My sleeping bag is trying to eat me!
"Any person awaking from a nightmare, must always sit bolt upright in bed and scream."
Whenever a character awakes from a nightmare on screen, he will fling
himself up from lying down, while panting and looking around confused. Think carefully: how many times do you remember waking up from a nightmare by flinging your torso off the bed? Probably never, right? When most people wake up from one, they lie stunned and confused for a few seconds getting reoriented before looking around. The most you might get is a gasp and a full-body twitch, although children may wake up screaming. But that would be boring on screen, so anyone with a bad dream has to halfway fling himself out of bed to show the audience it is a dream. Used particularly during an All Just a Dream
sequence, to emphasize that the previous scene didn't happen. Besides, it's just cool.
This does happen occasionally
in the real world, but usually when one is startled by an outside sensation, not a nightmare. Most of the time, certain chemicals secreted while falling asleep prevent the sleeper from acting out their dreams, a condition known as sleep paralysis when it extends to shortly before falling asleep or after waking up. The rare times it does happen in real life involve a neurological disorder where the person is woken up from the dream by the sensation (not the other way around) and often describe the feeling as being "pushed" upright. Nevertheless, the Catapult Nightmare happens every single time
on TV. If it's a Dream Within a Dream
, expect two. Possibly more
A night terror can have this effect, but it doesn't involve waking up and doesn't involve a dream—just full-on activation of the fight-or-flight system in the middle of the deepest stages of sleep. People who have them usually don't remember it in the morning.
Bonus point if followed by dramatic Wake Up Fighting
. See also Instant Waking Skills
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Anime & Manga
- As pictured above, it happens to Owaki in The Enigma of Amigara Fault. The dream might just disturb anyone who reads it too.
- Ranma ½. This pretty much describes every single nightmare Ranma has ever had. Hell, it seems that every time Ranma has a dream in either the anime or the manga, it turns into a nightmare for him. Including (but not limited to):
- A giant Kunō declaring his love for the pigtailed girl before snatching "her" up effortlessly (which the anime replaced with about a dozen naked Kunōs trapping a naked Girl-Ranma).
- Being brainwashed into Kunō's adoring, submissive wife and trapped on a tropical island with him — and their many children...
- Being successfully romanced by a cute handsome guy (disturbing enough to Ranma)... who promptly turns into an ugly, wrinkled old man as he goes in for a kiss.
- In an anime-only episode, Ranma dreams that Akane is showing him their new baby. When she pulls the covers from the baby's head, it has Happōsai's face. Naturally, he wakes up screaming.
- Happens to Mamoru in Sailor Moon after he dreams of something bad happening to Usagi. Usagi does this routinely as well.
- Tower of God: Rachel's Nightmare Sequence ends with a horrified jump start into the new day.
- Cowboy Bebop
- The anime, "Bount Arc", episode 97. While sleeping in Rantao's house, Ichigo wakes up from a nightmare muttering strange words.
- In the omake to episode 63, Isane Kotetsu wakes up like this from a nightmare ("FISH PASTE!").
- In chapter 238, Ichigo again wakes up like this (but he falls out of bed, too.)
- In anime episode 287 Isane Kotetsu wakes up like this again after the Arabian Nights dream.
- In anime episode 304 Captain Komamura wakes up like this after a dream in which the main characters are monsters.
- Episode two of the 2003 adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist: Cornello has a nightmare of a rainbow-colored snake moving to devour him, and starts awake to see Lust standing there, with the mysterious warning "The real secret of that stone stays between us."
- Princess Tutu
- Fakir does this in the episode "Ghost Knight", in which he has a nightmare about...a ghostly knight.
- And the first episode in both seasons opens with Ahiru having a nightmare, and then waking up from it when she flings herself out of her bed and tries to fly by flapping her arms.
- Ouran High School Host Club
- Tamaki awakes from a nightmare about visiting Haruhi and finding that she lives in a hovel. ("That tuna is by NO MEANS fancy!!!") Note: In the anime, the Club all are dressed exactly as they were in the nightmare when they actually DO go visit Haruhi's home.
