We spend approximately one-third of our lives sleeping. For a substantial portion of that time, we dream. Sometimes those dreams are entertaining, sometimes romantic, erotic, and at other times, it’s downright horrifying. Some dreams are recurring, and when you see the same person in your dreams over and over, it’s only natural to wonder, when you dream about someone, are they thinking of you?
Nobody for sure knows why we dream or what is the meaning of dreams. But it is widely believed that dreams are a reflection of our subconscious mind where we bury our deepest fears, gut-wrenching traumas, and our unspeakable desires. For more clarity on the meaning and significance of dreams, we spoke to Kreena Desai, an astrology and Vastu consultant.
“Dreams are a sequence of images, thoughts, and emotions a person experiences during any stage of the sleep cycle. REM sleep is the stage where the most memorable dreams are produced. They are usually associated with an overactive mind. Sometimes dreams are also related to something that has stayed with a person throughout the day.” According to research, an average person dreams four to six times per night. You might spend as much as 2 hours dreaming over the course of one night’s sleep.
Why Do We Dream?
Kreena says, “We dream because it helps the brain process emotions, consolidate memories, and gain practice to confront potential dangers. Dreams also help us in solving problems. Let’s say a person has been too preoccupied with the stresses of a particular problem during the day. It could be financial stress or relationship stress that is affecting his mental health. The dreams that follow could be either an answer to the problem or show you the root cause of the problem.” This theory is based on three factors:
- Things you see in a dream
- The environment
- Your association with the things/objects you see in the dream
Dreams continue to inspire intrigue and interest among researchers since a lot hasn’t been discovered in this realm yet. The concept and reasoning behind dreams are still uncertain. However, one thing is for sure – dreams are good for us. Recent research has found that not dreaming is as bad as sleep deprivation and can lead to a slew of health problems.
They found that dream loss is an unrecognized public health hazard that silently wreaks havoc with our lives, contributing to illness, depression, and an erosion of consciousness. That’s why it’s important we dream for at least 2 hours a night.
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Features And Types Of Dreams
According to the National Sleep Foundation, we typically dream about four to six times per night. That is four to six types of dreams per night. You might not believe this because humans forget more than 95% of all dreams.
Describing the features of dreams, Kreena says, “Dreams are mostly visual and they are in color. However, some people dream in black and white as well. It all depends on the emotions you went through during the day. The more stressed you are, the more unpleasant dreams you will experience.”
Before we delve into the interpretation of different types of dreams and address the question of when you dream about someone, are they thinking of you, let’s take a closer look at what these figments of our consciousness are made of. There are exactly 5 types of dreams:
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Daydreaming is when we dream when we are wide awake. It’s an attempt to escape from reality. To put it in simple words, daydreaming is coming up with fake scenarios in our heads to distract ourselves from what’s happening at the moment. For instance, you could be feeling insecure in a relationship, which is why you’re you daydreaming about a better situation in your head.
There are many positive effects of daydreaming as well:
- Daydreaming boosts productivity
- It alleviates stress and anxiety.
- It can also help you solve problems, giving you a fresh perspective on situations
- It enhances creativity
2. False awakening
A false awakening is when a person is still sleeping but believes that they have woken up from their slumber while they are still in the middle of a dream. This usually occurs during REM sleep. Among the different types of dreams, this can be the most confusing and disorienting.
3. Lucid dreams
Lucid dreaming is one of the types of dreams when a person knows they are dreaming and can control their body and thoughts within the dream. They become aware that they are currently in a state of dreaming and have the ability to control their body.
What do nightmares mean? Nightmares are dreams that induce feelings of horror and dread. This could be because of the stress a person goes through every day and these scary dreams become the brain’s way of finding an outlet for these stressors. Some common causes of nightmares are poor eating habits, previous traumatic events, emotional baggage, illness, sleep deprivation, sleep disorders, or medication.
5. Prophetic dreams
Prophetic dreams are a sequence of images, feelings, and sounds that hints at the happenings of the dreamer’s future. The dreams will display the things that will happen in the future.
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Meaning And Interpretation Behind The Most Common Dreams
They say a dream uninterpreted is like a letter unopened. They are an integral part of our consciousness and developing an insight into them can help us better understand our psyche. While each person’s dreams can be unique to their experiences, however, there are some common themes related to dreaming that people have experienced all over the globe at least once in their lives. We try to decode some of them here:
1. What does it mean when you dream about your ex?
Of all the different types of dreams we see, this one definitely has us wondering, “When you dream about someone, are they thinking of you?” Well, not necessarily. Elaborating on the meaning behind dreaming about an ex you don’t talk to anymore, Kreena says, “This dream can have many interpretations. However, the most obvious answer to the question, “What does it mean when you dream about your ex?”, is that you haven’t let go of some trauma or hurt related to the breakup even if you have let go of your former partner.”
If you are asking, “Why do I keep dreaming about my ex?”, then the answer lies in your separation. If the breakup was ugly and you have suppressed your emotions, then this could be one of the reasons why you are constantly dreaming about your ex. One of the other reasons why you are dreaming of your ex could be that you still have feelings for them and are secretly hoping for a reconciliation.
2. Dreaming about your current partner
Kreena shares, “Let’s say you are dreaming about a person you are currently dating but there is a strong negative emotion permeating throughout the dream. It could easily be a warning sign that this person could have the same patterns/traits as your previous partner or that they’re not right for you.”
