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Given the vast number of dreams that occur on a nightly basis, it can be difficult to categorize each dream. Just as music can be categorized into different types – rock, electric, classical – you will find different types of common dream categories that most dreams fall under. Dream Stop has listed 23 specific categories that many consider to contain the majority of dreams that people have. The modern dream researchers tend to break these down to the following categories:

Amplifying Dreams

These dreams involve amplifying certain characteristics or traits of the dreamer in order for them to become very apparent. For example, a dreamer that is always following other people might dream that they are following a herd of cattle off a cliff, without little power to change their course of action. These dreams focus on exaggerating specific traits to make them very apparent.

Cathartic Dreams

These dreams are designed to release stress from the dreamer by purging out the fears and urges that have been pent up inside the dreamer. These are the type of dreams where you finally find your voice and are not afraid of saying what you feel. You might find yourself in a situation where you confront someone in your life that has been a source of stress in your life.

famous dreamsContrary or Compensatory Dreams

In the contrary dreams the dreamer is placed in a situation that is completely contrary to their waking life. You might have recently lost a loved one and found it extremely difficult to find happiness in your waking life. A contrary or compensatory dream would put you in a situation where you are enjoying life carefree and not worried about anything that’s going on around you.

Another example is someone who hates being in the spotlight becomes the center of a major news story in a dream. These dreams are designed to help you find balance by showing you specific things that are missing in your waking life.

Daily Processing Dreams (Factual Dreams)

Daily processing dreams are dreams where you go over things that occurred during the day. You might be revisiting a work assignment that you were busy with throughout the day or you dreamt that you visited a family friend that you did during the week. Most dream researchers tend to categorize these dreams as processing information that occurred in the waking state and don’t believe that factual dreams have a lot of meaning.

Dreams of Childhood

Dreams of childhood are an extremely common dream for dreamers who have unresolved issues that occurred in their childhood. The dreamer might have dreams about a father who never showed them love and affection or even be placed back in school where they were bullied by other students. These dreams usually reflect a childhood dynamic that is still present in the dreamers subconscious and needs a resolution.

False Awakening Dreams

These dreams involve the dreamer being sounds asleep but dream they are awake. Usually these are the type of dreams where the dreamer is fully convinced that events that happened in the dream were real. Especially since they evoked the same emotions as you would feel in a waking state.

Incubated Dreams

Incubated dreams are where the dreamer tries to set their mind to dream about a particular experience in their dream. For example, you might focus all your thoughts and concentration on becoming a celebrity before you dream to ensure that you have a dream about being a celebrity. You might also focus on trying to resolve a specific problem before you go to sleep so your subconscious will help you find a resolution to this issue.

Inspirational Dreams

Many famous authors, musicians and artists have all claimed to have inspirational dreams to help them inspire their work. This is where the dreamer’s subconscious helps to bring about creative juices to help inspire them to create new things. You might have a dream about a new business idea before you even come up with it in your waking state. Pay attention to these dreams cause they are often the source of great things.

Lucid Dreams

These dreams occur when the dreamer is aware that they are in a dream and can take control of the different actions in their dream. Lucid dreaming is a technique that can be learned by the dreamer with enough training and practice.

Mutual Dreams

These dreams involve two different dreamers have the same dream. The dreamers can either have a mutual dream spontaneously or they can try and incubate the dream, by focusing on a meet up location before they fall asleep.


A nightmare is a universal dream that most people have experienced at some point in their life. These dreams involve the dreamer being under a lot of stress and usually end before any resolution has occurred.  These dreams are usually the result of the dreamer have specific feelings of anxiety or stress in their waking life that occur in a dream.

Night Terrors

These dreams are similar to the nightmares but occur in the deep sleep and are difficult to remember because we often don’t recall the terror. These dreams are extremely common among younger children who will often wake up in the middle of the night screaming and unable to wake up from a dream.

Out of Body Experiences

Out of body experiences are usually dismissed by researchers because of the lack of scientific data and evidence on the subject; however, people who have experienced it say that their spirit leaves their body traveling through space and time. You will often hear about someone who had a near death experience seeing their body lying there while there spirit was rising.

Past Life Dreams

These dreams involve historical settings where some dreamers believe that the dreamer is assuming the identity of someone in the past. Most researchers dismiss the idea of past life dreams and the idea that you are becoming someone else.

Physiological Dreams

These are dreams that will reflect the condition of your body. If you drank a lot of water before going to bed, you might have a dream where you are constantly trying to use the bathroom, but still feel like going in the dream. These are quite common with people who are sick or have physiological conditions.

Strange dreams

Precognitive Dreams

While some researchers dismiss these type of dreams, some dreamers believe that their dreams can predict future events. You might dream that there is a big disaster that occurs and wake up the next day to see a Tsunami that just hit Southeast Asia. Some people in the past have claimed to dream about the winning lottery numbers the night before a win.

Problem Solving Dreams

These dreams involve solving a specific problem that you might have in your waking life. These dreams usually occur when people decide to sleep on a solution to a problem they are trying to figure out. Some researchers speculate that the dreamer has already discovered the answer in their subconscious, only to have it revealed in their dreams.

 Psychological Dream

These dreams are ones that will cause us to focus on parts of ourselves that we would rather avoid than face. You might have a dream about specific fears, guilt, insecurities or anxieties that have been bothering you in your waking state. For example, you could have a dream about driving in a car that goes out of control as you hit a patch of ice, this could mean that you fear losing control of certain aspects of your life.

Recurring Dreams

These dreams typical reoccur because the dreamer hasn’t dealt with a specific situation or problem in their waking life. Usually the reoccurring dream will stop if the dreamer deals with the specific trigger that is causing the dream. However, if the issue remains unresolved then the dream will usually continue to reoccur. These dreams can also occur if the dreamer has suffered from a specific type of trauma that hasn’t been resolved yet. Maybe something happened when the dreamer is a child that continues to burden their unconscious thoughts, causing the recurring dreams to occur.

Sexual Dreams

Dreams about sex are usually reflecting some of the underlying feelings that you have in your waking state. These dreams can be interpreted in a number of ways. The meaning of sex dreams will depend on the dreamer’s background, history, and level of comfort with the actions taken in a dream.

Telepathic Dreams

These dreams occur when someone you know shows up in your dream and is calling out for help and you find out later that they were indeed having a crisis occur. You might have a dream about a family member being lost or hurt in a dream and found out they something happened to them. These dreams supposedly occur when two people have linked minds telepathically, however, many researchers dispute some of the claims.

Vigilant Dreams

These dreams incorporate specific elements of your environment into the dream you are having. A child might wet the bed and dream that they are going for a swim or someone might dream that there is a loud siren in the background as their alarm clock goes off. You might even be falling off your bed and be dreaming that your about to jump off a cliff. The dream will incorporate specific elements of your surrounding environment to make sense of everything.

Wish-Fulfillment Dreams

These are dreams desired to fulfill some of the wishes that we have in our daily lives, but never get to experience. You might have a dream that you are a celebrity and wanted by everyone around you or you could have a dream that you are on holiday for the rest of your life. These dreams are part of the unconscious way to deal with certain failures and disappointments you have in your life. You might have been a great athlete when you were younger, but failed to make it to the pros. A dream of being a sports start would be wish fulfillment of the underlying dream you had.

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Epic dreams are dreams with a long, continuous story line, sometimes continuing over many dreams and even many nights. Epic dreams tend to be extremely vivid, and have extensive detail that is easy to remember. In addition, many people find their epic dreams to be life-changing, giving them new insight or perspective into their lives and existence. An epic dream is one that you remember for years, and it may even come to form an integral part of the way you view the world.

Epic dreams are also known as cosmic dreams or numinous dreams. Waking from an epic dream, you often have a feeling of enlightenment, euphoria, or guidance permeating your being and your life. You may have a strong sense of positive energy, and you may even feel that you know what your real purpose is. There are many things that an epic dream can be sent to tell you, and you should definitely take these messages seriously.

Did I Just Have an Epic Dream?

Epic DreamsHow do you know if you’ve had an epic dream? The images will stay with you; in fact, you will not be able to get them out of your head. Most of our dreams fade quickly upon waking up. Epic dreams also fade somewhat, but to a much lesser extent. You will be able to remember most of the events that happened, and you will be able to replay the story in your mind to understand it better.

The story will be profound and compelling, so that you will not be able to stop thinking about it.  In addition, you will probably have a sense that you have learned something important and enlightening, and you may even have a clear idea of something that you need to do. If you are coming to this website to learn more about a dream you had, chances are that what you had was an epic dream to influence you so profoundly. Epic dreams are wonderful and life-changing: they alter your paradigm and make you look at the world in a completely different way.

Part of the theory of epic dreaming involves the concept that all human knowledge is accessible to an individual through an experience of enlightenment, metanoia, or through the practice of meditation. Some theorists and mystics refer to the akashic field, or the akashic records, as the location for all knowledge. It is possible that you are entering into this reality when you epic dream, especially if you wake up with knowledge that you did not have before. By accessing the akashic records, you can also learn about the thoughts and experiences of other people, and when this occurs regarding people you know, the result is often a vast improvement of your relationship with them. Epic dreams can have the effect of increasing your empathy, as well, by showing you the experiences of others; experiences which you would otherwise probably never have.

These Dreams can Often be Prophetic!

Precognition and retrocognition often occur during epic dreams. You may dream of an event that hasn’t happened yet, and then later see it happen. This is also known as a prophetic dream, though not all prophetic dreams are epic and not all epic dreams are prophetic. Retrocognition refers to knowledge of the past, especially the distant past, of which there is no explanation for how you should know the information except through a paranormal learning experience such as a vision or an epic dream.

Some people find themselves able to speak to their ancestors and other dead people in their epic dreams. This may indicate a simple matter of that individual’s energy lingering for a while as opposed to a genuine connection with the person, especially in the case of epic dreams of people who have died recently, or who say exactly what they would have said in life and no more. In other cases, the epic dream of the ancestor, loved one, or historical figure says things to the dreamer that could only be known in some sort of afterlife, giving value and believability to the possibility that life does, in fact, continue after death.

There is also the possibility that an epic dream is truly a message from the universe, or from the earth. It is increasingly clear that humans are on a divergent path, with many seeking to rape the earth and exploit her resources mercilessly, without regard for the other people and creatures that share the earth with them, and without regard for whether their children and children’s children will even have a habitable planet on which to live. Others are becoming increasingly tuned with the life of the earth and her creatures, to the extent that they feel empathy for the animals and plants that share the earth with them, and fight for the preservation for the planet.

