When we fall asleep, some intriguing and unique things happen, and dreaming is one of them.
Most of us spend one to two hours dreaming in a typical night, but intense and vivid dreams occur when we reach the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage.
There are about three primary stages of the sleep cycle, including waking, Rapid Eye Movement, and Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM).
In each sleep stage, one may have different types of dreams which facilitate brain function, such as memory and emotional dispensation.
Psychologists and dream experts reveal that dreams are an essential part of normal and healthy sleep.
However, some dreams may turn out to be nightmares, which interrupts one’s sleep. Nightmares can also affect the dreamer during the day when they are awake.
One of the strange ways in which people dream is having a dream within a dream.
Many people have had the phenomenon of dreaming in a dream, which leaves them wondering what it means and why it happens.
This article will provide a detailed meaning of a dream within a dream and help you learn why such dreams happen when you sleep.
Dream Within a Dream: What Does It Mean?
A dream within a dream means double dreaming, in a way that you experience an episode of dreaming in another dream.
In this case, the two dreams may be different from each other, or the inner one may be relaying something important to your conscious mind.
After having a dream within a dream, you may wake up confused and anxious about whether you had two dreams or a dream in another dream.
For example, you may dream about sleeping and then have a dream inside the original dream. You may then dream about waking up and carrying out your morning chores.
Deeper Meaning of Dream Within a Dream
Having a dream within a dream can signify that you are missing something in life that may be right in front of you, and you need to pay more attention.
It can be related to the topic or niche you were dreaming about or something new you are to discover.
If you are dreaming with a person and they appear in both dreams, it means that there is more you need to know about them as they may be “wearing a mask.”
When the two dreams are not related, you’ll want to pay more attention to the inner or second dream as it may have a direct meaning in your life.
Double dreaming can be accompanied by lucid dreaming and false awakening. If lucid, dream in a dream can be very enjoyable as you can induce them.
Now, let’s find out what false awakening and lucid dreaming are and how they relate to dreams within dreams.
A false awakening happens when you think you wake up from dreaming, and you start doing what you usually do after waking up. For example, you may begin brushing your teeth or preparing some coffee.
The exciting thing about false awakening is that most people realize that they are just dreaming after a few minutes.
When a lucid dream follows a false awakening, the first dream becomes a pre-lucid dream as you begin to wonder whether you are awake or you were dreaming. But you won’t necessarily conclude.
Sometimes you can have a double false awakening, which appears in the aspect of a dream within a dream.
Lucid dreaming happens when the sleeper is aware that they are dreaming. It ranges from semi-lucid to super lucid.
In semi-lucid dreams, you are usually unaware that you are asleep and dreaming, but you may have a slightly faint level of awareness.
The highest point of lucid dreaming is super lucid. You realize that your mind is purely conscious in this state, but the physical body is still asleep.
Over the past few years, the popularity of induced lucid dreams has grown rapidly. Many people want to fulfill their dreaming wishes, overcome fears, or heal with self-induced lucid dreams.
Various studies reveal that self-induced lucid dreams can help overcome the fear and the stress linked with nightmares and petrifying dreams.
Some experts argue that induced lucid dreams blur the lines between dreams and reality, but more research needs to be done.
If you are wondering why the second dream happens, here are some reasons:
- Adding Details to the Original Dream
Sometimes your dream in a dream can be a way of adding more details to your original dream. This may be about something your conscious mind demands more attention to be paid to.
So, when you have a dream within a dream, your inner mind may be trying to relay some important information to you.
- Portraying Different Scenarios
Along with adding details to the original dream, your dream within a dream may be an effective way to show your mind varied scenarios that you wouldn’t otherwise think about.
Psychologists see these dreams as a way to expand ideas that you would usually consider in regular rational thinking.
It may also be an actual diversion from what is actually happening in the original dream.
In such a situation, the dreams may directly relate to the dreamer’s real-life happenings, representing a physical diversion approach.
- Changing the Context of the Original Dream
Having a dream in a dream is an exciting way your subconscious mind uses to alter the context of the original dream.
If you dream about going to sleep and having a dream, your subconscious mind may be trying to change the time frame or alter the context your initial dream had.
The subconscious mind may think back to a previous circumstance or indicate a later situation within the initial dream.
- Preventing You from Waking Up
A dream in another dream can also be a great mechanism your subconscious or conscious mind uses to prevent you from waking up.
This usually happens when there is something hidden but very crucial you need to recognize and face.
