Dreaming is an important part of sleep. It is during dreams that the brain processes and digests the things that happen during waking hours. Dreaming can also hold clues to the subconscious and even repressed emotions. People can’t always recognize what scares them or what they really want, and by delving into the content of dreams, it may be possible to determine and interpret these hidden emotions.
Some Helpful Tools
Remembering dreams is important for interpreting them. By vividly recalling the events and emotions of dreams, it is possible to interpret their meanings. Some people choose to supplement their diet with vitamin B6 or other sleep products in the hope that they will remember more details of their dreams. Keeping a notebook near the bed to write down dreams as they happen can also help you remember more details.
Common Dream Symbol Meanings
- Vehicles: Dreaming about vehicles may mean you are worried about the way your life is going.
- Being Trapped: A dream about being trapped tends to happen when you are frustrated and feel like something is holding you back.
- Being Chased: People could dream about being chased when they feel pressure or anxiety in their daily lives.
- Death: Dreaming about death could indicate that you want a new beginning in your life.
- Exams: A common dream involves arriving at school for a final exam after failing to attend any classes or finish class assignments. This dream may indicate stress or self-doubt.
- Monsters: Dreaming about monsters may happen if a person wants to change something.
- Buildings and Houses: A dream with buildings or houses in it stands for the dreamer’s brain and thought processes. Individual rooms symbolize memories and emotions.
- Money: Money in a dream symbolizes self-worth and the value you put on yourself.
- Sex: Dreaming about sex does not necessarily have anything to do with sex, but it may involve personal needs and desires.
- Falling: Having a dream that involves falling is usually very frightening. This may happen if you feel out of control in a situation.
- Being Naked: A dream of being naked in public may mean a fear of embarrassment or ridicule.
- Being Lost: Someone with a lack of faith in their ability to accomplish things might have a dream of being lost.
- Being Pregnant: Having a dream of being pregnant could be a sign of a real pregnancy or of a more figurative interpretation of pregnancy (e.g. “birthing” a new project).
- Walking or Running in Place: Dreaming about walking or running in place could happen for someone who is trying very hard to move forward but is not making progress.
- Paralysis: Sleep paralysis can happen when muscles are so relaxed they won’t move, likely to prevent people from physically performing the movements in their dreams. This real sensation can influence your dream.
- Snakes: Dreaming of snakes might be a good or a bad omen, and some people think the color of the snake has significance.
- Flying: Flying is a common dream that typically is associated with happiness and motivation.
- Fire: A dream with fire may symbolize passion or freedom. Having a dream about being on fire may indicate feelings of anxiety.
- Dogs: A dangerous dog in a dream may mean that someone is feeling betrayed.
- Crying: Crying in a dream may happen if someone is repressing emotions and needs to express them.
- Hiding: If you hide in a dream, you may be afraid of change. Hiding something in a dream could indicate that you fear someone will take something from you.
- Intruders: A dream that involves intruders might happen if something new enters your life and it doesn’t feel right to you.
- Jumping: Jumping and flying tends to happen when someone wants to escape a circumstance in their life.
- Missing a Flight: A dream that involves missing a flight could happen when you want to be more organized and you feel like you run late too often.
- Drowning: Someone who feels overwhelmed might have a dream about drowning.
- Roller-Coasters: A scary roller-coaster in a dream might happen for someone who is gearing up to take a big risk or follow a passion.
- Kissing: If you have a dream that you are kissing someone you know, you may have feelings for this person.
- Books: Dreaming about a book could happen if you are searching for knowledge or power, since books can symbolize wisdom and information.
- Water: A dream with lots of water might symbolize someone feeling like they are overburdened with responsibilities.
- Killing Someone: Killing someone in a dream usually means that you want to eliminate a part of yourself that the dream person represents.
- Food: Dreaming about food is associated with feeding the brain, or you might be craving the food item you dream about.
- Clothing: Dreaming about an item of dirty clothing could happen for someone who wants to make a change in their lifestyle.
- Babies: A dream about a baby could happen if you are withholding something or if you want to share your experiences with your offspring.
- Losing a Tooth: Losing a tooth in a dream often means the dreamer is feeling controlled or repressed. It may also signal anxiety.
- Animals: A survival instinct is linked to dreaming about animals, so you may need to prepare to keep going even if things get very difficult.
- Crosses: With their connection to religion, dreaming about crosses usually has a religious meaning.
- Car Crash: When conflicts happen in life, you might dream about having a car crash.
- A Movie: Dreaming about a movie you’ve seen may mean that you’ve just been thinking about that movie before you went to sleep.
- Spiders: A dream about a spider could happen if you feel like you are out of control or being excluded by someone.
- Ants: Because ants are irritating, a dream about ants may symbolize irritation with someone in your life.
- Why Your Brain Needs to Dream: Dreaming helps the brain process events and emotions experienced during the waking hours.
- Sleep and Dreams: The REM sleep stage makes up about 20 percent of total sleep time, and it is mostly during REM sleep that people dream.
- REM Sleep: “REM” stands for “rapid eye movement”; the eyes move back and forth during this stage of sleep.
- The Dreaming Sleep Stage (PDF): Scientists are studying the dreaming stage of sleep to learn more about schizophrenia.
- The Biology of Dreaming: People may be more likely to remember dreams if they wake up during the REM period.
- The Neurophysiology of Sleep and Dreams: The frontal lobes of the brain are responsible for dreaming.
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