Dreams (A2)

What are your dreams trying to tell you?

Instructions

Do the preparation exercise first and then read the story. If you find it too easy, try the next level. After reading, do the exercises to check your understanding.

Can you remember a time when you woke up from a fantastic or strange dream? Maybe you were afraid and turned on the light or the dream was so good you wanted to sleep longer. But do you think your dreams are telling you something?

Can you see the future in dreams?

For hundreds of years, people thought dreams were messages from gods or spirits. Today, too, many people can remember a time when they saw a place or person in their dream and then, later, the dream happened in real life. Maybe that’s not surprising because we dream a lot but we probably only remember the times when something happens in a dream and then happens for real. Most people have four to six dreams every night after the age of ten. That’s as many as 2,000 dreams per year. So, an 80-year-old person has probably had 140,000 dreams. Maybe we forget 95–99 per cent of our dreams, but that’s still thousands of dreams that might ‘come true’.

Are dreams recycled thoughts?

Around the 18th and 19th centuries, there were two popular ideas about dreams. One said that the things we see in our dreams are things we keep in our subconscious because we don’t want or need to think about them when we’re awake. The opposite idea said that while we’re sleeping, the brain organises memories and thoughts from the day. Dreams are just random thoughts from our day but we try to make a story from them when we wake up.

Are dreams messages from our brains?

But perhaps both ideas are a little bit right. Maybe dreams are made from the thoughts we have during the day, but we see them as symbols. For example, a dream of flying might be a symbol for an exciting new job. When we’re awake, we think in words most of the time. But when we’re sleeping, the part of our brain that helps us with language sleeps, and the part that makes us happy or sad or angry is awake and busy. So, maybe our thoughts come to us in dreams as feelings and symbols instead of words. If you can understand these symbols, you have a window into your subconscious. If you want to understand the messages, you have to match them to what’s happening in your life.

How can you understand the messages?

One way to help you do this is to keep a dream diary. As soon as you wake up, write down everything you remember about your dreams. Use pen and paper, not your phone or computer because the light might wake you up and you’ll forget faster. Sometimes your eyes will be half-closed and your writing will be difficult to read.

Now you can match your dreams to your daily life. Think about the people and place where the dream happened, as they might mean something too. Also, how you were feeling in the dream is important. If you were afraid instead of happy in the flying dream, maybe it means you are worried about the new job. Are you ready to find out what your subconscious is trying to tell you?

Nicola Prentis

Discussion

Do you remember your dreams?

Topics
Personal online tutoring
EnglishScore Tutors is the British Council’s one-to-one tutoring platform for 13- to 17-year-olds.

Comments

Submitted by Idkfr127 on Fri, 09/09/2022 - 05:18

Sometimes i can remember my dreams but mostly i can't. Its just as if my dreams escape away from my mind. There are some dreams i want to remember but i cannot no matter how hard i try. Sometimes when I'm in the middle of the dream and i wake up, i want the dream to continue but i there is nothing i can do to make that happen. From time to time i even feel like my dreams are trying to tell me something. I believe that dreams are a beautiful thing in which you can kind of experience things that you can't really do in real life.

Submitted by merve on Mon, 04/05/2021 - 13:16

Sometimes I remember my dreams. If dreams are good and interesting I want to remember them. But sometimes they are terrible and like a nightmare. I never want to remember them. Generally If I in a beautiful dream I wake up suddenly. I want to continue it but I can't.
Profile picture for user Kostantinus

Submitted by Kostantinus on Fri, 02/05/2021 - 10:10

Sometimes I remember my dreams but mostly I don't. They run away from my mind as I wake up, unfortunately. Of course, if the dreams aren't good you don't want to remember them. Just look through the window and your bad dreams will fly away to the sky.

Submitted by hermione123 on Sun, 01/10/2021 - 14:27

Usually no. Mostly I forget about my dream :)

Submitted by chandler on Fri, 08/07/2020 - 02:04

Last year, I dreamed a bad dream. Oh, that 's so horrible. But after that, I have had a lot of beautiful dreams.

Submitted by 25pow on Sun, 03/29/2020 - 01:31

Once a month, I always have nightmares.

Submitted by rahmawnandaa_ on Thu, 03/26/2020 - 05:32

It really happen in life when we're not remember anything about what are we dreaming, this story make me understand about dream more deeply

Submitted by RizkyS on Thu, 03/26/2020 - 05:16

I dreamed about dooms day twice, and that was horrible

Submitted by Sekar_A on Thu, 03/26/2020 - 04:25

I usually remember my dreams for a few minutes after I woke up. If the dream is interesting, I will take notes on my phone. But I have a difficulty in understanding the dream because usually they are very random and they're only triggered by a random thing that happened the day before. Sometimes, the particular things that triggered my dreams are not even that memorable to me. So it doesn't make sense why they became a dream.

Submitted by username_082 on Thu, 03/26/2020 - 04:18

The dreams that i remember usually involves snake and drowning or some water related dreams, idk why, it's probably because I'm afraid of those things.

Submitted by Jenniejelly on Thu, 03/26/2020 - 04:08

I just want to remember all of good dreams, not bad dreams haha
Profile picture for user empty

Submitted by empty on Sun, 06/30/2019 - 07:38

I remember my dreams almost always . I sometimes dream of a person which is insulting me and I hate this kind of dream . I had a very good dream this morning , though . I woke up in the middle of it , I slept again so I could continue dreaming and guess what ! I dreamed the rest of it !

Submitted by hermione123 on Wed, 07/21/2021 - 09:59

cool! i'd love to continue a good dream. but, i guess it's pretty hard.

In reply to by empty

Profile picture for user SLMT

Submitted by SLMT on Fri, 09/28/2018 - 14:34

Sometimes, I remember my dreams.And sometimes,I can't.I always dream every day. I know I dream.But I can't remember all of them.Sometimes, I dream about the person or things which I think all day long.I had a very good dream yesterday. But in the middle of the dream , I woke up. I wanted to dream more.But It can't be. DREAM is only a DREAM!
English courses near you