Incorporating real-life events/stimulus into your dreams as you wake

I was wondering how often this happens to other people.

Here’s what happened last night:

I was dreaming I had captured a small furry animal of the hamster or squirrel variety and was carrying it around with me in my dream. For a long time it was just relaxed and sleeping in my hands. Then out of nowhere it wakes up and bites me and latches onto my hand. It hurts REALLY REALLY BAD. So I’m shaking my hand trying to get it off me, and I’m in tears, begging people around me to help, to no avail when finally…

I wake up, kind of lazily shaking my hand around in real life, like a drunken slow version of what I was doing in my dream. Phew! It was just a dream. But then I realize something… that spot on my hand REALLY HURTS JUST LIKE IT DID IN THE DREAM!

Now, I don’t think that the dream caused my hand to actually hurt in that precise spot (is that even possible?), but what I do think is likely is that my brain incorporated the pain it was actually receiving from the nerves in my hand (maybe because I was sleeping on it wrong or I had banged it against something hard near my bed in my sleep) into my dream. Kind of fascinating, really.

This has also happened to me with sounds. Sometimes I incorporate the sound of my alarm clock into my dreams, where in my dream it’ll be some sort of loud alarm that is causing me to freak out, only to eventually wake up and realize it’s my alarm clock and to freak out and wake up because I’ve been sleeping through it!

Another, kind of sad/depressing example, is sometimes I will have very sad dreams where I am sobbing within the dream. I will wake up and my face will be puffy and my eyes will be sore, and sometimes even the pillow will be a bit wet or feel “crusty” or something, and it seems likely I was actually crying in real life as well as in my dream.

Does this sort of stuff happen to any of you? Any fun stories of incorporating real life events/actions/stimulus into your dreams?

Any thoughts on the connection between the pain I felt in my hand once I woke up, to the pain I was feeling and dreaming about?

I get cramps in my calf fairly often and it seems I’m always dreaming when it happens. Almost without fail, I am having leg pain in my dream as well. As in “fall to the ground, begging for help” pain. No one ever helps in the dreams. I wake up quickly to the real, equally excruciating pain.

Happens all the time with me.

One common occurrence is that I dream I’m taking a piss, and I wake up and sure enough, I have to go. What I marvel at is that I don’t wet the bed, because the dream seems very real!!

MikeF, I used to get those calf cramps all the damn time, but don’t seem to anymore. I don’t remember incorporating that pain into my dreams, but I do remember waking up with that pain again and again, excruciating pain that had me begging the Lord I don’t believe in to just kill me because I couldn’t handle the pain! I’m sorry you have those too, they are so awful.

John, that’s interesting that in your dream you are actually peeing but don’t in real life. I often have dreams where I have to pee really badly, and when I wake up, sure enough, I really do.

I had a dream once where I was looking at a strange whitish expanse-with 3 orbs glowing on its surface.

After about 5 seconds I woke up for real, and realized I was looking at my ceiling-and the lamp mounted on it-which consisted of 3 white orbs.

I remember this from when I was young: I’d just got my first digital watch with an alarm, and was using it as an alarm clock.

In the dream, I heard the watch alarm go, checked the watch I was wearing in the dream, and couldn’t turn the alarm off.

I actually thought: “Oh, this must be a dream. That’s my wake-up alarm. Need to open my eyes.” It was the smoothest transition from dreaming to waking I can think of, like I’d just teleported from where-ever-in-the-dream to my bed, scrambled to find the watch and turn the alarm off.

I’ve had similar experiences. It’s mentioned often enough, one place or another, that it must be common.

I got a mechanical clock once that was noisy. In my sleep that night, I had a vaguely nightmarish dream where I was on a rickety old train; it went clackity-clackity-clack like a real train. When I woke up, it was the noise of the clock.

Lewis Carroll must have been familiar with the phenomenon. Note the final page of Alice In Wonderland, where he equates the ambient noises in the field where Alice was sleeping with the various sounds in the dream. (The lowing of the cattle in the distance became the sobs of the Mock Turtle, etc.)

