A dream is one big chunk of our daily sleep cycle. Dreams vary massively. Sometimes we dream about our loved ones, significant others, and friends. Other times, we dream about memories, human encounters, or future job prospects. Some may have it bizarre, while others have it simple. Many people remember their dreams, while others forget about them the moment they wake up.
Despite the differences in the context and nature of our dreams, one thing is for sure. We always want to recall, uncover, and know what they mean.
The most basic definition of dreams is images and pictures that we produce while we are sleeping. They range from simple and direct situations to bizarre and almost profound scenarios. People may dream of very clear narratives or settle with those that do not make sense at all.
Dreams can appear in almost any portion of our sleep. But the most bizarre ones show during a phase called REM or rapid eye movement sleep when your brain is having its most active state. Dreams occurring in this period are also those that people tend to remember during the day.
It is also possible to dream during NREM (non-rapid eye movement), but these are the ones that are common and simple. It usually fades from memory upon waking up. Experts say that a normal person often dreams about three to six times every night, with each dream lasting for about five to twenty minutes.
To date, the real reason why people dream is still a mystery. Some professionals say that dreams are futile and meaningless. Meanwhile, others argue that this is a physical and mental need. Some interesting theories about why we dream in the first place are the following:
- Development of the mind for cognitive abilities
- A unique state in our human consciousness that links our past, present, and future. It sometimes acts as a warning for possible threats.
- A time where our mind processes the memories and learning we had for the day
- To evaluate and discover unconscious mental functions throughout the daytime.
The psychological interpretation of dreams began with the famous psychologist Sigmund Freud. He believed that a person’s dream mirrors something about his inner self. According to him, a dream manifests motivations, internal thoughts, or even some hidden desires.
Other, more modern explanations about the meaning of dreams include:
- A deep fear or concern that gets to be unanswered or unsolved during consciousness
- Can reflect underlying mental condition, personal stresses, or prevailing anxieties
- Meaning and Interpretation of Dreams are unique to a person
If you want to know more about the types, causes, or meaning of dreams, check out the interesting FAQs about it here below:
Can dreams mean something?
Yes, they can. In psychology, dreams represent our unconscious desires and wishes. In ancient times, dreams were a way to predict the future or to commune with the supernatural. In general, there is still much to study and discover about dreams. Dreams can also be a means of survival.
In general, it is a form of psychotherapy since it develops our cognitive capabilities. Dreaming is also when the brain consolidates and processes learnings throughout the day.
What psychology says about dreams?
Freud explained that we produce images with our unconscious minds while sleeping. For him, dreams had meaning because it helps us understand our deepest selves better.
Contrarily, Hobson and McCarley gave no meaning to dreams. They say that the triggered sensations, emotions, and memories are random. The brain attempts to assemble them into a story, but one without meaning.
The Neurocognitive Model combines the two theories by stating that emotions guide random sensations and memories into a story. This scenario explains why people who underwent trauma are more prone to nightmares.
What are the three types of dreams?
There is passive imagination dreaming, which happens while semi-awake. It can be daydreaming, going to one’s fantasy land. It can also be light-sleep dreaming, combining random images.
External stimuli influence Dream-illusions. For example, sleeping with a hot water bottle at the bottom of the feet can cause dreams of walking on lava.
Meanwhile, thoughts and images influence dream-hallucinations. A boy who frequently thinks about a person he fancies will dream about them. Dream-hallucinations can also revolve around sexual, musical, or artistic desires as a central theme.
Do dreams reveal who we are as a person?
Yes, because dreams express our inner desires and fears that we might not say when awake. Dreams can reveal our state of mind. For example, dreaming about the workplace means that you are focused on productivity and accomplishment. Dreaming of your childhood home may mean that you are in a familiar and comfortable place.
Naked dreams mean experiencing your true self. Meanwhile, if you are covering up, it indicates that you’re feeling vulnerable. Dreaming of death means that you are changing. The circumstances will tell if you desire the change.
Do dreams show your true feelings?
Yes, since we are usually used to repressing our emotions during waking hours. Most of the time, we do not have the time to process our feelings. Sometimes we are in denial of our emotions because society dictates that certain feelings are wrong. The mind processes repressed emotions in our dreams, where we can freely express our feelings without judgment.
Learning your dream language allows you to understand your emotions better and resolve underlying problems. Too repressed emotions due to trauma will result in post-traumatic stress disorder dreams.
Can dreams be warnings?
