- The Sleep Cycle
- The Mechanics of Dreaming
- Fun Dream Facts
- Tips To Recalling Your Dreams
- Why should you remember your dreams?
- Common Dream Types
- Dream-Related Questions
- Your Dream Journal
- Interpreting Your Dream
The Sleep Cycle
One sleep cycle comprises of four stages and lasts for about 90-120 minutes. Note that some books list five stages in the sleep cycle. These books consider the first five to ten minutes when you are falling asleep as a stage in the sleep cycle. We think this is more of a transitional phase and not really part of the cycle, especially since this stage of sleep does not repeat itself, while the other four stages do repeat themselves throughout the night. For this reason, we have excluded as part of the cycle.
Dreams can occur in any of the four stages of sleep, but the most vivid and memorable dreams occur in the last stage of sleep (also commonly referred to as REM sleep). The sleep cycle repeats itself about an average of four to five times per night, but may repeat as many as seven times. Thus, you can see how a person has several different dreams in one night. However, most people only remember dreams that occur closer toward the morning when they are about to wake up. But just because you can’t remember those dreams do not mean that they never happened. Some people believe that they simply do not dream, when in reality, they just don’t remember their dreams.
The Stages Of Sleep
The stages in the sleep cycle are organized by the changes in specific brain activity.
Stage 1: You are entering into light sleep. This stage is characterized by Non-rapid eye movements (NREM), muscle relaxation, lowered body temperature and slowed heart rate. The body is preparing to enter into deep sleep.
Stage 2: Also characterized by NREM, this stage is characterized by a further drop in body temperature and relaxation of the muscles. The body’s immune system goes to work on repairing the day’s damage. The endocrine glands secrete growth hormones, while blood is sent to the muscles to be reconditioned. In this stage, you are completely asleep.
Stage 3: Still in the NREM stage, this is an even deeper sleep. Your metabolic levels are extremely slow.
Stage 4: In this stage of sleep, your eyes move back and forth erratically as if watching something from underneath your eyelids. Referred to as REM sleep or delta sleep, this stage occurs at about 90-100 minutes after the onset of sleep. Your blood pressure rises, heart rate speeds up, respiration becomes erratic and brain activity increases. Your involuntary muscles also become paralyzed or immobilized. This stage is the most restorative part of sleep. Your mind is being revitalized and emotions is being fine tuned. The majority of your dreaming occurs in this stage. If you are awakened during this stage of sleep, you are more likely to remember your dreams.
These stages repeat themselves throughout the night as you sleep. As the cycle repeats, you will spend less time in stages 1 to 3 and more time dreaming in stage 4. In other words, it will be quicker and quicker for you to get to stage 4 each time the cycle repeats.
The Mechanics of Dreaming
While you are dreaming, your body undergoes noticeable changes. Your adrenaline rises, your blood pressure increases, and you heart beats faster. Given this hyperactivity, it should be no surprise how someone with a weak heart can die in their sleep. Their heart may not be able to withstand the strain and the erratic changes that their body is going through.
Dreaming takes place during REM, which stands for Rapid Eye Movement. It is thus called, because your eyes move rapidly back and forth under the eyelids. REM sleep takes place in the fourth stage of sleep and accounts for 15-20% of your sleep time. From the point you fall asleep, it takes 30 to 90 minutes before you start dreaming. You cycle through the 4 stages of sleep and may enter the REM stage 4 to 7 times in one night. During REM, your blood pressure and heart rate fluctuate and increase. It sounds like your body is going through a lot, but in fact, it is quite the contrary. During REM, your bodies are completely immobile and your muscles remain completely relaxed. You may shift in your bed throughout the night, but when in REM, you are completely still. This is commonly known as “REM Paralysis”.
In REM sleep, the mind is as active as it is during waking. However, chemically it is different. REM is controlled by the excitability level of the cholinergic neurons. Noradrenaline and seratonin are missing in the brain when in the dream state. These chemicals allow the brain to carry out task, solve problems and remember things. This is a reason why you find it so hard to remember your dreams.
Fun Dream Facts
- One-third of your life is spent sleeping.
- In an average lifetime, you would have spent a total of about six years of it dreaming. That is more than 2,100 days spent in a different realm!
- Dreams have been here as long as mankind. Back in the Roman Era, profound and significant dreams were submitted to the Senate for analysis and interpretation.
- 4. Everybody dreams. EVERYBODY! Simply because you do not remember your dream does not mean that you do not dream. In fact, you have several dreams during a normal night of sleep.
- Dreams are indispensable. A lack of dream activity may imply some protein deficiency or a personality disorder.
- On average, you can dream anywhere from one to two hours every night. Moreover, you can have four to seven dreams in one night.
- Blind people do dream. Whether visual images appear in their dreams depend on whether they were blind at birth or became blind later in life. But vision is not the only sense that constitutes a dream. Sound, tactility, and smell become hypersensitive for the blind and their dreams are based on these senses.
- Five minutes after the end of the dream, half the content is forgotten. After ten minutes, 90% is lost.
- The word dream stems from the Middle English word, dreme which means “joy” and “music”.
