In the 2021 study, researchers outlined the case of a woman in her early 20s who regularly experienced false awakenings among a number of other sleep disturbances. She took researchers through her dream-within-a-dream experience step by step, starting with waking up, eating breakfast, packing a bag for the day, and walking down the street. She noted that, upon taking the bus, her perception of time often started to feel warped. It was at this point that she sometimes woke up. Other times, she awakened once she arrived at an empty school.
The researchers highlighted that the experience of false awakenings has been associated with unpleasant emotions, such as fear. Others may experience feelings of confusion or anxiety, according to Healthline. Some people may even find themselves having a dream within a dream within a dream, referred to as “nested dreams.” In cases of nested dreams, an individual undergoes several false awakenings at one time.