13 Things Your Dreams Reveal About You

By Michelle Crouch

Creative? Conservative? Close to death? All can be revealed by the character of your night-time imaginings.

13 Things Your Dreams Reveal About You

1. How creative you are
Creative people are more likely to dream about unusual settings (rather than home or work) and about obstacles in the natural world, such as a log or a rock they can’t get around.

2. Your political views
People who describe themselves as conservatives are more likely to have mundane, realistic dreams, while liberals have a more varied and active dream life. Does that mean liberals are more open-minded? Or that they’re caught up in their own fantasies? Take your pick.

3. That you’ve got a heart problem
People who have frequent nightmares may be significantly more likely to suffer from an irregular heartbeat or chest pain compared with those who don’t have them, according to a study of older adults. That may be because heart problems can make it more difficult to breathe at night.

4. If you’re avoiding something
Do you ever dream about being pursued by a stranger, a scary monster or a giant tidal wave? This could indicate that you’re afraid to deal with something in your waking life. Ask yourself what issue, person or emotion you’re not confronting.

5. How fast you’ll bounce back from your divorce
Divorced people who have longer, more dramatic dreams about the old relationship are more likely to adjust better to being single. Dreams may help divorced folks (and the rest of us) work through trauma.

6. How you pursue the big answers
Adults who attend religious services frequently may recall fewer dreams than those who don’t attend worship services regularly. If you’re not relying on religion to answer big life questions, then your dreams may become a resource for insight.

7. That you’re a workaholic
Type A personalities tend to report more disturbing dreams than laid-back folks. Hard-driving types put more pressure on themselves, and that stress can appear in dreams.

8. If you’ll pass a test with flying colours
University students spent an hour learning how to navigate a complex maze. When tested later, the only students whose performance improved were those who had dreamed about the maze during a nap. Dreaming may consolidate memories, which boosts learning and problem-solving skills.

9. Whether you’ll give up smoking for good
One study found that the more you dream about smoking – and experience the guilt associated with falling off the wagon (even a phantom wagon), the more likely you may be to quit.

10. Your risk of Parkinson’s
Up to 90 per cent of people who act out violent dreams – by punching, kicking or yelling while asleep – may eventually develop Parkinson’s disease. The behaviour may indicate REM sleep behaviour disorder, an early sign of the disease.

11. Whether you’re depressed
Depressed people start dreaming much sooner than others, as early as 45 minutes after falling asleep, rather than the usual 90 minutes.

12. Death may be near
The closer a person is to passing, the more likely he or she is to dream about loved ones who’ve passed on.

13. What medications you’re taking
Many drugs are known to cause bad dreams, including antidepressants, antibiotics, statins and some antihistamines.

Sources: Kelly Bulkeley, a psychologist specialising in dream research; Dr Michael Howell, a neurologist at the University of Minnesota; Stephanie Silberman, a board‑certified sleep specialist in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Rosalind Cartwright, author of The Twenty-Four Hour Mind: The Role of Sleep and Dreaming in Our Emotional Lives; Veronica Tonay, author of The Creative Dreamer: Using Your Dreams to Unlock Your Creativity; Michael Schredl, of the Central Institute of Mental Health’s sleep laboratory in Mannheim, Germany.

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