- In the beginning of chapter 79, we're greeted with Haruhi standing in front of Tamaki. She's blushing and glancing at the ground. She then says "Tamaki-senpai... I'm in love with you." (Cue the Squee of many fangirls.) Tamaki looks stunned, but then goes off saying that he's so happy because he's in love with himself, too! He takes this and runs with it. Haruhi looks mortified, but then she sits up and we find out it was all just a dream, much to her relief.
- Chrono Crusade
- Rosette jolts up in her bed after having a nightmare in her coma.
- Earlier in the manga, she also jolts awake from a nightmare and punches Chrono in the face (who was bent over her and trying to wake her up). Although this one might be justified in that she wasn't exactly sleeping as much as having an out-of-body experience.
- In the anime she also catapults out of a nightmare about her missing brother in Episode 2.
- Interestingly enough, while Chrono has several Bad Dreams, he almost never catapults out of his nightmare and wakes up more realistically. (Perhaps Rosette's more susceptible to this trope because she's Hot-Blooded.) The only time he does to this is when, like Rosette, he's coming out of a coma. While being held in iron restraints, which he rips off to catapult from. Justified in that it wasn't exactly a nightmare and Rosette had dove into his soul in the hopes of bringing him back to consciousness.
- In the manga version of Maximum Ride, Max has this in the beginning, after her nightmare about Erasers.
- Sōsuke Sagara is usually The Stoic, but in Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu he is a bit stressed out by Tessa bunking with him in his flat. Cue nightmare at the beginning of Episode 9.
- Mahou Sensei Negima!
- Evangeline does this after she gets a fever dream about the Thousand Master.
- Negi himself goes through this after his defeat and seperation from his students at the hands of Fate which causes him to have nightmares of his students being murdered while he just watches powerlessly.
- Used in the second episode of Space Pirate Mito by having Aoi do this twice, first in a dream, and then in real life waking up from that dream.
- Masataka of Sakura Gari does this as he starts having nightmares of all the things he endured recently.
- Albert of Gankutsuou does this after having a nightmare about the Count.
- Seras of Hellsing does this while waking up from a nightmare she had shortly after becoming a vampire.
- In episode 11 of Nuku Nuku Dash, the title character has one.
- Hanaukyō Maid Tai episode 13. Grace/Cynthia wakes up this way after having a nightmare about being harassed while at college (she was 6 years old at the time).
- In Saint Beast, Goh has one about the failed rebellion at the start of the first OVA.
- In InuYasha, this happens with Kagome when she has a nightmare about failing the school exams.
- Mikoto Misaka of A Certain Scientific Railgun has one during the OVA, after a lot of Paranoia Fuel over the past few days has her thoroughly freaked out.
- Haiyore! Nyarko-san episode 9 opens with Mahiro having one...except that, what he considers a nightmare (saying "I love you" to Nyarko and kissing her full on the lips) probably wouldn't qualify in most other peoples' books.
- In Ayashi no Ceres, Aya wakes up like this after dreaming about seeing Tooya on the beach, only for him to turn around and turn into the bleeding, mangled Miori.
- The old Board Game Don't Wake Daddy. But again, that's because of an outside sensation, not a dream.
- In the Batman story Going Sane, a normal-looking, reformed and amnesiac Joker has frequent nightmares of bats and clowns trying to drown him in madness. He would wake up from these dreams and yell "drowning!"
- It happens to Thorn in the first book of Bone, as she awakens violently from a nightmare (actually a flashback) about a massive rat creature attack on a castle. Except she awakens to Fone Bone telling her that rat creatures actually ARE attacking.
- In Le Scorpion, Armando experiences one at the start of the album The Stone Cross.
- Donald Duck has one coupled with a Big "NO!" in an issue of Paperinik New Adventures after a nightmare about some bullies that tormented him at school. It's heavily implied that the dream is a metaphor on how he sees himself as just a "little,frail duck" put against his new foes.
- In Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker, Jonas catapults awake after he escapes from the Night Stalker prison.
- Fiendishly subverted in The Sandman, in which the title character sentences an enemy to the curse of "eternal waking," a neverending coma where he dreams he is waking from a horrible nightmare, only to find he is in an even worse one. This causes him to wake up again, only to be confronted with another nightmare. The curse sentences him to live this way for eternity, with each nightmare a little worse than the last.
- Yorrick of Y: The Last Man wakes up from a bad (and possibly prophetic) dream like this, and not for the first time, judging by 355's comment: "I wouldn't like to be in your head."
