Personal Growth

The 5 Main Types of Dreams

There are various types of dreams, and this should be kept in mind whenever talking about this subject. Dreams happen at night, but also during the day, beyond normal dreams, and under multiples shapes and forms.

Knowing about the various kinds of dreams make them easier to interpret because when you know what kind of dream you are dealing with, it is easier for you to interpret it accordingly and get useful advice and lessons from it in order to improve your existence in every possible way.

And so, there are several types of dreams that can be analyzed. Usually, though they are many different kinds, they are sorted into five main types. Learn about the different kinds of dreams, and then pay attention to the types of dreams you are having. This article will make it easier for you to interpret them.

1/ Ordinary dreams

This is the most common kind of dream, the one you usually have every night, even if you cannot remember it when you wake up. You can also have an ordinary dream during the day.

When you are extremely tired, during a nap, after some intense workout, or a relaxation or meditation session…you can fall asleep and have some dreams that are just as interesting as they are at night.

You still need to remember them when you wake up though. It is harder than at night because usually when you wake up in the morning you are in a quiet environment and you can take as much time as you need to remember your dreams.

It is harder to remember your dreams during the day. Indeed, most of the times when you fall asleep during the day (willingly or not) you often wake up quite suddenly, sometimes among other people, in public transportation, in a car (preferably as a passenger!).

This sudden awakening usually happens in a noisy place, or can conversely be triggered by the noise around you (voice, horn, traffic noise, children screaming…) When you fall asleep under these conditions, you often get a feeling of guilt and try to appear more upright.

Making an effort to remember your dreams couldn’t be further from your mind in this kind of situation. As a consequence, you forget about them more readily than you would nocturnal dreams, and you quickly return to your usual pattern.

In this context, it can be very hard to remember your dream, unless you are used to it or if these dreams were particularly striking, in a pleasant… or a terrifying way.

2/ Nightmares

This can also be classified as a dream. Indeed, in the previous article, we have defined a dream as “a mental experience happening during sleep (day or night) that can have an obvious or symbolical meaning.”

A nightmare is a perfect fit for this definition, the only difference being its negative connotation. It seems so realistic that you often wake up with a start, drenched in sweat, or full of fear… and it can last for quite a while!

An advantage that nightmares have over regular dreams is that you usually remember them more vividly because you experience very strong and striking feelings!

As such it is easy to memorize them and you can quickly and easily draw some lessons from them because you are motivated not to experience the same thing again. You can thus find very interesting lessons about the personality of your shadow side, sometimes more easily than through ordinary dreams!

You don’t have to be afraid of nightmares, as your mind is not trying to scare you, you are the very source of your own night terrors. Bad dreams and nightmares also provide a fascinating insight into your subconscious mind.

When you analyze them, you can get a lot of information about the source of your fear, anxiety, etc. and you can deduct very useful advice to get rid of several of your flaws and negative points, and thus move forward on your path of evolution.

3/ Lucid dreaming

This is the luxury car of dreams: the ultimate goal that anyone seriously looking to maximize the resources of their dreams should strive to reach.

Lucid dreaming consists of noticing that you are dreaming from within your dream and then being able to change any element of that dream at will.

The main advantage over ordinary dreams is that you can program your lucid dreams before you go to sleep, and once you are inside that dream and aware that you are dreaming, you become the master of your own dreams.

You can experience anything you wish, even you most secret, sensual, or intimate desires, those you dream about but cannot achieve in real life.

Often the impossible character of your desires stems from imaginary blocks you are setting upon yourself or prior conditioning imposed by your education or the rules of the society you are living in, from the influence of advertisements or ready-made ideas that you have never thought to question.

In a lucid dream, you are not bound by the physical limitations of your body or by your usual rules of morality, you can turn movie superheroes and their extraordinary powers into amateurs by comparison, because in your dream you can have all of their superpowers at the same time, and more!

