Every night during our sleep, we experience around five dream episodes, which can last between 15 and 40 minutes. While ancient civilizations thought of dreams as a medium between humans and the gods, we can safely discard that theory in recent times.
There’s no definitive answer for what dreams mean, but some are so common and widely experienced by people that they do have a generally accepted meaning. Dream analysts have long since been theorizing and researching what the symbols and images in our dreams could indicate.
Here are some common dreams and the meaning behind them:
1) Being chased by someone or something
This is one of the most commonly reported dreams and something that people tend to experience quite often. Dreams in which we are being chased, sometimes even when we’re naked, are indicative of us not addressing or paying attention to something in our daily life that needs resolving.
We often times experience a vivid sensation of falling into a bottomless cliff or falling off the bed, which wakes us up with a sudden jerk.
But not all falling dreams are scary. Some of them involve a type of slow falling that indicates serenity and the act of letting go. But the more common one in which we fall uncontrollably from a great height indicates that something in our life is not going in the right direction and that we need to rethink our choices.
How well we are flying in our dreams is reflective of the amount of control we feel we have over our lives. This is a common dream that has different interpretations. These dreams can be quite exciting and liberating but can also be frightening and frustrating.
Having a tough time flying suggests that we are trying hard but failing to achieve something or move forward in life. But soaring high into the sky can be reflective of our confidence, freedom, and independence.
Dreams about flying can also be manifestations of our desire to flee from reality and our troubles or to break free from the norm.
4) Being late
Dreaming about being late might be your subconscious’s way of telling you that although you feel like you’re running out of time to do things in life, it may never actually be too late to get them done.
5) Being naked in your dream
This embarassing but common version of dreams is actually a manifestation of our anxiety over something, such as a secret being exposed or fear of being shamed in society. It also symbolises being unable to find yourself, or being wrongly accused.
6) Writing or failing an exam
This is one of the most common dreams — even among those who are no longer students. Exam dreams often feel so real and vivid that they can actually be classified as nightmares due to the stress we feel when we wake up after experiencing one.
The test taken in the dream can be a metaphor for an actual life lesson that we need to learn. These dreams can also mean that you are unprepared to face an important challenge in life or fear failure in some aspect.
Death of oneself or a loved one is another common theme of dreams. Most dream interpretations suggest that such dreams reflect anxiety about change or a fear of the unknown. The change can be associated with the loved one, especially children, reaching meaningful milestones in life or growing up. In a way, such dreams reflect mourning and reluctant acceptance of the inevitable passage of time.
Food symbolizes energy or nourishment, and represents our emotions and spirituality. Dreaming about food can also mean that we may be “hungry” for new insights and endeavors.
If you shared food with others in a dream, it might be an indication that you feel like you have some values to share with other people. If you dreamed about a table full of high quality food, it can be a sign of abundance and prosperity.
9) Losing teeth
Dreaming about losing teeth does sound bizarre, but strangeness is the very essence of dreams. This particular theme in dreams can mean multiple things. It may signify one’s insecurity over their appearance, concern over their communication skills, or might also indicate their embarassment over saying something inappropriate.
Dreams of a vehicle may represent our drive to do something or the direction we are taking or want to take in life. It is usually a dream that reflects our need or desire to move forward from the current chapter of life. Dreaming about out of control vehicles can also signify the amount of control we feel we have over the new journey we are embarking on. It may also mean that we are veering off the best path intended for us and need to get back on track.
Although we may not know a lot about their meanings, we do know a lot about the benefits of dreams. There are many cognitive and emotional benefits of dreaming, such as it allowing us to commit things we learn to our memory, and helping us introspect and look deeper into ourselves.
Dreams can also aid creativity and imagination, as the basis and inspiration for many famous songs, paintings and films in history came from dreams. So all we can say is: keep on dreaming!