“We are such stuff as dreams are made on,” Shakespeare said. Maybe the Bard had some oddball dreams, too.
A majority of people believe their dreams reveal something deep about themselves. There could be truth in that, too. It’s clear that our dreams play some key role in helping us sift through the constant input of information our brains receive.
If you’ve ever woken up thinking “What does my dream mean?”, then we’re here to help. Here are 9 answers to that question.
Dream and Dream Again
Many people experience recurring dreams. The same basic events will play out frequently, like watching reruns on TV.
Recurring dreams can be harmless. Our subconscious is as capable as our conscious mind of forming habits, and recurring dreams can be a simple manifestation of that fact.
But on a deeper level, we can interpret recurring dreams to indicate unresolved issues. These issues might even be deep-seated issues tracing back to childhood.
A Matter of Time
We’ve all faced a deadline at some point in our lives. But if you’re facing them in your sleep, too, then something is going wrong.
Deadline dreams often take familiar forms. Even if you left school decades ago, for instance, you might dream about a missed assignment.
These dreams are an obvious manifestation of the many deadline pressures we face in our daily lives. Time is a precious commodity, so many of us are up against the clock on a daily basis.
If you’re struggling to make time for yourself, then these dreams often creep up. Try slowing things down and letting go of things you can’t change, and you may find your dreams become less fraught.
The Naked Truth
Embarrassing at the time, but also pretty funny when you’re awake: that’s the essence of the naked dream.
Naked dreams may show you’re worried about less literal exposure. Perhaps you’re dealing with some imposter syndrome. Or perhaps you’re trying to hide something from people close to you.
In this case, your nakedness is a metaphor. Figure out what it represents in your life to see if you can resolve it.
Rage Against the Dream Machine
Some people experience angry dreams. They’ll usually take the form of heated arguments or maybe even violence.
These dreams can be shocking for the dreamer, particularly if they feel out of character or involve loved ones.
But having an angry dream doesn’t mean you’re about to fly off the handle in real life. Sometimes it’s quite the opposite.
Angry dreams are quite likely to come to people who are reserved or non-confrontational in real life. It’s also possible they relate to some unresolved guilt or interpersonal issue. They’re usually the brain’s way of dealing with suppressed emotions.
The Tooth Fairy
Teeth dreams are some of the most iconic out there. While they don’t come to everyone, they’re one of the widest reported dreams in human experience.
Teeth dreams usually take the form of the teeth falling out.
Teeth are a vulnerable but fundamental part of our identity. It’s easy to lose teeth to an accident, which can cause lasting damage to your self-image. Perhaps that’s why our brains choose these dreams about losing teeth as a simple way to portray our inner anxieties.
If you’re dreaming about your teeth, you may be experiencing anxiety that goes to the core of who you are.
The Long Way Down
Ever feel like life is spiraling out of control? If so, you’re likely to feel it in your dreams, too.
Falling dreams are a sure sign that you’ve lost your grip on life. They capture waking feelings of being in freefall, and the anxiety of what awaits when you hit the ground.
But life is rarely so inevitable. When your brain perceives this, it’s important to remember that you always have the power to make changes. If you can alter your course, then the freefall metaphor falls apart.
If you’ve ever dreamed a great threat is pursuing you, then you know how scary it can be. Often this threat is unseen, which only makes things worse.
There’s one obvious inspiration behind dreams of pursuit: anxiety. Dreams of pursuit often show you’re worried about something catching up with you, whether that’s a financial mistake or an interpersonal blunder.
Either way, these dreams indicate you have something unresolved in your life. They may indicate you need to turn and face whatever it is in your waking life and face it head-on.
Have you ever dreamed you’re a passenger in a vehicle, with somebody else at the wheel? These dreams may range from passive to downright scary.
If you have passenger dreams, it may show you don’t feel in control of your own life. Is that always a bad thing? That depends. Feeling out of control in a state of high anxiety likely means there’s something going wrong.
But if you’re a passenger along for a sedate drive, things might not be so bad. Your dream might indicate you’re feeling glad to finally take a backseat in your life, perhaps after resolving some recent crisis.
The Bizarro World
Some dreams are so crazy, so off-the-wall, that they can’t be quantified.
These kinds of dreams may have a level of surrealism that would make Salvador Dali proud. Or they may be as complex, long, and fantastical as a series of Game of Thrones.
Whatever the case, these dreams can be hard to categorize. But they may indicate you’re overstimulated, with too much on your mind when you hit the sack.
On the plus side, bizarre dreams can be a sign of creativity and inspiration, too. Your bedtime book could be a major contributor to your strange dreamscape.
Bizarre dreams can be some of the hardest to pin down, so consult these professionals for a clearer picture.
What Does My Dream Mean? Your Questions Answered
“What does my dream mean?” It’s a common enough question, but the answer isn’t always as simple as you’d think. But unlocking your dreams could unlock a better understanding of yourself. With our guide, you finally have the keys.
Looking for ways to get your life back in order so you can dream some nice dreams? Check out a few self-care tips you can adopt.
*This article was contributed.