This article will explore the reasons why we may see someone in our dream and how our dreams are affected by our emotional, mental and physical state.
What Does It Mean When You Dream About Someone?
What it means when you dream about someone depends on a number of factors that could be associated with any of the following:
- Guilt, Worry, Stress
- Unconscious Desires & Wishes
- A Deep Connection – Interpreting Signals
- Escaping Your Worries
- Your Own Self
Each of these reasons hold much significance when it comes to what or whom you dream about and we will explore each one in detail. In this article, we will also examine the stages of the dreaming process and what purposes do dreams serve.
What Are Dreams?
A topic of scientific, religious and historical interest, dreams are successions of images, ideas and sensations that occur in one’s mind when they are going through a certain stage of the sleep cycle. Dreams are often not controlled by one and though there has been much research on dreams and what affects their content, much confusion still remains to date.
On average, every night a person is expected to dream 3 to 5 times although they may not remember it. Each dream can last between 5 to 20 minutes but occurs likely during the REM or rapid eye movement stage.
Dreams serve a number of purposes such as:
- Offline Memory Processing: The brain consolidates memory tasks and learning to assist waking consciousness.
- Preparation: During sleep, the brain dreams so as to help one prepare for future tasks or threats.
- Simulation Activity: Dreams also serve as a simulation or exercise because they resemble the period when we are awake.
- Capabilities: Dreaming also helps one develop cognitive capabilities especially when one is carrying out tasks in the dream.
- Past, Present, Future: A unique state of consciousness that incorporates experienceTrusted Source of the present, processing of the past, and preparation for the future
Nonetheless, dreams serve many purposes as highlighted above! However, one may ask what the stages are of the sleep cycle. We will explore these in the upcoming section of this article.
Stages Of Sleep
There are four stages of sleep where one stage involves rapid eye movement (REM) and the other stages are non rapid eye movement (NREM) stages. They have been explained below:
- Stage 1: This is NREM sleep that typically lasts around 1-5 minutes and can be characterized as dozing off stage! This is when the body and brain activities start to slow down and there are periods of brief movements where the body twitches.
- Stage 2: This is also a NREM sleep stage where the body is now in a subdued state, the temperature drops and brain and body activity has slowed down to the extent that brain waves show a new pattern and there is no eye movement. However there are short bursts of activity to ensure the person stays asleep if there is any external stimuli. This stage lasts around 10 – 25 minutes.
- Stage 3: Yet another NREM stage where the person’s body is totally relaxed and they are in a deep sleep and hence it is difficult to wake them up. The brain emits waves that are known as delta waves. Experts believe that this stage is critical to restorative sleep, allowing for bodily recovery and growth. It may also bolster the immune system and other key bodily processes. Even though brain activity is reduced, there is evidence that deep sleep contributes to insightful thinking6, creativity7, and memory.
- Stage 4: This is the REM stage where the person experiences atonia which means they are temporarily paralysed except for the breathing muscles and the eye’s movement. Usually, you need to go through other stages to enter REM sleep and this stage makes up about 25% of one’s total sleep.
What Does It Mean When You Dream About Someone – 5 Reasons
In this section of the article we will look at various reasons as to why you may be dreaming about someone.
Guilt, Worry, Stress
These are one of the reasons you may be seeing someone constantly in your dreams. You may be guilty about what you did to someone or worry excessively about them. You may not feel it during the day but it is at the back of your mind and later at night, when you are fast asleep, it comes to haunt you.
Stress can also play a huge role in affecting your dreams. It has happened many times when people are obsessing over something like an impending deadline, a project that has gone horribly wrong or your final exam that you haven’t prepared for! You will end up dreaming about missing the deadline, failing the exam or being blamed for the project’s failure. Stress clearly plays a role in what you dream about.
Unconscious Desires & Wishes
This is something the famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud strongly believed in – he claimed that our unconscious desires manifested in our dreams and this is why he paid much attention to what his clients and patients dreamt about.
Our human body and mind is indeed a very complex thing – something so complex that we have only begun wrapping the very tips of our fingers around it. However, we do realize that within us, we have many unconscious desires that may, from time to time, pop out and scare us. Hence, our dreams allow these to surface in a less threatening manner. It is possible we desire a life with someone who is out of our reach, especially if one is married, hence we dream about that other person. It is also possible we desire something to happen that may be unacceptable in real life but in our dreams it is truly possible.
Dreams are a place where your desires do indeed manifest themselves. Hence they are a good way to explain our behavior and mental processes and also explain why we experience mental and behavioural disorders – especially if our inner desires are not being fulfilled.
A Deep Connection – Interpreting Signals
The electrical nature of the brain allows for it to send signals that could be caught and interpreted by another brain. Many scientists suggest that brain waves physically travel like the waves of the ocean however there is still much to prove. Nonetheless, this is an area where science still needs to do much research into!
Sometimes we form deep connections with others to the extent that we are not only physically attracted to them but also develop a mental or emotional connection. This may affect how our brains operate and hence affect our dreams. We may see more of this person and it is possible – anything is possible – that we dream about the person because they are thinking about us and their brain emits waves – the ripple effect.
Escaping Your Worries
You may begin to dream about someone you desire or fantasize about especially if you want to escape your existing worries. This is a phenomena where you want to get out of your current situation and imagine a life elsewhere with someone else.
This may be linked to the causal factor of stress where the brain helps you cope by dreaming about an alternate life where things are just as you always wanted them to be.
Your Own Self
The person you see in your dream may actually represent you! They may be a symbolic representation of your feelings, attitudes, behaviors or desires and hence when you see this particular person you are actually seeing yourself – just in a different form. This is another way the brain shows you what you feel like or how you actually are.
The brain has its ways of teaching you more about yourself – that too in fun ways. Hence, the person you may be seeing could actually be yourself so watch closely and try to see what your brain is telling you.
Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.
This article talked in depth about what it means when you dream about someone and cited various reasons for this and explained them in detail. Furthermore, the article talked about what dreams basically are and what purposes they service. The various sleep cycle stages were also mentioned and described in detail for the audience’s understanding.