- Men tend to dream more about other men, while women dream equally about men and women.
- Studies have shown that your brain waves are more active when you are dreaming than when we are awake.
- Dreamers who are awakened right after REM sleep, are able to recall their dreams more vividly than those who slept through the night until morning.
- Physiologically speaking, researchers found that during dreaming REM sleep, males experience erections and females experience increased vaginal blood flow, regardless the content of the dream. In fact, “wet dreams” may not necessarily coincide with overtly sexual dream content.
- People who are in the process of giving up smoking tend to have longer and more intense dreams.
- Toddlers do not dream about themselves. They do not appear in their own dreams until the age of 3 or 4.
- If you are snoring, then you cannot be dreaming.
- Nightmares are common in children, typically beginning at around age 3 and occurring up to age 7-8.
- In a poll, 67% of Americans have experienced Deja Vu in their dreams, occurring more often in females than males.
- Around 3% of adults suffer from sleep apnea. This treatable condition leads to unexplained tiredness and inefficiency.
20 According to a research study, the most common setting for dreams is your own house.
- It is very normal for males to experience an erection during the REM stage of sleep, even when they are not dreaming anything of a sexual nature.
- The original meaning of the word “nightmare” was a female spirit who besets people at night while they sleep.
Tips To Recalling Your Dreams
Remembering your dreams will require some effort on your part. But what your dreams can offer and reveal about yourself is well worth the effort. Here are some tips in helping your dream recall:
- Before going to bed, keep a clear mind. Having too many thoughts on your mind can distract you from remembering your dream in the morning. Tell yourself that “I will remember my dream when I wake up”. This is a proven and effective technique to help dream recall. Simply by suggesting to yourself or motivating yourself to remember your dreams will actually help you to better remember your dreams. It is important to stay positive about being a able to remember your dreams.
- Have a regular bedtime and wake up time. Make this your routine. Going to bed and waking up at a regular time every day aids in dream recollection.
- Avoid alcohol consumption, taking medication before going to bed or eating fatty foods too close to bedtime as these things can hinder you from remembering your dream.
- Keep a pencil/notebook or tape recorder next to your bed so that it will be within reach as soon as you wake up. You want to make recording your dreams as easy a task as possible. Having a small lamp by your bedside is also a good idea should you wake up in the middle of the night and want to record your dream immediately.
- Do not get out of bed immediately. Upon waking from a dream, lay still in your bed, keeping your eyes closed and moving as little as possible. Wake up slowly and stay relax. Hold on to the feelings you have and let your mind wander to the images of what you have just dreamt. Were you frustrated, terrified, or happy?
- Write down as many details in your dream as you can, no matter how minute or seemingly unimportant it may be. Do not judge the content or worry if it makes sense. The idea is to get it down on paper so you can evaluate it later. Make it a habit that this is the first thing you do. Talking about your dreams to friends or participating in forums and chats also help you remember.
- Sometimes it may help to draw pictures. A picture is worth a thousand words, as the saying goes. Even if you are not an artist a simple drawing can help to jolt details of your dream.
- Learn to share your dreams and talk about them with others, no matter who seemingly insignificant. The more often you acknowledge your dreams and bring them into “reality”, the easier it will be to remember them.
- Don’t get discouraged! At first, you may only remember a fragment of the dream. With practice and the more you work with your dream, the more easier it will be to recall you dreams. You will remember larger and larger chunks of your dream. Eventually dream recall will come automatically.
Why should you remember your dreams?
- Your dreaming mind has access to vital information that is not readily available to you when you are awake. Your dreams serve as a window to your subconscious and reveal your secret desires and feelings.
- In remembering your dreams, you gain increased knowledge, self-awareness and self-healing. Dreams are an extension of how you perceive yourself. They may be a source of inspiration, wisdom, joy, imagination and overall improved psychological health.
- Learning to recall your dreams help you become a more assertive, confident and stronger person. By remembering your dreams, you are expressing and confronting your feelings.
- Dreams help guide you through difficult decisions, relationship issues, health concerns, career questions or any life struggle you may be experiencing.
- Remembering your dreams help you come to terms with stressful aspects of your lives.
- You will learn more about yourself, your aspirations, and your desires through your dreams.
Like his mentor Sigmund Freud, Carl Gustav Jung (1875-1960) also believes in the existence of the unconscious. However, he does not see the unconscious as animalistic, instinctual, or sexual; he sees it as more spiritual. Eventually, Jung split with Freud due to their differing views on dreams.
According to Jung, dreams are a way of communicating and acquainting yourself with the unconscious. Dreams are not attempts to conceal your true feelings from the waking mind, but rather they are a window to your unconscious. They serve to guide the waking self to achieve wholeness and offer a solution to a problem you are facing in your waking life.
Jung views the ego as your sense of self and how you portray yourself to the world. Part of Jung’s theory is that all things can be viewed as paired opposites: good/evil, male/female, or love/hate. So working in opposition to the ego, is the “counterego” or what he refers to as the shadow. The shadow represents the rejected aspects of yourself that you do not wish to acknowledge. The shadow is more primitive, somewhat uncultured, and a little awkward.
