Getting Stuck in a Dream: Meaning, Cause, and Explanation

Your dreamscape is a fantastical place where you can live out your fantasies, dreams can be comforting too, especially dreaming of a loved one who has passed on can fill you with peace. Getting stuck in a dream can be a thrilling and vivid experience, depending on the dream of course. Let’s discover why you get stuck in a dream, what it means, and how you can prevent it from happening.

Dreams about being trapped can be vivid and frightening, anyone can experience these types of dreams 

Can You Get Stuck in a Dream?

Dreams about being trapped can be vivid and frightening, anyone can experience these types of dreams. If you are going through times of stress, working longer hours, waiting for test results, or managing a difficult schedule. Stressful times can instigate a more animated dreamscape. Your subconscious may be telling you to slow down! 

What Is Lucid Dreaming?

Waking up in a dream and having complete control within the dream is lucid dreaming. Typically we get swept away in our dreamscape and are completely gullible to what’s going on. Dreams that feel real and can’t wake up are similar to lucid dreaming. You could consciously control your dreams with a little practice every night. 

What Could Cause You to Get Stuck in a Dream? 

If you can’t wake up from a dream, it could be your subconscious wanting to help you out. Is there a lot of stress in your life? Are you struggling emotionally with a decision? Your emotional and mental wellbeing is hugely impacted by how you manage stress (and also your quality of sleep). But, there are other explanations that could explain being trapped in a dream.  

Sleep Paralysis 

Sleep paralysis can be a terrifying experience, dreams where you can't move but are wide awake (usually while dark figures walk around your bed) is sleep paralysis. It occurs when your REM sleep cycle has not completed but your mind is awake, there will be a few seconds of delays to the movement signals to your body. Hallucinations typically occur along with sleep paralysis and last just a few seconds.  

Dream Claustrophobia

Lucid dreaming is a wonderful skill that anyone can learn. It means you’ll be able to enter your dreamscape fully conscious, you’ll talk to the characters in your dream and steer the dream where you want it to go. Claustrophobic dreams are when you wake up in the dream but can’t wake up your conscious mind and body. If you have a dream like this, imagine a door to another dreamscape and go through it, although, easier said than done!

False Awakening 

A dream loop can cause you to get stuck in a dream. A false awakening loop is when you wake up in the dream and feel like you’ve woken up in your bed. You have a coffee, start your day, and then you wake up for real. A false awakening loop is one of those dreams that make you feel like you’re in the matrix movie! It can get even more strange when accompanied by sleep paralysis.    

Sleep Deprivation 

Sleep deprivation can cause trapped dreams. Insomnia can make it impossible to sleep at a reasonable hour when you go to bed, you’ll stare at the ceiling all night, finally succumbing to exhaustion an hour or two before you’re due to get up. When your alarm goes off, you’re in such a deep sleep that you may not wake up from the alarm. The sounds that surround you as you sleep can impact your dream themes and make you feel stuck in a dream.  

Life Frustrations  

Dreams of being trapped in a small place are common around times of stress. If you feel trapped in a situation in your life, a relationship, a job, a college course, etc. It’s normal for your fears to manifest in your dreams because this is a place where you can get answers to your issues, who better to help you solve your problems than yourself! If you’ve made some lifestyle changes recently, a new diet, started exercising or altering your belief system, you could see an increase in dreams about not being able to get home or feeling trapped in your dreams. 

What Does it Mean to Be Stuck in a Dream?

Dreams about being trapped are a culmination of your emotions about current events in your life and your fears for the future. You’re feeling trapped physically or emotionally, and your subconscious mind is attempting drills to help you get unstuck. 

Bonus: How to Wake Yourself Up From a Dream 

Always remember that you are in complete control of your dream space, it’s your mind, it’s your consciousness, it’s up to you. While your waking life is filled with situations that you have no control over, your dreams are a place where you are the boss. Waking up within a dream is possible by learning lucid dreaming techniques. Becoming aware that you’re dreaming gives you complete control of the dream content. 

If you want to wake up from a dream:

  • Fall asleep in the dream
  • Tell yourself to blink
  • Look for something to read in the dream
  • Try and talk to one of the characters in your dream 
  • Try and taste or smell something in the dream


What Is a Dream Loop?

A dream loop sounds like something from the twilight zone. It means you have dreamed that you have woken up in your room and started your day, completely unaware that you are actually dreaming. You wake up again but this time is for real. It is similar to lucid dreaming and false awakening. 

How to Deal With Waking Up During a Dream

Learning how to lucid dream with techniques such as reality testing where you essentially meditate during the day, setting intentions for your dreams, and keeping a dream journal. While you’re dreaming, try and read something in the dream, smell or taste something, or talk to a character in your dream, these actions could help wake you up. 

Can You Be Trapped in a Dream?

Recurring dreams tend to occur around times of stress. In your waking hours, if you are constantly worried about the future or a particular situation, you may have the same dream over and over. Solutions to problems can be found in dreams, keep a dream journal to help you decipher your dreams.  

Can You Get Stuck in a Lucid Dream? 

Lucid dreaming can be learned by anyone and puts you in total control of your dreamscape. While recurring dreams are common, it is not possible to get stuck in a lucid dream. Keep a dream journal on your bedside table and write your dreams down as soon as you wake up. This will help you gain control of your dreams.  

What Does it Mean to Dream of Someone Trying to Wake you Up?

Dreaming of someone trying to wake you up could mean you’re looking for a way out of a situation. You may be hoping that someone will come and help you. If you’ve woken up in your dream it can be a prelude to lucid dreaming, a state of dreaming where you’re in control.  


Getting trapped in a house dream or dreaming of being trapped in someone else’s body, typically occurs during times of extreme stress. It may sound simplistic that when you’re feeling stuck in real life, you will dream of being physically trapped. But, your dreams are a way to alert you to solutions to your waking issues. 

To deal with dreams of being trapped, find a way to manage your daily stress. Morning meditation is a great way to start your day on the right note, eat a healthy diet and drink lots of water, and enjoying fresh air every day are some simple ways of managing stress. Reach out to loved ones for help if things are getting on top of you, a problem shared is a problem halved and your friends and family will be only too glad to help.   

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