However, if you are having cute dreams about your boyfriend/girlfriend, then it’s only natural because you are just starting to fall in love or you are already in a relationship where you are content and happy.
3. Dreaming about death
What does it mean when you dream about someone dying? Dreams about death can scar you. You might be terrified about seeing a loved one die in your dreams. Death dreams can seem like a bad omen. However, Kreena offers a different interpretation of the meaning of dreams where we see death. She says, “When you dream of someone dying, it’s usually because you are afraid of change.
“It could also mean that you are dealing with some kind of ending in your life. It could be your job. It could also be one of the signs your relationship is ending or you could be leaving your home and moving to a new place.” Some of the other death dreams interpretations include fear of abandonment or your subconscious telling you that you need to let go of a person and move on in your life.
4. Wet dreams
Wet dreams are when a person orgasms in their sleep on account of an erotic experience. Both men and women have wet dreams. If you are dreaming about having sex with your boss, then it means that you find them attractive and you fancy them. Kreena says, “Don’t freak out if you dream about being intimate with someone who is not your spouse or partner. It’s just because you are attracted to them. It’s just like any other dream and nothing to feel guilty about.”
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5. Dream about getting married
Marriage is a lifelong commitment. You could be dreaming this because you are getting married and wedding plans dominate your headspace 24×7. However, when you dream about getting married but you are single in real life, then there is a possibility that some other sort of commitment is heading toward you and you aren’t ready for it.
Kreena says that these kinds of dreams are very symbolic and may indicate a big change in your life. Whatever change is coming toward you, this dream is a sign hinting that you need to get ready.
6. Dreams about cheating on your partner
Here is an interesting finding on dreams about infidelity: In a study conducted with nearly 1,000 people, it was found that 60% of women have had a dream about cheating on their partner. So, what do dreams mean about cheating, especially when you and your partner are in love and the foundation of your relationship is strong?
Kreena answers, “Dreams don’t know boundaries. We know what’s wrong and what’s right when we are conscious and wide awake. If those cheating dreams have nothing to do with you in your real life and you are honest with your partner, then you have nothing to worry about.”
7. Dreaming about marrying your ex
Why do I keep dreaming about my ex getting married? It’s because there are unresolved issues. Not with your ex but with yourself. Maybe you are struggling to move ahead despite ending the relationship. Use these dreams as a reminder to let go of things that don’t bring or add value to your life.
At times like these, you can’t lose sleep over thoughts like “when you dream about someone, are they thinking of you too?”. You need to move on and accept the fact that your ex is not going to come back and you need to move ahead in life.
8. Dreaming about a high school sweetheart
If you are no longer in touch with the person you dated in high school but the two of you were very much in love, then it could simply mean that you miss the bond you once shared with them. When you dream about your crush or lover in high school, it means you miss the carefree days and their company.
Kreena says, “It’s natural to wonder when you dream about someone, are they thinking of you too? Not necessarily. But when two people are connected by memory, they may appear in each other’s dreams. It could also mean that you are missing the days when you didn’t have so much on your plate. You are missing the times when you didn’t have financial worries and major relationship stressors.”
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When You Dream About Someone, Are They Thinking Of You?
What does it mean when you dream about someone you like? These dreams are a manifestation of your wishes. They are just your thoughts and emotions being positively reflected in your sleep. You want them to be a part of your life. If you have just started seeing someone but haven’t been exclusively dating them and they appear in your dreams, it could be a positive sign that this person will be good to you and that they have good intentions with you.
But, when you dream about someone, are they thinking of you? Kreena answers, “There is no real proof to back this theory that when you dream about someone, they are thinking of you as well. It’s an indication from the universe that there is some unfinished business between the two of you and you need to resolve it.”
However, if you keep dreaming about this person and it’s a happy dream every single time, chances are she or he thinks about you a lot but doesn’t say it. When we have been with someone for a long time, we create an undefinable bond with them. There is always a strong energy between soulmates and twin flames. When you dream about someone with whom you are in love and they reciprocate the love, there is a good chance that you dream of them because they’re on your mind.
Facts About Dreams
Now that we know why we dream and the reason behind some of the common dreams, we’d like to leave you with some interesting facts about dreams:
- While dreaming helps you in managing and processing your emotions, it may also help your brain in storing memories
- According to research, women have more nightmares than men. And their nightmares are emotionally more intense than men’s nightmares
- It’s never easy to understand your dreams. There is no science behind understanding dreams. Spiritual healers and astrologists may be able to shed light on the symbolism hidden in your dreams based on your life and experiences
- You can improve your ability to remember dreams by maintaining a journal
- Everyone’s dreams differ based on their culture, where they grew up, values, thoughts, and beliefs
- Every single person on earth dreams. Even animals see dreams
- People who are born blind can’t dream. Whereas, people who lost their sight later in life have dreams. However, the images and landscapes may appear different to them
- Research suggests that smell can affect the quality of a person’s dreams
- You always have multiple dreams each night
- Dreams are a period of mental activity that takes place when we are asleep
- Not dreaming is as bad as not sleeping and can lead to many health risks
- Dreams represent our thoughts, emotions, and fears
Dreams are a reflection of your past, present, and future fears, concerns, happiness, and aspirations. They are a complex and dynamic process that has continued to inspire and intrigue since the beginning of time. While we are inclined to look for the hidden meaning behind our dreams, it could well just be our mind’s way of solving problems and storing information.