Nobody wants to think about death, especially their own. It’s even more disturbing if you dream about dying. Perhaps it’s one of the most prominent night vision themes.
Are dreams about death an ominous warning of doom, or could they be a bit of overnight indigestion? Is the Universe trying to bring you to terms with mortality? Whether you have visions of yourself or your loved one passing away, it can cause severe stress and sleepless nights.
Fascination with dreaming is as old as humankind. Everybody dreams, whether they remember them or not, shares an article published by the Sleep Foundation. The report says that most people dream about two hours every night, which can happen in any sleep state.
However, when you go into the most profound sleep state, called REM, your dreams can be more vivid and memorable. If you are experiencing troublesome dreams about death, you probably have them during REM state. Your brain activities are more active, and nightmares tend to be more bizarre.
On the other hand, when you dream during lighter sleep states, they’re more apt to be about everyday happenings. These surface dreams are often the ones you probably forget. REM dreams often have recurring themes that can be puzzling or even frightening.
About Those Dreams
According to an article published by the Review of Neurosciences, dreaming serves many purposes. They can contribute to brain maturation, as well as learning, and give you a deeper glimpse into your subconscious. Unfortunately, many of your dreams are the results of wishful thinking.
Since dreaming is firmly rooted in the human condition, it has constants for everyone. First, when you dream, you are always the first-person observer. Secondly, your dreams will be framed in a setting, not just floating in blank space.
So, this article concludes that an integral reason for human dreams may be to develop your sense of identity. As the omnipresent observer in your dreams, you learn at an early age that you are separate from your surroundings.
Two Universal Dream Themes
Talk to anyone from around the world, and you’ll find they share the same themes in their dreams as you do. The background may be a little different, but the themes are consistent. Often, a dream may reoccur during times of stress or indecision with these themes.
1 – Lost, Naked, and Afraid
How many times have you dreamed that you were back in high school and forgot where your class was? Maybe you see yourself walking into a crowded room and notice to your horror that you’re stark naked. Some people may attribute these universal themes as a subtle indication that you feel self-conscious.
When you have those dreams, they probably don’t bother you much. You understand that they are familiar and harmless. Nevertheless, most people experience these themes periodically for the rest of their lives.
2 – I’ve Fallen, and I Can’t Wake Up
Another common dream theme is falling down an endless flight of stairs or through a bottomless abyss. When you dream of falling, you may awaken slightly panicked. You might feel your body slightly jerk as if you are trying to catch yourself.
Falling dreams are often scary because of your body’s reflexes and because they have been historically viewed as a bad omen. Many cultures believe that it predicts your premature death if you dream of falling and hit the ground.
While some people may have passed away after having such dreams, it’s merely a coincidence. Your brain often uses falling as a symbol of you feeling frustrated or helpless in a situation. When you fix the problem, you may notice that your falling dreams have gone.
The Darker Side of Dreams
Since you are asleep and your brain can’t chat with you, it uses symbols in your dreams. For example, you may be hoping for a job promotion, so you may dream about flying effortlessly through the sky. Sometimes, you may have strange night visions that represent inner conflict or other challenges.
However, sometimes your dreams take a more sinister approach, at least it seems to you. These dark dreams are alarming, especially when they reoccur in the same way. Here are the two most notorious ones:
Does this scenario sound familiar to you? You are in a deep slumber when suddenly, you see yourself running for your life. Someone or something is chasing you in this dream, and you don’t know who or why.
The setting is usually dark and in an open field or down a lonely road. It feels like you are moving in slow motion, and you try to scream but can’t. It’s like a scene in a bad horror movie.
Your body is pumped with adrenaline, and the fear is quite natural for you. Fortunately, your brain is equipped with a mechanism that keeps you from running in your sleep and getting injured. Nevertheless, when you awaken, you feel shaken and wonder about the dream’s meaning.
The good news is that having an unknown pursuer is just a brain symbol. It can usually mean that you are running away from an important decision. On the other hand, others may interpret it as some past wrongs that need to be rectified.
2 – Dreaming of Dying
Perhaps one of the scariest themes is when you dream about death. Although you have friends, family, and beloved pets deceased, your mind still can’t grasp the end. Instead, your brain protects you from this fear with a false sense of immortality.
If you dream about death, you may consider it more of a nightmare than a dream. As with the falling theme, death dreams have always been linked with evil premonitions. History abounds with stories about people who foretold someone’s demise or their death while being in a dream state.
Again, such tales are coincidental and aren’t based on reality. However, it’s a morbid theme, and, understandably, it would upset you. Who wants to see themselves or someone else die in their dreams?
3 – Are You Going to Die?
Of course, you’re mortal and will have your appointment with death eventually. However, if you chronically worry and stress about dying, you’re missing the beauty of life in the present. Yes, a dream about death is unpleasant, but it’s not a premonition.
Having a dream about death doesn’t always mean a physical end. Instead, it is usually symbolic of your current situations in life. When you give these situations some thought, you can better understand your dream’s message.
4 – Dreams about Funerals
If you dream that you are attending a funeral, your mind is signaling the end of something. Maybe there are some things in your life that you need to lay to rest, like bitterness. If you’re attending a friend or loved one’s funeral in the dream, perhaps it’s time to bury your differences.
5 – Dreams about A Dead Body
It’s gruesome at best, but when you dream about dying, you may envision a dead body. However, what you see isn’t a natural body but a representation of loss in your life. Losing your job or a broken relationship is like death, and your brain may use that figuratively.
6 – Walking through a Cemetery
A dream about death can also be set in a cemetery, a place of eternal rest for the dead. In most cases, it is a dark and stormy night in your dream. Perhaps you will unwillingly see your tombstone, as Dickenson’s classic Scrooge did.
All these creepy elements are enough to turn your dream into a nightmare. So does this death dream act as a warning that you’ll soon be a resident of the city of the dead? Once again, your brain is using dark symbols to bring things to light.
What are you harboring in your mind that you must bring into the open? Maybe there are some past traumas or mistakes that need to stay buried. On the other hand, your dreams may be encouraging you to leave the graves and come back to the living where you belong.
7 – Dreams about a Violent Death
Dreams about being murdered are so traumatic that they would be classified as nightmares. However, you can learn a lot about your subconscious, even from these horrific dreams. For example, if you are experiencing a sudden change or being forced upon you, your brain may symbolize that someone is “killing” your comfort level.
If you chronically dream about death, it can eventually cause anxiety and depression. You may also lose sleep because you don’t want to have these repeated visions. Talk to a mental health professional or your primary healthcare provider for referrals.
Dreams and their universal themes have intrigued humans since the beginning. If you dream of death, you can learn about your life through your brain’s symbols. They are often imagery of changes in your life and new experiences that are in your future.