What Are Your Dreams Telling You?
We explore what common stress dreams mean and how you can get back into a healthy sleep routine
With September fast approaching, many of us are feeling the pressure of getting back into a routine and returning to ‘normal’. Maybe you’ve had a slow summer and enjoyed a break from work, or perhaps routine has been lost with the kids being off from school.
For many, worrying about the end of summer or ‘August anxiety’ is real. Talking to Stylist magazine, medical director of Healthspan and author of Cut Your Stress Dr Sarah Brewer said,
“August Anxiety tends to strike towards the end of summer in anticipation of end of holidays, return to school, onset of colder weather and the days drawing in.
“It’s a new concept that was identified by therapists who are seeing increasing numbers of clients with anticipation anxiety as summer ends.”
Stress and anxiety can have many symptoms, and for some these include stress dreams. The dreams we have can be a great indicator of how we’re feeling mentally, and while experts are unsure exactly why we dream, some believe they have a key role to play in our mental health.
In his article, The importance of dreams, psychotherapist and Counselling Directory member Joshua Miles explains.
“It has been suggested that dreams could be crucial to our emotional and mental health and can be a means by which we solve problems, deal with emotions and thoughts. It is thought that dreams play an important role in providing us with the ability to function psychologically. Therefore there are clearly benefits to dreaming, understanding our dreams and their meanings.”
Experts at Tempur have revealed four of the most common stress dreams experienced by Britons and what they could mean.
Teeth falling out
If you’ve ever experienced this dream, you’ll know that feeling of panic when you wake up and have to frantically check your mouth to ensure it was indeed, just a dream. There are several interpretations of this dream, including experiencing changes to your normal routine (common during summer), fear of a certain situation and having emotional experiences in real life being challenged.
Being naked in public
Maybe you’re walking down the street, maybe you’re at your old school or maybe you’ve just stood up to give a big presentation at work. Wherever you are, you look down and realise you’re completely naked. This dream is not only mortifying, it’s often a recurring one. Theories about this dream include a link to shame and humiliation with public nudity in the dream being linked to real-life experiences when we’ve felt embarrassed. There are also interpretations of this dream being about vulnerability and feeling insecure about letting our guard down.
Regardless of who’s doing the chasing, these dreams are incredibly stressful. In quite a literal sense, experts say this dream could be linked to us running away from something we’re afraid to face in our lives or avoiding confrontation. The chaser themselves could also represent a form of anxiety in our own personality.
Unlike those wonderful dreams where we fly above the sky with the greatest of ease, falling dreams usually involve a drop from a great height, knowing there’s no chance of survival. This out of control feeling could relate to feeling out of control in real life, perhaps in our relationships or work. Falling dreams can also be linked to the belief that our goals are unattainable, showing a lack of self-belief.
Considering what your dreams may be telling you can help you identify areas to work on and help you recognise how stressed you really are.
Working on your sleep routine is another great step to help reduce stress and feel more on top of things when September comes. The experts at Tempur recommend going to bed and rising at the same time every day, “The occasional late night or weekend lie-in isn’t a major cause for concern but having a very varied sleep pattern can disrupt the body’s internal clock, leading to poorer sleep quality overall.”
Light exercise during the day can help you feel more sleepy at night and avoiding caffeine and alcohol is recommended. Ensuring your bedroom is ideal for sleep, i.e. dark, cool and comfortable is key.
Avoid being on your devices at night as the blue light that’s emitted can make you feel more awake. Tempur suggest reading quietly and drinking a warm drink instead.
If not being able to sleep is an ongoing issue for you, you may want to consult your doctor. There are lots of approaches that can help with insomnia, including hypnotherapy. Hypnotherapy uses suggestion techniques to encourage your mind to relax and sleep easier while addressing any underlying anxiety.
Hypnotherapist Fiona Lamb goes into more detail about this approach and how it can help with sleep in our podcast, I am. I have.
If you’re struggling with anxiety at any time of the year, know that support is available. You can speak to a counsellor or try hypnotherapy - below we have a search bar for you to find a hypnotherapist in your area.