By Sophia Röhr
Research questions: What do we dream about? Do dreams have meaning? What are the different types of dreams?
During the day we get tired. In order to rest the body, we sleep. The only parts of our body that work during sleep are our heart and mind. Of course our heart goes on beating, but also our mind keeps on working in order to create dreams. Dreaming is probably the time when our mind works the hardest. While dreaming we are able to taste, hear, smell and feel pain. Dreaming is like living in one’s own imaginary world, put together with what we thought of and saw during the day and put into a dream. This paper will cover the common dreams, the five different types of dreams, the stages of sleep, the meanings of colors and symbols in a dream. Animal dreams, REM sleep, and finally, sleepwalking.
Humans dream about lots of things. Sometimes two persons dream the same thing. Like this we can determine what the dream was trying to tell us.
I. There are six common dreams.
One of them would be an examination. If you dream about a test, having an exam, or someone testing you; people might criticize you. If you have an exam and your time is running out, you are late, or your pencil keeps on breaking; you might have a lack of confidence. You are worried that you can’t keep up with others. If you fear not being accepted, prepared, or good enough for the exam; you feel very insecure and always think bad about yourself. You might feel unprepared for a challenge. Dreaming about a test or an exam usually doesn’t tell you how the next test or exam is going to be, but tell you the way you feel about yourself. Usually they show you how helpless and frustrated you feel. Sometimes they also tell you that people judge you or you have been neglected and need to pay attention to.
Being chased shows you the way you respond to woriedness and pressure in waking life. They represent your way of dealing with fears, stress or various situations in your waking life. Instead of trying to solve the problem you are running away from it. The person who is attacking you can also be your feelings of anger, jealousy, fear, and sometimes love. You can be chased by your self-destructive behaviour. For example if you are drinking to much. Those chasing dreams might want you to pay attention to those self-destructive actions.
Dreaming of falling indicates your insecurity, instability, worriedness and other issues concerning your pride. The act of falling shows you that you feel out of control in some situation. They also very often reflect a failure in a circumstance or situation.
Flying dreams fall under the category that you are aware that you are dreaming, which makes it a lucid dream. If you are flying on top of things, you look down and it seems very easy to do so; you are on top of things and are prepared. But it can also mean that you are looking at things in a different Perspective. It is your own personal sense of power. “You have a sense of freedom”(http://members.tripod.com/~o45tu/common.htm) But if it’s very difficult for you to fly, because of power lines, trees, or mountains and you keep on flying into them, these difficulties symbolize a person that is standing in your way in waking life. If you are afraid of flying or think that you are flying to high, you are afraid of challenges or success.
A lot of people experience themselves completely naked in their dreams. They express your fear of being exposed in some embarrassing way. You might be hiding something from others, but have the fear that people can see right through you. Being naked at work or in school might signify that you are not prepared for a project. Maybe you will dream that you are naked but people don’t notice, which tells you that your fears are unnecessary. On the other hand it might represent your desire to be noticed. Not being embarrassed that you are naked implies your freedom, and your sense of honesty, openness, and carefree nature. Teeth represent a lot of things. One of them would be that you care a lot about your physical appearance and how others think about you. They might also represent your fear of powerlessness. They also very often show your fear of being embarrassed. It is usually an over exaggeration of your worries. Since we use teeth to bite tear and gnaw, they symbolically represent power. Loosing teeth might then represent a lack of power. It may also mean that you have difficulties expressing yourself. “Your voice is not being heard” (http://members.tripod.com/~o45tu/common.htm)
II. There are five different types of dreams.
a. Ordinary dreams: An Ordinary dream is based on what you have seen or thought during the day. It can even be about a single thought that you totally forgot. This thought is saved in the brain and while you are sleeping, this thought gets “read” by dream symbols, which are “the language of gods”. This is an ordinary dream that George Gillespie had: In an ordinary dream I was explaining to some people about death. Our interest was not simply theoretical, but related to real possibilities. I said, "You will see both darkness and light at the same time," meaning they would pass out of darkness into light. After a transition that I don’t remember, I was floating in darkness wondering what was happening to me. I was going through some personal crisis I did not understand. Though I was not particularly aware of my (dreamed) body, I felt myself drift up. Suddenly I entered the light, which I happily recognized. I knew then that I was again in the presence of God, and that this time I had died. The light was brilliant and filled my vision. There was a point above the level of my eyes from which the light appeared to radiate. I did not remember waking life, nor did I know the circumstances of my death. I had some regrets at first, but my joy was greater than any regrets. I was spontaneously prayerful, calm and extremely happy. As I floated for some time in the light I repeated over and over with great feeling, "Thank you, Father." I was not thankful for dying, but for being in the presence of God and the light. Then slowly I became aware that I was in bed. I woke up tingling and very much surprised to find that I had not died.
