There are countless explanations for why we dream. But in reality, these nighttime adventures remain something of a mystery. What we do know for sure is that dreams are a normal part of sleep, with most people dreaming for around 2 hours each night. Curious about what your dreams say about you? Us too. We’ve done some digging on what these visions really mean so you can understand your night-time fantasies.
are your dreams trying to tell you something?
First thing’s first: it seems everybody has a different opinion on what dreams mean. Or if they mean anything at all. According to the famous neurologist Sigmund Freud, dreams are wishes we form when we’re awake, with our greatest thoughts and desires appearing when our heads hit the pillow. Deep stuff.
Others reckon dreaming is just a way of processing whatever’s happened that day. And there are theories that suggest dreaming means much more, and that whatever comes to us in a dream is a result of our unconscious mind telling us what to do, whether we like it or not. Whatever’s the right answer, we dream about all kinds of stuff. So to give you a helping hand, we’ve decoded what different types of dreams could be telling us.
I dreamt... I was naked in public
The meaning of this one depends on where it happens. Are you naked in school or the workplace? The setting of your dream apparently suggests a lack of preparation on a particular subject. It could be that big talk you’re giving or the thing you promised your boss you’d finish (and erm, didn’t). Others say we’re more likely to dream we’re naked when we’re feeling vulnerable. Fascinating.
I dreamt... I was falling
Falling often means the dreamer is feeling unsupported or insecure. Is life going in the direction you planned? Dream boffins reckon it’s not if this is a common theme for you. It’s not just about the act of falling, though. Landing on your back or your hands is a sign you need more support from the people around you. And if the falling never stops, it could be a sign you’re feeling out of control. Fetch us a bucket for those tummy flips...
I dreamt... my teeth were falling out
Don’t call the dentist just yet. Losing your pearly whites can mean many things. It could be as simple as not feeling physically attractive. Or maybe you’re having trouble communicating? Since teeth play a crucial role in talking, this type of dream can signal that we can’t seem to express ourselves in important or emotional scenarios. And it can mean that we’re about to go through big life changes, too.
I dreamt... I was being chased
Are you avoiding somebody? If you’re dreaming about being chased, there’s a good chance the answer is yes. Perhaps you’re worried about being ‘found out’ or maybe you’ve been trying to ignore feeling unhappy. Dreams about being chased often nod to a situation that the dreamer is unhappy about, so it’s worth working out what it is and how you can tackle it.
I dreamt... about water
Dreaming of everything water-related lately, like the sea or waterfalls? Listen up. The meaning of water depends on the context (or so say the experts) but one of the key points is how we can’t predict water.
So if you’re dreaming about a huge wave crashing down on you, that’s likely to symbolise fear about what might happen in the future. It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Water can also be a symbol of growth, fertility and creativity. Nice.
I dreamt... I was pregnant
This can be a strange dream for women to have (and men, too). But funnily enough, it isn’t always to do with kids. Instead, it’s all about creativity and nurturing something in your private or professional life. Maybe it’s a new hobby or plans to redecorate your home. Whatever it is, it could be a sign that something great is on the horizon.
I dreamt... about death
It’s a widely shared view among dream experts that death symbolises the end of something. So whether it’s a relationship, job or situation that’s been weighing you down, your dreams could be subconsciously telling you that new pastures are around the corner. Even if they feel pretty rubbish and scary.
I dreamt... about needing the toilet
Dreaming that you need the loo means you could be feeling like you can’t express your feelings in certain situations. Or maybe you can verbalise them, but nobody is listening. Some experts even say toilet dreams are a sign of needing to let something go (no, not that thing).
Want to learn more about what your dreams say about you? Take our sleep quiz.