Jungian Dream Interpretation
Since dreams are a way of communicating with the unconscious, Jung believed that dream images reveal something about yourself, your relationships with others, and situations in your waking life. Dreams guide your personal growth and help in achieving your full potential. Jung also believes that the dream’s manifest content is just as significant and revealing as the latent content. By simply discussing what is currently going on in your life, it can help you interpret and unlock the cryptic images of your dreams. Jung’s method of dream interpretation is placed more confidently on the dreamer. He believes that you all possess the necessary tools to interpret your own dreams. There is no one correct way to interpret a dream. The meaning of your dreams is a personal judgment and is up to you on how to interpret them. Whatever interpretation feels right to you is most significant and more important than what someone else thinks or believes.
Carl Jung’s Archetypes
To further help you in uncovering the meaning of your dreams, Jung noted certain dream symbols that possess the same universal meaning for all men and women. He terms this phenomenon the “collective unconscious”. While dreams are personal, your personal experiences often touch on universal themes and symbols. These symbols are believed to occur in every culture throughout history. Jung identifies seven such symbols in what is referred to as the major archetypal characters:
- The Persona is the image you present to the world in your waking life. It is your public mask. In the dream world, the persona is represented by the Self. The Self may or may not resemble you physically or may or may not behave as your would. For example, the persona can appear as a scarecrow or a beggar in your dream. However, you still know that this “person” in your dream is you.
- The Shadow is the rejected and repressed aspects of yourself. It is the part of yourself that you do not want the world to see because it is ugly or unappealing. It symbolizes weakness, fear, or anger. In dreams, this figure is represented by a stalker, murderer, a bully, or pursuer. It can be a frightening figure or even a close friend or relative. Their appearance often makes you angry or leaves you scared. They force you to confront things that you don’t want to see or hear. You must learn to accept the shadow aspect of yourself for its messages are often for your own good, even though it may not be immediately apparent.
- The Anima / Animus is the female and male aspects of yourself. Everyone possess both feminine and masculine qualities. In dreams, the anima appears as a highly feminized figure, while the animus appears as a hyper masculine form. Or you may dream that you are dressed in women’s clothing, if you are male or that you grow a beard, if you are female. These dream imageries appear depending on how well you are able to integrate the feminine and masculine qualities within yourself. They serve as a reminder that you must learn to acknowledge or express your masculine (be more assertive) or feminine side (be more emotional).
- The Divine Child is your true self in its purest form. It not only symbolizes your innocence, your sense of vulnerability, and your helplessness, but it represents your aspirations and full potential. You are open to all possibilities. In the dreamscape, this figure is represented by a baby or young child.
- The Wise Old Man /Woman is the helper in your dreams. Represented by a teacher, father, doctor, priest or some other unknown authority figure, they serve to offer guidance and words of wisdom. They appear in your dream to steer and guide you into the right direction.
- The Great Mother is the nurturer. The Great Mother appears in your dreams as your own mother, grandmother, or other nurturing figure. She provides you with positive reassurance. Negatively, they may be depicted as a witch or old bag lady in which case they can be associated with seduction, dominance and death. This juxtaposition is rooted in the belief by some experts that the real mother who is the giver of life is also at the same time jealous of our growth away from her.
- The Trickster, as the name implies, plays jokes to keep you from taking yourself too seriously. The trickster may appear in your dream when you have overreach or misjudge a situation. Or he could find himself in your dream when you are uncertain about a decision or about where you want to go in life. The trickster often makes you feel uncomfortable or embarrassed, sometimes mocking you or exposing you to your vulnerabilities. He may take on subtle forms, sometimes even changing its shape.
Archetypal dreams, also refer to as “mythic dreams”, “great dreams” or “grand dreams”, usually occur at significant times or transitional periods in your life. They often leave you with a sense of awe or that you have learned something important about yourself. Such dreams have a cosmic quality or an element of impossibility if occurred in reality. They are often extremely vivid and stay in your mind long after you had the dream.
Considered the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) revolutionizes the study of dreams with his work The Interpretation Of Dreams. Freud begins to analyze dreams in order to understand aspects of personality as they relate to pathology. He believes that nothing you do occurs by chance; every action and thought is motivated by your unconscious at some level. In order to live in a civilized society, you have a tendency to hold back our urges and repress our impulses. However, these urges and impulses must be released in some way; they have a way of coming to the surface in disguised forms.
One way these urges and impulses are released is through your dreams. Because the content of the unconscious may be extremely disturbing or harmful, Freud believes that the unconscious expresses itself in a symbolic language.
Freud categorizes aspects of the mind into three parts:
Id – centered around primal impulses, pleasures, desires, unchecked urges and wish fulfillment.
Ego – concerned with the conscious, the rational, the moral and the self-aware aspect of the mind.
Superego – the censor for the id, which is also responsible for enforcing the moral codes of the ego.
When you are awake, the impulses and desires of the id are suppressed by the superego.
