I'm a sleep psychologist - this is what your dreams and nightmares really mean (and the truth behind THAT vision of your teeth falling out)

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Whether they are hauntingly realistic visions of our teeth falling retired aliases our partner cheating pinch a activity workfellow they insisted we request not interest about, we each person unusual dreams we can't look to make consciousness of.

Well, now a apical slumber master has shared a fascinating penetration into why we tin person specified vivid experiences during our slumber.

Professor Mark Blagrove, head of Swansea University's Sleep Laboratory, thinks nan logic our dreams tin beryllium truthful 'complex', littered pinch 'characters, emotions and plots', is because they are designed for america to stock pinch others.

Some psychologists alternatively judge dreams are conscionable nan brain's measurement of processing memories, knowing emotions and processing arguments.

It's thought your dreams are conscionable nan brains measurement of processing memories and amended knowing our emotions

Others opportunity there's perfectly thing down our visions, arguing they are simply a meaningless bunch of thoughts. 

'There are galore debates astir why we dream,' Professor Blagrove told nan British Psychological Society's PsychCrunch podcast.

'But astir researchers will judge that dreams are meaningful and do mention to nan individual's waking life, moreover if it is successful a metaphorical way.

'They are not copying waking life but often providing land aliases scenes related to nan person's waking life to an extent.'

Although galore dreams person 'fictional' scenes, astir group tin usually subordinate to nan emotions they experience, he explains. But why?

One mentation stems backmost to an evolutionary mentation that location is a virtual reality going connected successful our minds while we're tossing and turning successful bed, and we are practicing overcoming threats.

Professor Blagrove said: 'We dream of threats that hap to us.

'We simulate these threats that hap successful our dreams, to simulate nan practicing of overcoming these threats.'

Sometimes these threats are not beingness but intelligence ones targeting our aforesaid esteem, causing america to process arguments and ways to reason backmost pinch people. 

Dreams are besides thought to to thief consolidate our memories and make them much permanent, Professor Blagrove said. This process might, immoderate believe, trigger specified lucid dreams.

'In slumber we are consolidating our memories and affectional memories and making nan memories much imperishable and besides linking them pinch erstwhile memories successful our semipermanent memory,' he said. 

'One mentation says while nan encephalon is doing that, we really acquisition nan consolidation, and nan acquisition of nan consolidation is our dreaming.'

Not each scientists work together pinch this, though. 

'There is besides nan mentation galore scientists will clasp that dreams are epiphenomenal and they are simply occurring,' Professor Blagrove said.

'During waking life we person our pensive occurring, which has a usability because we tin show our daydreams and build connected them and deliberation astir them, and nan mentation conscionable says that processing expertise carries complete into our sleep. But location is not intent to it, it has conscionable not been sewage free of by evolution.'

Professor Blagrove believes sharing dreams pinch others is really we reap nan benefits of our life-like visions. 

That's because sharing dreams gives personification insight into nan life of nan illusionist and helps to build bonds, he said.

'Maybe nan usability of dreams doesn't hap while we are asleep,' he said. 

'Instead, what's happened is dreams person evolved and nan contents of dreams has evolved truthful that erstwhile we show nan dreams to different group erstwhile we are awake, astatine that constituent you disclose yourself to different people.

'The logic why dreams are truthful analyzable and person these characters and emotions and land and scenes and scenarios is because that complexity is needed successful bid for nan personification to definitive themselves metaphorically to different people.'

He suggests that because nan creation of story-telling successful humans has historically been important, nan enactment of dreaming serves to this purpose.

One research led by Professor Blagrove, published in Frontiers successful 2019, progressive group opening up astir their dreams pinch others. 

Fascinatingly, it showed listening and telling dreams increases empathy. 

But, unsurprisingly, this use of dreaming is only imaginable if you tin retrieve nan dream. 

Some researchers opportunity dreams person nary functions aliases purpose, but nan enactment of sharing them pinch others does thief build bonds pinch others

Although each slumber is important, REM slumber successful peculiarly important because it plays a domiciled successful dreaming, representation and affectional processing. 

The mostly of our dreams return spot during this shape (which makes up astir a 4th of our slumber) and they thin to beryllium much vivid, according to Sleep Foundation.

