Sleep Better With Runtastic Pt. 8: All About Dreams (And Why We’re Dreaming)
We dream every night. We lose teeth, get chased, fight nasty creepy crawlies or even miss a train. These dream images are among the top 10 most recurring dreams. The next day, we often browse books or the internet to find out what our dreams might mean. But does every dream about death insinuate an imminent change in our lives? Not necessarily. Dream interpretation can give us a hint, a lead, but nothing more. What you are really processing in your dreams is something neither books nor Google can tell you.
If you want to understand your unconscious self, then you’ll find out some interesting bits and pieces all about dreams in today’s post.
Why do we dream?
According to Sigmund Freud, dreams are the ‘royal road to the unconscious’. Dreams are vital to our health and well-being. If dreams are being artificially suppressed in experiments, both our physical and psychological states ( mainly the latter) suffer. A possible consequence of supressing dreams is having hallucinations, for example. The school Analytical Psychology believes that dreams have a compensatory function and bring up topics we do not approach while awake.
How often do we dream?
We all dream, every night. Several times, actually. Usually, one experiences 4 to 6 dream phases per night. The older we get, the less we dream. We tend to remember our dreams only for a short time after waking up, as the day progresses our memories fade. Did you know that women and younger individuals are better at remembering their dreams.
What’s the meaning of certain dreams?
Most dreams are triggered by so-called ‘day residues’ or topics and happenings we’re currently concerned about. Therapist Andrea Jolander explains: “Dreams have their own language, this is why they seem indecipherable. However, that shouldn’t make us believe they are free of a deeper meaning. If a group of people meet and speak in an unknown language, you don’t assume that they just string together senseless syllables, either.”
By writing down your dreams right after waking up, you might be able to learn more about some things that keep your unconscious busy. It’s a widespread belief that our innermost part sends us messages in the form of dreams. Without being too mystical, this simply means that our instincts sometimes work better than our conscious mind when we’re awake.
The term dreamwork refers to the following:
- reflect on
- record(?) our dreams.
We dream in images, but how can we decipher these images? Dieter Schnocks writes in his book Mit C.G. Jung sich selbst verstehen (engl. Understanding yourself with C.G. Jung): “A lot of people dream about skyscrapers. They’re often on top in a more or less dangerous situation and want to climb down, but have to overcome obstacles and advert danger to do so. Or, the dreamer threatens to fall down, for instance. These dreams, characteristic for our contemporary world, underline that too high buildings are dangerous. This might be a symbol for too high ambitions which have turned into a problem for us. The pressure to get down somehow is an urgent plea of our unconscious. Our dream experiences advise us to slow down a bit, do only things that are within the power of man. Settle for a second-floor apartment, maybe.”
We’re often inclined to try and interpret our own dreams by Googling dream symbols and meanings. What does it mean if I dream about snakes, loose teeth, falling from a rock? The best thing to do here is write down your dreams and then discuss them with an experienced psychotherapist. Together, you can find out what the symbols that appear in your dreams might mean for YOU personally.
Can we influence our dreams?
If you watch a horror movie at night then you’ll have a bad dream about it, right…? We can’t completely control our dreams, yet there are a few tips that may help you lead your dreams into a right, positive and pleasant direction:
- Put your phone aside and turn off your TV, PC, etc. at least 30 minutes before bedtime
- Instead of watching late-night news on TV, read watch them the next morning. The news is seldomly positive.
- Jot down a few notes about your day and what’s been occupying your mind before you go to bed to avoid your mind from spinning. This helps you ease into dream land.
- Read a few lines in a book you find motivating or inspiring, or try to learn a few words of a new language you find interesting. Over night, your brain has time to memorize what you’ve learned.
- Close your eyes and breathe in a calm and regular manner. Think of the most beautiful moments of your day, or what you’re looking forward to the next day.
Dreams are essential for us to process what’s keeping our unconscious busy. Bear in mind that our dreams and images that come up at night can, but don’t have to have a meaning, it can be fun to try and analyze one’s dreams. Have fun 🙂