Through dreams, you are able to get a glimpse into your unconscious or the id. Because your guards are down during the dream state, your unconscious has the opportunity to act out and express the hidden desires of the id. However, the desires of the id can, at times, be so disturbing and even psychologically harmful that a “censor” comes into play and translates the id’s disturbing content into a more acceptable symbolic form. This helps to preserve sleep and prevent you from waking up shocked at the images. As a result, confusing and cryptic dream images occur.
According to Freud, the reason you struggle to remember your dreams, is because the superego is at work. It is doing its job by protecting the conscious mind from the disturbing images and desires conjured by the unconscious.
Freudian Dream Tools:
According to Freud, dreams always have a manifest and latent content. The manifest content is what the dream seems to be saying. It is often bizarre and nonsensical. The latent content is what the dream is really trying to say. Dreams give us a look into our unconscious.
Freud believes that we can chip through the dream’s manifest content to reveal the underlying significance and its latent by utilizing the technique of “free association”.
Using this technique, you start with one dream symbol and then follow with what automatically comes to your mind first. You continue in this manner and see where it leads.
To further help in interpreting the cryptic images of our dreams, Freud classified the images into the following five processes:
This occurs when the desire for one thing or person is symbolized by something or someone else.
This happens when the dreamer propels their own desires and wants onto another person.
This is characterized when the dreamer’s repressed urges or suppressed desires are acted out metaphorically.
This is the process in which the dreamer hides their feelings or urges by contracting it or underplaying it into a brief dream image or event. Thus the meaning of this dream imagery may not be apparent or obvious.
This is regarded as the final stage of dreamwork. The dreaming mind organizes an incoherent dream into one that is more comprehensible and logical. This is also known as secondary revision.
Freud is particularly preoccupied with sexual content in dreams. He believes that sex is the root cause of what occurs in your dreams. According to Freud, every long slender or elongated object (i.e. knife, cigar, gun, etc) represents the phallus, while any cavity or receptacle (bowl, cave, tunnel, etc) denotes the female genitalia.
Freud’s 5 Stages Of Personality Development:
Freud believes that there are 5 stages in the formation of your personality:
This stage takes place from birth to age 2, where the child explores the world using their mouth. If needs are not satisfied during this stage, one goes through life trying to meet them. Smoking, eating and drinking are seen as oral fixations. Recurring dreams, the feeling of incompleteness or unmet needs are common themes.
- Anal/ Potty Training
In this second stage, the child learns to control their bodily functions. If not handled properly or if the child is traumatized at this stage, then he or she might become anal retentive, controlling, or rigid. The child can also develop obsessive compulsive behaviors. Dreams of being out of control or trying to keep things in order are common.
3. Phallic Stage
Between the ages of 3 to 5, the child becomes aware of male and female. Personality is fully developed by this stage. This stage is also classified by the Oedipus and Electra Complexes. The Oedipus represents a male child’s love for his mother and the fear/jealousy towards his father. The Electra is the female version where the female child has anger toward her mother and exhibits “penis envy”.
- Latency Period
Little new development is observable during this stage.
Starting from age 12 to the peak of puberty, this stage is classified by the reawakening of sexual interest.
As previously mentioned, Freud believes that the motivating force of a dream is wish fulfillment. Issues of power, lack of control, or unsatisfactory love may manifest in dreams as a way of satisfying these needs. Thoughts that are repressed during the day may also find a way into your dream as a way to getting fulfillment.
Freud believes that every imagery and symbol that appears in a dream have a sexual connotation. For example, anxiety dreams are seen as a sign of repressed sexual impulses.
Critique: There are many critics on Freud’s theory of dreams. Freud lived in a sexually repressed Victorian era. His preoccupation with sexual imagery may therefore have been a product of the times, the culture or his own relationship/conflict with sex.
Common Dream Types
So you are going about your normal routine – going to work, waiting for the bus, or just walking down the street – when you suddenly realize that you are stark naked. Dreaming that you are completely or partially naked is very common. Nudity symbolizes a variety of things depending on your real life situation.
Becoming mortified at the realization that you are naked in public, reflects your vulnerability or feelings of shamefulness. You may be hiding something and are afraid that others can see right through you. Metaphorically, clothes are a means of concealment. Depending on the type of clothes you wear, you can hide your identity or be someone else. But without them, everything is hanging out for all to see. You are exposed and left without any defenses. Thus your naked dream may be telling you that you are trying to be something that you really are not. Or you are fearful of being ridiculed and disgraced. Such anxieties are elevated especially in situations where you are trying to impress others. Perhaps you are in a new work environment or in a new relationship. You may be expressing fears or apprehension in revealing your true feelings in such situations.
Nudity also symbolizes being caught off guard. Finding yourself naked at work or in a classroom, suggests that you are unprepared for a project at work or school. You may be unprepared in making a well informed decision. With all eyes on you, you fear that some flaw will be brought to public attention. You fear that people will see through your true self and you will be exposed as a fraud or a phony.
Often times, when you realize that you are naked in your dream, no one else seems to notice. Everyone else in the dream is going about their business without giving a second look at your nakedness. If this happens in your dream, then it implies that your fears are unfounded; no one will notice except you. You may be magnifying the situation and making an issue of nothing.
