Sweet Dreams: Interpreting Your Nighttime Journeys

-Marissa Tomko

Have you ever had a dream that you just can’t get out of your head? Maybe it was scary, too real, or just plain weird. I usually don’t remember my dreams, but when I do, I tend to think about them for a couple of days and wonder where they came from.

In a piece he wrote for The New York Times, psychology and neuroscience writer Jonah Lehrer says that dreams are “actually careful distillations of experience, a regurgitation of all the new ideas and insights we encounter during the day.” By this logic, we should be able to connect our nighttime visions with our day-to-day lives and figure out what it all means. I researched the ten most common dream symbols and what the stand for. So read on, and follow those dreams!

Being Chased

If you’re dreaming about being chased by someone or something, it means that you are running away from a menacing or scary presence in your life.


If you find yourself scantily clad in dreamland, it means that you are in a vulnerable state. Maybe you feel like you over-shared in real life, or that you fear having to expose a lesser-known part of yourself.

Losing Teeth

Your smile is one of the first things the rest of the world sees, making it an important factor in your physical appearance. If you dream about losing your teeth, you might be feeling insecure about how you look lately.


If you experience a free-fall in your slumber, you might feel like you have lost control of a situation, and don’t know where to turn to get it back. You also might be feeling a lack of comfort and support in your life.


Dreaming about death means that you fear something coming to an end. This could mean you are coming upon a major life change, or that you are feeling emotional about a tumultuous relationship.


If you are taking tests in your dreams, you are seeking accomplishment in your life. Your academic performance in your sleep is most likely linked to how prepared you feel about your upcoming hurdle.


Water is indicative of your conscience. The type of water in your dream is symbolic of your current mindset—a placid lake means you are calm, while rafting waters represent excitement or uncertainty.


Quite often, flying occurs in lucid dreaming. This means that you are able to control your actions in your dream, and are aware that you are doing so. The ease with which you are able to take flight is representative of the power and knowledge you have in certain circumstances in your life.

You’re Lost

If you find yourself struggling to find direction in your dream, that is probably exactly what is happening to you during the daylight. You have reached a fork in the road, and don’t know which way you should go.


If you’re running late to your dream function, you are likely feeling some apprehension about a decision you have to make. You might feel like you need more time to figure things out.

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Image by Hans Splinter from http://www.flickr.com/photos/archeon/490828167

2 thoughts on “Sweet Dreams: Interpreting Your Nighttime Journeys

  1. Rachell

    I once had a dream that I was falling off of a cliff, which I abruptly awoke from because I literally fell off my top bunk and onto the ground. This is interesting!

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