Have you ever woken up in a sweat after dreaming you had on no pants at school or work? What about that dream where you’re trying to run away from something, but your feet are stuck? From happy dreams to stressful ones, whether you’re falling, flying or climbing, you dream every night.
It’s estimated that on average, we dream for about two hours every night, even though you won’t always remember the dream when you wake up.
How do Dreams Happen?
About 90 minutes after you’ve fallen asleep, most people enter a rapid eye movement (REM) sleep cycle. REM sleep is a deep sleep and this is the cycle where most dreaming happens. During REM sleep, the brain is almost as active as it is when you’re awake. While your body is temporarily “paralyzed” (which is a good thing because if it wasn’t, you’d be up and moving around), your eyes are responsive, although they usually remain closed.
Scientists think that dreams come from your cerebral cortex, which is your brain’s hub for memory, awareness, consciousness and thought. So, while you sleep, your brain tries to piece together your memories and thoughts, creating the stories you experience as dreams.
Why do we Dream?
Experts don’t really understand why we dream. Some think dreams are random, that there’s no rhyme or reason for them, while others think that dreams have deeper, subconscious meanings. Some researchers propose that dreams act as a form of therapy, forming connections between your memories and helping you process emotions while you sleep.
What did my Dream Mean?
Dream symbols are commonly occurring things in dreams that psychologists believe have deeper meaning. We’ve broken down a few of the most common dream symbols below—what they are and what they might mean if you’re dreaming about them. Just remember that we aren’t psychologists or dream experts (although we have gotten pretty good at this whole sleep thing), so consult with a professional if you have questions or concerns about your dreams.
- Being chased in a dream is one of the most commonly reported dream symbols. Its meaning is not so much about being chased, but about who’s chasing you. It could mean you’re feeling threatened in some aspect of your life.
- Dreaming that you’re naked is also very common and can represent showing your true self or feeling vulnerable and exposed. It can also signify your desire to be recognized.
- Teeth are another common dream symbol. If your teeth fall out in your dream is could mean you’re worried about aging or being unattractive to others.
- Being unprepared for an exam or presentation in a dream could signify that you have a problem you can’t solve that’s causing you stress in your real life. It can also be a sign that you’re afraid you’ll fail at something.
- Falling uncontrollably can signify that you feel out of control in your real life, while falling slowly can mean you feel serene or have recently let go of something.
- Dreaming about flying correlates to confidence. If you’re flying in your dream, you’re likely feeling confident about something or have recently accomplished a goal.
- Food in your dream can mean new knowledge. Just as food feeds your body, knowledge feeds your brain.
These dream symbols, along with many others are common among all sleepers. If you’ve ever had a strange dream-like one where all your teeth fall out or a dream where you’re falling uncontrollably, you’re not alone. Stress and anxiety are normal—you’re busy! (Have you ever tried nighttime meditation or a little yoga before bed to help de-stress?) Dreams with strong dream symbols may be your brain’s way of helping you sort through your real-life problems. Understanding your dreams can help you sort through your thoughts and ultimately, start sleep better.
Of course, a good night’s sleep starts with the right mattress. The Leesa mattress is the perfect bed to dream on, with adaptive memory foam that is great for any body type and sleeping style. Plus, the Leesa mattress has little to no motion transfer, so even if your partner, child or furry friend is getting in and out of bed, you can keep dreaming.
Dreaming of a better night’s rest? Choose Leesa and upgrade your sleep.