Everyone dreams. Everyone also forgets 90% of their dreams, and yet some dreams can still have a significant impact on our waking lives. Thoughts, images, and emotions make up our dreams. In fact, people only dream about what they know and what they see in everyday life. Allowing our dream meanings to feel very real.
Even blind people dream. And babies dream too. No matter what age, race, or religion you may be, you dream just like everyone else. Some people love to dream, others do not, but either way, dreams keep us sane by preventing psychosis. But do our dreams have meaning?
Dreams also indicate a full night’s sleep. Dreams usually occur during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep which occurs for approximately 120 minutes and 3 to 5 times per night, during a full night’s rest. If you do not dream, you may not be receiving the quality sleep that you should.
Understanding sleep and dreams has become a growing trend, continue reading to learn more about dream meanings and dream interpretation, and see what your next dream might just mean to you.
Sleep Cycle & Dream Meanings:
The easiest way to understand your sleep is by breaking it down into two categories: REM sleep and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. Dreaming sleep typically only occurs during REM sleep. Changes in blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate are characters of REM sleep. This phase also increases blood flow to the brain. This may account in part, for dreaming sleep.
REM is the deepest part of sleep, but it is not the longest. NREM sleep makes up more of your time while sleeping. There are 3 different phases of NREM sleep known as: N1, N2, and N3. Each phase is characterized by distinct electrical brain wave patterns.
NREM and REM balance each other, as NREM becomes shorter, REM sleep gets longer. A person does not achieve REM sleep while taking a nap, which is why you likely will not dream during a nap. Understanding sleep cycles is a key component of understanding the value of sleep and dreams.
Why Do We Dream?
Science has made excellent strides in researching dreams and sleep. Still the age old question exists: why do we dream? The current debate is whether or not dreams serve a primary purpose.
Some scientists believe that dreams happen merely as a side effect to other biological processes that occur during sleep. While other experts claim there is a primary purpose. A few possibilities answering why we dream are related to memory, waking consciousness, a protective act, and a coping mechanism.
When it comes to memory it is thought that dreams aid in the process of short term becoming long term memory while we sleep. Another idea is that dreaming is just an extension of waking consciousness and dreams reflect on our experiences of waking life. Some experts believe that dreaming is a protective act, meant to protect us from potential threats and harms.
Similarly, dreams may also be a way of coping with difficult, unsettling, or complicated thoughts until our minds can achieve psychological and emotional balance through dreams. While all of these reasons for why we dream seem valid, this discussion is an age-old one that won’t come to an end anytime soon.
Historical Theories of Why We Dream:
History shows that the debate over why we dream was started long ago. Some of the most significant psychologists throughout history have had their fair share of ideas about why people dream. These significant figures include Freud, Hall, and Domhoff. Sigmund Freud believed that dreams were the road to the unconscious mind. To Freud, dreams were a matter of wish fulfillment. The four elements to his theory made up “dream work”. These elements re condensation replacement, symbolization and secondary revision and makeup what the dreamer is sought after in life.
Another significant player in the area of dreams was Hall. Hall believed that dreams were a cognitive process. He stated that dreams were a part of the cognitive process, in which dreams are ‘conceptions’ of the elements of our personal lives.
Hall also believed that understanding dreams meant knowing: the actions of the dreamer within the dream, the objects and figures in the dream, the interactions between the dreamer and the characters in the dream, and the dream’s setting, transitions, and outcome. This he believed, makes dreams more about understanding the dreamer than the dream itself.
Lastly, Domhoff believed that dreams are merely a reflection of our waking lives. Domhoff’s research found that dreams reflect the thoughts and concerns of our waking lives; and dream content is merely a result of cognitive processes.
What is Dream Interpretation?
These famous psychologists aren’t the only ones who want their part in dream interpretation. Dream interpretation is currently a growing trend and interest. Simply put, dream interpretation is assigning meaning to dreams.