Many of those who are deeply tuned with nature experience epic dreams in which they receive messages from the earth, explaining the nature of the problems faced and even providing solutions. Of those who are not in tune with nature, it is somewhat rarer to have epic dreams at all, possibly due to their lack of receptivity. However, an epic dream, when it occurs, occasionally sparks a big-picture realization on their part, such that they understand the importance of the earth and no longer value business profits over the survival of the planet. The more often a person epic dreams, the broader that person’s consciousness becomes, and therefore the more likely that person is to consider the totality of humanity, and indeed the world, when making decisions.

Epic dreams are gigantic and life-changing experiences which often stay with the dreamer for years, if not for the rest of one’s life. They make it almost impossible to continue living in a narrow-minded paradigm or to fail to understand the experiences of others.

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Prophetic dreams are some of the most perplexing and exciting dreams it is possible to have. Dreaming of the future is rare, and it does not happen to everyone, but when it does, you are given an unexpected chance to order your actions accordingly, either to prevent a catastrophe from happening, or to prepare and make contingency plans. At other times, though, prophetic dreams concern events unrelated to the dreamer’s life, and it is unclear what the dreamer should do to help, or even if there is anything possible to do. Sometimes, prophetic dreams seem clearly intended to allow the dreamer to take appropriate actions. At other times, it seems that the dreamer is simply privy to a preview, as it were, of events which are shortly to take place.

What Do These Dreams Mean?

There was one man who dreamed that his sister was going to die soon. He believed the dream, and took the opportunity to spend time with his sister, repairing their relationship and bonding with her. She did, in fact, die when his dream prophesied that she would, and both she and her brother were able to comfort each other in her last days, because he had foreseen that this would happen. This event was followed by another dream, in which he saw his own death, which would happen in six weeks. Accepting the inevitable, he put his affairs in order and even made arrangements for his funeral.

The day that he died, he was joking and talking with his coworkers about this dream, and a few hours later he was killed by a freak accident at his workplace. Because he had taken appropriate action regarding his dream, he gave his family the gift of being able to mourn his passing in peace, not burdened by the necessity of accessing his bank accounts, contacting his creditors, and paying for an expensive funeral and burial. This man was relatively young and would otherwise have expected to live for many more years, so it was all the more surprising that he was able to foresee his own death and put his affairs in order.

prophetic dreamsWith a personal prophetic dream, it is clear that the purpose of the dream is to inform the dreamer of an important piece of information which will make a great deal of difference, either to the dreamer or to people close to the dreamer. Paying attention to a personal prophetic dream and taking it seriously is a way that you can benefit yourself and your loved ones.

Prophetic Dreams can Foreshadow Future Events

Another man had a prophetic dream that he thought might be personal, but which turned out to be impersonal, simply a foreshadowing of events that were going to happen to someone else. In it, he saw a boy who looked a lot like his young toddler son, but several years older, crying behind a dumpster, covered in dust, with rubble and debris around. The wall he was sitting next to leaned precariously over him. This man was frightened and disturbed, and thought that the dream was about his son. He did not know whether the dream was prophetic or not, and believed that he was seeing his son’s fear of being abandoned. Horrified at this vision, he slept next to his son the rest of the night and reassured him of his love.

The next day, he discovered the reason for his vision: on May 20, 2013, an E5 tornado swept through nearby Moore, OK, killing 23 people and damaging two elementary schools. What he had seen was a vision of a child at one of the schools, frightened and alone. Obviously, there was nothing he could have done to prevent the tornado from happening or the people from being hurt, and while showing our children that we love them is always a good thing, there was no clear point to this man in particular being shown this dream.

Prophetic dreams of this sort are relatively common: people dreaming of a child drowning in a swimming pool, and then seeing it on the news the next day, or similar events. While it would be nice to believe that there is a grand plan to all our dreams and that we are never sent a dream that is not personally significant to us, it seems in this case more likely that the psychical energy of the people who experience the misfortune is so great that their emotions simply travel, even back in time for a short time, and manifest themselves in the dreams of people who are particularly receptive. If you have a prophetic dream about someone you do not know at all, the dream probably actually has little to nothing to do with you. Do not worry therefore about trying to save the stranger whom you have no way of tracking down; instead, take the opportunity to increase your empathy for people who would otherwise simply be fodder for news stories.

Of course, personal prophetic dreams are naturally more significant to the individual dreamer than prophetic dreams about general events, and these prophetic dreams may be difficult to understand and perplexing. Dream symbols are important for these sorts of dreams, as is your own reflective analysis of your life. For instance, it may be very confusing to have a prophetic dream that you are pregnant, if you are not married or in a relationship, have no intention of getting pregnant, and are in a point at your life where having a baby would derail your plans and aspirations. Such a prophetic dream does not necessarily mean that you are literally going to get pregnant. It may mean that there is a new beginning coming in your life, that you are going through a period of change in order to birth a new future, or that you are about to take on a heavy load of responsibilities which will simultaneously be wonderful and rewarding. For your own personal growth, write down document your prophetic dreams. There are also researchers working on premonitions and prophetic dreams who would love to hear anecdotes about prophetic dreams, especially if they turn out to be true.

Healing dreams are dreams in which you learn something extremely important about yourself, or something that you must do. These are often call-to-action dreams that linger and stay with you after other dreams would already have been forgotten. It is common to have dreams all the time, and it is common to remember some of them upon awakening, but generally dreams are forgotten fairly quickly after you wake, unless you write them down. Healing dreams are not like that. Healing dreams are the big dream. If you have a healing dream, you will know. If you have had a healing dream in the past, you probably spent weeks, months, or even years thinking about its significance and letting it inform your life. You probably still remember it. These are the life-changing dreams.

What Do These Dreams Really Mean?

Of course, the term “healing dream” does not mean that after this dream you are cured of the head cold that you had, or that your broken leg is suddenly mended. The healing that occurs with a healing dream is much deeper than that. Sometimes healing dreams offer us insights into problems with relationships, our work situations, or our own stagnation on our life’s journey. Contrary to the feel-good phrase used to describe them, healing dreams are often quite difficult to deal with, since they upset our comfortable ideas about ourselves and force us to see truths that we probably would have much preferred to ignore.

Dreams of healingWhen faced with a healing dream, it is important to understand and interpret the symbols present in the dream, so as to understand the issue that the healing dream is revealing. It must also be remembered that dreams come to individuals, and have individual significance. There are broad meanings and interpretations to dream symbols, but they may also have particular significance just for you which only you can know. Follow your intuition about your healing dream, and do not be afraid to examine the aspects of it that frighten you or make you uncomfortable. Those are exactly the aspects that make the dream so powerful.

For many people, healing dreams are disturbing, and some experience them as recurring dreams. A recurring dream is clearly an indication of something important in your life – something important enough that your unconscious mind keeps sending it up as a message that you need to take care of this thing.

In the modern, frantic world, it is common to have a recurring dream of being chased, whether by monsters, human enemies, or even a faceless danger. In this case, the dream of being chased is a healing dream indicating that you need to take a break and create a safe haven for yourself. Stop bringing your work home with you. Tell your boss that you deserve to be able to relax and sleep when you are home. Find a new job with fewer demands. In short, take yourself out of the rat race, at least for a certain time each day, and allow yourself to decompress and to be safe.

Healing Dreams Can Reveal Things to Dreamers

Healing dreams that reveal problems or issues with relationships are often relatively easy to decipher. The other person is often obligingly him- or herself in the dream. If not, it is not usually difficult to tell who is represented by the symbol that will take the person’s place, be it an animal or any other kind of symbol. The words said and actions taken, while often caricature-ish and exaggerated to the point of ridiculousness, definitely reveal your own feelings about the relationship, and may also give insight into the other person’s feelings or motivations as well. By seeing yourself in the mirror of your healing dream, you may be able to identify problems you are causing in the relationship. The healing dream may also provide a paradigm shift that will help you to understand how the other person is feeling. In addition, your subconscious may provide you with the correct words to say to them through the healing dream.

Some people have dreams that reveal physical ailments. One expert on healing dreams had his life saved by recurring healing dreams that revealed to him that he had cancer, though the cancer was asymptomatic and the doctors had difficulty finding it. While some consider it to be far-fetched that you could dream about physical diseases that you don’t even know you have, it must be remembered that the unconscious mind is far more in tune with the details that pass below the conscious awareness than we often give it credit for. Nerves run past a tumor, infection, or any other bodily problem toward the brain, and there is in fact no reason why the unconscious mind should not know more about your body than your conscious mind does.

We said that healing dreams do not usually cause physical healing, but instead reveal to you the issues that you need to be aware of in order to begin healing from certain problems. There are some healing dreams that do convey healing energy, though, especially if you are connected to another person during them. Dreaming of another person, you can actually send healing energy to them or receive healing energy from them. In addition, it is possible for a healing dream to reveal a problem, the solution for which simply is to receive healing energy from the universe.

Healing dreams are most powerful when they refer to the community of people we live in. They reveal to us, in a way that is not apparent at all in waking life, the fact that we are all connected to each other and dependent on each other. It is not unheard of for people to have healing dreams about people in their lives, only to find out the next day that something significant happened to them. It is actually rather common to have a dream about someone and to know that they died. This is just one kind of healing dream that focuses on the community of people.

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False awakening dreams happen when you dream that you have woken up. This is a kind of dream that is not universal, but is very disconcerting to those to whom it happens. On the other hand, it is also oftentimes a gateway to lucid dreaming, if you can recognize the signs that you are not actually awake as such, instead of letting the nightmarish pseudo-reality continue.

False awakening dreams are often incredibly and bizarrely realistic, and you may dream of going through your entire morning routine, from going to the bathroom to eating breakfast. Certain details can usually be counted on not to be accurate in a false awakening. If you want to make sure of whether you are really awake or having a false awakening dream, here are some things you can do to test.

  1. Look at yourself in the mirror. Your reflection often appears distorted in the mirror if you are dreaming. Alternatively, you may look like someone else altogether. While you may not notice the change in your reflection if you do not know to look for it, accepting it as we often accept bizarre things in dreams, once you do know to pay attention, it is easy to tell a false awakening dream by details like this.
  2. Notice how your breakfast tastes. It is common for food to taste different in dreams. For some people, nothing in a dream has any flavor. For others, the flavors are bolder and tastier, and for still others, the flavors meld into the other senses in a dream synesthesia. If you notice any of these things happening, you will know that you are dreaming, and that is the first step to lucid dreaming.
  3. Try to read something. The part of our brain that handles written language is turned off while we are asleep. Pick up your morning paper and read the front page, or try to read the back of your cereal box. Try reading the same sentence twice. If the words change, you know you are dreaming. Some other dream signs connected to reading, which you may or may not experience, include the words you read being spoken aloud, or forming images that you can see.
  4. Walk one step at a time. Dream time passes according to your thoughts, and it is common in dreams to find yourself in places simply by thinking about going there. For some people, it is very difficult to literally take a dream step by step, noticing each step as you take it. If you find yourself floating from place to place, or simply appearing somewhere, you can know that you are dreaming, and from there you can begin to control the dream.
  5. Turn the lights on and off. There is usually some sort of ambient light in our dreams. However, this light source often does not change, even if you flip a light switch. Many people are not able to turn a light off and then walk into the dark room in their dreams; they are still able to see things. Conversely, if you dream that you are in the dark, it may be very difficult for you to turn the light on. Most of us get up early in the morning and get ready in the dark, at least part of the year. If you cannot turn the lights on or off, this should be a clue to you that you are in a dream.
  6. Come up with your own reality check. A reality check is something you train yourself to do in waking life in hopes that you will remember to do it in your dreams as well, thus leading to lucidity. You may have an item that you handle a lot in waking life, similar to a totem in Inception. However, the best reality checks are things that you always have with you, such as your hands. One common reality check is trying to press two fingers of one hand through the palm of the other. Obviously, if you are awake, your fingers will not be able to go through your hand. Another reality check is to try to push your hand through a closed door or wall.

