Dreams: Going Beyond The Human Psyche


Elena Krueper, Staff Writer

Dreams are the gateway into people’s minds. They can reveal their deepest fears or their greatest desires, but how do people decipher their dreams, and why are they important?

To fully understand the psychology behind dreams, people must understand why their dreams are significant. Dreams are significant because they can tell people more about themselves than they might think. In other words, dreams are like the doors into people’s subconscious–opening up new possibilities and subtly giving them hints about what they truly want or feel. Not all dreams, however, have to have meaning. Although, that may feel like the case for some people. For example, Kinley Chupp, a junior at Elkhart High School, explained, “I think that all my dreams have meaning and are significant. I like to pick apart and analyze each one of my dreams.”

Another big part about understanding the dreaming process is learning about REM sleep. REM stands for “Rapid Eye Movement.” It is called that because people’s eyes move rapidly and their muscles are paralyzed in this stage. Also, during this stage in the sleep cycle, people’s brains reach their most active point and, therefore, they tend to have more vivid dreams. Lucid dreaming usually occurs during this time, too. Lucid dreaming is when a person is in a state between REM sleep and being awake. In this state, people are aware that they are dreaming and sometimes, they can even control the outcome of their dreams. By learning about this time in the sleep cycle, people can not only fix certain sleeping problems that they have, but they can also learn how to control and decipher their dreams. For example, Kinley expressed, “I’ve had sleep paralysis before, and so I looked into the REM stage in order to prevent it from happening to me again. I also learned how to lucid dream after reading more about it.” By learning more about REM, people can learn how to both understand themselves better and their dreams better just like Kinley.

Some of the most common dreams that people experience include the following: flying, being chased, witnessing their teeth falling out, getting trapped, etc. Chupp confirmed that she is one of these people; she stated, “Lately I’ve been having dreams where my teeth are really loose, and whenever I would eat, they would move.” Since these dreams are so recurrent, many psychologists have been able to analyse them and decipher what they mean. For example, when people experiences their teeth falling out in their dreams, psychologists believe that it is because they are feeling insecure about something in their lives. Another example is that when people are being chased, psychologists believe that they may be avoiding a certain responsibility in their lives or that they feel anxious about. 

So, how do people analyse dreams that are more random and uncommon? Well, people can learn how to decipher their dreams by doing various things. The first step, however, is to learn how to recall dreams–a task that can be very hard for some people. They can also just simply start to write down the dreams that they do remember or do reality checks throughout the day. A reality check is when individuals check if they are dreaming by examining their surroundings. The more people do this while they are awake, the more likely they are to do it in a dream. This can help people realize when they are dreaming and can even incite lucid dreaming (when a person can fully control his or her dreams.) Once people can remember their dreams, then they can start to decipher them. There are various books, journals, and credible websites that people can use in order to search for symbolism in their dreams. People, however, have to remember that their interpretation of a dream could be totally different than what another person might think. 

Whether it is a nightmare or a recurring dream, learning how to interpret dreams can be very beneficial for people. Taking the time to further understand their sleep cycle and the overall meaning that dreams can carry can help relieve stress and give people peace of mind. After all, the mind is one of the most amazing and powerful things in the world.