If you dream that you are proud of your nakedness and show no embarrassment or shame, then it symbolizes your unrestricted freedom. You have nothing to hide and are proud of who you are. The dream is about a new sense of honesty, openness, and a carefree nature. Perhaps you are trying to get to the bare facts. Alternatively, the dream may be telling you that you are drawing the wrong kind of attention to yourself. You want to get noticed, but are going about it the wrong way.
“I’m Being Chased!”
Chase dreams are one of several common dream themes, stemming from feelings of anxiety in your waking life. Flee and flight is an instinctive response to a physical threat in the environment. In such dreams, the scenario often features you being pursued by an attacker, an animal, a monster or an unknown figure, who wants to hurt or possibly kill you. Consequently, you run, you hide or you try to outwit your pursuer. Your actions in the dream parallel how you would respond to pressure and cope with fears, stress or various situations in your waking life. Instead of confronting the situation, your dream indicates that you have a tendency to run away and avoid the issue. Ask yourself who is chasing you, so that you can gain a better understanding and insight on the source of your fears and anxieties.
The pursuer or attacker who is chasing you in your dream may also represent an aspect of yourself. Your own feelings of anger, jealousy, fear, and possibly love, can manifest itself as the threatening figure. Or the shadowy figure can symbolize the rejected characteristics of your Self. You may be projecting these feelings onto the unknown chaser. Next time you have a dream of being chased, turn around and confront your pursuer. Ask them why they are chasing you. What are you trying to run from?
If you are the one doing the chasing, then the dream may highlight your drive and ambition to go after something you want. Or perhaps the dream suggests that you are falling behind and having to catch up with everyone else.
Consider the distance or gap between you and your pursuer. This indicates your closeness to the issue. If the pursuer is gaining on you, then it suggests that the problem is not going to go away. The problem will surround you, until you confront and address it. However, if you are able to widen the gap between your pursuer, then you are able to successfully distance yourself from the problem. In essence, the problem is fading away.
A more direct analysis of chase dreams is the fear of being attacked. Such dreams are more common among women than men, who may feel physically vulnerable in the urban environment. These dreams are often brought about by the media, who magnifies fears of violence and sexual assault.
“My Teeth Are Falling”
Dreams of falling teeth are the most common dreams that Dream Moods receives. The typical dream scenarios include having your teeth crumble in your hands, fall out one by one with just a light tap, grow crooked or start to rot. Such dreams are not only horrifying and shocking, but they often leave you with a lasting image of the dream. So what does it mean?
One theory is that dreams about your teeth reflect your anxieties about your appearance and how others perceive you. Your teeth help to convey an image of attractiveness and play an important role in the game of flirtation, whether it is flashing those pearly white, kissing or necking. Thus, such dreams may stem from a fear of rejection, sexual impotence or the consequences of getting old. To support this notion, a dream research found that women in menopause report to have frequent dreams about teeth. This points to teeth dreams as being related to getting older and/or feeling unattractive and less feminine. Teeth are an important feature to your attractiveness and how you are presented to others. Caring about how you look is natural and healthy.
Another rationalization for these falling teeth dreams may be rooted in your fear of being embarrassed or making a fool of yourself in some situation. These dreams are an over-exaggeration of your worries and anxieties. Perhaps you feel that you are unprepared for the task at hand. However, you will find that your worries are unfounded in most cases. Sometimes what plays out in your mind is far worse than what is reality.
Teeth are used to bite, tear, chew and gnaw. In this regard, teeth symbolize power. And the loss of teeth in your dream may be from a sense of powerlessness. Are you lacking power in some current situation? Perhaps you are having difficulties expressing yourself or getting your point across. You feel frustrated when your voice is not being heard. You may be experiencing feelings of inferiority and a lack of self-confidence in some situation or relationship in your life. This dream may be an indication that you need to be more assertive and believe in the importance of what you have to say.
Traditionally, it was thought that dreaming that you did not have teeth, represent malnutrition or poor diet. This notion may still be applicable to some dreamers.
Many cultures, including the Hispanic and Greek cultures, believe that when you dream about loose, rotten, falling, or missing teeth, then it indicates that a family member or close friend is very sick or even near death.
According to the Chinese, there is a saying that your teeth will fall out if you are telling lies.
It has also been said that if you dream of your teeth falling out, then it symbolizes money. This is based on the old tooth fairy story. If you lose a tooth and leave it under the pillow, a tooth fairy would bring you money.
Flying dreams fall under a category of dreams known as lucid dreams. Lucid dreams occur when you become aware that you are dreaming. Many dreamers describe the ability to fly in their dreams as an exhilarating, joyful, and liberating experience.
If you are flying with ease and are enjoying the scene and landscape below, then it suggests that you are on top of a situation. You have risen above something. It may also mean that you have gained a new and different perspective on things. Flying dreams and the ability to control your flight is representative of your own personal sense of power.
Having difficulties staying in flight indicates a lack of power in controlling your own circumstances. You may be struggling to stay aloft or stay on set course. Things like power lines, trees, or mountains may be obstacles that you encounter in flight. These obstacles symbolize something or someone who is standing in your way in your waking life. You need to identify what or who is trying to prevent you from moving forward. Difficulty flying may also be an indication of a lack of confidence or some hesitation on your part. You need to believe in yourself and not be afraid.
