Ever dream that you’re riding a rainbow made out of kittens and gumdrops? If you wake up from a crazy dream, it can be really hard to understand and you can find yourself frantically googling what the dream means. Although some dreams are totally unexplainable, here are some surprising explanations for your most common dreams…
Do your dreams take place in unusual settings?
If your dreams take place in unusual settings that you don’t find in your everyday life, this suggests that you are a very creative person. So, next time you find yourself dreaming of living on a cloud, maybe try your hand at painting or pottery when you wake up.
Are your dreams mundane and realistic?
Studies show that people who have more realistic, mundane dreams are more likely to have conservative political views. Whereas, liberals have wilder, and fantastical dreams. Does this mean that liberals are more open-minded, or that they’re caught up in their fantasies? Take your pick.
Do you have frequent nightmares?
People who have frequent nightmares may be significantly more likely to suffer from an irregular heartbeat or chest pain compared with those who don’t have them, found a study of older adults. That may be because heart problems can make it more difficult to breathe at night.
Do you dream about being followed?
Do you dream about being pursued by a stranger, a monster, or a giant tidal wave? This could indicate that you’re afraid to deal with something in your waking life. Ask yourself what issue, person, or emotion you’re not confronting.
Do you have long, dramatic dreams about past relationships?
Studies have shown in recently divorced people, that those who have longer and more dramatic dreams are more likely to move on from the relationship. Dreams are your brain’s way of processing emotions that are tough to deal with when you are awake, so if you’re dreaming about it, you’re working through it.
Or do you dream less than others?
Studies have shown that people who attend church regularly are less likely to dream every night. Dreams are a good way for us to grapple with the bigger concepts and questions in life. Some of us dream, and some of us go to church. Either way, it’s good to question these things.
What about not at all?
On its own, not dreaming is no cause for concern, and there are even a few things you can do to encourage dream memory. When a lack of dreaming is due to lack of quality sleep, that’s another story. Poor sleep could be a sign of a physical or mental health problem.
Do you dream about choking or drowning?
If you find yourself dreaming about chocking, drowning or being suffocated, this could be a sign than you have sleep apnea. This probably won’t be the only sign though, people shaking you awake and telling you to shut up is probably a pretty good indicator too.
Are your dreams disturbing?
If you find yourself having dreams that keep you up at night, it could mean that you’re a workaholic. Type A personalities tend to report more disturbing dreams than laid-back folks. Hard-driving types put more pressure on themselves, and that stress can appear in dreams.
Do you dream about tests?
If you’re a student, this may seem like a scary thing to dream about. However, studies show that those who dream about things that they have recently studied, are more likely to remember them. So, if you’re dreaming about your test, chances are that you’re going to ace it.
What about dreams about smoking?
If you’re someone who has recently quit smoking, you might think that having dreams about it means that you are craving a ciagrette. However, one study found that the more you dream about smoking—and experience the guilt associated with falling off the wagon (even a phantom wagon)—the more likely you may be to quit.
Do you have disturbing dreams?
If you find yourself punching the pillow in your sleep, this could be a cause of concern. Up to 90 percent of people who act out violent dreams—by punching, kicking, or yelling while asleep—may eventually develop Parkinson’s disease. The behavior may indicate REM sleep behavior disorder, an early sign of the disease.
Or dream about labor?
If you’re pregnant, listen up. Pregnant women who dream about labor shorten their birth experiences by an hour, according to research. Experts believe dreaming about labor helps the women anticipate and emotionally prepare for it, so they are able to relax and have easier deliveries in real life.
Do you start dreaming soon after you fall asleep?
If you find yourself dreaming almost immediately after you fall asleep, this could be cause for concern. Studies show that depressed people start dreaming much sooner than others, as early as 45 minutes after falling asleep, rather than the usual 90 minutes. Of course, there are other symptoms of depression that are much more obvious.
Do you have recurring nightmares?
Recurrent or repeated nightmares that keep you from sleeping are another hallmark sign of anxiety or depression. If your nightmares surge after a disturbing event, the trauma may be too big for your brain to psychologically digest. A sleep therapist or psychologist can help.
Or dreams that make you feel uneasy?
If you find that you’re having dreams that are disturbing or making you feel uneasy, the reason could be the medication that you’re taking. Many drugs are known to cause bad dreams, including antidepressants, antibiotics, statins, and some antihistamines.
Do you dream about loved ones who have died?
If you have a dream about your grandparents who passed away when you were a child, this could be touching, but isn’t always a good sign! The closer a person is to passing, the more likely he or she is to dream about loved ones who’ve passed on.
Do you dream about cheating on your partner?
This can be a pretty unsettling dream that can leave you feeling guilty, but it probably doesn’t have anything to do with how you feel about your partner romantically. Dreams of infidelity can represent an unacknowledged fear that you are neglecting your relationship in favour of financial, or business concerns.
Or your partner cheating on you?
Did you dream about your partner’s infidelity? You just increased the chances that you’re going to argue with him or her the next day, according to a University of Maryland study. Having a saucy dream, on the other hand, boosts feelings of love and intimacy.
Do you have dreams that make you angry?
If you’re having dreams fuelled by anger, this could mean that you’re about to experience a migraine. One study of 37 migraine sufferers found that patients often have bad dreams that involve themes of anger and aggression before a migraine comes on. One theory is if the headache develops at night, the pain may trigger the nightmare.
Do you have the same dream every night?