When making your own reality check, you must train yourself to do your reality check frequently in your waking life as well. It does not work if you plan on only doing it in your dreams, because you will inevitably forget. Ask yourself frequently throughout the day, “Am I dreaming?” Then do your reality check, really expecting your fingers to go through your palm or your hand to go through the wall. Accept the possibility that you might be dreaming, and do not assume that you know you are awake. Really consider the fact that dreams feel like waking life as well, and then ask yourself the question, “Am I dreaming?” If you get into the habit of asking the question flippantly and expecting the reality check to work, then you will either forget to ask it when you are asleep, or the reality check will behave like reality in your sleep as well. If you get into the habit of doing reality checks and considering the possibility that you may be dreaming during the day, then you will be more likely to think about it during your dreams and realize that you are still asleep.

So I know I’m in a false awakening dream. Now what? Once you have realized that you are in a false awakening dream, you have the ability to lucid dream. You can do anything you want – fly, teleport, or turn your hair blue. What you should not do is try to wake up. You are in REM sleep, and you are not in control of your body right now. Your body is completely paralyzed, and will continue to be so until you wake up spontaneously. If you try to wake up at this point, you are likely to get stuck in a disturbing out-of-body or sleep paralysis experience.

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Daydreaming was once considered a normal and healthy activity, but in the past two centuries or even longer, it has gained a bad reputation as being lazy and unproductive. Daydreaming actually stimulates creativity and makes it easier for individuals to find solutions to problems they face in everyday life, but with the advent of the Industrial Revolution it began to get a bad rap. In factories and assembly lines, productivity was increasingly linked to how quickly a worker could use a tool rather than to the creative ideas the worker had. In fact, creativity in an assembly line tends to cause problems rather than solve them. As only the owners and managers had the freedom to be creative, workers were told to work faster, not to think, and not to daydream.

“daydreaming used to be considered lazy and unproductive”

It became common after the Industrial Revolution for parents to tell children to stop daydreaming and to pay attention to the real world. In fact, in the 1950s, pediatricians were warning parents that daydreaming led to neurosis and psychotic tendencies. Parents, therefore, not wishing their children to become enfeebled or crazy from their daydreaming habits, sharply jerked children out of their daydreams whenever they noticed them staring off blankly, teachers punished students for daydreaming, and workers in the workplace were (and still are) expected to pay attention to what is happening in the current moment and not to let their minds wander.

The Value of Daydreams

daydreaming dreamsNow, however, we are learning the real value of daydreams. Newer research has confirmed to us that daydreams are actually the seat of creativity and inspiration, and that by letting the mind wander we are actually allowing ourselves to have our best ideas. In fact, daydreaming is connected with higher levels of empathy, increased intuition, better skills at solving problems, and a clearer idea of one’s life goals.

The reason for this is easy to understand: by daydreaming about different events, it becomes easy to imagine what life would be like for someone to whom these events happened. You essentially put yourself in the shoes of another person, in an imaginative way, and by so doing rid yourself of the narrow-minded view that the way you perceive the world is the only way the world actually is. For writers, daydreaming may quickly leak into plotting and character-building, but it is also a refreshing break from concerted efforts to create a story, in which the mind can wander and inspiration often strikes.

The cognitive purpose of daydreams, as far as we can tell, is to work through questions and problems that the conscious mind has been struggling with, and to let the subconscious analyze them while the conscious mind rests. You do not have to be sitting still or free from distractions in order to have daydreams. In fact, physical motion can actually help you have daydreams, especially repetitive motions and motions that require slight but not over-exertion. Taking a walk is a great way to slip into a daydream, as the activity of walking is light enough to not require concentration, but still keeps your brain active. You may daydream when doing household tasks such as washing the dishes and folding the laundry, and many people find hobbies such as knitting and crocheting to be meditative and conducive to daydreams.

It is incredibly easy to daydream: just let your mind wander. Do not judge or criticize your daydreams, and do not judge yourself for the daydreams you have. Just let the thoughts be there, and follow them where they will go. If you find yourself judging or feeling uncomfortable with the things that occur to you, stop and examine why you feel this way. You may learn more about yourself than you expected to. You may discover deeply rooted fears or judgments that you did not even know existed, and you may find yourself coming to terms with yourself as a different person than the person you believed you were.

Benefits of Daydreaming and Why YOU Should Do It

The benefits of daydreaming are many and various. Daydreaming increases your creativity and helps you solve problems. It also helps you learn about yourself, your values, your fears and your triggers by putting you in different imaginary scenarios that you would probably never experience in your real life. Daydreaming is an important tool for understanding your hopes and dreams, and you can pick out recurring patterns in your daydreams as identifiers of important aspirations that you ought to pursue. Daydreaming, because it is somewhat separated from practical thought, provides an environment in which you can come up with “outside of the box” solutions for problems, while conscious effort to solve these problems often results in circular thinking and coming up with the same, unimaginative solutions.

Of course, not all daydreams are created equal, and not all have the same effect. Studies have shown that highly creative people tend to have imaginative daydreams, in which completely fictional and imaginary creatures and people populate a world that doesn’t exist. For some people, daydreams are as vivid as sleeping dreams, and they actually see the things that they daydream about. People who daydream in this way usually only refer to this sort of intense experience as a daydream, and do not say that they have been daydreaming unless they have been intensely seeing an imaginary scene. On the other hand, people who have never experienced the phenomenon of the “waking dream” in this way are often likely to say they are daydreaming when they are simply zoning out or letting their thoughts wander unchecked.

This is certainly not to say that they are wrong, only that there are different types of daydreams. Fortunately, it is easy to make your daydreams more vivid and imaginative: just do it more! By exercising your imaginative and creative faculties, you increase your capacity for imagination and creativity. If you, like the White Queen in Alice in Wonderland, can learn to “believe six impossible things before breakfast,” you will find your daydreams becoming more real, more vivid, and certainly more interesting.

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Childhood dreams can be complicated and scary. Children are learning what their world is all about, and they do not have the power to take care of themselves or protect themselves from threatening situations or people. This fact often shows up in dreams. In fact, studies indicate that children have nightmares far more than adults do, and the fact that children cannot take care of themselves or create their own destiny is certainly a major part of this. Further complicating the issue for parents is the fact that children only rarely dream about the actual people or issues causing them stress, and it can be very difficult to determine what the stress is in the child’s life when, say, the nightmare is about a big green monster chasing the child.

Studies indicate that nightmares peak at about 3-6 years of age, and that about half of children this age have nightmares. Of course, this is also the age at which the child is beginning to go to school and is bombarded with new responsibilities and expectations. In addition, children at this age are often given more freedom and responsibility to play outside, and begin to get to know more people than previously. This vastly increases the scope of things that children can be afraid of, and therefore have dreams and nightmares about. Furthermore, in terms of brain development, a child’s imagination is extremely vivid during this time and children move further and further into imaginative thinking, laying the groundwork for abstract thought. This, too, is a factor in children’s dreams and nightmares.

Common Dreams for Children

Children DreamingSome common dream and nightmare themes for children include scary monsters, people, and events and situations such as being paralyzed, chased, trapped, or naked. Common stressors that lead to nightmares include a new baby in the family, moving, starting school or changing schools, a divorce or remarriage, or a person antagonizing the child – bullies at school, a grumpy neighbor, or even a parent who commonly snaps or yells at the child. Dreams of being chased, of hiding, and of being found in hiding spots indicate a feeling that the child is not safe. Perhaps the home life is stressful, or maybe the child feels unable to talk to his or her parents about the feelings which are such a burden on a little young person.

If your child is experiencing these sorts of dreams, one of the most effective remedies is simply to create a safe place for the child. Encourage him to talk, and do not judge or comment on the things he says. Simply accept him for who he is, and let him know that you are a safe person in whom he can trust. If the home is stressful and chaotic, try instituting a peaceful time of day for the child. Turn off the TV and play a board game together, read a story, or talk about his day. Listen and be present. It is not possible to make a child’s entire life safe and secure from any stressors or dangers, nor would it be good for the child if we did so. However, it is important for a child to have a safe base from which to explore the world, and where he can go when the dangers become too overwhelming, and providing this will help to reduce many childhood nightmares.

Nightmares and Night Terrors in Children

Nightmares occur when the child is in REM sleep, and as such is likely to be completely still. You will probably have no idea your child is having a nightmare until the child wakes and cries or comfort, even if you are sitting awake right next to the bed. Some people cry during nightmares, with tears streaming from their eyes, but do not indicate that they are having a nightmare in any other way. Night terrors, on the other hand, are what we often think of as nightmares when we observe children having them. These happen during deep sleep (stages 3 and 4), and not in REM sleep. During night terrors, children may thrash around and scream, or they may even get out of bed and run through the house, apparently terrified.

Night terrors can be scary for parents, as the child seems obviously to be in distress, and children who are having night terrors do not respond to comfort or even attempts to wake them up. If your child is having a night terror, do everything you can to keep the child safe, and wait for it to pass, as it will after a few minutes. Do not try to wake up your child, as they are not in conscious control of their actions and can become violent, hurting you or themselves. Night terrors do not have images associated with them in your child’s brain, and your child will not remember them the next day. Nightmares, on the other hand, are often able to be remembered. Night terrors are simply a fear reaction that occurs when transitioning between stages of sleep, often between deep sleep and REM. If your child has night terrors, try to address stressors in his or her life which may be causing the prevailing emotion of fear.

Not all children’s dreams are scary. Many dreams involve adventures and accomplishments, and reflect the child’s growth in confidence and ability. If your child has a dream in which they do something they are proud of, be excited for your child! This indicates a confidence that they can do good and important things and accomplish their goals. If your child has a dream about beating up a scary monster, that is even better, as it indicates that your child is gaining the tools to deal with the stressors and scary things in their life. Whether they are learning to stand up to bullies at school or understand their math homework, dreams about strength and self-efficacy indicate positive growth on the part of your child, and should be celebrated.

