The brain is a strange thing, it helps us think and function during the day, and at night it seems to go off into its own little world, and take us along for the ride. Dreams are something that are often talked about and pondered, and the scientific study of dreams, oneirology, is multi-faceted and fascinating.
What dreams mean and how they are interpreted can differ from culture to culture, and studies have shown that people in different cities and regions globally dream differently. Over the years dreams have also changed as civilisations have evolved, and it is almost certain that what we dream about now, is not what was dreamt about 500 years ago.
Not everyone dreams in the same way either. Some people experience lucid dreams where they are aware they are dreaming, others dream but don’t remember anything, some have nightmares and some have recurring dreams night after night.
There are a number of phases your brain goes through when you sleep. The most important, in terms of dreaming is referred to as REM. Otherwise known as rapid eye movement. It is during this period of sleep that your brain reaches activity levels similar to being awake, so it makes sense that this is also when dreams tend to occur.
What exactly happens during REM sleep is, for the most part, not understood. It is also largely not known why dreams occur, and what purpose they serve for a human. There are theories about what dreams are, but no real solid explanations.
Regardless, some have claimed that dreaming holds important clues about the dreamer, and can offer metaphorical messages. So, you may think that dreaming about winning a jackpot at an online casino is internal wish fulfilment, but dream analysts say otherwise. It turns out that many believe what you dream about is a subconscious message, and simple things like water, cars and babies all have a much deeper significance and meaning.
In the real world seeing water means you’re about to fall into a swimming pool, or are having a bath. In dreams, analysts say it can mean you are feeling overwhelmed, or unsupported by your loved ones.
Chances are almost 100% you will see at least one vehicle in the real world, daily. In dreams their appearance is rarer, and some suggest they mean you are worried about the direction your life is taking. The connection being that cars take you in specific directions.
Losing your teeth in a dream is extremely common, and perhaps a sign you would rather keep them, and should brush more, or maybe see a dentist. Alternatively, the dream can mean you’re feeling out of control, or repressed.
Given that procreation is key to sustained human existence, babies are likely on the mind of every living creature, at least to some extent. They can also mean, according to various dream analysts, that you’re holding something back.
Everyone hates getting chased, or the idea of getting chased, which is probably somehow linked to survival instincts, and not wanting to die. However, getting chased may also mean you’re feeling stressed out about things in your life.
Given that school is a very stressful time, exams in particular, it’s no wonder many have mild post-traumatic stress disorder about it, cropping up in dreams. Analyst’s say it can also mean you’re concerned about your personality, and perhaps need to work on it, like you work on exams.
There are many other dream symbols, with many other metaphorical meanings. Dream guides and interpretations can be easily found online, so if you’re having a recurring dream, or are not quite sure what your brain is trying to tell you when you are asleep, a little bit of research may shed some light on the topic. Chances are, there are plenty of other people who dream about the same thing!