If you are feeling fear when you are flying or that you are flying too high, then it suggests that you are afraid of challenges and of success. Perhaps you are not ready to take the next step.
In reality, we cannot really fly, of course. Thus, such dreams can be representative of things that are beyond your physical limitations. In your mind, you can be anybody and do anything. Another way of interpreting flying dreams is that these dreams symbolize your strong mind and will. You feel undefeatable and that nobody can tell you what you cannot do and accomplish. Such dreams are sure to leave you with a great sense of freedom.
Falling dreams are another theme that is quite common in the world of dreams. Contrary to a popular myth, you will not actually die if you do not wake up before you hit the ground during a fall.
As with most common dream themes, falling is an indication of insecurities, instabilities, and anxieties. You are feeling overwhelmed and out of control in some situation in your waking life. This may reflect the way you feel in your relationship or in your work environment. You have lost your foothold and keep up with the hustle and bustle of daily life. When you fall, there is nothing that you can hold on to. You more or less are forced toward this downward motion without any control. This lost of control may parallel a waking situation in your life.
Falling dreams also often reflect a sense of failure or inferiority in some circumstance or situation. It may be the fear of failing in your job/school, loss of status, or failure in love. You feel shameful and a lost sense of self-esteem You are unable to keep up with the status quo and feel that you don’t measure up.
According to Freudian theory, dreams of falling indicate that you are contemplating giving in to a sexual urge or impulse. You are lacking indiscretion.
Falling dreams typically occur during the first stage of sleep. Dreams in this stage are often accompanied by muscle spasms of the arms, legs, and the whole body. These sudden contractions are also known as myclonic jerks. When you sometimes have these falling dreams, you may feel your whole body jerk or twitch and actually awaken from this jerk. It is thought that this jerking action is part of an arousal mechanism that allows you to wake up quickly and be on the alert to possible threats in the environment.
According to biblical interpretations, dreams about falling have a negative overtone.It is believed that such dreams relate to how you are acting and walking, according to his own way of thinking and not those of the Lord.
“I Failed The Test”
To dream that you are taking an exam, indicates that you are being put to the test or being scrutinized in some way. These dreams highlight some anxiety or agitation that you are experiencing in your waking life. In such dreams, you may find that you cannot answer any of the questions on the test, that the test is in some foreign language or that your pencil keeps breaking during the test. Perhaps time is running out and you cannot complete the exam in the allowed time. Or perhaps, you arrive late and miss the exam. These factors contribute to failing the dream test. These dreams usually have to do with your self-esteem and confidence or the lack of. You tend to believe in the worst about yourself and are often overly worried that you are not making the grade and measuring up to other people’s expectations of you. You may also experience the fear of not being accepted, not being prepared, or not being good enough.
Test dreams also suggest that you are feeling unprepared for a challenge. Rarely, these dreams are about the actual content of the test, but rather it is more about the process and how you feel during the exam taking process. These feelings often parallel how you are actually feeling in a particular challenge or situation in your waking like.
Test dreams are also an indication that you are being judged. These dreams serve as a signal for you to examine an aspect of yourself that you may have been neglecting and need to pay more attention to. You may be harboring some guilt because you did not prepare enough for a school exam, meeting, business project, or some project. Most of the time, though, people who have such dreams are unlikely to fail a test in real life. This dream is rooted in the fear and anxiety that you may not meet other’s standards. You are afraid to let others down.
What is the average amount of dreams a person usually has in one night?
The average person has about 3 to 5 dreams per night, but some may have up to 7 dreams in one night. The dreams tend to last longer as the night progresses. During a full 8-hour night sleep, two hours of it is spent dreaming.
Please tell me is it unusual for an individual to have multiple dreams during the course of one night’s sleep? Is this normal? I normally dream two or three dreams in one night.
It is not at all unusual for a person to have more than one dream per night. In fact, it is perfectly normal! The trick is remembering all your dreams. Some people have trouble remembering one single dream, let alone multiple dreams.
Does a person dream all night? If not, when do they?
No, a person does not spend the entire night dreaming. A person spends about two hours in the dream state per night. A person moves through the four stages of the sleep cycle throughout the night. The final stage of the sleep cycle (referred to as REM sleep) is where dreaming occurs. Each cycle of sleep lasts anywhere from 60-90 minutes and then repeats itself throughout the night.
Would you please tell me why people do not dream?
Everybody dreams! This is a scientifically proven fact. Research has shown that all human beings in a study exhibit brain activity during their sleep. Just because you cannot remember your dreams does not mean that you do not dream. So why is it that some people don’t remember their dream? This may be attributed to alcohol consumption, certain antibiotics, fever, lack of sleep or too much sleep, high levels of stress, and/or unconscious fears about the content of your dreams. Some researchers believe that certain people have a genetic disposition to forget their dreams as they come out of their sleep.
Do children’s dreams mean the same as adults? If not what is the difference?