b. During a Lucid dream you know that you are sleeping, therefore you control it. You are able to decide what you dream about. You know that each character and object around you is a creation of your mind.
c. Telepathic dreams are also called “The Language of the Angels”. In a Telepathic dream you are able to communicate with a dead in a dreamland. But this can also occur between two living people. We receive thoughts of others as a mental vision in a dream. Extended telepathy would be between the night time world of the soul and the daytime world.
d. A premonitory dream tells you the future or what might happen in the future. . We also call them warning dreams. Lets say you dream that you are driving in the car and suddenly your breaks don’t work. This could mean that you are having trouble and should slow down a little bit. But just to be sure you should also check the brakes on your car. Premonitory dreams don’t always have to be about you, or to warn you; they could also tell you t look after someone else. Here is one example of this: "I had a dream where my father had blood pouring out of an eye from an accident involving the machine he was working with, and I knew he had lost his eye. Upon awakening, I immediately phoned my parents and asked my father what he was planning that day. He said he was going to work in his workshop with his drill and circular saw. Hearing this, I strongly urged him and eventually got him to promise to wear safety goggles while he was working. Then I spoke to my mother, told her the dream, and convinced her to keep a close eye on Dad. That night, Dad phoned in disbelief to tell me that a piece of wood had flown off the saw right at his eye and shattered the safety glasses. He was very grateful and admitted to me that it was truly a miracle that his eye was untouched." (S.B. Montreal, Qc)And here is an example for the slowing down, by Stanford University pioneer sleep researcher Dr.William Dement: "Some years ago I was a heavy cigarette smoker, up to two packs a day. Then one night I had an exceptionally vivid and realistic dream in which I had inoperable cancer of the lung. I remember as though it were yesterday looking at the ominous shadow in my chest X-ray and realizing that the entire right lung was infiltrated. I experienced the incredible anguish of knowing my life was soon to end, that I would never see my children grow up, and that none of this would ever have happened if I had quit cigarettes when I first learned of their carcinogenic potential. I will never forget the surprise, joy, and exquisite relief of waking up. I felt I was reborn. Needless to say, the experience was sufficient to induce the immediate cessation of my cigarette habit."
e. A lot of Nightmares are about an early experience in childhood. Nightmares can also warn you from a bad event that might happen to you or a loved one. When you hear the word Nightmare most people would think about a scary dream. Nightmares don’t always have to be scary.
Some Nightmares are based on an unsolved problem from the past. They can also be about stressful things that happened during the day. Most people get nightmares from scary movies. If someone watched a scary movie before he/she went to bed, the brain saved those scary scenes and forms them into Nightmares.
IV: There are four different stages of sleep.
During the first stage you are half a sleep half a wake, you are just about to sleep. During the second and the third stage you gt deeper and deeper into sleeping and dreaming. The fourth stage is when you are in deep sleep and in the middle of your dream. After that comes REM sleep. From REM it goes backwards from stage three to stage one. After stage one you wake up. ( in stage one you are most likely to wake up.)
V: Meanings of Objects and colors in dreams.
In a dream objects and different colours have a meaning. Most of the time even each different colour has many different meanings. Here is a list of the different colours, and symbols and their definition:
“Red – I feel concentrated, I feel transformed, I feel forceful, I feel creative, I want to live life to its fullest, I want to win, I have strong sexual urges, I desire something, I need something to make me feel alive again, I need to be more forceful, I need to go out and enjoy myself.
Orange – I want to expand my field of activity, I want a wider sphere of influence, I want more contact with others, I want to shake off the shackles of self-doubt, I feel restless
Yellow – I am seeking a solution that will open up new and better possibilities and allow my hopes to be fulfilled; I feel the new direction I am taking will bring happiness out there in my future, I am hopeful, I need to find a way out of this circumstance or relationship, I need relief, I need a change, I may be compensating for something, I am acting compulsively,
Green – I need to establish myself, my self-esteem, my independence, I want recognition, I need to increase the certainty of my own value through acknowledgment by others of my achievements or my possession's, Hard work and drive will gain me recognition and self esteem, My opinion must prevail, I must hold onto this idealized view of self in order to maintain my self-esteem, I want what I am due, Things must not change, I need to increase my sense of security, I need more money to feel secure, I want healing or better health, I must maintain control of the events, Detail and logic are important here.
Blue – I feel tranquil, peaceful and quietly content, I feel a sense of harmony with things, I feel a meditative awareness or unity, I feel a sense of belonging, I need rest, peace or a chance to recuperate, I need a relationship free from contention where I can trust and be trusted, I need to feel I belong.