- The fanfic Long Road To Friendship sees Sunset Shimmer waking up from one of these almost every night she goes to sleep, mostly from nightmares about being a "raging she-demon" in the past.
- From the Death Note AU My Stupid Reality after Light has been drugged and kidnapped by L a second time, he begins mumbling in his sleep having Bad Dreams when he bolts awake:
- Firefly experiences one at the beginning of chapter 18 of Ace Combat: The Equestrian War, where the final attack on Gryphus ended up being a failure and Black Star choked her to death after crippling her. Thankfully, it's All Just a Dream.
- My Little Wesker: Chapter Three has Wesker experience a nightmare where he's stuck as a pony, and being put down by Chris Redfield after ineffectually attacking him. Fortunately, Wesker hasn't been killed, but unfortunately, he still is a pony.
- In Point Of Succession Light often gets these after having nightmares inspired by Beyond Birthday.
- Bait and Switch begins in one of these, apparently a recurring nightmare for Eleya, and consisting of the time she was nearly killed repelling a Boarding Party. She catapults awake after her dream self passes out from blood loss courtesy of a knife to the kidney.
- In Waking Nightmares, a crossover of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and Team Fortress 2 , Twilight does one of these after it was her turn to have a nightmare.
- In the Girls und Panzer fic, Boys Und Sensha-do, Akio has this when he has a nightmare about when his father died.
- Ava from The 91st Annual Hunger Games has one of these after a particularly chilling nightmare about District 4.
Films — Animation
- The Baby Nightmare sequence in Shrek the Third.
- Mulan: Mulan quietly dashes off to the Chinese Army in the middle of the night. Only Grandma Fa, who is closer to the Fa family ancestors, senses something is wrong when she wakes up supposedly not too long after this.
- The Incredibles. Helen has one in a deleted scene where she has a nightmare about losing her husband to a bunch of hot cheerleaders.
- Toy Story 2. Woody, after he wakes up from a nightmare where Andy throws him away.
- Francis from Felidae, after he has a nightmare about Gregory Mandel tormenting him with zombie cat puppets.
- Simba does this in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride after he dreams of Scar turning into Kovu and pushing him into the wildebeest herd that trampled his father to death. But instead of sitting up, he simply raises his head up.
Films — Live-Action
- Death Wish 4: The Crackdown opens with one.
- Averted in I Robot, where Del Spooner simply opens his eyes after a nightmare. And he's woken by his alarm clock rather than the nightmare itself.
- Star Wars
- Scottie in Hitchcock's Vertigo does this after the haunting dream sequence.
- Averted in Batman Begins, where Bruce has a Flashback Nightmare and simply wakes up breathing heavily.
- The hero of Take Shelter is having bad dreams and wakes twice this way.
- The Lord of the Rings, of all things. In fairness, Aragorn pulls a knife in the same motion, and has probably trained himself to do this every time he's suddenly awoken.
- Averted in Iron Man 3. It takes Pepper's screams of terror at being (apparently) threatened by one of the armors for Tony to wake up from his dreams.
- In the third The Naked Gun movie, Frank wakes up after the opening sequence which is a "nightmare" of being in a situation of there being crime he can't stop. Of course, given that the scene (as well as the movie's format itself) is slapstick and not supposed to be taken seriously in the slightest, it would only be considered a nightmare to him.
- Sleepy Hollow: Director Tim Burton commented that Johnny Depp does some very good fainting/waking up scenes.
- The Matrix: After Neo gets the bug put in him, and possibly when he jacks out of the Construct program in the real world hovership after learning the truth about the Matrix.
- Averted and then played straight during Picard's Dream Within a Dream in Star Trek: First Contact. When he falsely wakes up from his first nightmare he simply opens his eyes while sitting in his desk chair; when he wakes up for real, he jumps up from his bed.
- There was however the chime of an incoming call, so it's possible that he was actually reacting to that.
- The Princess Bride: Buttercup wakes to fill the screen with her frightened "gasp of awakening" directly after the scene featuring "the ancient boo-er."
- In Constantine, Angela Dodson does this after experiencing a nightmare of her twin sister killing herself. It turns out to be real.
- Wolverine has an especially notable one in X-Men. In all honesty, adamantium claws don't mix well with many activities.
