Sleep 101: 3 Types Of Dreams And What They Mean

Sleep 101: 3 Types Of Dreams And What They Mean

In our previous article, we explored the 4 stages of sleep and understood that sleep is essential for our brain and body to function at its best, allowing our body to regenerate and repair itself, getting us ready for the next day. Sleep’s importance is self-explanatory, but what about dreams?

Though much have been speculated about why we dream, research has shown that dreaming helps your brain to consolidate information and memory. They occur in the REM stage of sleep and can be influenced by how we have been feeling or thinking of recent. Still, dreams remain an enduring mystery; we don’t always remember them, and if we do, we wonder what our dream meant.

So here’s a nifty guide on 3 common types of dreams you would have had in your lifetime, and what they mean!


1. Nightmares

Sleep 101 Nightmares

You may have had a dream of an unknown or scary figure in your life chasing you in your dream, or have dreamt of being trapped or attacked. In these dreams, a strong emotional response is often evoked, not just of fear but of despair. Having nightmares from time to time could indicate a higher level of stress or anxiety in your life. However, recurring nightmares is probably a tell-tale sign of a deep-rooted psychological issue and related to sleep issues (e.g. insomnia), and you may want to talk to your therapist about them.


2. Lucid dreams

Sleep 101 Lucid dreams

So you last remember falling asleep on your soft and lustrous sheets, and you suddenly find yourself floating in your dream. What’s more, you can control your movements! Welcome to a lucid dream, where you are aware that you’re dreaming and have gained some control over it. Because of the level of awareness one has in lucid dreaming, it could reflect a higher level of comprehension of your own thought processes at that point in time.


3. Night terrors

Sleep 101 Night Terrors

Unlike nightmares, night terrors physically manifest in signs of distress, like heavier breathing, sweating and even violent movements while asleep. Those who have experienced this usually don’t remember their dreams, though they wake up terrified and may not have been aware that they were sleepwalking too. Like nightmares, you may experience night terrors from time to time, but you should seek professional help when it becomes recurring as it could lead to safety concerns or poor quality sleep.

Whether you’re having exciting lucid dreams, ordinary standard dreams or frightening nightmares, know that it is a by-product of sleep and your brain is working to consolidate information. Nonetheless, if your dreams start leading to poor quality sleep or sleep issues, it may be better to speak to a healthcare professional. Till then, good night, and sleep tight!