I believe many people know this feeling: you wake up in the middle of the night, while still in the middle of a dream.

You are aware the dream still goes on, you can cling to it, but you are also technically awake and can handle whatever it was that woke you up.

This is a strange state of mind. Is there a word that can describe it?

2 Answers 2


The medical term is hypnopompia

Hypnagogia is the transitional state of consciousness between wakefulness and sleep. It’s the opposite of hypnopompia, which is the transitional state that occurs before you wake up. (Healthline)

Wikipedia explains:

Hypnopompia (also known as hypnopompic state) is the state of consciousness leading out of sleep, a term coined by the psychical researcher Frederic Myers. Its mirror is the hypnagogic state at sleep onset; though often conflated, the two states are not identical and have a different phenomenological character.

And about the dreaming, sleepfoundation says that:

During hypnopompic hallucinations, you are sensing things that are not actually happening while in a state between dreaming and waking.

  • Awesome, that's the word I was looking for. Thanks! :) Commented Jun 1 at 15:53


Lucid Dreaming (medicalnewstoday)
Lucid dreaming is not only real but is relatively common. A person is experiencing a lucid dream if they become aware that they are dreaming during the dream.

For me, at least, the most common context for a lucid dream is when I'm about to wake up anyway, but I'm having an interesting and/or pleasant dream. In the back of my mind I know I'm waking up, but I try to ignore that while I "steer" my dream towards a "successful" conclusion. It doesn't always work, though.

  • Thanks, that's a good answer, but I'm actually looking for a word that describes the state of mind itself, being between asleep and awake. Can it fit as well? Commented Jun 1 at 15:51
  • I don't understand what you mean by "being between asleep and awake" outside the context of being in a "lucid dream" state. Your question specifically asks about simultaneously being "aware" and "dreaming", which is what most people would understand to be the situation in a lucid dream state. If the dream isn't relevant, maybe you shouldn't have mentioned in the question. The state of "being between asleep and awake" is usually half-asleep if you were previously awake, or half-awake if you were previously asleep. Commented Jun 1 at 16:42
  • 3
    The thing is, lucid dreamers aren't half awake and half asleep, they are fully asleep while also being fully aware that they are asleep. In a hypnopompic state, you are aware that you were dreaming, and of what the dream was, and you might even have some control over it's conclusion, but you are also inexorably waking up, outside of your control
    – No Name
    Commented Jun 1 at 18:26
  • Well the other answer gives the word I was looking for. Sorry if the question is misleading, and like I said, this answer is useful on its own as well, so thanks again. :-) Commented Jun 1 at 18:37
  • Ah, perhaps the "it" in the last sentence of the question is misleading? By "it" I meant word that describes the state of mind itself. Commented Jun 1 at 18:39

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