The INSIDER Summary:
• Some dreams appear to be common, like being naked in a classroom, or falling through the sky.
• They’re just really vivid, so people remember them better.
• That said, the dreams can still carry important meanings.
Have you ever had a dream where you show up to work and you’re completely naked?
Or that you’re falling through the air, and there’s nothing you can do to stop yourself from hitting the ground?
Or that you have a final exam, but completely forgot you signed up for the course in the first place?
So what’s going on? Why do so many people seem to be having the same dreams?
According to Robert Hoss, the former president of the International Association for the Study of Dreams, those dreams aren’t necessarily common; they’re just really vivid. And while things like being in work or class with no clothes, or having your teeth fall out, are common themes in dreams, a closer look at the content of those dreams show that their particular details can be, in fact, very different.
“If you do a content analysis, look at the number of times these happen in dreams, they’re way, way less than one per cent,” Hoss told INSIDER. “The reason we remember them and think they’re very common is because they’re dramatic. When your teeth fall out, that’s pretty dramatic. That’s why it’s become a myth that it’s very common.”
A dream, Hoss said, is a visual representation of your brain working through emotional problems. To get that imagery, your brain draws on memories and invents scenarios to work through.
If there’s an image that’s in the popular consciousness — like showing up to class without pants or without studying for the final exam (or both) — then your brain can pick that up and use that as a scenario in a dream. But just because you remember it doesn’t mean it’s more common than other dreams.
And just because these dreams aren’t common doesn’t mean they’re meaningless. If you have a dream where you’re falling through the sky, then your brain is trying to work through an emotional problem that’s similar to the emotions you feel when you’re falling through the sky. That particular meaning, though, differs from person to person.
To one person, for example, showing up naked in a classroom could mean that you’re afraid of something personal being revealed in front of your peers. To others, it could mean that you’re struggling with being prepared in a serious setting. It depends on each person’s individual issues.
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