Dreams may serve as warnings of our overall state of health. The subtle symptoms that we shrug off when awake may be exaggerated in our dreams. Dreams can remind us if we lack a specific aspect of our overall spiritual, mental, and physical well-being.
Some say that dreams can give us foresight of an event before it occurs. It can guide us toward the correct path to take the best course of action when it happens.
Can God send you dreams?
Some believe that God speaks to us through dreams and visions. In the Bible, God used dreams to send messages to prophets. Some say that people with vivid dreams have a unique insight to predict the future.
Are bad dreams a sign?
Various factors can cause spontaneous bad dreams. Some of these include taking a late-night snack or medication that activates the brain at night. Sleep deprivation from the previous night or withdrawal from drugs and substances can also result in nightmares.
However, reoccurring bad dreams can signal an underlying disorder or a regression of overall health. It can cause psychological triggers such as anxiety and depression. Nightmares are also a symptom of untreated sleep apnea or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
What does it mean when you dream about someone sexually?
Sexual dreams mean differently depending on the type of action being taken. Sex with a stranger or acquaintance may mean that you are not meeting your sexual needs. Sex with an ex may suggest two things. It may either mean getting used to a new partner or retaining unresolved grief about an ex.
BDSM may mean being attracted to the idea of being in control or wishing others were in power. Sex with a teacher may represent a desire to be loved by an authority figure. This phenomenon may stem from a lack of attention from a narcissistic parent.
Why do I have crazy dreams?
Crazy dreams are usually caused by activities performed before going to bed. For example, eating before sleeping increases metabolism. Therefore, it increases brain activity and causes dreams to be more intense. Watching television or reading a book may cause your mind to linger on it longer.
Sleep deprivation from previous nights also increases your dreams’ intensity. During this time, your body is essentially making up for lost sleep.
What do dreams signify?
Some dreams can signify certain aspects of our life or our way of thinking. Dreams involving the infidelity of a partner symbolizes feelings of lack of trust, loyalty, and communication. Dreams of failing an exam may signify feelings of unpreparedness for real-life problems.
Dreams involving death usually mean fear of sudden changes in your life. Death is all about a fear of the unknown. Dreams of being nude in public may indicate fear of revealing your imperfections.
How do you have a lucid dream?
Some techniques to force a lucid dream to occur are reality testing, WBTB, and keeping a dream journal. Reality testing is done by continually asking yourself, “Am I dreaming?” or checking if your environment is real.
The wake back to bed (WBTB) aims to stay conscious while entering the REM cycle. It involves waking up 5 hours after going to sleep and staying up for 30 minutes. After this, you need to fall back to sleep. The method of keeping a dream journal makes you notice similarities or patterns in your dreams.
Is lucid dreaming rare?
Yes, it only comes naturally to a number of people. The reason is most people do not put much emphasis on developing their inner sense of self. Most live distracted lives and go to bed very tired from their work.
Others are fearful of that type of experience, so they keep their minds noisy. They tend to watch shows or listen to music to distract themselves. However, lucid dreaming can be honed using reality testing, WBTB, and maintaining a dream journal.
Can you lucid dream every night?
Yes, certain people have lucid dreams almost every night. However, it is more common among children than it is for adults. Those who have lucid dreams are more insightful than most. They have the remarkable ability to think outside the box.
If you want to practice lucid dreaming every night, there some techniques to hone the skill. You can try reality testing, WBTB, and keeping a dream journal.
Can you die in a lucid dream?
No, but there are significant side effects to consider, like waking up in sleep paralysis. Lucid dreams can also cause derealization. It happens when you feel that nothing is real despite waking up. Waking up from a lucid dream can be harder. However, it is impossible to get “stuck” in it.
Lucid dreaming is dangerous for people with mental health problems since it can worsen their condition. For example, schizophrenic people have difficulty distinguishing hallucinations from real-life experiences.
Dreaming is a common human mental activity that is sometimes too difficult to control or maneuver. You do not have to worry about dreaming because it is a common experience across cultures. A lot of factors may contribute to what we dream. Most of which include our personal experiences, age, and occupation.
Often connected to our emotions, feelings, and ongoing mental status, interpreting these mental images must come from ourselves. Dream guides and definitions exist to help us evaluate and layout the meaning of our dreams. But these cannot fully define our dreams.
Also, do not stress out too much about the meaning of your dreams. If you focus on it too much, you might lose track of your present goals and sleeping schedule. Do not let dream interpretation control you and your current situation. Instead, see it as an opportunity to get to know more about yourself and connect to the inner parts of you.