Dream Analysis – What Do Your Dreams Mean?
First added 16th July 2021
By Lewis Ridley
7 min read
Dreams have been a point of curiosity for many years. However, there is still an element of mystery surrounding their meaning. Some people believe them to detail all our unconscious desires. Others believe them to be nonsense our brains manifest during rest.
In this article, we'll explore the concept of dreams, analysing what they are and what they could mean. If you've been having recurring dreams whilst you're snuggled in your bed, read on for advice on what they could mean.
What Exactly is Dreaming?
Interestingly, there is no single definition for what a dream is. They're still a point of mystery in the realm of psychology. However, according to the Scientific American, a safe catch-all definition would be “all perceptions, thoughts, or emotions experienced during sleep.
Aside from definitions, dreams have also been studied from a neurological point of view. When we dream, the areas in our brains associated with sensory, visual, and auditory perception activate and start to create illusions.
These areas, such as the prefrontal cortex and amygdala, sometimes fire erratically, which leads to quick hallucinations and dreams which only last a few minutes. However, sometimes, they can fire coherently, leading to longer more vivid dreams.
Due to the somewhat random nature of this sequence, scientists believe we dream 3 to 6 times a night, with 95% of all our dreams ending up forgotten. However, as some of us know, some vivid dreams can be remembered in the morning.
Why Do We Dream?
As stated above, dreaming isn’t yet well understood. However, throughout the years, a few findings have indicated a purpose for dreaming. Although the results are mixed, it’s safe to say there may be a reason we all dream of strange things when we’re in the land of nod.
Let’s explore this in more detail.
- 1. Helps with Memory - Some believe the reason we dream is for memory consolidation and retention. If you’ve been learning things through the day, dreaming could help sort and organise them, helping with recall at a later date. And don't just take our word for it, there is research to indicate memory is aided by sleep. So, by getting a good night’s rest, you can help to lock in memory and remember things better in the long term.
- 2. Fight or Flight - When we dream, the part of our brain called the Amygdala is activated. As this is an area that is associated with basic survival instincts, including the flight or fight response, some suggest that dreams could be involved with helping our bodies prepare for danger.
- 3. Your Own Personal Therapist - Dreams may also have the role of a therapist. This is because when you’re in a state of dreaming, you’re in a much more emotional state. This allows your brain to work through emotional trauma without the stress of being awake while it happens! Therefore, you’re able to make connections you wouldn’t have been able to make if you were fully conscious.
- 4. Boosts Creativity - There is some evidence to suggest dreaming helps to facilitate creative tendencies. Many artists and musicians have claimed to get their inspiration from dreams. For example, Paul McCartney claims the tune for The Beatles song ‘Yesterday’ came from a dream. With your brain in an emotional state during dreams, this could be an opportunity to release your creative urges.
What Do Your Dreams Mean?
Whether or not dreams mean anything is up for debate. And like in all good debates, there are a few theories on the matter.
One theory is known as the Activation-Synthesis Hypothesis. This essentially claims that dreaming doesn’t mean anything and is just a collection of electrical activity occurring during sleep. When we wake up, we try to make sense of the random imagery and activity by constructing stories, when in fact there was no coherent structure.
Another theory is known as the Threat Simulation Theory. This states that dreams put us in a state where we are more prepared for scary, unexpected threats and events. This means we can face threats and fears in a safe space, without actually being hurt. This theory also suggests that dreams are more vivid when we are anxious or already in a state of fear. So, if you happen to feel certain emotions throughout the day, you may be more prone to vivid dreams.
The final theory comes from the original Father of Psychology – Sigmund Freud. Like with most topics, he had a fair bit to say about dreams. He believed they provided access to the unconscious parts of our brains. By analysing these dreams, he suggested we could see what people are thinking. Through this analysis, he believed you could apply therapy based on the interpretations.
The two former theories in this section are more modern, whereas Freud's theories are flimsier and less scientific. Despite this, many people believe their dreams have meanings, and dream analysis is still used to this day.
Interpretations of Common Dreams
Despite dream analysis being a little unscientific, many people have recurring dreams that they believe have some sort of meaning. Therefore, here are a few common dreams and the possible interpretations that could follow if someone were to analyse them:
- Naked in Public - If you have dreams about being naked in public, one interpretation indicates you could be feeling like a phony or an imposter in your real life. You’re afraid your imperfections and flaws are starting to show.
- Falling - If you dream about falling, it could be a sign that everything is going well for you in life. It could also be a sign of fear. As there are a few potential meanings, you'll likely want to consider what other symbols appeared in your dreams before making any life decisions based on this dream alone!
- Being Chased - Being chased is a common dream many people have. Dream analysis indicates this may mean you’re trying to escape from your fears or desires. The exact fear depends on the thing pursuing you. If it is an animal, it could be symbolic of anger or passion. If it’s a mysterious figure, it could be from childhood trauma. If you’re being chased by a member of the opposite sex, it could mean you’re afraid of love or are running from a previous relationship.
- Flying - Another common dream is flying. This has a good and a bad interpretation. The good one is that you feel independent and liberated in your daily life. The other is that you could be trying to escape from the harsh realities of life.
Dreams aren’t understood very well and there are many theories that try to explain their purpose. Deciphering what they mean is a whole other story. Over the years, figures like Freud have attempted to analyse them, believing they hold secrets about the dreamer. However, more modern theories suggest they could just be the result of random synaptic activation.
If you would like to learn more about how we can help to get your room set up with the right bed so yourself or your tenant sleeps easy, get in touch today!
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