Kris from Reality Shifter has posted a thought provoking article about false awakenings and lucid dreams.
She describes the false awakening as occurring:
when you”re dreaming and believe you”ve woken up when in actuality you are still dreaming and only dreamed of waking up. You “wake up” and begin to go about your daily routine ” visit the bathroom, brush your teeth, get dressed, etc. ” until eventually you realize you”re still dreaming.
At that point, you may slip into a completely new dream or you may wake up from the dream for real this time. Or, even more intriguingly, you may have another false awakening and believe you”ve woken up when instead you”re still dreaming and once again only dreamed of waking up.
This phenomenon can be pretty scary because you”re not expecting it. I remember one false awakening I had in which I sat up in my bed, stood up and then fell through the floor into a bottomless cavern. Guess that was a dream after all…
If you”re interested in reading more about this bizarre feature of dreaming life, be sure to check out Keith Hearne and David Melbourne’s classic article, as well as Hearne’s method of inducing these experiences on purpose. Both of these resources are over twenty years old but since this field is so marginalized, little is still known about this state’s properties and possibilities.