What Do Dreams Actually Mean?

Have you ever had a bad dream about something or about someone and been angry about it when you woke in the morning? Or maybe you had a bad dream and tried to figure out what it meant - was it an omen? Maybe you keep having a recurring dream.

Here's what science says about dreams;

  • You are more likely to recollect your dreams if you wake up immediately after the REM cycle. You go through three to five REM cycles per night, each lasting around 100 minutes, the last stage being Rapid Eye Movement is when you dream.
  • Dreams help us to process our emotions from the previous day’s events, particularly the negative emotions, which is important as it decreases our anxiety and worry. We might still wake up worried about the dream but we won't be as worried about the actual event, if that makes sense. 
  • Reasons for common dreams relate to our anxieties, insecurities, too much on our plate, or some other conscious or subconscious thought.
  • Men dream more about natural disasters and war while women have dreams around interpersonal conflicts.
  • Recurring dreams relate to something that has not been corrected or is troubling you such as a fear you might have – conscious or otherwise.
  • Bad dreams aren’t just about fear. Sadness, guilt, confusion, and disgust are some of the other emotions involved in bad dreams.  
  • Night terrors occur in the first hour of sleep, in the non-REM phase.  

While further research is confirming the above facts, here are some things that we actually know for certain;

·        If you get too hot while asleep you will have bad dreams – take a blanket off.

·        You ‘watch’ your dreams in a similar way that you watch things when you are awake.

·        The area of the brain that is responsible for logic and linear thinking becomes dormant and the area that controls our emotion becomes active when we dream – therefore we are more creative.

·        Diet, medication, substance use and environmental factors all play a role in dreaming and the type of dream we have.

Research is continuing into dreams and, with the advent of new technology, we are learning more and more about why we dream and what our dreams might mean. Know that most of our dreams are just thoughts around our emotions.

The worse thing that you can do for your wellbeing is to believe that your dream is reality, it isn’t.

Sweet dreams!