- Averted in the 2007 film I Am Legend, when the protagonist wakes up from terrifying flashback-dreams (yanking the viewers out of intense scenes) by simply opening his eyes (where the viewers see a close-up of his face in quiet morning silence).
- The Golden Child (1986). Chandler Jarrell after his dream of being tortured and almost killed by Sardo Numspa and his henchmen.
- Aliens: Ripley's nightmare of having an alien rip out of her chest near the beginning.
- Averted in the opening scene of The Others. Nicole Kidman's character wakes up from a nightmare, but she simply lays awake in bed for a moment before sobbing into her pillow. Of course, she may be a little different from most people...
- In Zoolander, Derek Zoolander does this, only as he shoots straight up, he slams his head into the frame of the bed above his (he and his three roommates slept in two sets of bunk beds) and crashes to the ground.
- Somewhat averted in the Korean film Seducing Mr. Perfect. After a nightmare, the heroine's body does tense, but other than that, she doesn't move before opening her eyes. After opening her eyes, she stares into space for a few seconds, and then, she pushes herself up and gasps.
- Played with in the original Hellraiser: when Kirsty has a nightmare of Frank's resurrection, we cut to her boyfriend bolting up from a bad dream — she's still asleep, and when he touches her she scrambles upright rather than bolting.
- The sequence with the Stringy-Haired Ghost Girl in A Tale of Two Sisters.
- Averted in Signs, where Graham only opens his eyes when he wakes from bad dreams.
- In the American version of The Ring, Naomi Watts' character does this after having a nightmare of Samura being in her apartment.
- Larry Gopnik experiences several of these in A Serious Man after moving into the Jolly Roger.
- Happens to the protagonist at the end of When a Stranger Calls (2006).
- Cthulhu (2007). Subverted in the first Nightmare Sequence of the protagonist where he bolts upright yelling, but it's actually part of his dream. A jump cut later we see him starting awake in more restrained manner. Until he sees the stone object from his dream lying on his chest.
- Dreamscape. Happens to the President of the U.S. twice. He wakes up yelling after having nightmares of his wife running away from a nuclear explosion and being attacked by mutant children in a post-nuclear environment.
- Butch from Pulp Fiction does it twice.
- Averted in the movie version of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. After having a nightmare, the camera zooms on Harry's eyes as they open, without him moving.
- Happens several times to Leonardo DiCaprio's character in Shutter Island. On one occasion, however, it is part of a Dream Within a Dream, from which the character later awakens (for real) by simply opening his eyes whilst still lying down.
- At the beginning of Total Recall (1990), Douglas Quaid wakes up with a jolt from a nightmare about dying of suffocation in the Martian atmosphere.
- Bedtime Stories has Mickey doing this every time he falls asleep, complete with screaming. Justified as a sleep panic disorder.
- Mad Max. After seeing the charred yet still alive body of his friend Goose in the hospital, Max is shown in bed; suddenly he bolts upright and the camera zooms in on his spotlit eyes.
- A Nightmare on Elm Street:
- Used a number of times in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World... always after Scott sees Ramona in his dreams as she goes through his subspace highway. The best response, though, is how Wallace Wells ALWAYS sits up immediately after as well, sometimes followed by one or two other guys....
- Alone in the Dark (1982) starts with one of the lunatics having a nightmare and waking up like this before the opening credits.
- Practically every time Ji-Won wakes up in Dead Friend (a.k.a The Ghost).
- In Paranormal Activity, Katie does this at least one time.
- In The Magnificent Seven, Lee (Robert Vaughn) not only bolts upright, but also scrambles across the room in a panic when he awakens from a bad dream.
- The short film Portal: No Escape begins with Chell doing this, complete with an extremely loud gasp.
- In Dracula 2000, Mary wakes up thrashing and incoherent after dreaming that a tall dark stranger is about to bite her throat out.
- The Fugitive. After escaping, Kimble has a nightmare about the murder of his wife while sleeping in the woods. At the end of the nightmare he wakes up and sits upright.
- Braveheart: After he betrays William Wallace at Falkirk, the Scottish Noble Mornay has a nightmare in which Wallace is riding towards him, fire blazing all around and the most terrifying Death Glare ever. He wakes up, but moments later, Wallace actually rides into his bedroom and gives Mornay a face full of flail.
