Have you ever thought closely about the absurdity of going off to sleep? You enter the world of dreams that may feature people you know or have never met. You go places, experience love or encounter your darkest fears. What's actually going on here?
We set out to de-mystify the concept of dreams only to realise that it may be worth paying more attention to them.
The Mystery of Dreaming
Dreams consist of a flow of images, ideas, emotions and sensations that occur involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep. There is a lot of mystery surrounding the content and purpose of dreams and it's been a topic of interest for scientific, philosophical and religious communities for centuries.
Brain scientists have found that the whole brain is active during our dreaming state and you might wonder what it's up to whilst the conscious you is resting?
Most of our dreams occur during what is known as REM sleep. REM stands for rapid eye movement sleep and is characterised by random movement of the eyes along with low muscle tone throughout the body. The REM sleep phase increases brain activity, promotes learning and creates dreams.
The purpose of REM sleep is a biological mystery. For a scientist, this sleep stage is rather bizarre - a dreamer's brain becomes highly active while the body's muscles are paralysed and our breathing and heart rate become inconsistent.
Heard of lucid dreaming? Or perhaps you've experienced it yourself? Lucid dreaming is when you're conscious during a dream. Essentially, you are aware of your own consciousness. With the risk of becoming too meta - you become aware of your awareness.
Many times lucid dreaming lets you affect what happens in the dream. Lucid dreaming can be used for therapeutic purposes to treat conditions like recurring nightmares and PTSD. Although lucid dreaming usually occurs spontaneously it's actually possible to teach yourself how to lucid dream if you're curious about it.
Yepp, dreams are a bit freaky. And even the most sophisticated brain scientists aren't really sure of what's going on. So where do we turn when science fails to comprehend the mystery?
Spirituality of course.
The Meaning of Dreams
Some believe that our mind travels to other dimensions when we dream. People recall being contacted by loved ones who have left the non-physical world or seeing extracts of scenarios that will happen in the near future.
Our dreams give access to our subconscious thoughts and tend to communicate through symbols or metaphors. A symbol can give rise to a feeling or an idea that goes deeper than any word can express. Simultaneously, the thinking mind cannot really grasp the information downloaded from the dream so we may need help to interpret what the underlying message may be.
Have you had a dream that you're curious to find out more about? Here are some common themes of dreams and what they mean.
A symbol of fear in real life. According to Russel Grant, author of The Illustrated Dream Dictionary falling often expresses a need to let yourself go more and enjoy life!
Being Naked in Public
Dreaming of public nudity may indicate that you are afraid of revealing your imperfections. Try to live closer to your truth and don't be afraid of expressing your shortcomings!
Being chased might indicate that you are trying to avoid something in your daily life. Face your fears and embrace feelings you're hiding from.
Dreams about losing teeth are related to your personal power and your ability to be assertive, decisive and protective. Perhaps you're worried about your appearance or communication is an issue for you. Step into your power and trust yourself.
The theme of death in dreams is regarded as a symbol for fear of change. Just like death, we never know what awaits us. But remember, the only constant in life is change so try and embrace it!
A lot of people report dreaming about snakes and depending on the context, dream analysts assign these dreams different meanings. As snakes shed their skin they are often associated with growth, transformation and rebirth. However, they can also be a symbol of evil or toxic. Who else is thinking about Lord Voldemort's terrifying snake Nagini? Nevertheless - you shouldn't ignore a snake dream. Click here to read more.
The Bottom Line
Want to get more in contact with your subconscious mind and interpret your dreams? Begin to practice actually remembering the content of your dreams. Having a dream journal next to your bed is a great tool to scribble down the adventures you have been up to when you wake up every morning. Perhaps you made out with your ex? Or had a heated argument with your best friend? Don't worry, no one has to know.
And possibilities are endless in the dream world.
Wishing you all sweet dreams...zzz