You’re tumbling. Your teeth are falling out. You’re always ten minutes late for your big work presentation. We’ve all had dreams that woke us up in a panic, only to realize they were dreams. But what do they mean, and why do we keep thinking about them when we wake up?
It turns out that dreams do matter. “Dreams are the subconscious thoughts you have. “They’re a continuation of your day’s thoughts,” says Lauri Loewenberg, a certified dream analyst and speaker. Your brain generates approximately five dreams per night while you sleep. That’s a lot of subconscious thoughts to sort through. While each dream is unique, they tend to follow definite symbolic patterns. Find out just what yours implies in the table below.
1. THE DREAM: YOU’RE GOING ABOUT YOUR REGULAR DAY
The interpretation: A common dream that can be perplexing? “Boring” everyday activities, such as work or picking up the kids from school. Because our brains are limited to what we know, we work through stressors by referring to our daily lives.
2. THE DREAM: YOU’RE BACK IN SCHOOL, TAKING A TEST
The interpretation: This dream is usually about work. Our first job was at school. Whether you’re trying to get a new client, it’s evaluation time, or you’re trying to get a promotion—anytime you feel tested and have to prove yourself.” What is the takeaway? “ In the dream, how did you think? Were you ready? It’s similar to a mirror.
3. THE DREAM: YOU’RE HANGING OUT WITH A CELEBRITY—ANY CELEBRITY
The interpretation: Even if the celebrity cameo seems random, there’s a reason they’re lurking in your subconscious. Finally, there was something relevant to you that could be depth in their IMDb history. Consider what it relates to you. It could be a movie or song they’ve written—the message will be in the film’s title or lyrics to the music.
4. THE DREAM: YOU’VE LOST YOUR VOICE, AND YOU’RE UNABLE TO CALL OR SHOUT FOR HELP
The interpretation: “This could be more than a dream; it could be the result of sleep paralysis.” Our bodies experience REM atonia, a natural paralysis during the REM cycle, during REM sleep, the sleep cycle during which we dream. REM sleep paralyzes us physiologically to prevent our bodies from acting or starting to move while we dream. People who have sleep paralysis usually awaken before the REM cycle is finished. A dream can be experienced in the space between sleep and waking. It is also possible to feel unable to move, speak, or, in some cases, breathe while awake.
5. THE DREAM: YOU’RE IN A POSITION OF POWER—A CEO, PRESIDENT, QUEEN, OR RELIGIOUS FIGURE
“On the surface, dreaming of being in a power position appears grandiose.” However, it can be argued that most people who aspire to positions of power are not in such situations. As a result, the dream transforms the powerless dreamer into the opposite in the dream world. What appears to be arrogance is compensatory. The dream compensates (or masks) feelings of powerlessness.