- Happens at the end of Dressed to Kill where a character wakes from her nightmare.
- In Wild Wild West, the way Will Smith's character flings himself up from a bad dream.
- Christopher Walken's character does this in Communion.
- Exercised by the hero in Gozu while waking from an extremely weird nightmare.
- Josh in Road Trip has one when staying at the Manilows'.
- Lifeforce. While Carlson is asleep he has a nightmare of the space girl visiting him in his bed and wakes up screaming.
- The Fifth Element. Our introduction to the hero has Bruce Willis starting awake in his cubicle apartment. Interestingly there's no indication that he had a nightmare, but it's a direct cut from the scene where General Staedert's spaceship has been attacked (and presumably destroyed) by the Ultimate Evil, implying that he's had some sort of premonition of the oncoming disaster.
- The film version of Ordinary People opens with a scene of Conrad Jarrett performing with his school choir, which suddenly cuts to him bolting awake in bed.
- Played straight/parodied in Muppets from Space. Gonzo bolts upright after waking from a Noah's Ark nightmare. Unfortunately, Rizzo is sleeping in a hammock directly above him. The result? Rizzo himself getting catapulted out the the window.
- Dungeons & Dragons adventure I10 Ravenloft II: The House on Gryphon Hill.
- At the beginning of the module, the PCs each have a terrible nightmare, then wake up sitting bolt upright in bed, screaming and covered in cold sweat.
- After the Creature first appears to the Alchemist in a dream, most of the possible results have the Alchemist bolting upright in bed when he wakes up.
- Miss Saigon: Chris does this upon wakening from his nightmare about Kim. Kim herself often does this (depending on the actress) after her nightmare about how she and Chris were separated during the fall of Saigon.
- The opening scene of Valis II for the Sharp X68000. Unfortunately for Yuko, her nightmare is actually real when a monster comes at her window...
- Combined with a Repeat Cut in Haunting Ground, when Fiona wakes up in the castle bedroom after Riccardo (the housekeeper) informs her of the car accident that killed her parents.
- Happens constantly in the Chzo Mythos series. Happens about three times in 5 Days a Stranger, twice in 7 Days a Skeptic, and is scripted to happen twice in 6 Days, but it also happens if you die — your death inexplicably becomes a dream, and you just wake up quickly in your bed with a minor scare note.
- Happens to Thrall in the opening cutscene of Warcraft 3.
- Sims do this on rare occasions, usually when something traumatic has recently happened. There exists at least one hack to trigger it on command.
- Zero is prone to these in Mega Man X due to his Dark and Troubled Past and apparently sleeps with his capsule open to facilitate them.
- Used in one of the endings of Ao Oni: in version 5, Takeshi has a nightmare about being back inside the house, hiding in the cabinet you first found him in, and getting discovered by the monster instead.
- Shepard starts having these during Mass Effect 3. They involve following a kid s/he saw die in the opening through a forest, hearing the voices of dead characters from earlier in the series.
- However, it's more of an aversion, as Shepard doesn't catapult so much as simply gasp and jerk awake.
- Final Fantasy X, Tidus's nightmare concerning his dad during his stay in the Beside Island town hut, screaming "I hate you!"
- In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, the player has these starting from after the day Victini first appears and ending at the part before the Forest of Shadows.
- In Mario & Luigi: Dream Team, Luigi has a dream of Antasma attacking the Zeepelin that scares him so much that when he wakes up, he actually dashes across the Zeepelin in panic and falls onto the Pi'illo Blimport tarmac, where he conks out again.
- In Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers, this happens to Gabriel.
- Thomas, the main character of Neverending Nightmares, does this several dozen times over the course of the game for reasons that should be obvious.
- Happens in the Unlimited Blade Works route of Fate/stay night, after Shirou dreams of walking through a Field of Blades and looks down at his arm, only to see that it's turned into a sword.
- Questionable Content: Happens twice, the first one with a Dream Within a Dream featuring Man, I Feel Like a Woman .
- The Order of the Stick: Vaarsuvius gets one in the strip "Running Away" .
- Ash has a scare in Misfile.
- Happens several times in Ménage à 3:
- DiDi suffers one when her over-active conscience notices her interest in Gary. (January 12, 2009, strip #96, NSFW.)