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There is compelling evidence that babies dream, given that infants and newborns spend up to 50% of their sleeping time in REM sleep (the stage of sleep in which dreams occur. REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement, and, as the name indicates, is characterized by the eyes moving rapidly under closed eyelids. It is possible to see if someone is in REM sleep just by watching them, though obviously most parents choose to spend the precious time of their baby’s sleep getting things done that they can’t when the baby is awake, or even sleeping themselves, rather than sitting and watching their baby sleep to observe the REM cycles.

What Is Your Baby Dreaming?

But what do babies dream about? Research done on infants’ brainwaves during REM sleep indicates that brain activity is different between babies’ REM and adults’ REM cycles. This is not at all surprising, when you consider that babies’ brains are also not fully developed. Dreams are often intimately connected to motion, and if you learn a new physical skill you are likely to dream about it as your brain reviews how to do it until you know it well.

baby dreamingBabies, of course, are learning new motions all the time, as they work to gain basic motion control from the time they are born. These skills are likely to populate babies’ dreams, and in fact their capacity to dream may increase as they gain basic motor skills and are able to move on to more physical activities. Recent brain research indicates that gross muscle activity is profoundly important for mental activities such as memory and information analysis, as researchers study the aging process. Though we cannot interview infants to find out what they dream, we can speculate that gaining these muscle skills also affects brain activity and, by extension, dreams, in the same way.

Dreaming During REM Sleep

During REM, the brain works on mental imagery, which is extremely important for cognitive development. In fact, researchers speculate that the reason babies spend so much time in REM sleep is because of the importance of REM sleep in brain development. In other words, if a baby is not able to get enough sleep, his or her brain simply will not develop in the way it needs to. Of course, this does not mean that parents should worry if their baby does not sleep for long stretches. Infant REM periods may be very short, sometimes even as short as a minute or two, and they may move between sleep stages quite rapidly.

This makes them more likely to wake up as they move between these sleep stages, especially if they are uncomfortable or cold. To help a small infant sleep, it’s important to make sure baby is warm enough. Since babies cannot regulate their own internal temperature until they are several months old, baby wearing and skin-to-skin is one of the best ways to help a newborn sleep well and get enough REM sleep, since Mom’s or Dad’s body heat warms Baby up and helps Baby stay asleep.

Babies Dreams are Not Complex

Babies do not have the capacity for complex dreams, simply because they do not have the brain development for it. Adults may dream of relationship issues or financial worries; babies, obviously, are not going to have these dreams. So what is it that babies are dreaming about when they wake up startled or frightened? Babies have their own things to worry about, simple as they may seem to us. Being left alone, being hungry, or being cold are very real fears for babies. Remember that in human evolution, a baby left alone was a baby that was likely to starve or be eaten by a wild animal. Humans did not evolve to put our young in cribs and leave them to sleep alone in their own rooms. Newborn babies cannot understand that they live in the modern world and that there is a baby monitor that Mommy can use to make sure that they are safe. All a newborn baby knows is that they are alone, and that being alone means being in danger.

When a baby stirs from sleep and finds himself or herself alone, this is almost certainly going to produce crying and fear. If this happens habitually, this is likely to become part of Baby’s dreams, until their little brain works through the fear and realizes, over months, that they are not actually in danger from sleeping alone. Hunger is similar, from an evolutionary point of view. In a hunter-gatherer society, babies who are always with their mothers have no reason to ever be hungry – there is a delicious cafeteria open 24 hours a day for them. Many parents in the modern world schedule their babies’ feedings on the advice of their pediatricians.

To a newborn, who only has the instincts passed down through evolution, not being fed when hungry means that Mamma is away, and Baby is in great danger. This is another fear that the brain works through during dreams, until it learns that there is no danger, and that food will be given at the proper time.

Babies can Be Afraid in a Dream

This is certainly not to say that parenting methods such as baby wearing and feeding on demand will prevent your baby from ever having nightmares. There are still always some dangers or fears for the baby’s brain to work through. The cold surprise of a diaper change may be the subject of a dream, or the coughing and spluttering of a breastfeeding baby whose mother has an overactive milk letdown. In fact, as the baby grows, exploring the world will always come with its own set of dangers and surprises, giving Baby plenty of food for dreams and nightmares. When we see a baby wake up from a nightmare, it is easy to ask, “What can you possibly have to be scared of? You have everything you could possibly want given to you.” It is important to remember that this baby is new here, and that everything is strange and must be evaluated as dangerous or safe, and that REM is by and large where that process happens.

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Dreams have been important in cultures all over the world since the beginning of recorded history. They have often been considered prophecies or omens. It is rare for a dream to be emotionally striking enough to be remembered, and when this does happen, the dream is often thought to be highly significant. Stories throughout human history confirm that such dreams often are, indeed, significant. Legends abound all over the world of leaders having dreams that told them the future, or ordinary people having dreams that began them on an extraordinary path.

This is not to say that every dream is necessarily prophetic, but we know now that every dream does at least give you insight into your own psyche. If you pay attention to your dreams, you may find out about motivations, desires, ambitions, and fears that you never even knew you had. You may also find solutions to problems and creative inspiration. Stephanie Meyer said that the idea for the Twilight series came to her in a dream. Learn to pay attention to your own dream and who knows? You may write the next best seller.

Why we dreamDreaming is Important

Some of the most common dreams we have are dreams about working through emotional issues. Conflicts with others, especially loved ones, are very common topics. The way that you act toward the other person in your dream and the way they act toward you is very important and revealing about this conflict. Do note that the events that happen in the dream reveal your feelings about the relationship, not actions that you yourself would actually take or that the other person would take against you. For instance, if you dream about someone being physically violent to you, this does not necessarily mean that they will cause physical harm to you, but it does mean that for some reason you feel that you do not trust them, and that you expect them to cause some sort of harm to you.

Similarly, if you dream about hitting them or being physically violent in some way, this does not necessarily indicate that you are a violent person. It may simply indicate that you feel frustration in your relationship with then, and that perhaps there is no other way to get through to them by more civilized means such as speaking. Rather than dwelling on the literal events of such a dream about a relationship, instead try to determine the underlying causes for the feelings that triggered the dream.

Dreams Can Reveal Hidden Truths

Dreams can also be the result of your subconscious revealing to you certain things about other people or circumstances that your conscious mind is not aware of. Our instincts of people are often more trustworthy than our rational conclusions about them, and our subconscious understanding of them is often more trustworthy still. Having a dream about a near and dear person betraying you may be an indication that you expect them to do so, but it may also be a sign that this person is not to be trusted. While it may not be prudent to break ties with someone based solely on a dream you had about them, you should take note of the dream and perhaps not place yourself in a position of vulnerability with regards to that person. Similarly, dreaming that someone you do not like saves you is likely to be an indication that you have misjudged this person, and that you can in fact trust him or her.

One of the common reasons for dreaming is to engrain and cement knowledge learned during the day into the brain. If you have been learning a new task or skill, or even if you have been studying new facts or exploring a new place, you are likely to dream about this. Such dreams may be very intense and feel exhausting, even though you have been in bed the whole time. These dreams are important functions for your brain, but are not actually terribly significant, except to note that your brain found the skill or information important enough to continue working on it while sleeping.

Prophetic dreams are the most notable types of dreams in stories, and the rarest and most controversial in real life. It is easy to get a romanticized notion of dreams and begin to think that everything you dream is essentially a preview or script for the future of your life. However, prophecy is complicated. Some events may seem to be set in stone, but our actions can also shape our destinies, and, as Oedipus’ parents found out, some prophecies only come true when we go out of our way to prevent them from happening.

What You Should Assume

As a practical guide, it is most wise to assume that dreams are revelations about the current state of things and our emotional and subconscious feelings and interpretations of them, rather than prophecies of the future. However, this is not meant to negate the possibility that a deity or the universe sends messages via dreams. After all, while dreaming, we are in a receptive state, which is why hypnosis works well during sleep. If there is a message we need to receive, dreams are an excellent way for them to be sent. In short, treat a dream that seems prophetic with skepticism, but do not ignore it offhand, and learn what it may be prophesying in case it is, in fact, prophetic.

Some people who are close and psychologically linked have been known to co-dream, or share a dream. When this happens, the two people are often able to speak more directly than they are in waking life, and gain a better understanding of each other. If you share a dream with someone, always take that dream seriously as a revelation about the other person (and about yourself as well, often). The activities you do with the other person and the events that happen to you are also revelatory about your relationship.

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Most dreams take place during REM sleep, or the rapid eye movement phase. Your muscles are often completely paralyzed during this phase, but your brain is active, sometimes even frantically so, your heart rate and blood pressure are increased, and your adrenaline levels are high. Dreams can happen during other periods of sleep, and some people report having dreams during the early stages of sleep when they are just beginning to drift off. The long, complex dreams that you remember, though, most often happen during REM sleep.

Many people only remember the last dream they had when they wake up. However, it is common to have many dreams during the night. REM periods come in cycles, and while sleep sometimes moves from Stage 1 through REM and then back to Stage 1, at other times you bounce back and forth between deep sleep and REM, and each time you are in REM sleep you are dreaming.

From the physiological perspective, therefore, dreams occur because of the different periods of sleep with their different brainwave lengths. From a psychological perspective, on the other hand, dreams often occur because of unresolved emotions being worked through by the brain. Your subconscious analyzes events that occurred during the day and, if there are emotional problems that have not been resolved through communication or reconciliation with the other person, you are likely to dream about this. Such dreams are likely to focus on the emotions involved to an extent that they may even seem irrational when you remember them upon waking up. However, do not ignore the lessons your brain sends you in this way, because these may easily be insights into the root of the conflict. If you can understand the reasons why you feel the way you do, that can help you resolve the emotional problems you are having.

It is also common to dream about things that you are learning, and if you spent the day in intense study of a completely new skill or topic, you should expect to spend much of your night also dreaming intensely about it, possibly even to the extent that you wake yourself up from thinking so hard. As with emotions, your brain is taking the period of sleep and dreaming to work through the new information it was given, by practicing and by trying to test the limits of the knowledge by making mistakes. You may dream that you simply perform the new task over and over again, but you would be surprised at how tiring such a dream can be when you wake from it. In fact, this is one of the brain’s primary methods of learning and solidifying new information, so when you learn something new it is actually common and normal to feel exhausted and to want a nap. In such a case, take the nap, as it will help you digest the information you learned and understand it better when you wake up.

