When I talk about dreams on this site, and when oneirologists talk about dreams in their research, we are talking about the actual felt experience of the dream as it happens, and it refers to all internally-generated experiences (i.e. they come from our own minds) that happen during sleep. Dreams are different from dream reports, which we use in research.

Because there are four stages of sleep, which are very different from each other in many neurophysiological ways, the content and characteristics of dreams in different stages of sleep vary widely. For the types of dreams that are typical for the different stages of sleep, take a look at the pages for each stage of sleep. They are: Stage 1 non-REM sleep, Stage 2 non-REM sleep, Stage 3 non-REM sleep, and REM sleep.

There are lots of different ways we can categorise types of dreams, such as lucid dreams, recurrent dreamstypical dreams, hypnagogic and hypnopompic dreams bad dreams, and nightmares, just to name a few. We know that dreams picture things from our waking-lives, and the ways in which this happens are being researched, in terms of what things from waking life we dream about, and the temporal patterns that they follow such as day residue and dream lag.

There are many theories about why we dream, including cognitive theories such as emotion-processing and memory consolidation, and psychodynamic theories such as wish-fulfilmment and compensation; I will continue to add more of these to the glossary in the future. We can do all kinds of things with our dreams, and many people do, for example using various dreamwork and dream interpretation methods.

3 thoughts on “Dream

  1. Hi so recently I had this dream and it’s was pretty strange I done know what to classify it as. My dream consisted of me sitting in like a movie theater and on the big screen was a time lapse of multiple drawings of two people kissing and it stopped to a picture where one person is sitting at a vanity looking towards the camera and in the mirror is the other person looking also at the camera then the light started to flash then the picture goes into black and white but it looks edited to be creepy and the person in the mirrors(lets call them person B) face is crossed out then all the previous pictures show up on the screen but now person B’s face is crossed out then i look around the movie theater and everyone’s face is crossed out. I am confused and almost concerned of the dream and I want to try and figure out what it means. Thank you and Have a good day.


    1. Hi Lya, thanks for getting in touch! The imagery and themes our dreams choose are incredibly personal, so the best way to get an understanding of your dream is to work on it yourself. I really like a method developed by Gayle Delaney called the “dream interview”, which you can do by yourself or with a loved one. It’s a great method for understanding the metaphors in your dreams. Here is a website that explains the method: https://yoursleepinggenius.com/programs/how-to-conduct-a-dream-interview


  2. I have been confused about this for a while and didn’t really know how to explain it to anyone but, I have dreams in other languages. At first I thought it was just gibberish until I woke up learning a new word “éclatant” & realized i actually was dreaming in French. I’ve also had a dream where it’s all in Russian but my dream had English captions for me to understand .. even though it was me dreaming. So my brain had to translate for my own brain. I have a lot of strange experiences with dreams & a lot of examples of me dreaming future events. Just last night I dreamt about a kidnapping & I woke up to an amber alert. I also dream sometimes if I want to find answers to things. For example once my friend asked me what my favorite word was & I said I had to find out in my dreams and I woke up with the word “grandeur” this happens a lot. & I realized I love that word :). Anyways I have a bunch of questions regarding my dreams I just need to find someone who specializes in dreams to help me figure it out. My mom has a lot of the same experiences when it comes to dreams.


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