You are besides much apt to retrieve a dream if you aftermath up during your REM slumber period. 

If you enactment dormant during that cycle, dreams seemingly conscionable 'disappear' and person nary lasting effect, Professor Blagrove said.

He explains immoderate psychologists judge nan dreams earlier your REM rhythm are conscionable successful mentation for nan last dream of nan night. 

'The different dreams that hap during nan nighttime which we whitethorn enactment dormant during, they are conscionable portion of practicing that usability and getting fresh for nan large agelong dream that occurs astatine nan extremity of nan night,' Professor Blagrove said.

It's besides communal for group to retrieve nightmares arsenic they aftermath up during them.  

Describing a nightmare arsenic a 'distressing dream pinch antagonistic emotions to it', Professor Blagrove explains that immoderate experts judge nightmares are nan brains measurement of overcoming fears and threats and are successful truth much functional than dreams. 

An illustration of this is if personification has lived done a traumatic arena specified arsenic an earthquake they are much apt to person nightmares astir it than group who person not knowledgeable one. 

But others opportunity nightmares are nan nonaccomplishment of nan usability of nan dream. 

When you person a dream and you are processing memories and emotions and past alternatively you person a nightmare, that is simply a 'failure of that usability occurring', he said.  

'Trying to process thing that is truthful distressing that you person been woken up by it,' he added. 


Have you ever had a dream astir your teeth falling retired aliases that your partner has cheated connected you? 

Although everyone's dreams are different, location are immoderate accordant themes that could person a subtle meaning down them...

Teeth falling out

This is 1 of nan astir communal dreams. Sigmund Freud believed dreams of this taxable had a intersexual basis. 

Others reckon it intends you are anxious astir thing aliases concerned astir ageing. 

But it could, experts think, besides beryllium caused from hostility successful nan teeth, gums and jaw while sleeping.  

Sex and cheating

More than 70 per cent of group acquisition dreams astir sex, according to nan Sleep Foundation. 

Some studies show it could beryllium linked to debased levels of intimacy aliases jealousy successful a relationship. 

Natural disasters

Natural disaster dreams astir a floods, fires, earthquakes aliases an apocalyptic communicative whitethorn mean you consciousness a deficiency of power successful your life, arsenic per technological theory. 

Some experts theorise that water is typical of tears aliases fear, occurrence of vexation aliases anger and a large wind of a consciousness of being overwhelmed aliases confusion.

Unsurprisingly, specified visions tin besides beryllium nightmares group acquisition aft surviving done traumatic events. 


The emotion of falling done nan aerial while dreaming is common. 

Often group consciousness for illustration they are falling earlier experiencing a hypnic jerk. That is an involuntary lurch that tin aftermath you up. It tin bespeak that you consciousness retired of power successful your individual life, it is speculated.

Being chased

Dreaming of being chased could beryllium a motion you consciousness nether threat aliases hopeless to flight thing successful your waking life, aliases truthful nan mentation goes.

Clinical and cognitive hypnotherapist Sarah Bick says moving retired who aliases what you are being chased by tin uncover nan meaning of nan dream aliases what is causing you this anxiety.

If it is simply a personification you could beryllium moving distant from portion of yourself, whereas if it's a beast you could beryllium moving distant from your small heart aliases existent nature.  

Feeling for illustration you can't speak

Being incapable to outcry retired during a dream tin beryllium a from of slumber paralysis. 

But it tin besides beryllium a motion that you person debased assurance aliases are suffering from imposter syndrome successful your waking life, says Dipti Tait, a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist specialising successful sleep.

Your car is retired of control 

If you acquisition dreams wherever your driving is retired of control, moreover if you do not drive, it could mean you consciousness retired of control. 

Experts opportunity it could beryllium a motion you consciousness for illustration you mightiness pain retired aliases that you are uncertain astir nan future. 

Being naked 

If you are naked successful a dream it whitethorn beryllium a motion you consciousness your insecurities are being revealed. 

It could besides bespeak a fearfulness of getting exposed if you coming a mendacious image successful your regular life.  

But immoderate experts opportunity being naked successful a dream could besides mean you consciousness free to beryllium yourself. 

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