You know those dreams where we feel like we're falling, when your body jolts and you wake up out of breath? Or how about the one where we're naked and back in the halls of our high school? (Assuming that most of us have never been naked in school before.)
Well maybe it's time we take a closer look at what is actually going on when our heads are resting on the pillow.
First, let's start with the basic premise of a dream. According to the website Live Science, we dream every night even if we don't know it. Our most vivid dreams occur at the height of our REM cycle. REM stands for rapid eye movement, which on average, occurs for two hours every night.
During this time, the neurons that stimulate the brain take a break allowing for the body to enter a deep sleep.
Second, there is an entire psychology based on dreaming.
The history of dream therapy comes from the late Swiss psychiatrist and psychologist Carl Jung. He coined the idea that your dreams are your way of talking to yourself. He came up with what is essentially the psychology of dreams and interpreting them thus: Jungian Psychology.
Michelle Seligson, age 75, now retired professor, is a certified Jungian Analyst. In a nutshell, she is a dream therapist and trust me, that makes her a pretty cool lady.
“Here is the thing about dreams, no one is quite sure about whether they are psychological or emotional, but Jungian believed that they were messages to our conscious from our unconscious mind,” says Seligson.
Our dreams affect our everyday life, but in more ways than we think and more abstractly than we would like. So when we have a dream that we're falling, it does not necessarily mean something ominous is looming over our heads.Unfortunately, they are not so black and white.
“The symbolism and representation of things in dreams is not necessarily one to one, like for example a cigar is not necessarily a phallic symbol in a dream,” she says.
Different dreams mean different things for different people. So don't believe everything that you read online. Instead, just focus on what your dreams might be telling you.
“We should pay attention to the dreams we have and see how they match up or give us something to pay attention to in our daily life that we have avoided, or that we have suppressed or repressed,” says Seligson. “This includes everything, like relationship issues and life changing decisions that we have or will make.”
Overall, dreams can act as a guide for our everyday lives and point out certain parts that may cause us anxiety or require some revaluation. Dreams can even be a call to action. They can be screaming, “Look over here!” But you won't notice until you really start to look at them, evaluate and think.
This is not to say that huge and rash decisions should be made after having a dream. So don't go breaking up with your significant other yet, or quitting your job.
But do take into account that our dreams do have a deeper meaning, and can be telling us something about our lives that is not initially realized.
So the solution? The best thing we can do is write down our dreams. Since most of us sleep with our phones plugged in next to our bed, we can make a voice memo to remind us what happened in the dream to listen back to after we have had our morning coffee.
Dreams can help us realize where we are in life and at the same time show us where to go. Pretty deep right?
So sleep tight and dream like crazy.