In such scenarios, a dream within a dream may turn out to be a false awakening, whereby you wake up from your original dream, and a semi-lucid dream takes over.
You may not realize that you are dreaming until you wake up physically. This is because the semi-lucid dream seems so natural to some people.
Can a Dream Within a Dream Feel Real?
Yes, a dream within a dream can feel real, depending on what it’s about. If the two dreams are so distinct, it may imply that you are trying to separate yourself from something.
It may also have a real-life and practical reflection in a way that you tend to sort your life, viewing things as different when maybe you shouldn’t.
Dream experts reveal that a dream within a dream can feel so real, especially if it’s a semi-lucid inner dream.
During this situation, we tend to believe that what happens in the dream is real until we wake up and realize that it was just a dream.
Some people believe that dreaming about waking up in another dream is simply a metaphor for human nature. This is because the full wonder of a dream in a dream is a show controlled by our conscious and subconscious minds.
What Does It Mean If We Don’t Remember the Original Dream?
Various theories explain a dream in a dream and what it means when we don’t remember the original dream.
According to Freud, the material in the entrenched usually portrays a nature or something we are not prepared to face and confront.
As a result, we subconsciously lay it to rest within another dream so that we don’t know it or know it slightly in our conscious minds.
So, if we forget the original dream, it means that it was about something that we failed to confront or are not yet ready to face. Such dreams have disturbing content that we hate to remember.
But if we remember both dreams equally, Freud’s theory may be inapplicable as it focuses on the dream within the dream. It dismisses the original dream entirely.
One way that Freud’s explanation has been criticized is that he failed to consider the relationship between the two dreams.
Now, this brings us to the next point:
Do the Two Dreams Relate to Each Other?
In dream within a dream, things get more interesting when examining how they are related. We should ask ourselves whether one dream was significant to the other to know how they are related.
There is no one specific approach to use when studying the relationship between the two dreams. Different psychologists and dream interpreters use varied ways to look at this relationship.
Some psychologists emphasize the importance of paying attention to the transition between the first and second dreams and their ends.
If you can remember what you were feeling when transiting to the next dream, it may be easier to understand the relationship between the two dreams.
You should also identify whether the two dreams were similar in nature or they had contrasting energies.
If you experience this phenomenon of dream in a dream, see if any of these perspectives can fit you:
1. A Problem and a Solution
People who remember what they dreamed about reveal that one dream seemed to be a problem while the other was more of a solution.
The first dream may be about being trapped somewhere or in a situation you can’t manage, while the second may be about going around that problem.
2. Explanation of a Scenario
Have you ever asked yourself why some dreams seem to skip scenes quickly in an unrelated way?
Well, if you have a dream in a dream, the first one may be about, ‘If this happens….’, then the other dream may indicate a ‘then that….’ situation. For example:
If your original dream was about failing an exam, and the second one about going to the examination unprepared and confused, the dream may imply that you are anxious about something you don’t want to go wrong.
It may be your relationship with your lover, a friend, family, or even your boss at work.
3.Two Different Solutions to a Problem
The two dreams may outline two different potential solutions to an existing problem in a dream within a dream occurrence.
The existing problem may be something you have been struggling with lately or a situation that makes you feel anxious and worried.
4. Explanations of a Problem
The two dreams can also explain a problem from varied perspectives. This may help understand the issue better and find the solution.
However, it’s not all the time the explanation will be clear. The dreams may be provoking your mind to reason and understand your problem.
5. Continuation of the Other Dream
Sometimes one dream can be a continuation of the other or finish what was started in the original dream. For instance:
Dreaming about Tornado in your original dream may imply that you have some obsessive thoughts, anxiety, among other things.
Now, if the second dream is about having a party, the whole dream in a dream happening is trying to show you that it’s time to let go and have some fun or be happy.
Will Something Bad Happen If We Have a Dream Within a Dream?
No. Having a dream within a dream doesn’t necessarily mean that something bad is about to occur in your life.
However, you may feel that something unpleasant is about to happen, depending on the type of the first and second dream.
If both dreams were nightmares or very terrifying, they might ruin your day, but this doesn’t mean that something bad is in the way.
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A dream within a dream is a dream that most people have at least once or more in a lifetime. It may leave you confused and wondering whether you were awake or dreaming.
While we remember both dreams equally in most cases, sometimes the first dream may be unclear, indicating that it was about something we fear to face.
In some cases, dreams within dreams may be lucid or false awakening, or not in other cases.
If you dream within a dream, don’t hesitate to use the above approaches to examine it and learn its meaning.