Dreams are notoriously difficult to remember when you wake up, and you are highly unlikely to remember a dream that you had earlier in the night. In order to make sure that you remember your dreams, keep a dream diary by your bedside so you can jot down notes as soon as you wake up. Writing down your dreams in the present tense can also help you remember them better, so say things like “I am standing in a meadow” rather than “I was standing in a meadow.” If at all possible, do not get up before writing the dreams down. Motion and waking memory are controlled in the same part of the brain, and moving around can actually overwrite the already tenuous memories of the dream (rather like looking away from the Silence). There is nothing connecting dream-consciousness and the long-term memory, and so far we do not know why. Even if you lucid dream, it can be very difficult to remember your dream if you do not write it down immediately. On the other hand, once you write it down, you are far more likely to be able to remember the dream again in the future. This is because the very act of remembering the dream to write it down cements it in your memory – but only the parts that you write down! If you skip a detail in telling the story, that detail will likely be forgotten and lost forever.

While you dream, your brain releases the amino acid glycine onto the neurons that control your spinal cord and therefore your actions. This is what keeps you from thrashing during your dreams the way dogs do. Incidentally, if you are a sleepwalker, it is most likely due to a suppression of this amino acid, though the reason it is being suppressed may be unknown. Stress, however, is known to increase incidences of sleepwalking, and the suppression of glycine during times of stress is a reasonable evolutionary survival tactic, as glycine also prevents you from feeling external stimuli (try lifting the hand of someone who is dreaming and dropping it), and therefore could be a hazard if you are not in a safe environment.

Some experts have theorized that deep sleep (stages 3 and 4) are actually the times when the brain rests but the body sometimes moves, while REM sleep is the time when the body rests and the brain works incredibly hard on resolving problems and solidifying learned knowledge. During the night, your REM cycles begin by being extremely short, sometimes only a minute long, and your deep sleep phase is very long. As the night progresses, your deep sleep phase becomes dramatically shortened, and your REM phase becomes long. As such, curtailing your sleep at night is detrimental to your bodily health, as your body physically gets less of the time when it is completely paralyzed to rest, and your brain does not have the time it needs to work through the issues of the day before so that you can start the next day well.

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Sleep Cycle DreamsThe sleep cycle consists of two main parts: REM and Non-REM, with intermediary stages. Understanding the stages of the sleep cycle can help you understand how to time your sleep, how to achieve memorable and even lucid dreams, and even to know what stage of sleep you were in when you are woken up unexpectedly.

Stage 1: The first stage of sleep is actually the drifting off between sleep and wakefulness. This stage may last several minutes, but usually not longer than 15 minutes. If you are awakened during Stage 1, you may feel like you haven’t even fallen asleep yet; in fact, you have. It is common for people with insomnia to stay in Stage 1 for a very long time, and every time they wake they feel like they haven’t slept yet, which causes frustration and makes it very difficult to relax and fall asleep into Stage 2.

Stage 2: This stage is characterized by very light sleep, slowly moving to deeper sleep. Your body will tense and relax intermittently and your breathing will become slow and deep as Stage 2 progresses. Your body temperature will also decrease during this stage, and if you are not properly covered with blankets or if your room is too cold, this is the point at which you might wake shivering.

Stage 3: This is the first stage of deep sleep, though not yet characterized by dreams. The brainwaves slow to the higher levels of Delta frequency, and your brain prepares to enter Stage 4 deep sleep.

Stage 4: This is the second level of deep sleep, the last level of non-REM sleep before dreams begin. At Stage 4, your brain is producing the lower levels of Delta frequency brainwaves. If you are awakened during Stage 4, you are likely to feel disoriented, perhaps not knowing where you are.

REM Sleep: This is the stage at which you dream. REM stands for “Rapid Eye Movement.” REM sleep is characterized by paralysis in your major voluntary muscle groups, but quick movement in your eyes, erratic breathing, and brain waves at faster levels than before, mimicking the brain wave patterns of waking consciousness. During dreams, your brain works through problems and questions that were posed to it during your waking hours, or visits unresolved issues that your conscious mind may not even be aware of. You may find that when you wake up from a good night’s sleep your mind is clear and things that were confusing and problematic the night before are clear and easy to understand. This is because of the brain activity during REM sleep. Your body may look like you are sleeping, but your brain is doing very important work.

After a certain amount of time in REM sleep, you will move back to Stage 1, possibly even waking for a short time in between. Most people do not remember these waking times, though they are very common. Early in the night, your periods of deep sleep are long while your REM period is short; late in the night and towards the morning, this switches so that you spend a short amount of time in deep sleep and a longer period of time in REM sleep. For most people, a sleep cycle takes about 90 minutes. Many experts recommend timing your sleep in 90-minute increments instead of in hourly increments so as to increase your chances of waking up refreshed between REM and Stage 1, rather than waking up disoriented during Stage 3 and 4 or REM.

If you are not getting enough sleep, you are likely to suffer from memory impairment or loss, difficulty concentrating, dozing off especially while driving, fatigue, immune system problems, or depression. Even if you are getting nine hours of sleep a night, if you suffer from these symptoms, the problem is likely your sleep: you are probably getting poor quality sleep. You may have a hard time moving from Stages 1 and 2 to deep sleep and REM. Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea can wake you many times during the night, even if you do not remember waking up, and have the effect of preventing you from sleeping soundly. Drinking caffeine too late at night can also negatively impact your sleep. This is a double-edged sword, however, as stimulants such as caffeine are often necessary for a sleep-deprived person to be able to work during the day.

Sleep deprivation is a major problem in the modern world, with artificial lights and computers extending the work day long into the hours of darkness. Current polls indicate that the vast majority of adults get less than seven hours of sleep a night, while sleep experts recommend that adults get a minimum of seven and a half hours of sleep, and up to nine hours. Children need far more sleep than this, and even up through high school they need up to 10 hours of sleep a night. Contrary to popular myths, sleep deprivation is not something your body can get used to. In fact, sleep deprivation compounds until you are dealing with chronic sleep deprivation, which is a problem all of its own.

Because REM sleep occurs last in the sleep cycle, and because the most REM sleep happens the latest at night and in the morning, if you find that you never remember your dreams, it is possible that you are not getting enough sleep to get into a good long REM cycle. Some tips for getting longer and better sleep include: avoiding stimulants for a few hours before bed, having a relaxing bedtime routine, darkening your room by covering up the alarm clock and putting blackout curtains in the windows, lowering the temperature of the room, and using a soothing fragrance such as lavender or eucalyptus.

Christian DreamsChristian dream interpretation is a matter of determining what your dreams mean from a Christian perspective, often using symbols found in the Bible as references. The matter of dream interpretation has a long history in Judeo-Christianity. In the Old Testament, Jacob saw a ladder ascending up into heaven, and wrestled with an angel in his dream. Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream of seven skinny cows eating up seven fat cows to mean that there would be seven years of plenty and then seven years of famine. This Biblical dream interpretation impressed Pharaoh so much that he made Joseph his right-hand man, and thus Joseph was able to save all of Egypt from famine, and his family as well when they came asking for food.

Interpretations Come From God

Daniel, too, interpreted dreams. In the New Testament, Jesus’ foster-father Joseph was warned in a dream to take Mary and Jesus to Egypt to escape Pharaoh’s slaughter of the baby boys, and the Magi who had come guided by the star also were warned in a dream not to return by way of Jerusalem to tell Herod the whereabouts of Jesus. Pontius Pilate’s wife had a dream about Jesus before his trial, and sent Pilate a message telling him, “Have thou nothing to do with that just man; for I have suffered many things this day in a dream, because of him.” (Matthew 27:19) Over and over, God sends messages to people in dreams, and good things come to those who listen to the messages that are sent to them in their dreams.

Despite the Biblical evidence for dream interpretation, there is still controversy about whether Biblical dream interpretation is valid or even allowable for Christians. Some people make reference to the Witch of Endor, whom Saul asked to bring Samuel back from the dead and thus lost his blessing to rule the kingdom, as evidence against dream interpretation or other forms of superstition. Others contradict this claim, stating that if dream interpretation were simply a superstition, God would not have sent dreams to so many of our Biblical heroes, nor would there be verses referring to dream prophecies. While some modern Christians do not believe in dreams, there is nevertheless a strong Christian tradition and belief that God can talk to you in your dreams.

Interpreting Christian Dreams

When interpreting the symbols you see in your dream in a Christian context, the meanings may vary depending on your sect or belief system. This is not because God is inconsistent; instead, it is because He uses language you can understand to speak to you. Because of the differences in faith traditions even within Christianity, one symbol may have a different meaning from one person to another. For instance, a nun’s habit may mean something different to a Catholic than to a Baptist – though in either case it symbolizes a literal nun, a woman who has devoted her life to God, for a Catholic it may mean a vocation to the religious life, while to someone who is not Catholic, the symbol may simply mean a life of sacrifice, simplicity, and charity.

If you hear someone speaking directly to you, you should always pay attention, especially if the dream has had other Christian dream symbols or Biblical dream symbols in it. The Christian tradition has a strong belief in the voice of God or the angels speaking through dreams, and you do not want to ignore a message that was sent to you specifically. If you feel that you are being spoken to through your dreams, you ought to keep a dream diary to record God’s messages to you. The gift of prophecy is sometimes given in dreams, as in Numbers 12:6: “Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.” Many Christians make decisions about their future based on dreams, and for many this leads them to great success.

So how do you know what the Christian or Biblical interpretation of your dream is? First, it helps to know your Bible and to be familiar with the stories within it. The symbols that appear in your dreams may refer to Biblical stories that you know, or they may be stories that you don’t yet know, which will make your dream make sense once you learn it. God’s plans often work around teaching us new things, and He may send you dreams specifically to make you go and research them. Here are a few Biblical dream symbols you may encounter and the stories behind them.

Bread and Wine: This is a symbol of the Last Supper that Jesus shared with his disciples, in which he said of the bread “This is my body” and of the wine “This is my blood.” To Catholics, this is taken literally, so that during the Mass the bread is believed to literally change into the body of Jesus and the wine to change into the blood of Jesus. For most other denominations, this is taken symbolically, to mean that Jesus left his spirit with us symbolically, and that he is present spiritually rather than physically when the Lord’s Supper is shared. In a dream, bread and wine represent fellowship and unity with the people around you; they also represent a strong spiritual presence of Jesus. As a symbol of the Passover, they represent deliverance from trials and suffering, as the Hebrews ate unleavened bread the night that the Angel of Death passed over Egypt, the night before they were set free from the bondage of slavery.

Burning Bush: Moses saw the Burning Bush when he was exiled in the desert, and from the Burning Bush he heard the voice of God telling him to go and free the Hebrews from enslavement to Pharaoh in Egypt. Seeing a burning bush in your dream is a sign of a message from God. Take this sign and the message with it seriously. Alternatively, it could indicate a call to do something difficult and scary, which you feel unqualified and unable to do. This is a sign that you should trust in God; that He will act through you and not give you anything to do that you cannot do with His help.

Candles: Candles are a liturgical symbol with many meanings. Bringing light into the darkness, being the light of the world, and being a guiding light are some of the meanings of the Christian dream symbol of a candle.