Dreams often reflect our experiences and life concerns. For this reason, children’s dreams are different then the dreams of adults. The dreams of young children (3-5 year olds) usually have no real story line or any strong emotional content. Children around this age also frequently experience nightmares relating to their fears (strangers, monsters, loud noises, etc.) By the time children reaches their teen years, their dream patterns are matched closer to that of adults.
Is it true that some dreams can predict the future?
There is no scientific proof that dreams can predict and foretell the future. Yes, many people have had dreams that eventually came true afterwards. This can be explained in how we unconsciously gather little information here and there and when you have a dream, it puts together all this unconscious information before you are consciously able to do so. In short, you unconsciously already know what was going to happen and it only appears as if the dream had predicted the future. Another explanation is that such dream are mere coincidences or is the faulty memory of the dreamer.
Why do you think that we have dreams?
This is still an unresolved topic amongst researchers as to the reason we have dreams. One theory suggests that dreams serve as a means for cleansing and release. During the day, we may hold back our feelings and repress our anger. Thus dreams serve as a safe outlet for us to release our negative emotions. Another theory says that dreams is a biologically necessary aspect of sleep. Research has shown that people who were prevented from entering the dream state and woken up before they can dream were more easily irritated, jittery, and performed far below average. I believe these are two theories summarize why we dream.
Do dreams have any significance?
Yes, dreams have a significance. The images in our dreams always contain hidden meaning which goes far beyond the outer appearance. The language of dreams is symbolic and not to be taken literally. The significance of dreams is personal and dependent on your own personal experiences. However, there are many universal symbols.
What does it mean when you dream about the same person over and over again?
Dreaming about the same person over and over again could just mean that you are thinking about that person a lot in real life. It is thus natural that they also appear in your dream life. Your dream is telling you that it is time to let this person know how you feel, especially if you are dreaming of him or her in a good way. Only good things can happen from you telling him or her. Even if he or she is not interested, at least you can move on from the crush.
What causes or why do some dreams keep repeating themselves?
Dreams that recur (or repeat themselves) is a clear indication that some issue is not being confronted or that it has not yet been resolved. Your anxieties about a certain situation that you are struggling with may also cause you to have recurring dreams.
Do we dream in black and white or color, or does it mean anything if we dream one way or the other?
Most people do dream in color, but some may not notice or remember colors in their dreams. Because color is such a natural part of our visual experience, we sometimes overlook it in our dreams. Another reason is poor memory recall and how our dreams fade so quickly from our minds that we may only be able to recall the dream in shades of gray. Dreams that are in black and white are an indication of a depressed or saddened mood.
I heard from a friend that the more senses you can experience in dreams (colors, smell, etc), the greater your intelligence is in general. Do you know anything about this?
I have never heard that the more senses you experience in your dream is correlated with your intelligence. The way we process our senses varies from individual to individual and does not necessarily have to do with intelligence. However, it is correct to say that most people recall the visual and auditory aspects of their dreams. Touch, smell, and taste tend to be secondary unless it happens to be a central component of the dream, or unless the person is visually impaired. In this case, sense of touch and/or smell will dominate.
Do animal dreams?
Similar to humans, all other mammals exhibit the same brain activity during sleep. But the extent and nature of their dreams is another question. For obvious reasons, we cannot ask an animal the content of their dream.
I’ve been checking out you web site since I found it a few day ago. I must say that your site is great!!! But I still don’t understand what REM sleep is. Does it refer to deep sleeping?
Yes, the REM stage of sleep is where you achieve your deepest sleep. It is also the final stage in the sleep cycle. REM which stands for Rapid Eye Movement is so called because in this stage of sleep, your eyes move rapidly back and forth under your eyelids. It is also in REM sleep that you experience all your vivid, and sometimes bizarre dreams.
How can our daily activities effect our dreams?
Whenever you suppress your feelings throughout the day, it has a very good chance of showing up in your dream. For example, if you wanted to express your anger toward someone and then refrain from doing so, then your suppressed anger may show up in your dream in some symbolic form. Traumatic experiences also have a way to affect the content of your dreams.
Are there any differences in male and female dream patterns?
If, by dream patterns, you mean brain wave activity while in the dream state, then the answer is no. There are no differences between male and female dream patterns. However, if your are referring to the content of the dream, then the answer is yes. Studies have shown that men tend to dream more about men, while women dream about both men and women equally. This makes perfect sense when you think about it. Dreams are often seen as aspect of yourselves. For a man to dream about a woman, indicates that he is acknowledging some feminine aspect of his own self, which may be difficult for men to admit that they have a softer feminine side to begin with.
Is it normal only to remember nightmares and never a good dream?
It is not a question of whether or not it is normal to remember only your nightmares, but why you remember your nightmares as opposed to your other dreams. Nightmares are much easier to remember for several reasons. First nightmares are vivid, frightening, and often jolt you awake. Whenever you are awakened in the REM stage of sleep, you are much more likely to recall the events of your nightmare. Secondly, nightmares tend to occur in the early morning hours, when you are about to wake up. Remembering your dreams can take some effort on your part and not a question of normality.
What does it mean to have a dream within a dream?