- Yuki has two regarding "Garii". (May 13 & October 29 2010, strips #300 & 370, NSFW.)
- Zii has one (actually two, in a Dream Within a Dream) after Peggy comprehensively messed with her head. (February 06, 2014, strip #847, NSFW.)
- A twofer in The KA Mics (also a bit of a Mind Screw).
- In Get Medieval, a Shout Out to Monty Python and the Holy Grail ends this way◊.
- Davan mistimes his in Something*Positive.
- Happens to Kat after a Flashback Nightmare in Sequential Art.
- xkcd does this not only to bad dreams.
- Homestuck: Jade wakes up. There's a damn good reason why Karkat ordered everyone to not to go to after their dreamselves died.. Then, it happens again.
- Sluggy Freelance
- El Goonish Shive
- Averted in two strips. Tedd has a dream that startles him but is unable to sit up because Grace is sleeping on him (although it's possible that he wouldn't have sat up anyway), and Justin has a dream that wakes him up but doesn't make him sit up immediately.
- Played straight in this Sketchbook entry for March 2nd, 2003◊. Dan's squirrel boy avatar wakes up from a nightmare about a sleazy guy hitting on him while he's in his female squirrel girl avatar form.
- In the strip for March 18th, 2002, after waking up from a nightmare Grace bolts upright and screams.
- Perry Bible Fellowship: Subverted◊.
- Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal has an unending sequence of these.
- Complicated Ness
- Happens to Ness when he is told he can never fly and tries to fly off a building in his dream.
- It's happened twice so far in Crankrats.
- In The Phoenix Requiem Jonas wakes up like this after being haunted by his late wife.
- In Consolers, Sony has one after a nightmare.
- Equestria Chronicles has a few of these. Most notably, Clockwork set one up about a foal being brutally murdered... without revealing it was a nightmare until hours later.
- In Justice League, "Fearful Symmetry", Supergirl wakes up from a nightmare in which she cruelly hunts down and kills a citizen, to find she burned holes in the ceiling with her heat vision.
- The Simpsons, frequently.
- Subverted in the second Treehouse of Horror special, where Homer didn't catapult awake because he had a nightmare, but rather because Bart bit him.
- Also humorously played straight at the end of Bart's nightmare in the same special, not because anything generally scary happened, but to Bart it's a wonderful dream, until Homer kisses him, which causes him to wake up screaming long and loud (complete with the camera zooming into his screaming black mouth.)
- Subverted again in another episode, where Homer jumps up and yells "NOOOOO!" while still in the dream. He then says, "hmmm, that's funny. That usually ends the dream." Then he wakes up the normal way.
- Lampshaded on a commentary, where they ask if it's even possible to sit bolt upright. (It is, but you'd have to be a little fitter than Homer.)
- One of the funniest comes from "Moaning Lisa" in which Homer dreams that he and Bart turn into the characters from the video game "Super Slugfest" and Bart is about to beat him to death, Homer wakes up screaming then almost immediately falls back to sleep.
- Played with in the episode "The Sweetest Apu". After Homer stumbled on Apu cheating on Manjula with the Squishee girl, he ends dreaming that Apu brings out the Squishee girl in the typical harem room environment, and then tells the eunuch (Homer) to avert his eyes before making love with the Squishee girl. Homer then bolts up and screams, then wonders what an "eunuch" is, consulting to the dictionary, and then screams again when he learns what the definition of an eunuch is. The second scream is what wakes Marge up.
- Lampshaded at the end of nightmare in "Bart Sells His Soul":
Sherri and Terri (and their respective souls): Bart, it's time to end this dream / And don't forget the standard scream!
- In "Homer Loves Flanders", Ned wakes up in this way with an extreme closeup, full of sweat. He telle Maude. "Maude...I think I hate Homer Simpson!" and she gasps. The camera flashes over to the Simpson house and Homer wakes up with the exact same face and camera angle before saying
Homer: Marge, I think I hate...Ted Koppel! No wait, I find him informative and witty. Night.
