Home Health I’m a Sleep Psychologist: Here’s What Your Dreams and Nightmares Really Mean (And the Truth Behind THAT Vision of Your Teeth Falling Out)

I’m a Sleep Psychologist: Here’s What Your Dreams and Nightmares Really Mean (And the Truth Behind THAT Vision of Your Teeth Falling Out)

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It is believed that dreams are just the brain's way of processing memories and better understanding our emotions.

Whether it’s disturbingly realistic visions of our teeth falling out or our partner cheating on us with a coworker they insisted we shouldn’t worry about, we all have strange dreams that we can’t seem to make sense of.

Well, now a leading sleep expert has shared fascinating insight into why we can have such vivid experiences during sleep.

Professor Mark Blagrove, director of Swansea University’s Sleep Laboratory, believes the reason our dreams can be so “complex”, riddled with “characters, emotions and plots”, is because they are designed for us to share. with the rest.

Instead, some psychologists believe that dreams are simply the brain’s way of processing memories, understanding emotions, and processing arguments.

It is believed that dreams are just the brain’s way of processing memories and better understanding our emotions.

Others say that there is absolutely nothing behind our visions, arguing that they are simply a bunch of meaningless thoughts.

“There are a lot of debates about why we dream,” Professor Blagrove told the British Psychological Society’s PsychCrunch podcast.

“But most researchers will accept that dreams have meaning and refer to the individual’s waking life, even if metaphorically.

“They do not copy waking life, but often provide plots or scenes related to some extent to the person’s waking life.”

Although many dreams have “fictional” scenes, most people can usually relate to the emotions they experience, he explains. But why?

One explanation goes back to an evolutionary theory that there is a virtual reality in our minds as we toss and turn and practice overcoming threats.

Professor Blagrove said: ‘We dream about threats happening to us.

“We simulate these threats occurring in our dreams, to simulate the practice of overcoming these threats.”

Sometimes these threats are not physical but mental and target our self-esteem, causing us to process arguments and ways of responding to people.

Dreams are also thought to help consolidate our memories and make them more permanent, Professor Blagrove said. Some believe this process could trigger lucid dreams.

“During sleep we consolidate our memories and emotional memories and make them more permanent and also link them with previous memories in our long-term memory,” he said.

“One theory says that while the brain does that, we actually experience consolidation, and the experience of consolidation is our dream.”

However, not all scientists agree with this.

“There is also a theory that many scientists hold that dreams are epiphenomena and just happen,” Professor Blagrove said.

“During waking life we ​​have our waking dreams, which has a function because we can monitor our waking dreams and develop them and think about them, and the theory simply says that the processing capacity carries over into sleep. But it has no purpose, it just hasn’t been eliminated by evolution.’

Professor Blagrove believes that sharing dreams with others is how we reap the benefits of our realistic visions.

This is because sharing dreams gives someone insight into the dreamer’s life and helps build bonds, he said.

“Perhaps the dream function does not occur while we sleep,” he said.

‘Instead, what has happened is that dreams have evolved and the content of dreams has evolved so that when we tell dreams to other people when we are awake, at that time you reveal yourself to other people.

“The reason dreams are so complex and have these characters, emotions, plots, scenes and settings is because that complexity is necessary for the person to express themselves metaphorically to other people.”

He suggests that because the art of storytelling in humans has been historically important, the act of dreaming serves this purpose.

One experiment Led by Professor Blagrove, published in Frontiers in 2019, it involved people talking about their dreams with others.

Fascinatingly, he showed that listening to and recounting dreams increases empathy.

But, as expected, this benefit of dreaming is only possible if you can remember the dream.

Some researchers say that dreams have no function or purpose, but the act of sharing them with others does help build bonds with others.

Some researchers say that dreams have no function or purpose, but the act of sharing them with others does help build bonds with others.

Although all sleep is important, REM sleep is particularly important because it plays a role in dreaming, memory, and emotional processing.

Most of our dreams take place during this phase (which makes up about a quarter of our sleep) and tend to be most vivid, according to the Sleep Foundation.

You are also more likely to remember a dream if you wake up during REM sleep.

If you remain asleep during that cycle, the dreams apparently simply “disappear” and have no lasting effect, Professor Blagrove said.

He explains that some psychologists believe that dreams before the REM cycle are just a preparation for the final sleep of the night.

“The other dreams that occur during the night during which we can stay asleep are just part of practicing that function and preparing for the big long sleep that occurs at the end of the night,” Professor Blagrove said.

It is also common for people to remember nightmares when they wake up during them.

Describing a nightmare as a “distressing dream with negative emotions”, Professor Blagrove explains that some experts believe nightmares are the brain’s way of overcoming fears and threats and are in fact more functional than dreams.

An example of this is that if someone has experienced a traumatic event such as an earthquake, they are more likely to have nightmares about it than people who have not experienced one.

But others say that nightmares are the failure of the sleep function.

When you have a dream and you’re processing memories and emotions and then you have a nightmare, that’s a “failure of that function,” he said.

“Trying to process something that is so distressing that it woke you up,” he added.


Have you ever dreamed that your teeth are falling out or that your partner has cheated on you?

Although everyone’s dreams are different, there are some consistent themes that could have a subtle meaning behind them…

Teeth that fall out

This is one of the most common dreams. Sigmund Freud believed that dreams about this topic had a sexual basis.

Others believe it means you are anxious about something or worried about aging.

But experts believe it could also be due to stress on your teeth, gums, and jaw during sleep.

Sex and cheating

According to the Sleep Foundation, more than 70 percent of people dream about sex.

Some studies show that it could be related to low levels of intimacy or jealousy in a relationship.

Natural disasters

Dreaming about natural disasters, floods, fires, earthquakes, or an apocalyptic narrative may mean that you feel a lack of control in your life, according to scientific theory.

Some experts theorize that water is representative of tears or fear, fire of frustration or anger, and a storm of feeling overwhelmed or confused.

Unsurprisingly, these visions can also be nightmares that people experience after experiencing traumatic events.


The sensation of falling through the air while dreaming is common.

People often feel like they are falling before experiencing a hypnotic jolt. That’s an involuntary jolt that can wake you up. It may indicate that you feel out of control in your personal life, it is speculated.

Being chased

Dreaming about being chased could be a sign that you feel threatened or desperate to escape something in your waking life, or so the theory goes.

Clinical and cognitive hypnotherapist Sarah Bick says that discovering who or what is chasing you can reveal the meaning of the dream or what is causing you this anxiety.

If it’s a person you could be running away from a part of yourself, while if it’s a beast you could be running away from your instinct or your true nature.

Feel like you can’t speak

Not being able to cry during a dream may be a consequence of sleep paralysis.

But it can also be a sign that you have low confidence or suffer from imposter syndrome in your waking life, says Dipti Tait, a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist specializing in sleep.

Your car is out of control

If you have dreams about your driving being out of control, even if you’re not driving, it could mean that you feel out of control.

Experts say it could be a sign that you feel burned out or unsure about the future.

be naked

If you are naked in a dream, it may be a sign that you feel your insecurities are being revealed.

It could also indicate fear of being exposed if you present a false image in your daily life.

But some experts say that being naked in a dream could also mean that you feel free to be yourself.

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