Friday, September 16, 2011

Dissecting a Dream

“A dream is a wish your heart makes, when you’re fast asleep,” or so sings Cinderella in the 1950’s Disney  version of the classic fairytale.   But what do those dreams mean? Are they just random bits of data rambling around incoherently in our head when we turn out the lights and switch off our brains? Are they mental images of our deepest desires and darkest fears? Or perhaps psychic warnings?

According to Wikipedia, Dreams are successions of images, ideas, emotions and sensations occurring involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep.[1]  It also states the content and purpose of dreams isn’t fully understood. But there is a lot of research and speculation.

When a person falls asleep, the body begins a cycle of sleep known as Non Rapid Eye Movement or NREM sleep. There are four cycles of NREM- which last between 5-15 minutes, followed by a brief period of Rapid Eye Movement or REM sleep. That’s the stage where the body twitches, the eyes move rapidly behind closed lids and the dreams begin. REM sleep lasts five minutes or less. Then the body begins a new cycle of NREM.

In stage one of NREM, the mind is drifting between sleep and wakefulness. The eyes are closed, the brain starts to slow down. Some people experience a falling sensation and will often twitch or jump and briefly awaken. This isn’t a deep sleep and it usually lasts 5 to 10 minutes. 

Stage 2 is another brief period of light sleep, the time when muscles relax, body temperature decreases, and the heart slows.  
In stage 3, sleep deepens until the body reaches Stage 4, the deepest stage where it is difficult to wake up. Stage 4 is also known as delta, sleep. Waking someone up during this time can cause them to feel confused and disoriented.

In Stages 3 and 4, healing occurs. The body repairs and regenerates tissue damage,  builds bones and muscle, and strengthens the immune system. Research shows that getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night can help prevent cancer and prolong life. But the older we get, the less deeply we sleep. 

As a person comes out of Stage 4 NREM sleep he/she passes into REM sleep and the dreams begin. This stage lasts about five minutes before the body begins the nest NREM cycle. If a person is awoken during or soon after REM sleep, he/she is much more likely to remember the dream--which is what happened to me the other day. 

When my alarm went off, I was in the middle of a strange dream…

I was in my bathroom. I was dressed but barefoot. I flushed the commode. The water started to rise and not go down. I knew I had to get a plunger. So, I turned to leave and before I could step out of the bathroom and into my bedroom, I saw water coming into my room. I turned toward the toilet but the water hadn’t spilled over the rim.  But the water was coming in from the bedroom and starting to rise. It was knee deep and something was floating in the water.

At first, I thought it was feces. I backed away as they floated toward me. But when I looked down, I saw chicken nuggets. Then I woke up.
Weird. And vivid. But what did it mean?

Dream interpretation is fascinating and while mine was still fresh in my mind, I decided to look up the key elements on this website:

And this is what I pieced together.
 To see a toilet in your dream symbolizes a release of emotions. You need to get rid of something in your life that is useless. Seeing a toilet in your dream may also be a physical manifestation brought about by a full bladder. The dream is attempting to get you up and to the bathroom.
To see an overflowing or flooded toilet in your dream denotes your desires to fully express your emotions.
I wake up during the night to pee and I always have to pee when I wake up. But it wasn't an emergency. So, I don't think my bladder was trying to tell me anything. But I do have a lot of useless crap--like the junk in my garage I need to get rid of. I also have some useless emotions that could use some purging. I don’t normally have trouble expressing myself but words and emotions are two different things. I often keep my true emotions to myself.
To see water in your dream, symbolizes your unconscious and your emotional state of mind. Water is the living essence of the psyche and the flow of life energy. It is also symbolic of spirituality, knowledge, healing and refreshment.
To dream that water is rising up in your house, suggests that you are becoming overwhelmed by your emotions.
Could be on to something here. Things at the day job are stressing me out. Short staffed. Increased workload and being told I have to pull some weekend shifts. That’s stressing me out along with my current WIP. Just can't seem to finish it.
To hear running water in your dream, denotes meditation and reflection. You are reflecting on your thoughts and emotions.  (I heard the water flowing and the toilet running in my dream.) And I have been thinking about a LOT of things lately.
There was nothing about floating food/objects on chicken nuggets on the website, but-- 

To see food in your dream represents physical and emotional nourishment and energies.
Generally speaking, food in dream usually refers to food for thoughts, ideas, new beliefs, etc. They are ideas you take in and digest mentally.

This is encouraging. It could mean I’m digesting new ideas for the WIP. But obviously, I have emotional issues. Guess I need to finish this damn book so I’ll stop stressing and having these weird dreams.

So, what have you dreamed about lately?


  1. OMGodiva, that's mess of a dream right there. I can't even recall the last dream I had--that's probably not a good sign. ;)
    But something is clearly hounding your thoughts at night! Interesting post and as always, educational!

  2. Very very interesting post. I have a recurring dream. My family is in this really strange old house that is on a very very high mountain. An earthquake happens and the house starts sliding down. We are clinging to everything and anything as the house tilts and things start falling out. This in several versions.

  3. Andris, next time you wake up and remember a dream, write it down while it's still fresh. Your subconscious may be telling you something. Or, the dream could be the premise of your next book!

    PL, that dream sounds disturbing. I pulled the key elements from the dream and plugged them into the website's dream search. This is what it says:
    To see a house in your dream represents your own soul and self. If the house is shifting, then it suggests that you are going through some personal changes and changing your belief system. To see an old, run-down house in your dream represents your old beliefs, attitudes and how you used to think or feel. A situation in your current life may be bringing about those same old attitudes and feelings. Alternatively, the old house may symbolize your need to update you mode of thinking. To dream that your house is damaged indicates your waking concerns about the condition of your house.
    To see mountains in your dream signify many major obstacles and challenges that you have to overcome. If you are on top of the mountain, then it indicates that you have achieved and realized your goals. You have recognized your full potential. Alternatively, mountains denote a higher realm of consciousness, knowledge, and spiritual truth. To dream that you fall off a mountain refers to your rush to succeed without thoroughly thinking about your path to success. Perhaps you are being pushed upward into a direction that you do not want to go or that you are not ready for.
    To dream of an earthquake suggests that you are experiencing a major "shake-up" that is threatening your stability and foundation. The dream highlights your insecurity, fears and sense of helplessness. Is there something in your life that you feel at "fault" for? If you find cover from the quake, you will overcome these challenges. If you become trapped or injured during the quake, you will suffer some sort of loss in your life. According to the bible, earthquakes symbolize God's anger and power.

    Does any of that fit? Or is this all just a bunch of hooey.