You can, at will: fly, disappear instantaneously, travel to the ends of the world or to higher realms, meet spirit guides, beings of light, angels, living relatives that reside far away from you, or even the deceased.

You can live through any imaginable and unimaginable experience. You are only bound by the constraints of your own imagination!

You just need to learn to practice lucid dreaming, and in a short while – provided you train on a regular basis and are confident enough – you will quickly achieve lucid dreaming and become the master of your own dreams!

It is not particularly hard to do, the only obstacles will be the ones you will set for yourself beforehand, if you don’t believe it or if you are convinced that you won’t make it. Thousands of people managed to achieve lucid dreaming and it has completely transformed their life.

They have provided them with solutions to their seemingly unsolvable problems (at least from their usual point of view) or enabled them to make all their wishes come true. Why not give it a try?

4/ Daydreaming

This is the kind of dream you have unwillingly when you are awake and your mind starts wandering away, shutting you out from whatever you were doing then.

According to several studies, everyone undergoes these kinds of disconnects for 70 to 120 minutes a day on average.

However, if you are daydreaming openly people might look down on you. Some might say that you are lazy, distracted, passive…

Willingly or not, this activity is what gave dreams a bad reputation.

This undeserved reputation has been cemented by idioms like “Dreaming your life away”, “he’s a dreamer”, “don’t dream it be it!”

You can start daydreaming at any time, especially when you are doing something repetitive or that you have done many, many times. Your mind starts wandering, you keep doing what you are doing reflexively but your consciousness is gone.

The best example would be while driving. You grab the steering wheel, you brake, you travel from one point to the next without really thinking about it, because you are on autopilot, pun intended.

Meanwhile, your mind is often focused on something else: you think about the argument you just had, about the meeting you are traveling to, about your next holidays, about the money you wish to earn…

Daydreaming can also send you back to the past as you recall and remember things you have done right, or wrong.

Your mind can also anticipate the future in order to imagine the various ways to react to a situation you are about to live on a professional, familial, or sentimental level… You can also think while you walk or drive, imagining beforehand all the delights that might soon be yours…

Daydreams, like every other kind of dream, puts you in an altered state of consciousness and away from your everyday life!

You can imagine any kind of situation, just like in a lucid dream… the main difference is that contrary to lucid dreaming, you do not get to experience it firsthand right now, but sometimes in the future.

5/ Directed waking dreams

This is a practice designed by a French psychotherapist, Robert Desoille (1890- 1966).

Some might say this is just a variant of a daydream because it uses most of its characteristics, but as its name indicates it does so in a directed way, as a therapeutic practice.

Under the watchful eye of a practitioner, a patient can express their repressed desires that are locked away from their everyday life.

The patient will imagine a scenario where they can freely visualize whatever they see (items, landscapes, symbols…), the emotions they feel, and the people or animals they meet…

They can do it freely, but sometimes the therapist will provide a starting image or situation that will be the starting point of the patient’s own scenario.

The patient then describes any emotion, feeling, or experience they have… These evocations can trigger involuntary body movements, or positive facial expressions (joy, pleasure, satisfaction…) as well as negative ones (sadness, annoyance, anger…).

Finally, the therapist will interpret anything the patient spoke out loud in order to help them understand the situations they have experienced and the symbols they have visualized.

Conclusion: dozens of types of dreams

There are many other kinds of dreams! Among the most common ones, we might mention recurring dreams where you are having the same dream several times. You have false awakenings where you wake up from a dream into another dream and are then convinced that you are awake… until you actually wake up and notice that you were still asleep.

There are also prophetic dreams where you get visions of your own future; therapeutic dreams will provide solutions to some health problems or help with prevention. You can also dream vivid warnings about upcoming problems in a near or distant future.

Take a walk on the ethereal path of dreams and select those you are most interested in, those that seem most useful to you.

Our next article will focus on the following question: “Are dream dictionaries useless or useful?”

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Philippe Kerforne

Personal growth and hypnosis coach, writer and columnist

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