Many researchers believe dreams—especially nightmares—are your brain’s way of making sense of your experiences. If a dream reoccurs and does not change much over time, it could be a sign you’re having trouble dealing with something emotionally. To resolve those issues, consider how the dream made you feel and which real-life circumstances might be prompting those emotions in you.
Are you aware when you’re dreaming?
If you’re aware that you’re dreaming, this could mean that you are lucid dreaming. Studies have shown that those who are able to lucid dream are 25% more likely to be better problem solvers. Researchers speculate that if you’re insightful enough to realize that you’re dreaming while asleep, then that may translate into better problem solving while you’re awake.
Who appears in your dreams?
The people you have the strongest relationships with appear most frequently in your dreams, researchers have found. “Your dreams are a very accurate mirror of your emotional relationships,” says psychologist Kelly Bulkeley, PhD. “So when I’m analyzing your dreams, and you dream most often of your father, I can predict that you are closer emotionally to your father and that’s highly likely to be accurate.”
Do you dream about upcoming events?
Sometimes dreams act as a rehearsal for upcoming challenges. Rosalind Cartwright, PhD, a psychologist and the founder of the Sleep Disorder Service and Research Center at Rush University Medical Center, in Chicago, says your brain takes any “emotionally hot” material and uses dreams to process them. When you wake, you’ll be able to deal with the situation better.
Feeling under the weather?
Your dreams could also be a good signifier of your ill-health. According to the Mayo Clinic, being sick—especially with a fever— could trigger nightmares. And if you ignore or explain away symptoms, your nightmares might be the wakeup call that you need to look after your health.
Are you diabetic and having nightmares?
If you can relate to this, you need to be careful! People who suffer from diabetes experience nightmares when they have a large dip in blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia. This is a severe symptom that could occur if you take too much insulin.
Are you having crazy dreams?
Some women report having wild dreams right before their period. And hormones do play a role in dreams. OB/GYN physician Dr Christiane Northrup says that the day before your period, women are in a hormonal flux—causing erratic sleep and dreams. The theory is that the week before your period starts there is less REM sleep.
What about dreams where you’re naked in public?
Ever dreamed that you’re having a totally normal day in the office, then you look down and realise that you’re naked from the waist down? This kind of dream can be both unsettling and funny at the same time. Research suggests that these dreams mean that you’re afraid of not fitting in or being exposed in some way.
Dreams that you’re back at school?
Dreams of being back in school generally mean that you’re learning something new in your waking life. Depending on how you felt about school, this could pose as a nightmare, but it means good things for your real life. They’re also pretty common if you’re studying for an exam.
Do you have dreams that your teeth are falling out?
The most common dreams tend to be about your teeth falling out or crumbling into your hands. These can be fairly unsettling but are usually explainable. Typically, these dreams stem from a fear or rejection, embarrassment or feeling unattractive. They can also relate to communication as it would be difficult to communicate without teeth…
Or that you’re falling off a cliff?
Do you ever feel like you’re falling off a cliff just as you’re about to fall asleep? Falling off a cliff in a dream may symbolize a fear of failure or a general sense of anxiety. It could reflect your worries about losing control over a situation in your waking life. These dreams may also point to feelings of insecurity or vulnerability.
Dreaming that you can’t find a toilet?
When you have a dream where you can’t find the toilet, this can relate to something in your waking life where you may be struggling to express your needs in a certain situation. You might feel that, as you are putting others first, you are lacking time for personal issues.
Or that you’re taking a test you haven’t studied for?
Ever had a dream that you’ve had to sit down for a test on a subject you’ve never taken a class on? They can feel so real that we wake up convinced that we just failed an important test. Test dreams are a reflection on the individual’s lack of confidence and inability to move on in life.
Dreams about flying?
Dreams of flying sound like a lot of fun, but usually the dreams are about a series of problems associated with flying. If in your dream you are unable to take-off, it could mean that you feel that something is holding you back in life or preventing you from moving on from something.
Are you having dreams about being involved in a car accident?
Ever dream about being behind the wheel of a car that you have no control over? Dreaming of a car crash may indicate a feeling of losing control over some aspect of your life. It could suggest that you’re facing a situation where you fear the outcome is beyond your control.
Or finding an empty room in your dreams?
Dreaming about finding empty rooms might feel like a bad sign in a dream. However, an empty room may also signify unexplored opportunities, untapped potential, or a blank canvas. It could be an encouragement to explore new ideas, embark on personal growth, or seek out fresh experiences.
Do you never remember your dreams?
Do you know that you’ve been dreaming but just can’t remember what the dream was? The process of transferring short-term memories to long-term storage in the brain may not always occur for dream experiences. This can result in difficulty recalling dream details.
Do you dream about being late?
This dream may represent a fear of facing negative consequences for not meeting your responsibilities or commitments. It could indicate a concern about not meeting expectations or being reprimanded. Also, being late in a dream may reflect concerns about time management or a feeling that you’re not using your time efficiently in your waking life.
Or about snakes?
If you’re scared about snakes, this can be more of nightmare. However, snakes are often associated with transformation and rebirth because they can shed their skin. A dream about a snake might symbolize personal growth and change. It can indicate that you are shedding old habits, beliefs, or aspects of yourself and embracing a new phase of life.
What about ghosts?
This one is definitely more of a nightmare. Ghosts are often associated with unfinished business or unresolved issues. Dreaming about a ghost may suggest that there are matters from your past that you need to address or let go of in your waking life. Boo!