- Arthur: All of the time. Here are some early examples:
- Used and subverted in an episode where Buster has a dream in which Arthur and Alan "Brain" are actually aliens, and are pulling him toward them with telekinetic powers as he screams. He wakes up quietly and near-motionlessly, calmly says, "That was scary," and goes back to sleep. Meanwhile, Arthur has a dream in which his sister Dora Winifred "D.W." comes into their tent to deliver the news that her and Arthur's mother said they have to let her sleep in the tent, too. He does the catapult with scream, which his mother takes for being caused by a nightmare about aliens.
- In the episode "Sick as a dog" in which Pal gets sick from eating junk food with Arthur and he has to remain at the vets overnight, that night Arthur has a nightmare in which a pack of wild dogs tie up the staff, burn down the clinic, and abduct Pal, before they take him Pal calls the Read's house and speaks to Arthur using dog sounds and Arthur cries out "Pal where are you?!" while lightning strikes, Arthur bolts out of bed gasping and says "Woah!... what a ridiculous dream... Pal doesn't know our phone number!".
- Ed, Edd n Eddy
- In the episode "Rock-A-Bye Ed", Ed has a crazy nightmare in which his mother (who for some reason has Johnny 2x4's face and voice) throws him to "the Kanker pit" for accidentally bugging Sarah. Ed wakes up screaming, and Eddy throws a bucket of water in Ed's face to shut him up. It happens again at the end when it turns out the whole episode was All Just a Dream Jonny 2x4 had.
- Aelita has a few screaming wake-ups in Code Lyoko, especially in Season 2 when she is trying to (re)adapt to life in the real world. This usually ends up ruining Sissi's beauty sleep, since her bedroom is next door.
- She has one where she doesn't scream in Season 4, but instead is brought to tears from the memory of her mother being kidnapped by The Men in Black.
- The screaming wake-up happens again in "Fight to the Finish," where she is Dreaming of Things to Come. It comes true.
- Happens to Candace at the end of Phineas and Ferb Get Busted. And Perry thanks to a Dream Within a Dream.
- Ron in the Kim Possible episode "Ill-Suited".
- Snoopy wakes up this way in the aptly-named special What a Nightmare, Charlie Brown.
- Danny Phantom where Sam, Tucker, and Jazz all do this... triggered by Danny in order to save them from eternal dreaming helmets.
- King of the Hill
- Episode "Bwah My Nose": Hank wakes up normally after a bad dream.
- Also in the episode "Sug Night" after his second naked Nancy dream he wakes up screaming and Peggy asks what's wrong and he covers it by saying he hears Ladybird whining.
- In "Hank's Unmentionable Problem" Peggy has a nightmare about Hank dying from his constipation and Cotton flushing the coffin to Hell and she wakes up screaming.
- And in "Are You There God?, It's Me Margaret Hill" in which Peggy has a nightmare that Monsignor Martinez abducts her students and takes them to Hell and throws them into a fiery pit because she had lied about being a nun, for a moment it seems that the fire has burnt out only for Hank to light with his propane, Peggy then wakes up screaming.
- Happens to Peter in the The Spectacular Spider-Man episode "Blueprints".
- Happens a number of times in the Futurama episode "The Sting". Leela catapults Nibbler in the process of waking up at least twice.
- Teen Titans: Raven does this once in the episode "Fear Itself".
- Also done by Robin at the beginning of "Apprentice - Part 1".
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- Prince Zuko wakes up like this from his Angst Coma.
- Aang does this a few times himself; most notably in "Nightmares and Daydreams", where he once wakes up everybody with his screams.
- A variation in episode 22: Sadlygrove doesn't propel himself upward immediately after the Dream Sequence... but screams at the top of his lungs.
- Adamaï also has such a wake-up in episode 24, after receiving a dream warning from the Tree of Life.
- The Boondocks goes here from time to time; most notably Tom's Prison Rape nightmare.
- Gary the Rat begins every episode waking up from a horrible nightmare, sometimes even leaping clear out of his bed.
- The Rugrats episode "In the Dreamtime" has two. The first one happens to Chuckie early in the episode, and the second one happens to Chuckie's dad at the end of the episode.
"I'm not Stu! BWAHAHAHAHAHA!"
- Happens at one point in the Dream Within a Dream ending of the Rocko's Modern Life episode "To Heck and Back".