Brown – I seek a secure state where I can be physically comfortable and relax or recover, I desire physical comfort, I want to satisfy the physical senses (food, luxury, sex), I have a physical problem, illness or injury [particularly if dirty brown], I am concerned about matters of family, home, or my "roots", I am concerned with a son or daughter, I am searching for my true self or natural state of being.
(Hoss,B.(2000).The dream FoundationWorking with coloursin dreams.Dreamgate.)
Alligator – Big fears, unsolved problem, someone is chasing you and wants to harm you
Fish – freedom-if you catch a fish, you have a lot of money
Spinning Wheel – in the end of your life you will achieve goals
Rain – More money less love
Tears – Happiness
Old Man – Wisdom
Path of Life – It represents your whole life the end and everything you pass between
Police, Army Men - Authority
Running – Escaping from something
Stairs – The rise and fall in life
Bees – Activity, your social life, happiness in life, success in love
Building something – hard roots, steady life
Heart – Love
Rainbow – You are trying to connect more with your mystic powers
Magic – Someone is helping you
Magnet – You are going to earn a lot of money
Letter – Telepathic powers
Tunnel – passing between words
Door – You want to start new and if the door is closed, you want to break free.
Home – Protection and childhood
You can’t move – You have to solve your problems
Island – Isolation
Judgement – getting punished for something that you did
Jumping – Big ego
Kill – You want to leave behind your old memories, habits, relationships, thoughts and hates
Money – Low self esteem. If you have a lot of money, you are sure about what you are doing, poor
Flying – Freedom and power
Monster – your fears and your dark side
Birds – successful life, freedom, you have a strong mind
Flies – someone is annoying you
Arm – strength
Blood – Disappointment, bad luck
Brain – smart person, strong mind, knowledge, studies, creativity
Ear – not hearing something means that you are unaware of something. If you shout and no one hears you, you are hopeless
Ants – Hard work, the ant represents you and the way you work
Bear – fighting your enemies and achieving big fame, glory and victory
Eye – prophetic and vision dream
Teeth – fear that you are going to lose something
Time – You want to do something but you don’t have much time
Alien – You aren’t sure about the place you are living in, or your life
Airplane – rising to a new level
Accident – You fear that something bad is going to happen
Angels – someone is sending you a message
Awakening – discovering new ideas and things
Birth – start a new life
Death – you want to forget your past, lose things and want to start a new life
Turtle – Secrets and enemies, health.
Disease – you don’t have anymore hope and don’t know what to do next.
Lake – lose of money,-Quiet lake – earning a lot of money
Air – Prophetic dream
Treasure – Jealousy
Light – success
Art – you are very spiritual
Test – You are afraid of tests and failure
Toilet/Bathroom – your health condition and the way you take care of yourself
Falling – you failed something in your life, everything that you did is blown in your face, you need to rise again
Flight – Achieving a goal in any way
Clams – honest person and you live a comfortable life
Fire – Anger and destruction
Tiger – you control the world and enjoy your power in beauty
Chase – You are running away from something, or you want to achieve something in anyway.
Snake – bad luck, evil, dark side, someone wants you to suffer and hurt you. Killing a snake means victory over enemies.
Climbing – your path to fame, glory, fortune, victory and health
Clouds – they represent your mood. Nice clouds: good mood, grey cloud and storm- bad mood
Mud – Lot’s of problems, there is some dirt in your life that you have to get rid of
Hell – Represents fear that you are being punished because you have committed a crime
Dead Body – frightened by bad actions
Ice – your deepest fear
Garden – A very artistic an talented person
Angel – protection
Barrel – if full: Prosperity, if empty: tightness of money
Bear – a friend will help you if you are nice to him/her
Boat – a fortunate journey
Book – sought-after wisdom is within reach
Bread – material well being
Bridge – if crossed, you will find a happy solution to a problem
Calendar – loss due to your forgetting of the dates
Chair – a change in employment
Cheese – gain, profit
Desk – if you are working on a desk, you should go out more. If the desk is empty, you are going to have a change in your job
Eggs – abundance
Flag – change, success
Fruit – abundance
Gambling – good if you lose, bad if you win.
Glass – if it’s broken, success, if it’s empty, distress
Goat – inconstancy in relationship or job
Grasshopper – loss
Guitar – declaration of love
Gun – deceptive gain
Kiss – unfaithfulness or self unfaithfulness
Lamp – be careful
Monkey – someone near shouldn’t be trusted
Mushrooms – long life, protection
Palace – sadness caused by pride
Pen – a new offer or proposal
Prison – if you enter it: tyranny, if leaving or escaping,: recovery from depression
Rabbit – If white or grey: friendship, success, if black: lies and reverses
Ring - settlement
Scissors – quarrels
Stapler – becoming attached to someone by questionable integrity
Telephone – bad news are waiting, bad luck
Trees – I there is a path through the forest, you will soon find your purpose in life. drowned trees, success. If the trees bear of leaves, a new beginning. If full trees, danger from satisfaction.
