Ever since human beings have existed on the Earth, they have dreamed.
There are vivid, realistic dreams that leave you wondering if you really were asleep and more abstract thoughts and images that seem to flash before you when you sleep and become hard to translate or understand when you wake. We all remember those feel-good dreams of winning the lottery or getting that promotion at work, but most of the time our dreams can leave us confused and unsure of their meaning.
Everyone dreams for up to two hours every night and the most memorable of these dreams comes in the REM stage of sleep. REM, or rapid eye movement, is where the body is asleep and still but your eyes are active.
As well as the more abstract or strange dreams, there are some themes that come up time and time again. Some of these can relate to our everyday lives and it can be our subconscious way of telling us what to do or how to solve a problem.
Here are some of the most common themes found in our dreams and what they mean.
If you dream of flying high above a city or beautiful landscapes, then it tells you that you are feeling very in control and successful in your life. In contrast, if you are flying and keep getting pulled back down to earth, then it could be a symbol for the frustrations you are feeling in life - is something holding you back?
The feeling of being chased or running in your sleep seems to happen to most people over their lifetime and it is one of the most common dreams people want to understand. Being chased in a dream means you are not addressing something in your life. Is there a problem you have been avoiding? Or is there a big event coming up that you are feeling anxious about? The sensation of being chased in our dreams tells us we have to deal with an issue in our waking life.
Seeing water in your dream is a good indication of how you are dealing with your emotions. A tranquil pool tells us that our emotions are generally calm and we feel in control but a stormy sea or choppy water may indicate stressful times and an imbalance in our emotions. If you experience this in your dream, you should spend some time calming yourself when you are awake using tactics such as meditation or mindfulness.
The people we see in our dreams are often just a series of reflections of ourselves. The way we see other people when we are dreaming is the way we see ourselves. If you are seeing specific people, it may be that you need to address something in your relationship with them.
One of the classic anxiety dreams is finding yourself sat in a classroom unprepared for a test or, even worse, getting up to speak at school and realising you've come in naked! Your brain is trying to tell you there is something you need to learn from a past experience. You are taken back to school (even though you might have left several years ago) as your subconscious is trying to tell you to focus and learn.
A sensation of falling just before you go to sleep could be a "hypnic jerk", but if it is happening while you are in deep sleep, then it is telling you that you are feeling very vulnerable and out of control in a part of your life.