Types of Dreams

In dreams, we can be anyone, anywhere.

According to psychology, there are five types of dreams. These dreams include ordinary dreams, lucid dreams, day dreams, false awakening dreams and nightmares. You can experience different types of dreams during the same resting period as they may easily blend in with each other.

Exploring the Five Common Types of Dreams

Dreams have provoked curious thought and philosophical exploration for centuries. In Ancient Greece, dreams were messages from the gods delivered by the god Morpheus. The god of dreams could take human form and appear in the dreams of the common man. Greek temples called Asclepieions provided a refuge for the sick, where they could be cured through the dreams visited upon them.

Sigmund Freud explored dreams as a part of his research into the human psyche. He believed that dreams were the mind's way of processing information, suppressed memories, thoughts and feelings that the conscious mind is not ready to accept. Assigning meaning to dreams is explored through psychology, dream interpretation and self-help.

Ordinary Dreams

Ordinary dreams occur during rapid eye movement, one of the five stages of sleep. During this type of dream, thoughts trigger dreams. Your mind stores knowledge, impressions, information and experiences from the day. Casual thoughts that are being stored into long term memory can shift into dreams where the person dreams about riding a horse, running in a field or delivering a speech naked. These dreams may lack any real story or straight interpretation, but cascade as images. A person may average three to five dreams per night. It's not uncommon to forget a dream the next morning or to find the memory fleeting upon waking.

Lucid Dreams

In lucid or "conscious" dreams, you are aware that you are dreaming.A common form of this is to be giving a speech naked in front of your peers and then to realize you're dreaming. A lucid dream is similar to ordinary dreams, except that you are aware of yourself beyond the subconscious.You can use lucid dreams to explore possibilities and "what ifs". If you're really worried about a conversation or an interaction, you can act it out during a lucid dream. Lucidity may also help you bolt out of a bad dream by allowing you to realize it for what it is.

Daydreams and False Awakening Dreams

Daydreams happen when you're awake. You may be sitting in a class, in a meeting or in the car. You stare off and tuning out the world around you. Daydreams are a way to let your imagination wander. Daydreams occur during a waking state, but you feel drowsy and relaxed during them. A daydream may also be triggered during meditation.False awakening dreams are different in that you dream you are awake. These types of dreams may occur when a child wets the bed. They dream they are up and going into the bathroom. When they wake later, they are surprised by what happened because they "remember" going to the bathroom. False awakening dreams may lead you to dreaming you are playing a game all night, working or going to school. When you actually wake up, you don't feel rested because you feel like you were awake all night.


Nightmares are a disturbing type of dream. In nightmares, you experience terror, fear, sadness and anger. Nightmares reflect frightful events similar to those experienced in thrillers and horror movies. A person may have a nightmare when they are worried or deeply stressed. For parents, nightmares may include dreams of their children being hurt or injured; for an athlete it may be losing the game and for victims of trauma, it may be dreaming the trauma is occurring again. Nightmares can evoke emotional terror by forcing a person to face unsolved problems or fears.

Dreams may be indicators of issues or feelings that you need to cope with, but in the paraphrased words of Sigmund Freud, a dream may be just a dream.

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Types of Dreams