In ancient Egypt and Greece, dreams were thought to be supernatural communication or divine intervention, so we aren’t the only ones seeking meaning in our dreams. Dream interpretation is generally left up to psychology and neurobiology, but you can find several books that act as a guide to interpreting your own dreams.
Studying dream interpretation is not all a gimmick however, some people take their dreams very seriously, and having a better understanding of dreams would benefit their quality of life. For example, some people will go so far as to cancel a plane trip they had planned, if they had a dream about a plane crash the night before, even more than they would cancel if the Department of Homeland Security issued a federal warning.
Most people will not consider all dreams to be equally as meaningful, which is why it is important to interpret dreams for the most common dreams and dream symbols.
Common Dreams & Dream Meanings:
Somehow our brains have been dreaming about the same, or similar things for centuries. Analyzing these dreams and dream symbols has become a source for entertainment and self-reflection, but that doesn’t make dreaming any less important. Below are the most common types of dreams and dream symbols, as well as their significance. Surely you’ve had at least one of these crazy dreams before.
Dream meanings about falling are as old as time. Typically the individual is falling from extreme heights, and the idea has been passed around that if you hit the ground in your dream, you die in real life. Keep in mind that this is a wives tale and NOT true. Falling dreams are said to signify that something in your life isn’t going well. It is a sign to rethink or reconsider a new direction or decision. Now if only your dream could tell you exactly what that bad decision is?
Being naked (in public)
This dream seems like our worst childhood nightmare coming true. Several people report dreaming about being fully undressed in public, at work, or at school. The Dream Dictionary for Dummies suggests that this type of dream indicates that you are feeling phony or afraid of revealing your imperfections.
Someone Chasing You
Dream meanings about being chased are undoubtedly common and equally frightening. In these types of dreams a known or unknown attacker is chasing you. This attacker can be human, an animal, or even someone you love. Someone chasing you in your dreams suggests that you are trying to run from and avoid something in your daily life. What or who exactly is chasing you indicates what you might be running from; something emotional, physical, or personal.
The losing teeth dream is an interesting one. In these types of dreams, permanent teeth are often lost or fall out. One interpretation of this dream could be that you are worried about your appearance. The second interpretation could be that you are worried about your ability to communicate, or that you said something wrong recently.
Death and dying is yet another highly common dream, and definitely not a pleasant one. In these dreams either you or a loved one dies. It is believed that if you dream about dying, you might have anxiety about change or fear of the unknown.
For couples, this is perhaps the most unsettling dream, but no this is not a sign that your partner is unfaithful. Dreams about infidelity can be indications that you fear your spouse cheating or leaving you. All too often individuals start believing their dreams and questioning ‘what if’, but the infidelity dream might just be a statement against the ‘what if’ of the situation as well. It is merely a coping mechanism of the brain to push the boundaries of these idea.
Dreams about flying can be much more enjoyable and liberating. Flying dreams are said to indicate independence and freedom, if you are having a smooth flight this could indicate you moving toward freedom in life. On the other hand, if you keep flying into obstacles in your dream, it could mean you are trying to flee or escape reality.
Yes, anyone is capable of having this dream, and just as complicated as emotions are during pregnancy, so are emotions during this dream. Interpretations about pregnancy dreams are said to be everything from creativity to fear. And no, this dream does not conclude that you or your spouse will definitely become pregnant, so don’t worry.
Dream Meanings & Interpretations:
If you’ve never had these dreams before you are one in a million, and even if you have, you’re still one in a million and uniquely you. Dreams are a natural occurrence and understanding them has implications about understanding our sleep and even our inner self better.
Even if you do not consider yourself a dreamer, you still dream. Or your dreams are outside the realm of common dream signs and symbols, you still dream. And even if you dream in black and white, you still dream. So it’s worth knowing a thing or two about them.
Can dreams predict the future? Most likely not, but there’s no doubt we will be dreaming all throughout the end of time. Whether they are trying to interpret or control them, people are always studying dreams. For now, they will remain as that little bit of magic in our everyday live