- The Ren & Stimpy Show
- In the episode "Robin Hoek", Ren dreams that he is Robin Hood and Stimpy is Maid Moron, at the end after saving Stimpy from the sheriff they kiss and Ren wakes up shrieking in terror, he wipes the sweat off his forehead and says "Thank goodness it was only a dream!" and he glances over at Stimpy dressed in the Maid Moron outfit and he faints.
- Also in the uncut version of the pilot episode "Big House Blues", Ren dreams that he is flirting with a woman, little does he know he's caressing Stimpy in his sleep and he leans over and kisses him, he wakes up and screams and he washes out his mouth in the toilet.
- This has happened to both of the title characters in Pinky and the Brain at different points, most notably in the episode "Snowball".
- Zachary pulls one of these after a Nightmare Sequence (revealed later to be Mind Rape) in the Galaxy Rangers episode "Psychocrypt." Having the Queen of the Crowns invading one's head on a nightly basis for at least a week couldn't have been comfortable.
- Jackie Chan Adventures: Dark Hand member Finn has a nightmare where, for some reason, he and the other members of the Dark Hand (including Valmont and the Shadowkhan) have started a band and their performance is interrupted by Jackie swooping in from a helicopter, claiming they were off-key, and punching Finn in the face. Back to the real world, Finn tosses and turns in his bed for a moment, before catapulting up, panting and screaming.
- Parodied in Phineas and Ferb's Christmas Vacation, when Phineas lies in a bed and catapults repeatedly, hoping the episode up to this point will turn out to be All Just a Dream.
- Eek The Cat
- In the intro of the first two seasons, Eek (in his superhero outfit) saves Annabelle from the burning house, but his cape gets caught on fire, so he and Annabelle fall down. This cuts to Eek flinging up in a bed and screaming briefly, and then he looks around, wipes the sweat off his forehead and smiles, before jumping off the bed and falling.
- In the second episode "Bearz 'n the Hood", Eek had a dream in which he is hanging out with one of his owners, Wendy Elizabeth, and has her autograph finally signed. Then they go to the moon, but Eek's head grows bigger because there's no air, and as he screams in horror, his head explodes. After that, Eek wakes up screaming for a long time, but without flinging up. It turns out that one of the Squishy Bears made Eek wake up, and tries to chew him out, but Eek still screams.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- Happens to Rainbow Dash in the episode "May the Best Pet Win", after being awoken from a crazy dream in which she is menaced by a mash up of several of her friends' pets.
- In "Twilight's Kingdom, Part 1", Celestia does this when she gets the vision of Tirek returning. Luna then comes in to confirm it wasn't just a nightmare.
- The Amazing World of Gumball: Gumball does a particularly epic one in the episode "The Kiss".
- The Transformers. Daniel has one in the season 3 episode aptly named "The Nightmare Planet".
- The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius takes this to the extreme in one episode when it happens multiple times in a row. With the result being several Dream Within a Dream moments. It gets even better when it turns out the whole episode was the the bad guy in bed with his wife.
- Looney Tunes Bugs Bunny short "Water Water Every Hare". At the end Bugs Bunny bolts upright in his bed and panics, yelling "Who? Where? What? When?"
Bugs: Must've been a nightmare.
Tiny Gossamer: Oh, yeah? That's what you think!
- Ernest Le Vampire: Every episode ended this way.
- Gravity Falls uses this and lampshades it in "Sock Opera":
Bill [in Dipper's mind]: Hey, wanna hear my impression of you in about three seconds? (screams and flails his arms about)
Dipper: (wakes up screaming and flailing his arms about)
- Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker does this multiple times, befitting for a short film about dreams. Some of the jolting awake does have to with Night Terrors...not the actual phenomena, but nightmare creatures.
- Certain people will react this way, most notably to dreams that feel real (dreams where you are in your bed for instance).
- Will often wake up kicking, punching, or screaming.
- Waking from a dream that there is a snake in your bed is a pretty strong justification for leaping from the bed and hitting the light switch.
- As mentioned, night terrors, also known as sleep terrors, also known as pavor nocturnus, are often a specific example of this. While bolting upright doesn't always happen, it's a common occurrence and is usually accompanied by hysterical screaming and an inability to be comforted until the episode passes. That said, night terrors themselves are a very rare occurrence. They're most common at a young age with an estimated 1% - 6% of children suffering from them, though most grow out of it; less than 1% of adults continue to suffer from night terrors.note