Longest its taken to realise a dream/nightmare was not real

A few days ago, I had a nightmare where my sister had terminal cancer. Ordinarily with me it takes a few second after waking up at most to compute, “yeah that was not real”, here it took several minutes. I was already starting to get ready when it hit me that she is fine*. So I wonder, whats the longest it its taken for you to separate fact from fiction so to speak? Minutes? Hours? Days?

*I have been suggesting since then that she undergo a battery of tests to make sure, you can never be too careful, she thinks I am off my rocker. Women, I tell ya!:smiley:

Hours! Just the other week I had a dream that my laptop had bent like cardboard … couldn’t sleep (not realising it was a dream) spent hours planning out my day of how I would organise to return it, back to sleep, woke up and got ready to leave … thought I’d better check it before I took it to the store … realised I’d been dreaming!!

I do have a serious sleep disorder (which usually doesn’t manifest itself like this) … so weird sleep stuff is fairly normal for me!

I don’t know if this counts, but I have had nested dreams: In one dream I “woke up”, got dressed, went to work, etc. Then I realized I was STILL dreaming. Then I really woke up.

Not sure if this counts either, but I get serial dreams - first I used to dream I never left the army, then I used to dream I had to go back to the army and after a few years that changed to dreams where I had to go back to the army the second time. I even had a few dreams later on where I went back to the army the third time, but apparently that was silly enough that I managed to stop it there. Some others too, but the army dreams are the clearest to explain where the others are a bit vague.

If it does count, then my answer is ‘years’.

I’ve had this dream or a variation many times, such as: I “woke up” and realized I was late, so I rushed to get dressed. Then I REALLY woke up, still lying in bed (of course) and now I’m definitely late! When I woke up in the dream and got dressed, I was pleased with myself for getting ready and out the door so quickly. Which made the real “wake up” a doubly annoying setback.

Not exactly what the OP was asking…maybe I’ll wake up soon…

Up to a hour. It is usually some stressful situation that needs to be resolved, and I find myself worrying about it for a time after waking.

Today’s Monty comic strip with that exact theme (riffs on a Salvador Dali painting as a bonus).

Hours. As a teen I used to hide cash in my room, fearing some kind of emergency*. I had some kind of nightmare where my dad came in desperately needing to borrow it or something horrible would happen, but in the dream I checked the hiding place and every other possible spot and couldn’t find it. Woke up, tore up my room looking for the money, somehow missed seeing it in the spot I’d hidden it in and only realized it was a dream when I re-checked the spot three hours later.

My dreams are all over the place, mostly because I remember a lot of them, which itself is mostly because like 80% are nightmares and 20% are awesome.

  • My mother had terrible impulse control and shopped more than she could afford.

One time, several days. I bake and decorate cakes as a hobby, and I was requested to make a cake for my niece’s first birthday. I had decided to make a sort of muppet-esque monster face, a round cake, covered in frosting fur, with big googly eyes and a mouth piped on top, all very brightly colored. About two weeks before her birthday I dreamed that my sister in law asked me not to use any kind of artificial colors in the frosting. So I woke up musing how I would do this, and wondering what kind of all-natural food coloring products might be available, and I decided to go to the health food store later that week to check it out. Several days passed, all the while it never occurred to me that it was a dream (in my defense, they were eating all organic and choosing not to give her all sorts of other things, so it wasn’t completely out of left field). Finally, I was putting on my coat and shoes and about to head out the door to go to the health food store when I finally mentioned why I was going to my husband. He says, “I don’t remember her saying that,” and it finally occurs to me that I don’t actually remember anything about how or why or when she told me she wanted no artificial color in the icing. So I texted her and asked, and sure enough, I dreamed the whole thing up.

I once dreamed that a certain celebrity I was a fan of at the time had died (he was hit by a bus). When I woke up, while I knew that obviously I hadn’t spoken at his funeral, I thought the part about him being dead was true. It wasn’t until a couple of days later when I saw a magazine article about him that didn’t mention his untimely death that I realised it never happened.

Usually just a few minutes. But when I was younger and still learning to separate fact from fiction it was different. In particular, I remember getting run over by a car one time. I remember what intersection it was at, how it felt, and the expression on my mom’s face afterwards. It took me months, maybe even years, to discover that wasn’t real. The only thing that made me realize it wasn’t real was when I learned how serious injuries tend to be when you’re run over by a car.