Fish: A fish is a symbol of Christianity. The early Christians would use the symbol of the fish to identify themselves to each other, especially during the Roman persecution when it was unsafe to openly identify yourself as a Christian for fear of being arrested and put to death. Jesus performed several miracles involving fish, including the multiplication of the loaves and fishes and the massive catch of fish that he gave Peter when he called him. After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples cooking fish on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, and he broke bread with them. As a culture in a location between the Sea of Galilee and the Mediterranean Ocean, fish was very important to the Hebrews.

Flowers: In Biblical dream interpretations, flowers are a reference to the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus held up the lilies of the valley as a paradigm for how Christians should be: “They toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” If you see flowers in your dream, this is a sign to trust in God to take care of you.

Lamb: A lamb may be a reference to the verse, “The lion shall lie down with the lamb.” It may also be a symbol of Jesus, who in the Gospels referred to himself as the Good Shepherd and in Revelations was referred to as the Lamb of God. In addition, the lamb symbolizes meekness and docility, as Christians are supposed to be meek and gentle to each other and to follow God’s will like lambs.

Lion: Another symbol of Jesus, who is also called the Lion of Judah.

Rainbow: The rainbow is a reference to the story of the flood, when Noah saved the animal and human life of the world by bringing two animals of each species onto the Ark along with his family, and it rained for forty days and forty nights. When the flood was over, God promised Noah that he would never again send another flood to destroy humanity, and he set his rainbow in the sky in token of his covenant. Dreaming of a rainbow is sign of hope and trust in God’s promises. It is a reassurance that God will not let you down, even if circumstances look dire, and that He wants what is best for you.

Lucid dreaming is an inspiring and rewarding process in which you are aware of your dream as you are dreaming it, and can control it, so that your abilities in your dream are literally limited only by your imagination. Lucid dreamers speak to their unconscious and subconscious minds, to their past and future selves, and even to people across the world. They experience inspiration and see the solutions to problems that have been worrying them.

Some people lucid dream spontaneously, discovering over years of dreaming how to tell when they are in a dream and how to control that dream. If you have never spontaneously lucid dreamed, don’t worry: there are easy techniques you can use to learn this incredible art. The following are some ideas that anyone can try to learn to lucid dream.Lucid Dreaming

  1. Get the idea in your head. Intention may not matter as much as action in the waking world, but in the world of your subconscious, intention is everything. Thinking about lucid dreaming, researching, and reading about lucid dreaming all make you more likely to experience a lucid dream, just by implanting the idea in your subconscious mind. That’s right: just reading this article is the first step to learning to lucid dream and increases your chances of having a lucid dream soon. Many people are aware that sleeping after learning new information helps you retain what you learned, as your subconscious is able to process the information during sleep, and geniuses all over the world “sleep on problems” and wake up with answers. This is not magic; it is just the subconscious mind working through the problem unhampered by the confusions and distractions of the conscious mind. In the same way, simply holding the idea of lucid dreaming in your head in a sense turns your subconscious on to the idea of lucid dreaming, making it more likely to happen
  2. Write down your dreams. Not only should you pay attention to the idea of lucid dreaming and let it fill your head, but you should pay attention to the dreams you do have. Within the first few minutes of waking up, it is often possible to remember quite a bit of the dream, but the memory fades away quickly if you do not record it. Keep a dream diary by your bed and write your dreams down the minute you wake up. This will work to link your conscious memory to your unconscious, and the stronger that link is, the more likely you are to be able to enter your unconscious mind still fully conscious – in other words, to lucid dream. Also, when you write down your dreams, you can identify patterns, which not only can clue you in to aspects of life that you need to address, but also can help you tell in the future whether you are dreaming or not.
  3. Come up with a reality check. The old adage of saying “pinch me” to find out if you’re dreaming has its place in lucid dreams. Find something that is simply not the same between your dreams and waking life. Some people do not feel pain during their dreams, so they pinch themselves or dig their fingernails into their palms to find out. Some people try to recite poems or sing songs, and others try speaking another language. For still others, a memory check may be more passive – a pattern noticed through many dreams, also known as a dream sign. For instance, someone who has a recurring dream of being chased may realize that he or she is dreaming when this pattern occurs. In a regular dream, a reality check may help you calm down and realize that the dream danger is not real; it may even help you wake from a nightmare. In a lucid dream, the reality check serves a different purpose altogether: once you know you are dreaming, you can control the dream. Your dream journal will help you with these reality checks, as you may begin noticing patterns with your dream signs. For example, if you dream that you are driving a car and that placing your foot on the brake has no effect on the car’s speed, this is a dream sign. (For good measure, though, get your brakes checked in real life.) Or if in your dream you want to fly and all of a sudden find yourself flying, this is a strong indication that you are in a dream. Once you realize that you are in a dream, you may be able to change your actions and the direction of the dream entirely.

One of the things that makes reality checks difficult to do in dreams is that we are not accustomed to reality-checking our waking lives. We do not question that we are awake, when we are awake, so we also often do not question it when we are dreaming. When we’re dreaming, the things that happen often do not seem fake or strange. As part of your reality checking practice, while you are awake, practice active reality checks. Take off your glasses and notice – really notice – the way your vision changes. When watching a television show or doing something that involves imagination, take a moment to pinch yourself, eat a Popsicle, or look in the mirror, and pay close attention to what the waking reaction is. Then when you do your reality check during a dream, you will actually be able to tell the difference.

  1. Meditate during the day. Connect yourself to your subconscious mind while you are awake. Just sit there, letting the thoughts pass by, acknowledging them and then letting them go. Get to know yourself better. The effects when you sleep will be profound, especially the more accomplished you get at your meditation practice. At first you may find that your sleep becomes deeper and you do not remember your dreams. Do not get discouraged. Continue awakening your subconscious mind through meditation, and eventually your conscious mind will begin to awaken during your dreams.
  2. Wake up in the middle of the night. Many people find that they dream the most in the mornings, especially on their days off work when they get to sleep in. In fact, they’re dreaming all the time, but the morning dreams seem realer and are easier to remember. The reason for this is simple: they woke up, awakened their conscious mind, and then let their bodies fall back asleep. Even if you don’t remember waking up, chances are that you did and simply fell back asleep. Fortunately, you don’t have to limit this occurrence to mornings when you have the luxury of sleeping in till nine or ten. You can set your alarm for a couple of hours before you need to be up, get up, go to the bathroom, and go back to bed. The idea is to come fully awake, but not so awake that you can’t get back to sleep. Getting on your computer or phone may be too stimulating for this, and may make it difficult to go back to sleep. In addition, it is recommended to stay off your computer or phone because you do not want mental clutter affecting your dreams. Instead, leave your mind clear and free from news, worries of the day, online arguments, or the things your friends are doing on vacation.
  3. Imagine your desired lucid dream. During the day, imagine what you are going to do in your dream. Are you going to fly? Visit India? Sing an opera? Talk to George Washington? Jump through the looking glass? Imagine your dream in detail, especially as you are going to bed, and do so again if you wake up in the middle of the night. Repeat to yourself, “I am going to have a lucid dream tonight.” The lucid dream you have may or may not be exactly the way you imagined it, and if it is the way you imagined it, it may not have the spontaneous inspiration that you may expect from a lucid dream. This is fine. The purpose of this exercise is to gain the skill of lucid dreaming, and consciously putting yourself into a lucid dream is an extremely valuable skill for this task. The inspiration will come later.
  4. Listen to a meditation/hypnosis/binaural pulses audio. There are many tracks out there to listen to on headphones as you fall asleep, each of which helps you to lucid dream in a different way. A guided meditation will help you to relax, clearing your mind of your worries and mental clutter, and then will guide your consciousness to the awareness and desire for lucid dreaming, with the hope that when you fall asleep your subconscious will give you a lucid dream. A hypnosis audio, on the other hand, is meant to play while you sleep or as you are falling asleep, and to actually speak to your unconscious while your conscious mind is asleep. This can be a good way to achieve a lucid dream, though some people find that having the audio can wake them up entirely, which defeats the purpose. Binaural pulses, the third option, send two different tones into each ear, causing the brain to reconcile the two by with brainwaves at the intermediary frequency. Binaural pulses essentially force your brain to produce brainwaves at alpha, beta, delta, or theta brainwaves, and binaural pulses for lucid dreaming often focus on the theta range (between 4 and 7 Hz).

There are several kinds of nightmares or “night terrors”.  One type of nightmare is an acting out of fears and anxieties being experienced in daily life.  A second type of nightmare is the result of a previous trauma, one that may have occurred recently, or years earlier.  A third type of nightmare, the precognitive nightmare, is more rare, but still common enough to discuss here.

Reflecting Anxieties

Some nightmares are considered mirror dreams in that they mirror your emotions back to you.  These dreams can be relatively mild, or they can be terrifying enough to ruin a good night’s sleep.  They are more common in childhood but anyone of any age can have a nightmare.

Humans are remarkably resilient.  We try not to let things get to us.  We can put on a brave face and go through our day without giving in to our fears and anxieties.  If we don’t want to acknowledge or deal with a problem, we are perfectly capable of pushing it to the back burners of our minds and letting it fester there, barely noticed.

The trouble with refusing to acknowledge and deal with our problems in our waking lives is that our minds will often force us to deal with them in our sleep.  What we’ve pushed to the confines of our subconscious mind will find a way out, often in the form of nightmares.

We do often get warnings before this happens.  Anxiety can wreck havoc on the human body.  Usually we just take a pill and go on about our lives.  Often it’s only when we have recurring nightmares that we begin to seek answers.

Past Traumas Come Back To Haunt Us

Childhood traumas can become adult nightmares.  This usually happens because something triggers a long ago memory and brings it to the forefront of the mind.  This is a symptom of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, an anxiety disorder caused by seeing or experiencing a traumatic event that involved the threat of injury or death.

The trigger can be most anything.  If a child was sexually abused, years later he could see a news story that mirrors his own, or he could see someone on the street who closely resembles his attacker.  The look in a frightened child’s eyes can bring memories of your own childhood roaring back and nightmares can plague you repeatedly until you deal with the memories and put the past behind you.

Precognitive Nightmares

Some people are blessed (or cursed) with precognitive nightmares.  Though these can’t easily be proven, there are some remarkable stories about people who’ve had precognitive dreams.  Abraham Lincoln was one.  He told his wife of the dream he had about two weeks prior to his death.  In the dream he saw a coffin in the living room and asked someone in the room who had died.  Their answer was “The President of the United States”.

One man dreamed that his son had fallen into a lake and drowned.  In his dream he’d taken his son to a lake and while his son sat on the ground by the lake tossing pebbles into the water, he’d run back to the car to grab something he’d forgotten.  When he returned, his son was floating face down in the water, dead.

