Every night, each person dreams for ninety minutes, two hours, or more. Dreams are stories and images our mind creates while we sleep. They can be vivid and not always tell a simple story, leaving you feeling happy, sad or scared. Dreams happen anytime during sleep, but your most vivid dreams will happen when you are in a deep sleep called REM (Rapid Eye Movement), when the brain is most active1.

What do our common dreams mean?

Being Chased

This dream is most commonly reported. The anxiety we feel in the dream is so vivid that it makes it easier for us to remember them. Often, the reason for dreaming you are being chased comes not from the fear of actually being chased, but rather what you’re running from. Chase dreams help us to understand that maybe we’re not addressing something in our waking lives that requires our attention.

Falling


Not all falling dreams are scary. Some dreamers report a type of slow falling that indicates serenity and the act of letting go. Dreams of falling uncontrollably from a great height indicates that something in our life feels very much out of control.

Water


Water represents our emotions or our unconscious minds. The type of water (clear, cloudy, calm or turbulent) often shows us how effectively we are managing our emotions.

Flying


Flying in a dream relates to how much control we feel we have in our lives. How high or low we fly can represent how much control we feel we have.

Vehicles


Whether a car, aeroplane, train or ship, the vehicles in our dream can reflect what direction we feel our life is taking, and how much control we think we have over the path ahead of us. Vehicles can give us the power to make a transition and envision ourselves getting to our destination, or they can highlight the obstacles we think we are facing and need to work through.

People


Dreaming of people often is a reflection of the different aspects you see in yourself. The people in your dreams can relate to characteristics that need to be developed. Specific people directly relate to existing relationships or interpersonal issues we need to work through. Dreaming of your partner, in particular, is frequently symbolic of an aspect of ourselves from which we feel detached.

School


These dreams are often reported by people who have left school years previously. It’s a very common situation for people in dreams to find themselves in a school or classroom, sometimes confronted with a test that they aren’t prepared to take. The “test” or “lesson” we face inside the school or classroom is frequently one we need to learn from our past.

Death


Although dreaming of death is often perceived as negative, it often refers to dramatic change happening for the dreamer. It can represent the end of one thing, in order to make room for something new.

Nudity


Our vulnerability is very often expressed in dreams through nudity. The part of the body that’s exposed can give more insight into the emotion that our dreams are helping us to understand.

Baby


Dreaming of a baby often represents something new. It might be a new idea, a new development, or the potential for growth in an area of our waking life.

Teeth Falling Out


If you dream of your teeth falling out, it may suggest that you are insecure about how you are perceived by others and your appearance.

Paralysis

The body is actually encountering a form of paralysis during dreaming, which prevents it from physically performing the actions occurring in their dreams. Therefore, dreaming about paralysis frequently represents the overlap between the REM stage and waking stage of sleep. Dreaming about paralysis can also indicate that the dreamer feels he or she lacks control in their waking life.

But why do we dream?

There is still no given answer on why we dream, but there are many theories. Some researchers say dreams have no purpose or meaning and are nonsensical activities of the sleeping brain. Whereas others say dreams are necessary for mental, emotional, and physical health. They believe that dreams help us work through the problems in our lives, incorporate our memories and process our emotions2.

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Footnotes

  1. http://www.world-of-lucid-dreaming.com/30-common-dream-symbols.html
  2. https://science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/human-brain/why-do-we-dream.htm
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