Freud called dreams ‘those poems we tell ourselves at night in order to experience our unconscious wishes as real.’
Why do we dream?
Freud had quite a literal interpretation of dreams. He maintained that all of our dreams are our unconscious wishes being lived out as reality. I don’t think that meant that if you dream about burning down your neighbour’s house that this is literally what you unconsciously want to do; rather that perhaps there is an issue regarding next door. Perhaps you don’t feel able in waking life to take a firm stance with them. The inferno you’ve inflicted in your dreams if representing your feelings towards the situation – your frustration and anger. But what if you have mild and boring dreams? This surely doesn’t mean you only have mild and boring wishes? So perhaps Freud’s idea is a bit limiting.
There are a number of other theories around why we dream. One states that our fight-or-flight instinct kicks in much more when we dream, in a sense – we’re getting practice in for our survival responses. This theory believes that dreams help us to evolve.
According to the MIT’s Centre for Learning and Memory, during REM we’re in fact remembering all the important parts of our day and squirreling them away long-term, and loosing things we don’t need. Or perhaps the psychotherapy theory will resonate with you more: where our dreams are a place to subconsciously battle out our emotions but in pictures. During this process we confront our feelings about situations that we might otherwise repress.
As with anything related to sleep and dreams, it’s essential to make sure your bedroom and bed are as comfortable and sleep-inducing as possible. If you have an uncomfortable mattress, your sleep is likely to be more disturbed. If you have a beautiful bed and cosy bedroom, you’re likely to drift off to a peacefully undisturbed sleep.
Whilst our dreams are personal to us, there are some common themes. Ever dreamt about your teeth falling out? Being naked in the middle of an exam? Let us know what your dream is!
Driving a car
Ever had a dream about driving an out-of-control car? Perhaps the steering has failed, brakes won’t work or you’re careening over a cliff. This is a very common dream that most people have at one point or another. The general meaning is a feeling of powerlessness over something in your life, depending on the car journey. For instance, you may be a passenger feeling as though you have no control.
Feeling lost or trapped
This is another common dream. In the dream you’re usually trying to find your way out of a situation, building or maze-like area. You may feel very scared in these dreams. Depending on your favoured theory of dream interpretation, this one generally relates to feeling trapped in real-life, whether caught trying to make a difficult decision or trying to get out of an uncomfortable position.
Failing a test
You may recognise this dream – failing a test. Do you feel like you’re being tested in some way in real-life, or are unprepared for something? Perhaps something just doesn’t feel right in life.
Teeth falling out
One of the most easily recognised dreams is your teeth falling out. So what does this mean? At a surface level it represents your fear of being found unattractive and how others perceive you. If we dig a little deeper it can depict a feeling of powerlessness, a loss of control.
Our final, most frequent and popular dream is being chased. This is a truly terrifying experience, often waking you up to sweaty palms, and a very real fear. Most commonly this dream consists of a monster in some shape or form, or a frightening person chasing you. Often you can’t run away or find you’re moving frustratingly slow. This dream represents something or someone that is making you feel threatened. It could be some part of your life, a recent event or decision, or even an emotion.
If you’re having a recurring dream, how do you confront these dreams and make them go away? I find thinking them through and staring each component out helps; making your subconscious meet your consciousness. Trying to work out what they could relate to, and then thinking it through often does lead to quiet little eureka moments of clarity.
How do you confront your dreams? What is your most recurring dream? Is there a dream you often have that isn’t listed above? Let us know in the comments.
PS. Make sure you take a look at our new spring bed linen ranges to make sure you get a perfect night's sleep.