On average, we should sleep eight hours a night. With this in mind, we find ourselves dreaming for intervals of approximately five to forty minutes a night. All up, in an eight hour sleep cycle, we can find ourselves dreaming for up to two hours a night. All this dreaming occurs in the REM stage of sleep, where your brain is active, but your body remains motionless (otherwise, you’d be acting out your dreams while you sleep). A lot can happen in dreams, and of course, a lot of dreams are simply the residue of the day’s events. However, some say that your dreams can be the unconscious’ way of unlocking hidden truths and meanings to your desires, fears and needs. Here are a few very common dreams and the meanings behind them.
Do Dreams Really Mean Anything?
A big question here is your underlying belief if a dream means anything. There are hundreds of theories about dreams, and their meanings. Are they really just residue from that day’s events, or can they have a deeper meaning behind them? There is a theory called the activation-synthesis hypothesis, suggesting that we dream because our brain experiences neurological changes whilst in REM sleep. In Laymen's terms, it basically means our brain works differently when we’re awake compared to when we’re asleep, and our brain triggers activity that activates memories that come to the surface during the dreaming stage of sleep. Can dreams predict the future? Probably not, but they can tell you a lot about your present, and your feelings about current situations in your life.
This dream is very common, and can mean quite a few things. Now, of course, I’m not referring to that feeling when you’re just about to fall asleep, and all of a sudden you see yourself falling from a ten story building, resulting in you jolting and waking yourself up again. Yes, that’s also very common, but that’s called a hypnic or hypnagogic jerk. No one really knows why they happen, but I digress. Dreaming that you’re falling and you’re afraid of the feeling, it can often be explained as a sign of anxiety or insecurity about a situation. If you’re falling and you’re enjoying the feeling, it may be a sign that you’re not afraid of change, or that you embrace change.
This dream can often be identified as an anxiety issue, or that you’re avoiding a certain situation. You could be avoiding a situation that is causing you to feel anxious or nervous, or that you’re afraid of what the situation could lead to. If you’re doing the chasing, this could suggest that you’re trying to chase a certain dream, that you feel like you’re falling behind, or that something that you want is just out of reach.
Why Do We Forget Our Dreams?
More often than not, we can’t even remember the wacky things we dreamt that night, or early that morning. This doesn’t mean that you don’t dream at all, just because you can’t recall it. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. 95-99% of the time, we forget what we dream about, and this is most likely because we don’t concentrate on what we’re dreaming about when we’re asleep. For those who believe that dreams are important and enjoy analysing dreams often recall more dreams than others. Another theory suggests that our memory recall hormone norepinephrine gets turned off, so we tend to not remember the dreams we have. If you’re hoping to try and remember your dreams, try and sleep in the same position at night. If you go to sleep with your head towards your upholstered bed head, try and stay in that same position all night. If you get up and go to the bathroom, and you want to return to that dream you were in, try and recreate that same sleeping position you were in.
Seeing People You Know
Susan Jane from Intuitive Nature offers some dream analysis. “If your dream has people from work in it, then the dream relates to your work life and the symbols inside the dream reflect on your work, career or business life. If your dream has family members in it, then the dream explanation should take into consideration that attention is closer to home. It could be about that family member or your relationship with them. If your dream is of the past where you felt you were young again it is reflecting back into a childhood thought or belief. Read the symbols and signs with that in mind but if your dream doesn’t cover off on an environment, another person or a past situation, then it is about you and what is happening in your life now. “ Find out more about Intuitive Nature by following them on Facebook.
Teeth Falling Out
This dream is often analysed, and has been told to mean a whole bunch of different things. It could mean that you think your life is falling apart, that you can see your life literally crumbling away, and your teeth falling out is just a metaphor to emphasise it. Another theory suggests that your teeth falling out means that you have trouble communicating, or more specifically, you’re having trouble communicating a certain topic or an issue that’s eating away at you. It could also mean that you need to see a dentist, stat.
What Can Influence Your Dreams?
It’s not just the breakdown of the day’s events that can influence your dreams, it’s your surroundings when you’re asleep too. If you often find yourself dreaming about suffocating, or being trapped, you may find that you also sleep on your stomach. Sleep in the foetal position or on your back and see if your dreams change. If your mattress is a little lumpy, or making you wake up in pain, it can often affect the way you dream. Interrupted REM and NREM can disrupt your brain’s healing process, making you wake up feeling groggy, angry or just feeling tired. Upgrade your mattress and see how your dreams change.
The Analysis: A Breakdown
Kate Creevey from Your Perfect Space offers her advice for those who want to analyse their dreams. “The most important thing to ask is “how did I feel immediately on waking?” This is absolutely key to understanding a dream’s meaning for you. The second thing to do is a reality check. Ask if any elements of the dream resemble anything in your waking life, and whether there is any possibility any part of the dream may play out in waking life.” Find out more about Your Perfect Space by following them on Facebook and Instagram.
Whether you believe in analysing dreams or not, they can mean a lot more than just some funny images in your subconscious. When you’re sleeping tonight, make a note of your dream. It may mean something more than you think.