This man didn’t think much of this dream because his son was with him, safe and sound.  Months later he and his son were invited to go on a camping trip with some friends.  The father took the son to the lake, saw him sit down and begin to toss pebbles into the lake, and told his son to stay put, he had to run back to the car.

At that moment, he remembered the dream.  He ran back and grabbed his son back from the water, realizing that the setting and their actions mirrored those in the dream.

Precognitive dreams, if real, can save lives.

In order to understand what your dreams are telling you, and to get the nightmares to stop, you have to try to remember exactly what happened in your dreams.

Dream Diary

If you want to understand what your dreams are telling you, the first thing you might want to do is get a dream diary.  This should be a blank journal, with or without lines.  You should keep it with you at all times.

The moment you wake from a dream, write down all that you remember about it, no matter how small.  Carry it with you because something might trigger a memory of a snippet of your dream during the day and you’ll want to write it down before you forget.

By keeping up with your diary you are making a conscious effort to remember your dreams and they’ll become easier to remember.  You’ll also have a recounting of the dreams you can examine for symbols and clues to their cause and purpose.

Change Your Bedtime Routine

Sometimes getting rid of nightmares can be as simple as changing your bedtime routine.  Skipping your midnight snack if you usually have one or having one if you don’t, reading if you normally watch TV or watch TV if you normally read, move your bedroom furniture around so it’s arranged in a way that makes you feel safer, wear less restrictive clothing, etc.  Just change your routine around so that you’re going to bed with a different mindset.  It really can help.

Talk it Out

Talk about your nightmares with family, friends, or a therapist.  Get to the root of their cause and talk about how it made you feel.  Get the nightmare out of the dark and into the light of day where it can be stripped of its power to make you afraid and banished from your life.

Pay Attention To Your Body

When you’re feeling anxious your body will let you know.  Pay attention and deal with your anxieties before they become the stuff of nightmares.

Although nightmares can be a difficult experience to live through, many people have found success with these strategies, banishing their night terrors once and for all.

A lucid dream is a vivid, realistic dream in which the dreamer is aware that he or she is dreaming.  Once aware, the dreamer can often change the dream and direct it to follow a path of his own choosing.

The term “lucid dream” was coined by Frederik (Willem) van Eeden (1860-1932), a Dutch psychiatrist and writer.  By “lucid”, he was referring to clarity of mind.

Lucid dreams vary in degree.  As long as the dreamer is even nominally aware that he is dreaming, the dream is considered to be a lucid dream.  However, the degree to which the dreamer is aware can vary.  It is possible to be aware that you are dreaming to an extent, but not really accept that knowledge as something you can use.  Conversely, you can be completely aware that you are dreaming and that you will awaken at will.  You can usually manipulate such dreams and make them into a private playground.

Lucid dreaming has been subjected to rigid scientific research and in 1975 it was scientifically proven in the laboratory by British parapsychologist Keith Hearne and again by Stephen LaBerge at Stanford University.

There are many benefits to being aware that you are dreaming, and being able to control your dreams.  When you are dreaming you are not restricted to the laws of physics.  You can do whatever you want, whereever you want.  This can have a tremendous impact on your life.

Ridding Yourself of Recurring Nightmares

One benefit of lucid dreaming is the ability to control your nightmares.  If you wake from a nightmare, you should wake yourself fully for at least a few minutes and think about the nightmare and how you can make it work to your advantage.  As you lay back down in bed, affirm to yourself that you will return to the nightmare.  This technique can bring you back to the nightmare but put you in charge by making it a lucid dream.  At this point you can conquer whatever it was that was conquering you, and turn the tables on the dream.

Once you’ve managed to take control of nightmare and turn it to your advantage, you’ve learned to face the fear head on, and it shouldn’t bother you again.

There are other ways to face your fears in a lucid dream.  It takes a some bravery, but repeating to yourself that you are dreaming and that you cannot be hurt can help.  As you are dreaming and become aware that it is a dream, force yourself to do the thing that scares you, such as facing down a snarling dog or standing on the edge of the roof of a tall building.  You can even jump, knowing you can float down calmly and not get hurt.

These techniques can help you get over these fears and stop the recurring nightmares.

Playing Out Your Fantasies

In a lucid dream, you cannot be found out.  No one in the waking world will know what you’ve been doing.  You are completely safe and free to do whatever you please.  If you choose to traipse around in a jungle hunting large game, you won’t hurt any real life animals but you’ll be able to live out your “great hunter” fantasies.  If you’ve always wanted to act out a sexual fantasy with willing partners, now is your chance.  You can’t get hurt and no one will get pregnant or ridicule your physique.

Practicing Your Craft

Whatever it is that you want to do, you can practice it in a lucid dream and learn to do it better.  Perhaps you’re a painter and want to paint the next Mona Lisa, or a carpenter with dreams of designing the most sought after furniture.  Many professionals and craftsmen have reported using lucid dreaming as a way of perfecting their skills.  Act out your hopes and dreams while dreaming and once awake, you only have to repeat what you did while lucid dreaming.  It will be easier because you’re already done it once.

Redirecting Your Life

It has been proven that what the mind believes can be duplicated in mental and physical health, and in all other areas of life.  The power of positive thinking is well documented and many people live their lives by the philosophy.  To work well, positive thinking has to be more than just a passing thought.  You have to truly experience the thought in as many of your senses as possible.  Nowhere is this more possible than in lucid dreams.

Imagine that you wish to accumulate wealth.  It isn’t hard to imagine, wealth would probably make life a lot easier for many of us, so we strive to find the means to create personal wealth.  In positive thinking, the key is to imagine that you already have what it is that you want, under the theory that by believing it to be true, you will attract it to yourself.

When you enter the lucid dream state, imagine yourself living life as you would if you were wealthy.  Live in your dream house, drive the car you’ve always wanted.  Smell the smells, taste the steaks, feel the silks and leathers.  As long as your lucid dream lasts, live the life you want to live in the fully waking world.  Believe that it is yours.  Own it.  If you can create this type of life in your dreams, you will attract it to you in your life.

Repairing Your Health

The same may be true for health.  When dreaming, imagine away any health issues you may suffer.  Live as if you are completely healthy.  When you wake, don’t counteract that belief by focusing on your suffering.  Instead, try to maintain the idea that you are healthy.  In many people, this has brought healing and pain relief.

Not everyone can drop themselves into a lucid dream whenever they choose.  For most of us, it takes time and practice.  There are many sites on the Internet that can show you proven methods to help you achieve this state.


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Dreams are windows to our subconscious minds.  When we are able to recall our dreams and interpret them, we develop a deeper understanding of ourselves.  We can use our interpretation of our dreams to see what is troubling us and what it is we need to be at peace within ourselves.

Our dreams are our subconscious minds’ way of acting out our troubles, working through our fears, resolving problems from our pasts, and alerting us to things we should be aware of in our waking lives.  Many believe that dreams are used by those who’ve passed on, as ways to get messages to us or just visit with us.

The laws of physics do not govern dreams, so in dreams we are free to act out whatever needs attention without restriction.

Dreams are necessary to mental health.  Without them, we could suffer serious psychological effects.

If dreams are so important, can we find a way to make use of them in the waking world?  Is it possible to recall our dreams and examine them to help ourselves work through our issues more quickly?

Dream interpretation is an inexact science.  No two people share exactly the same brain or have had exactly the same experiences.  To interpret everyone’s dreams the same way would be a mistake.

Our dreams often contain symbols; or items, animals, scenes, even people that are not meant to be taken literally, but are symbolic representations of something else.

This might suggest that dream interpretation dictionaries, books, and websites would be useless; but perhaps not.  There do seem to be common themes in our dreams, especially among people with similar backgrounds.

The key is to examine your own dreams with an eye toward common meanings.  If you dream you’re driving a car and it suddenly careens out of control, you can probably conclude that you’re feeling as if something in your life is spinning out of control.  That basic interpretation would be common for many dreamers who live in a western society.

Beyond that, you should examine the symbols in your dream and consider what they mean to you.  If there is a snake on the seat next to you, decide what a snake means to you.  A snake is often considered a symbol of evil, or at least of something bad.

Consult dream interpretation materials to get an idea of common interpretations associated with your symbol, then decide what it’s trying to tell you.  With the snake, you may conclude that something “bad” or “evil” is affecting your life, sending it careening out of control.  With this knowledge, you can examine your life to see who or what you fear is affecting you this way and do something about it.

Your subconscious mind is able to see so much more than your busy waking mind can take in, and those things come out in your dreams.  Interpreting your dreams can help you to identify the people and events that are adversely affecting your life so you can work to neutralize their affect on you.

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Common dreams are dreams that are experienced by many different people at least once during their lifetime.  Often they are recurring dreams that attempt to alert us to something in our life that needs attention.  It is said that common dreams are proof that all of humanity is connected, because so many of us have similar dreams.

There are many dreams that occur with frequency among the general population.  We’ll discuss fourteen such dreams here:


Flying dreams are among the most common reported dreams.  If you are dreaming of flying free, not in danger of falling or running into obstacles, you are probably feeling on top of your game.  Your life is going well and you feel like you can do anything.  Take advantage of this feeling and start something new.  Take that risk you’ve been thinking about taking because if there’s any time in your life when you are most likely to succeed, this is it.

If your flying dream is fraught with danger, however, it can mean something very different.  If you’re in danger of running into obstacles, then you may be feeling as if you are unable to move forward in your waking life.  It may be that someone or something is blocking your way and the frustration is coming out in your dreams.

If your flying dream suddenly becomes a free falling dream, you are likely experiencing a feeling of free fall in your waking life.  You may feel that your life is out of control and that you can’t stop whatever is happening to you.


Dreaming of falling is something many of us do when in our waking lives we’re dealing with something we worry we’ll be unable to handle.  If you are dreaming that you’re falling off a tall building, or a cliff, or falling during flight either in an airplane or by yourself, there is likely something going on in your life that is threatening to overwhelm you, and you feel as if you are losing control.

Naked in Public

Dreaming of being naked in public can be terribly humiliating.  Often this dream occurs when you’re about to face a new experience with new people, such as going from Junior High School to High School.  You may feel exposed and vulnerable.  You may feel as if you’re on display and unprepared.  Everyone else remembered to get dressed that morning but you are there in public in your birthday suit and now you have to go through your day with everyone knowing that you don’t have your act together.  The dream may reoccur until you’ve actually lived through the event and have, hopefully, remembered to get dressed beforehand.

Alternately, if you’re dreaming that you’re naked in public but you’re showing yourself with pride, it may mean you are craving attention and recognition for your accomplishments.  It may also result from sexual urges.

Running Toward Someone or Some Thing

Another common recurring dream is when you are running toward someone or something and are unable to catch up.  You may feel as if you’re running through water or mud, or simply unable to run very fast and you don’t know why.