Having a dream within a dream may be safer and more acceptable way to express material from your unconscious. The dream within a dream protects you, the dreamer from waking up. Such dreams often reflect a hidden but crucial issue which you need to acknowledge and confront.
Is it possible to die (not really die in real life) in your our dreams?
Yes, it is possible to experience death in your dreams. Dreams of death often occur as a result of great stress caused by relationships, school, career changes, depression or by the approach of death itself. Death in dreams may also be viewed as a metaphor – as a new beginning or a time of renewal. Judging from your question, I am assuming you never have had a dream about dying.
Do you think it is possible to connect and talk with people through dreams?
On a symbolic level, yes it is possible to connect and interact with people through dreams. The dreaming mind serves as a “rehearsal” for what you want to say to this person in real life. In this regard, your dreams definitely help you to better connect with the person. Your dreams can offer a way to help you and show you how to talk to certain people.
As for whether two people can actually to talk to each other through their dreams, that still remains to be research. This phenomenon is described as dream telepathy, a form of psychic or paranormal dreams. There are stories of people who are extremely close, i.e. twins or mother/child, being able to communicate via their dreams.
I frequently have dreams that something happens like a gun shot, I fall or something that would make me jerk. I really do jerk and usually wake up. What’s with that? Like why do I jerk and wake up when something like that happens in my dream?
There is actually a term to describe what you are experiencing in your dream. It is called myclonic jerks. Many who dream that they are falling sometimes jerk or twitch their legs/arms and end up waking themselves up. There is no concrete reason as to why this happens. One theory is that it is our instinctive response for what the brain perceives as a potentially dangerous situation. Sometimes dreams are so real that the brain believes that you are really falling or in some sort of danger. And hence the brain sends signals to the body to start “fleeing”.
Your Dream Journal
- Select a notebook specifically to record your dreams in. A nice fancy journal or a blank bounded book may encourage you to use it. However, a plain spiral notebook or paper pad will also l suffice. Keep it by your bedside where it is easily accessible. Dream details fade quickly after awakening so it is essential to record the dream immediately.
- Keep a consistent dream format. Date each dream entry. It doesn’t matter if you use last night’s date or the next morning as long you keep it consistent.
- Write in the PRESENT tense as if the dream is still occurring before your eyes. This helps to recall your dreams by putting you back into the moment of your dream.
- Write down every possible detail of you dream. Location, colors, sounds, objects, characters, and your emotions are all important aspects of your dream. You may want to ask yourself the following questions.
- What are the significant images or symbols in your dream?
- Where is the dream located? What is in the scene or what is the landscape like? What is the ambience or mood of the dream?
- Who else is in the dream?
- How does the dream make you feel? What is your mood when you first wake up from the dream?
- How does your dream parallel a situation or experience in your waking life?
- Grammar, spelling and punctuation are not important when recording your dreams. Just get the dream down on paper before it slips away and record everything that you remember even if it may only be fragments. As you start writing, more and more pieces of the dreams will come to you. Because we are not able to write faster than what we are thinking, it may be a good idea to record your dreams on tape first. However, it will still be a good idea to go back and document the dream on paper.
- When something is hard to describe in words, draw a quick sketch of the imagery. Color pencils or crayons may help depict your picture more clearly.
- After you have record your dream, make a little footnote of any major concerns or issues that is going on in your waking life. As your journaling grows, you will hopefully see a correlation and pattern between your dream and reality.
- Lastly, put a title on it.
- Highlight keywords, symbols, characters or themes that stand out. It may be helpful to keep an appendix or a glossary of personal dream themes. You will start to develop a pattern and formulate your own significance to these dream themes.
Interpreting Your Dream
Now that you have written your dream down on paper, it is time to disassemble it.
- Identify the characters in your dreams. Ask yourself who these people are and what qualities they represent for you. Many times, the people in your dreams represent aspects of your own self. Seeing your mother in your dream, may represent your own maternal characteristics. It may also mean that particular qualities that you see in your mother, you see in yourself as well.
- Ask yourself why you are having this dream at this particular time. Make connections to your waking life situations and draw from the day’s events and situations for clues as to why you may be having this dream.
- Consider the puns that appear in your dreams. The subconscious mind likes to make use of humor, metaphors, and slang in conveying its meaning. For example, when you see a plane in your dream it could mean that you are feeling plain. Or if you dream that you are making dinner reservations, it could mean that you are reserved or hesitant about. Or if you are passing someone on the road, you may be worried about passing a test. You get the idea!
- What is the general mood or emotion of the dream? How you feel about the dream is important to the dream’s meaning.
- Try to reenact the dream and take on the role of the different characters and objects. Start a dialogue with the dream object and express how you feel toward each other.
- Circle or highlight any words you believe to be symbolic. Ask yourself, what does this word mean to you. Sometimes looking up its symbolism will help make the dream more clearer. No dream dictionary can tell you the exact meaning of your dream, but it will help stimulate your own thinking about the symbol.
- Create your own list of personal dream symbols and images and what they mean to you. Eventually you may start to see recurring images. However, keep in mind that as you grow, change and evolve, the meaning of your personal symbols can also change.