Umbrella – security or a lasting friendship
Vinegar – jealousy
Volcano – adventure, passion.
Water – if the water is flowing, increased romance. If the water is dark, one is unsure of one’s own feelings.
Wine – a happy old age
Worms – you put small worries aside.
VI. What is REM sleep?
Maybe if you ever watched a person sleeping, you saw their eyes moving from left to right and right to left and up and down. This is what we call Rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep). “It represents a laborious scan of the action scene in the dream.” (www.epub.org.br/cm/In02/monte/rem_i.htm) The movement of his eyes shows what the dreamer is looking or following with his/her eyes. REM sleep occurs about every 90 min. in humans and once in every 25 min. in cats. Cats sleep up to 16 hours per day. Horses about 5 hours and 22 hours standing. Dolphins shut down one side of their brain but never stop moving. But we do not know jet what animals dream. They might dream of food or reproduction.
VII. Do animals dream?
Did you ever watch a dog sleep? If so, you probably noticed that they sometimes make sudden movements. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, 307 mammals such as rats, cats, monkeys, opossums, elephants and also birds have REM sleep. But since they didn’t find REM sleep in snakes or other reptiles, scientists suggested that REM sleep only takes place in warm-blooded animals.
IX. Does sleepwalking have anything to do with dreaming?
Sleepwalking occurs between the 3 or the4 stage, when you are in the middle of your dream. It is very difficult to wake up a person who is sleepwalking, since they, as soon as you touch them, react very rebellious. The people who sleepwalk usually act out their dream. And if there is a sofa in the way, the brain inserts this object and puts it into a dream image that is standing in your way and they walk around it. People who sleepwalk are able to open locks, doors, drive cars and swim. Therefore it is very dangerous. It happened some years ago that a girl drowned while she was sleepwalking. When the sleepwalkers wake up, they usually don’t remember what had happened.
REM sleep explains now why people move their eyes while they are sleeping. Maybe this also refers to my dog, since sometimes when he sleeps he has his eyes half open. Sometimes he even makes those weird noises and suddenly moves his foot. Now I know that this depends on the dream that he has at that moment. Now I wonder if animals ever sleepwalk. I found out that sleepwalking could be very dangerous. Once I watched this movie about events that really happened and there was this man who always went sleepwalking to his fridge. He opened the fridge and ate everything that was in there. But the problem was that he didn’t just eat the normal food, no, he ate fir example plants with jam or Inc of a pen with sausages. And in the morning when he woke up, the fridge was empty. But this was really dangerous, not only because he ate too much and got fat; he might also choke on something and die or eat something poisonous. Then he bought a lock and locked the fridge, but that didn’t really help since he knew where the lock was and always found it, opened the fridge and kept on eating his “midnight snack”. So he went to a dream doctor who gave him medicine and over the years it got better and better.
In conclusion, dreams are made of several types. In addition, in a dream each colour and symbol has a different meaning, which will make each dream different. Dreams tell us a lot and help us solve problems since they can tell us the future or give us a hint, of how to solve a specific problem. By knowing this, maybe we should pay more attention to our dreams. Dreams can be very important for people who have a lot of problems. A lot of mothers probably know what’s it’s like to try and get a child to bed. But mothers also know how interested kids are in learning new things. Maybe this will help you getting your child to sleep ;) . So good night and sweet dreams.
Webb,C.(1996).The dreams Foundation.April1st 2003 from the World Wide Web:
Horne,J.(1997). The Phenomena of Human sleep. June 9th 2003 from the World Wide Web:
Cardos,H.S.(1996).Is it possible to know when a person is dreaming? April 1st 2003, from the World Wide Web:
How stuff works.(1998).How sleep works. Dreams.April 2nd 2003, from the World Wide Web:
Hoss,B.(2000).The dreams Foundation Working with colors in dreams.Dreamgate.April1st 2003 from the World Wide Web:
Joyce,M.(19 May, 2001).dreams.The verity of dreams.April2nd 2003 from the World Wide Web:
Gall, S. (ed.) (1996). Dreams. The Gale Encyclopedia of Psychology. Gale.pp.120-121
Magill, F.N. (ed.) (1998). Sleep, Stages and Functions. Psychology Basics. Salem Press, INC.pp.546-551
Biederman, H. (1996). Dream Symbols. Dictionary of Symbols. Cultural Icons and the Meanings Behind Them. Facts on Site (Translated by James Hulbert in 1992