The last dream I had involved me waking up with half of my hair chopped off. I was absolutely mortified and remember crying for hours (in my dream), and hoping it REALLY was just a dream. Luckily for me, I woke up and discovered that my hair was still on my head- untouched. Although I am not a hair fanatic, I am very fond of my long hair and would be incredibly upset if anything happened to it. When I had this dream, I was surprised because it was very unlike me to dream about something as superficial as losing my hair. However, I am not in control of what I dream, and it was likely that my subconscious was trying to tell me something. I have always wondered if dreams have underlying meanings and are actually reflections of what is happening in our brain and subconscious. When I had the dream that my hair was practically gone, I felt that it represented my current stressed-out state in my everyday life. Bombarded with exams and an almost unmanageable schedule, it might be my subconscious telling me that I am really “losing it”. Can dreams really tell us things about ourselves? Or is it all just apart of our crazy imagination?
According to The Huffington Post , dreams have a variety of different meanings. One of the most common dreams that people have is one in which they are being chased or followed. This represents a base anxiety that an individual may be experiencing in their life. They may feel pressured to do something or feel “chased” by responsibilities, obligations, and deadlines. Another common dream involves elements of water, which can reflect the current state of an individual’s life or mentality. If the water is turbulent, there may be chaos running admist. On the contrary, if the water is calm, it may be a sign of solitude and acceptance. Vehicles and airplanes in dreams can signal the start of something new or a milestone being reached. They represent the different pathways that life can take, whether it be somewhere new or back to the past. Dreaming of school or a classroom environment can be a direct signal towards the past; “learning a lesson”. People who have already finished schooling may dream more about classrooms and school because it is an indication of the past.
In a study reported by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , social psychologists at Carnegie Mellon University and Harvard University conducted a study to see how people viewed their dreams in the United States, South Korea, and India. The % of people who believed that their dreams were accurate reflections of their subconscious were as follows:
United States: 56%
South Korea: 65%
Next, another study was conducted to test to see if dreams really did have an effect on the decisions that people made. The study consisted of 182 individuals, who were asked which of the following scenarios would prompt them to change their flights: imagining their plane crashing in mid-air, hearing that an airplane crashed along the route of your flight, the government announcing a national threat that could potentially be serious, or having a dream that your plane crashed. The majority of the individuals said that the scenario that would most prompt them to change their flight plans was dreaming that their plane crashed. In their minds, they trusted their subconscious more (telling them that it was a bad idea/gut feeling). This particular study would be an observational study, because the participants were simply asked a survey question. There was no independent or dependent variables, and no control was assigned. However, the conclusion of the study has relevance towards the idea that dreaming does have an affect on people’s decision making and how they perceive their lives.
The interpretations of dreams date back to the theories of Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud , who had two different intepretations of dreams. Freud believed that all dreams could eventually be connected to sex, while Jung argued that dreams were direct reflections of the individuals’ subconscious trying to highlight a certain part of their life that needed attention or had significant meaning. According to them, dreams are another way the brain attempts to find solutions and answers.
Dreams are most likely to happen during our REM sleep, which is when our bodies go on “auto pilot” and our brain experiences the most activity, according to ABC Science. REM sleep, which is an acronym for rapid eye movement sleep, is responsible for the most intense and visually realistic dreaming. The dreams that take place during REM sleep are more likely to be remembered because the brain waves are moving rapidly, along with overall brain activity. On the contrary, non-REM sleep allows for slower brain waves that may result in slow-paced dreams. These dreams are harder to remember because the brain waves are moving slower and there is less activity in the cortex.
Dream Stop lists the 7 categories that most dreams fall under. If you’ve had a strange dream lately, check out the link to see if there’s a hidden meaning behind it. The next time you dream, take note of what you’re dreaming about. Then check out Dream Cloud , which is a dream dictionary that contains the meanings behind your craziest dreams. Happy Dreaming!