vital issue that you need to confront and recognize.  A dream within a dream can also be considered a false awakening, in that you ‘wake up’ from your dream and proceed to have a semi-lucid dream.

You may not know that you are still dreaming until you wake up for real and the semi-lucid dream may seem so real that you may not even recognize that it was a dream and instead believe it to have happened.  It may not be until later that you realize that it was, in fact, a dream.

Some believe that false awakenings are metaphors for the human condition. The think what you dream about in your dream represents that which makes humans, human.  Since it is your subconscious or unconscious mind running the show, it delves deeper in human understanding and reasoning.

To have a dream within a dream is to undergo a shift in perception and your reality of a situation.  An interesting cinematic example would be the movie Inception, which deals directly with dreaming and explores the ideas of dreaming with a dream.

Note* If you have had a dream related to this dream symbol or would like to add something that is related to this topic please leave a comment below. Comments are a great way to interact with others who are dreaming about similar topics.


About Author

Stephen is a self confessed dream junkie that loves all things dream related. He is a writer for Dream Stop and has been working in the field of dreams for the past decade. He believes that the YOU are the only person who can truly understand the meaning of your dreams. You have to look inside your inner thoughts to find the hidden truths in your dream. These interpretations are for entertainment purposes only. Stephen's interpretations should be considered an opinion, not professional advice.


  1. Ive been having so many, some a really horrible to the point im fighting to wake up but when i do im still in a dream, today it was things in my life but things were different like the room was a different way around etc, i also have times when im still asleep but i am aware of whats going on around me i.e husband getting up and making a cuppa. Sometimes its real sometimes it didnt happen. I am wondering about going to a dream therapist to make sense of them as it is starting to affect me.

  2. I had a dream last night that I was in a restaurant and I forgot my jacket that had my wallet in it and when i walked out the restaurant there was this girl I was super close with but she ended up going down the wrong path and started getting into hard drugs and I felt the blame for this and it’s constantly on my mind and ik i couldve done something about it but i havent talked to her in about 6 months and she walked into the restaurant i was in and when i went back to the restaurant to get my jacket she had it and she was waiting outside for me and then she said we need to talk and then she bursted out crying and talked about what’s she’s done and how many bad choices she’s made and she wishes i stayed by her side and right when we hugged i woke up into another dream where everything seemed off and i had had no idea what was going on. Then i woke up again and this time I actually woke up wondering why it felt so real and why i felt like I needed to talk to her to help her but im not sure if i can make myself do that as i feel like its too late to help her.

  3. I dreamed I was at the front door of what I thought was an empty house in a nice neighborhood. It appeared there were several doors on the porch. I looked down at the step into the entryway and saw a pair of black heels left there by the owner and realized someone did live there. I could smell a mustiness in the entryway. Like the smell of a dirt basement. the next thing I dream is that I am waking up in a bed in the house. I feel a panic that I have done this and I slip out of the house as quickly and quietly as I can before I am “caught”.

  4. a lot of times i dream, it is a dream within a dream. but this time it was different. i had a dream within a dream, then i woke up. but when i woke up in the dream, i had sleep paralysis. once i could finally move i tried to go to my parents room. i tried to scream they’re name but no noise came out. i could not open their bathroom door, and when i turned around, somebody was seizing on the ground, but it was neither of my parents. i woke up in real life terrified. this one was so different because usually when i dream within a dream, the reality is a bit off, but this felt so real

  5. I have had many dreams within a dream. I have been 3 to 4 dreams deep. I hate having these dreams. I realize I am in a dream then I panic. I have a hard time getting back and waking up. I am not in control of any of my dreams. People tell me you can control your dreams but I don’t know how.

    • I had a 3 or 4 layer dream last night. Have you learned anything about theses kind of dreams<I am searching the web with no interesting answer.

Leave A Reply