This dream is symbolic of your desire to reach a goal that you feel is consistently out of your reach.  Maybe it’s a promotion or maybe you’re trying to find the ideal mate.  Maybe one of your children seems to be out of control and you can’t reach them.  This dream acts out your desire to reach a goal that you currently believe to be unattainable.

Take notes on this dream when you wake.  Look for symbols and try to figure out which goal is bothering you enough to cause you to have this dream, then do something in your waking life that takes you a step closer to the goal.  By reducing the expectations in your mind to steps toward the goal instead of simply focusing on the goal itself, the dreams should end.

Being Chased

Alternately, dreaming that you are being chased is also quite common.  Sometimes it’s unclear who or what is chasing you because the focus is on getting as far away as you can as fast as you can.  It can be a monster, a predatory animal, or a human who means you ill.

As in dreams in which you are doing the chasing, you are often unable to run quickly, though this time the chaser is able to come ever closer.

This dream can be interpreted as time running out.  You may feel as if something in your waking life is dogging your every step, coming ever closer.  Maybe you feel as if old age is gaining on you and will soon overpower you.  Or perhaps a fellow employee is gaining respect in the bosses eye, and soon he’ll catch up and then pass you by.  It could be that you’ve been trying to keep up with the Joneses, but your neighbor’s expensive new car is beyond your means, and then they go and build a new sun porch   Maybe your colleges are better dressed than you, or slimmer, or have the newest electronic device while you’re still paying off the old one.

When you are being chased in a dream it can be an indication that you are simply unable to stay ahead of the pack and you fear you’re going to be left behind.

Car is Out of Control

Another common dream is when you are in a car either as a passenger or as the driver, and the car is out of control.  Your brakes have gone out, or you’re on snow or ice and you can’t stop the car from spinning and slamming into things.  Or you could be in an airplane that’s coming down fast and a crash is inevitable.

This is an indication that you fear that some area of your life is out of control.  You feel as if you are unable to contain the problem and that it’s going to cause a lot of damage in your life.

Try to find a way to contain this problem and take control of the situation or at least minimize the damage.  That should not only help you live a happier life, but give you some peace at night, as well.

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Recurring dreams are dreams that are experienced again and again over a period of time.  These dreams are messages from your subconscious to your conscious mind.  They are often an attempt to help you deal with something that is preventing you from being at peace.  In order to stop recurring dreams from returning, it may be necessary to examine the dream and find out what it’s trying to tell you.  Sometimes counseling is necessary, but often the solution can be found and resolved without professional help.

If you’re suffering from recurring dreams, the first thing you should do is acquire a dream journal.  This journal should be kept with you at all times.  The moment you wake, no matter what time of night, you should record as much or as little of your dreams as you remember.  During the day you may find something has triggered a memory of part of a dream.  Before it slips away, take out your journal and record the memory.  Examining this book and looking for symbols and patterns can help you deal with the cause of the dreams.  Once you are conscious of what the dream is trying to tell you, the recurring dreams may stop.

There are different reasons a person may be having recurring dreams.  They include:

  • Reliving past experiences, particularly nightmarish ones
  • Feelings of being unprepared for something
  • Facing a challenge you feel unequal to
  • Feelings of being unable to control a situation
  • Running away from problems
  • Precognition, or dreams that warn about some future event

Recurring Nightmares

People who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder often experience recurring dreams relating to the event or events that triggered the stress, but they aren’t limited to replaying past events.  Unresolved stress and medications are other reasons nightmares may plague someone.  When the dreams are replays of past events, they tend to diminish in frequency as time goes by.

They mostly affect children, but can occur at any age.

Recurring dreams are frequently nightmares, replaying and changing incidents in our lives or incidents that may come in an attempt to get us to notice and deal with the events and/or the feelings they provoke.  Though it is believed that many types of recurring nightmares exist to alert us to stressors and help us to isolate them and deal with them, the nightmares themselves cause plenty of stress on their own.  While most dreams occur during “Rapid Eye Movement” or “REM” sleep, nightmares occur during non-REM sleep, and usually soon after falling asleep.  With a traumatic interruption of sleep occurring so early in the night, many are reluctant to fall back asleep for fear the dream will return.  One sleepless night can cause a lot of trouble for some people by affecting areas of their lives such as their ability to drive safely, work efficiently, and maintain good health.  Maladies such as irregularity, diarrhea, and other gut issues can develop from even one stressful, sleepless night.   When the dream occurs again and again, it can have a rather large impact on the dreamer’s quality of life.

Night terrors typically last between 5 and 20 minutes and frequently wake the dreamer, sometimes screaming, often bathed in sweat.

Feelings of Unpreparedness

Most everyone has dreamed of showing up in public only to find they are naked or missing a large portion of their clothing at some point in their lives.  It is a common recurring dream that alerts you to your feelings of insecurity regarding an upcoming event.  By recognizing this and preparing more thoroughly for the event, these recurring dreams may fade.

Feeling Unequal to a Challenge

Have you ever had a dream in which you have an important test to take but for some reason you can’t take it?  Maybe you got lost on the way to the test or you arrived unprepared, but something kept you from taking or finishing the test.  Or maybe you forgot you were even taking the course and hadn’t shown up for any classes or taken any notes.

There are different theories about why we dream of being unsuccessful at taking an exam, but theories include the dreamer feeling they are unprepared for something, have forgotten to do something important, or perhaps didn’t follow a path that may have led to success.

Feeling out of Control

Falling dreams often mean that the dreamer is feeling out of control over some area of their lives.  They maybe be having this recurring dream because their subconscious wants to bring a situation to the forefront of their mind so it can be dealt with.

Running Away

Another common recurring dream is one in which the dreamer is running away from something.  Often they can’t move very fast because they are running through water, mud, or some other thick substance.  They wake in terror before the chaser reaches them, if they’re lucky.  This dream can occur when you’re running away from your problems instead of facing them head on.  The problems are always there, lurking behind you, ready to chase you down.  Until they catch up with you in real life, they may haunt your dream state.  When these problems are faced and dealt with, it is likely the dreams of being chased will stop.

Precognitive Dreams

Other recurring dreams may be prophetic, warning us to prepare for an event yet to come.  Research has shown that precognitive dreams do occur, and by paying attention to them, you can allow good things to happen in your life, or prevent bad things from happening.  A dream psychologist by the name of Dr.  Arthur Bernard reported a recurring dream that gave him a tip about an obscure stock.  He felt the dream was vivid enough and happened often enough that he should pay attention, so he bought a lot of shares.  He made 1.6 million dollars on the deal.  Such dreams have also saved lives by warning us of possible future tragedies.  If you feel your dreams may be precognitive, pay close attention to them.  It just might be the best thing you ever do.


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If we could remember our dreams we could gain important insights into our daily lives.  If you’ve ever experienced the sensation of waking and knowing just what you dreamed, then feeling it slip from your conscious mind even as you try to grasp it, then you know that trying to remember your dreams is a tricky business.

Get a Decent Night’s Sleep

The first tip to remembering your dreams is to get a good night’s sleep.  Waking while still tired takes your focus off your dreams as you stumble through your morning preparations for the day.  This means scheduling your life so you can get to bed earlier and wake well rested.

Set Your Intent

The night before you sleep, strongly intend to remember your dreams in detail.  Make sure this is set strongly in your conscious mind so that as you sleep, your subconscious acts on the intent and makes your dreams clearer and more detailed.

Make a Dream Journal

Get yourself a nice notebook or journal.  It can be a simple as a spiral-bound notebook, or as fancy as something you can only find at a specialty store.  The pages should be blank without pictures or sayings or any distractions.  It should be of a size that can be tucked in your purse, briefcase, or bag to be taken with you throughout the day.

At night, whenever you wake, spend a moment recording whatever you remember of your dreams.  Make sure you bring the thought from your subconscious mind to your conscious mind immediately upon waking so it doesn’t slip away.  Don’t do anything else, just think about the dream and record it.  Even a stray thought will chase the dream from your mind.

Make sure your alarm clock is set on “buzz” so there are no real distractions and keep it close enough to your bed that you can reach over and slap it without conscious thought.  Then record everything you remember from your dreams immediately.

Throughout the day you may encounter something that suddenly triggers a memory of a dream.  Quickly cement it in your conscious mind and write it down.

As you are journaling your dreams, remember to write down anything you remember from the smallest detail to the most elaborate dream.  Perhaps you only remember a setting, maybe or a person.  That’s okay, write it down, whatever it is.  Later in the day more of it may come to you or you may dream of it again another night.

Direct your Dreams

If there is a particular problem area in your life that you believe can be helped through dreaming but isn’t emotionally disabling enough to keep you awake all night, focus on the situation before you fall asleep and resolve to dream about it.  You can follow the exercises above to remember the related dreams.  You may see and feel things that you hadn’t been aware of before, things that can help you resolve the problem and reduce stress in your life.

Resolve to Wake at Intervals

Sleep research shows that we dream at approximately 90 minute intervals.  If you’re completely dedicated to remembering your dreams, it may help to set your alarm to wake you 90 minutes from when you fall asleep, and every 90 minutes thereafter.  If it doesn’t work for you or if you’re too sleepy during the day, this practice is probably not a good idea for you.

Remembering dreams can help you not only with your daily life, but they can also be prophetic, and help you to prepare for what may come.

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The standard definition of a dream according to most dictionaries is a succession of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations that occur involuntarily in the mind at specific stages of a sleep. The specific purpose and content of these dreams have been under much dispute over the years by people who believe dreams have different purposes.

Dreams are something that all mammals have in common. At some point in your sleep you will enter REM (rapid eye movement) and your mind will start to create a world of its own. Dreams can be as short as a few seconds or they can last 20 minutes. If you are awakened during the REM portion of your sleep you are most likely to remember your dream in the morning.

Many people consider dreams to be a deep link to your unconscious mind. They can vary from a standard situation to a bizarre and surreal experience. Dreams can offer various experiences that can make someone feel a mix of emotions such as magical, excitement, adventure, sexual and sadness. Most dreams are considered to be outside of the dreamer’s control. However, lucid dreaming is when the dreamer is self-aware that they are inside of a dream.

To some people dreams are a normal function of the body that doesn’t have any meaning or purpose. However, there are many who believe there dreams have a deeper meaning than just a daily function. A dream could be your subconscious trying to tell you something or an outside force trying to explain a past event that has happened to you. DreamStop.com operates on the assumption that your dreams have meaning.

There are many different theories on dreams with a thousand different interpretations to various dreams. People who are interested in trying to interpret their dreams should understand that there is no absolute truth in interpretations. Take the standard dream of being at a party or dinner table and realizing that you have no clothes on; this dream could be interpreted to mean a thousand different things. The key to interpreting a dream is to find an interpretation that best fits your dream. The interpretations offered at DreamStop.com are in no way absolute to the meaning of your dream. You can use a number of different resources to help you find out what your dreams mean.