Lucid dreams, like any other type of altered state of consciousness are not only hard to quantify, but since they vary in their form from dreamer to dreamer, they don’t all fit easily into one category, or the other.
The great lucid dreams forum, Mortal Mist, has some posts that give us some ideas of how to differentiate what we are experiencing in this fascinating state of mind we can find ourselves in.
Here is a portion of one post on the difference between two types of dreams, the INRAD and the WILD.
What is an INRALD?
INRALD stands for “I’m Not Really Awake Lucid Dream.” It’s very similar to a false awakening, in the sense that you usually find your self in the place you were sleeping last and you will swear that you are awake. The difference between INRALDs and FAs is whether you “woke up” from a dream or not. With an INRALD, you won’t usually remember dreaming.
A while back, pj made an insightful discovery. While he was waiting to experience some tell-tale signs of entering the dream state, he had unknowingly completed a WILD transition. He discovered, upon reality-checking, that he was already asleep and only dreaming he was laying there sleepless! It was then that the term INRALD was coined.
You need to go read the rest of this and then you can also read about pj’s “insightful discovery”. Fascinating stuff!
Enjoy your lucid dreams, and may they open new and wonderful doors to greater consciousness!