I had a very realistic dream in which I won the lottery. One of those 35 million dollar type jackpots. In the dream I was having a grand old time, buying cars for friends, lighting cigars with hundred dollar bills, etc.

When I woke up I had a huge smile on my face. I got out of bed ready to continue the dream, then it hit me. It was a dream. I nearly wept out of disappointment. I was depressed for days. It sucked.

I’ve also had the wake-up-within-a-dream thing, to a rather extreme degree. When I get these dreams, they’re very detailed and very realistic. My room looks like my room. I eat breakfast. I get dressed, whatever. I can feel like I’ve spent 20 minutes awake doing my normal morning routine, and then suddenly… I wake up. And… then I go about my business, and… it turns out I was still dreaming, because I wake up again. Sometimes I can wake up 4-5 times within the dream before I actually wake up. Sometimes by the 2nd or 3rd iteration I realize I’m probably dreaming.

But the disturbing thing is that the real dreams are so realistic so that when I actually do wake up for real, 3-6 times later, I’m not actually sure I’m awake. It can take me up to 10-20 minutes to be pretty confident that I’m actually awake.

I’m a golf fan, and more specifically a Tiger Woods fan, and one of the most famous putts in golf was a 60-footer made by Tiger on the famous island green at the Players Championship. It was downhill, changed direction at least three times, and it was going so fast when it hit the cup that if it hadn’t fallen in, it probably would have kept rolling off the green and into the water. It is shown a million times a year on shows that have anything to do with golf.

And every time it’s shown, I flash back to when I was watching that tournament on live TV. I was visiting my parents at the time, and my Dad, also a big Tiger Woods fan, was in the kitchen getting a beer when Tiger made the putt, so I yelled, “Dad! You have to see this! Hurry, they’ll probably replay it!” And they did replay it, several times, and my dad and I were watching in amazement, shaking our heads and smiling. I can remember it like it was yesterday.

So you can imagine my surprise when I recently looked up the exact date it happened for a post on a golf discussion board — March 25, 2001. Problem is, my dad died a month before that.

So I had a very vivid, and very false, memory for ten years or so. I assume it came from a dream, but who knows?

When I was about 5 years old, I dreamed that my father died. Most realistic dream I can remember having. The next morning, I was quite shocked* when he walked in for breakfast…

  • pleasantly so, of course!


I couldn’t sleep this one time when the AC was broke, so I was pulling all nighter in front of the laptop. Bad idea. I was checking Facebook, when all of sudden, a guy from high school wrote on my wall. It said, “I AM COMING TO MURDER YOUR FAMILY.”

I freaked out, scrambled around. Then I was lying down on the couch opposite for no reason. I was checking the computer the whole rest of the night, my hands racing and my pulse shaking. No trace of any activity on my wall…

It took me a good 90 minutes before I calmed myself down. Went to bed about 5 hours later, circa 9am. Oh what a night…

I had a horrible dream a few months ago, it was too vivid and real. I wrote it down afterwards, maybe to turn it into a premise for a book/movie. But, I have no time to write more than an outline.

The Dream Played out just like a movie…


That’s a nut shell of it.

Two weeks later I couldn’t be sure if it was real or not. It was pretty vivid and violent. :frowning:

Im pretty positive i have NO REPRESSED MEMORIES…at least i hope I don’t. :stuck_out_tongue:

A few days. When I was a kid I dreamed my mother told me my grandmother had died and it was so real I wasn’t sure if I had dreamed it or not. I was kind of scared to ask, but after a few days of no tears or talk of funerals I figured I probably dreamed it. Eventually I asked my mother how grandma was doing and she was fine. It was just a dream.

Several minutes has been the longest I experienced it. When I was on Chantrix a quit smoking drug my dreams became bizzar, then my dreams started running into my everyday wake up life and I couln’t alwasy tell if it was a dream or real. This persisted to some degree for nearly a year after I quit the drug.

Well, there was that time in high school when I took a little nap during a study hall, and when I woke up I was sure I’d written that French essay. I absolutely remembered writing it, until the next day when the essays were being collected in class, and, oh shit…