It may happen during sleepwalking too. The almost-year I spent in an almost-nursing-home about ten years ago, the guy in the next door room went sleepwalking one night. :eek: As I heard the story, he walked through the labyrinthine halls to the far side of the place and then walked into a female resident’s room. ( :eek: again! ) He told me afterward that he dreamed that he was walking around in some big dark labyrinthine castle, trying to find his way around.

ETA: Also: Several times when I’ve had mild toothaches (not severe enough to keep me awake), I dreamed of having various dental problems – most often, I dreamed that I noticed that a tooth was loose and then it fell out! What was interesting, in every case that I can remember, the dream involved a different tooth than the actual tooth that was hurting.

I use the radio function of my clock radio as the alarm and it comes on with a news broadcast. I regularly have dreams where something in a news story gets entangled in a dream

The thing that amazes me is that sometimes, it feels like the dream has been going on for a long time – longer than the few minutes the news has been on – but the news story has been woven into the dream’s “plot” from the beginning.

Brains is weird.

Oh, I get those charlie horses all the time, too. Usually, I’m able to wake up just in time to quickly stretch my leg, and flex my feet so as to stretch my calf muscle and make it go away fairly quickly. But I don’t recall ever having that pain as part of a dream.

I once incorporated the sound of my own snoring into my dream. I dreamed I was Don Quixote, and the windmill in front of me was making this big, loud, groaning sound as the sails spun round the hub. (Needed greasing.)

It became the background for a piece of music, which I remembered well enough to write down when I awakened.

That’s how I know I snore in 5:4 time.

I work reality into dreams all the time. I get the need to piss in a dream, and usually I can’t find the bathroom, or it is somehow unsuitable [no privacy, disgustingly dirty, occupied or some combination of these] and I tend to wake up immediately and realize I need to pee. [except for when drugged I haven’t wet the bed since sometime in the early 1960s when I was probably 3 or 4 years old.]

It is sort of funny when I fall asleep and the TV is on, and something in an infomercial works its way into the dream. I had one the other night about a vacuum sealing machine and deciding to seal all my socks and underwear in 1 day sets. While I have done something similar with ziplok bags for camping [nothing as bad as wet socks and underwear or as great as dry socks and underwear on a nasty cold and wet camping trip.] it is not something I would normally do otherwise.

I seldom recall my dreams any more, but I’ve had a few panicky dreams in recent years where I’m dreaming that I’m suffocating for one reason or another, and when I wake up I’ve been sleeping with my mouth open and my mouth is dry. Apparently that gets interpreted as suffocation by my sleeping mind.

I remember one dream where I was in some sci-fi throne room talking to an alien queen while some gadget in the room behind me kept beeping louder and louder while I kept raising my voice to talk over it; it turned out to be the beeping of my alarm clock.

And for a more spectacular example, there was the time when I was having a falling dream during a thunderstorm, and my dream incorporated the sound of thunder into me hitting the ground. BOOM! That woke me up with a jolt. I was twitchy for quite some time that night after that.

Here’s something I have in dreams from time to time, although it’s not tied to anything really happening at the time:

I sometimes hear music in my dreams, including vocal music with instrumental accompaniment. I don’t know if the music, as I perceive it in the dream, is familiar or if I am making it up in my mind as I go. The lyrics typically make good sense and are well-rhymed.

When I wake up, I will still have the music, lyrics included, playing in my head. Then I realize these things:
[li] The melody, and sometimes even the specific instrumentation, is something very familiar, although sometimes I can immediately recognize and place it, and sometimes it takes me a little longer.[/li][li] The lyrics that I heard in the dream are totally different from the actual IRL lyrics, and may or may not make any sense, and[/li][li] The lyrics, that seemed to rhyme so nicely in the dream, don’t rhyme at all.[/li][/ul]

I’ve had this type of dream quite a few times, from time to time, over the years.

When I have to pee in real life, I have to pee in my dreams. It can be unpleasant.