6+ Different Dreaming States Explained For Beginners


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Dreams are a complicated business. Many of us never remember our dreams, whilst some of us can only remember snapshots from the dreams we’ve experienced while we’re fast asleep. Let’s look at all of the dreaming states:

It’s very rare that a person is able to recall exactly what happened in their dreams, and that’s all down to the altered brain state that we’re in when we’re dreaming away. 
The thing is, our dreams are hugely important. Many scientists firmly believe that understanding our dreams is they key to understanding the human consciousness.

List of all the different dreaming states

Before we can really begin to grasp our dreams, we need to first think about the different types of dreams a human being can have. Today, we’re going to explain the five main different dream states humans typically experience.

1: Daydreams

A daydream isn’t like a normal dream, because it can happen when you’re awake, but find yourself slipping into an altered state of consciousness. Did you know that studies have shown that the average person daydreams for 70-120 minutes every single day? That’s a huge proportion of our time spent in the world of daydreams!

Daydreaming monkey

When we daydream, we start to separate ourselves from what’s going on around us. Have you ever found yourself listening to a really boring lesson at school or stuck in the middle of a business meeting where the speaker just seems to be droning on? What happened?

You probably started to daydream. 

We often daydream through sheer boredom, brought about by sensory deprivation. As humans we are in possession of a hugely powerful force – the human brain. When that brain is underused we’re often very unhappy, and our daydreams are there to help ease the pain of that boredom we’re experiencing.

Often our daydreams begin with one powerful thought, whether that be something we’d like to happen or the recall of a memory from our past. From that point, our minds begin to wander into a world of semi-consciousness.

The longer a daydream is allowed to go on for, the more intense it becomes. Daydreaming can be said to be quite similar to lucid dreaming in that it’s a type of dream humans can experience whilst semi-awake. It can be controlled too, because many daydreams begin by us thinking about a certain thing, so it’s our own brain which kicks the daydream off!

2: Normal Dreams

What we’ll call ‘normal dreams’ are they types of dreams human beings will typically enjoy whilst in a deep sleep. These dreams cannot be controlled by the person experiencing them, instead it’s as though we’re a bystander, watching the events of the dreams unfold before our eyes.

Normal dreams are in complete contrast to the very exciting world of lucid dreaming, where we’re able to control what’s happening in the dream and really take charge of the fantasy world we find ourselves in.

Dreams are essential to our survival as human beings. If we didn’t dream, we would eventually die. The longest and most vivid dreams occur during a period of REM sleep, which normally occurs in the middle of our night’s sleep. The typical human being experiences at least 100 minutes of dreams every night – we bet you can’t remember that much about them though!

3: Lucid Dreams

Lucid dreams are incredibly exciting phenomenon whereby a human being can be awake and alert, but still dreaming. This enables us to control the dream and therefore live out the dream that we want to. So, just imagine the possibilities that lucid dreaming presents!

When we’re in a lucid dream, we can live out our wildest fantasies. We can do anything, from walking on the moon to flying like a bird! We can even spend time undertaking incredibly dangerous activities that we’d be far too frightened to try in the real world, because when you’re dreaming the danger isn’t real – you’re safely tucked up in bed!

Lucid dreaming state

Lucid dreams are usually richly immersive, allowing people to experience beautiful worlds that just go on and on. They’re definitely the best types of dreams that a person can have, so it’s well worth learning more about them if you’d like to maximise the potential of your own self-conscious. If you would (and we can’t blame you!) then download our FREE PDF guide today to learn how to get started with lucid dreaming.

4: False Awakenings

False awakenings are not your typical dream experience, but many people have experienced this several times in their lives. It’s when you find yourself fast asleep, you wake up, you start going about your day to day business and the suddenly (BAM!) you realise… I’m still asleep! In fact you hadn’t woken up at all, you’d been fast asleep for the entire time. It was, of course, a false awakening.

The strange thing about false awakenings is that your brain will always exactly replicate the room you happened to fall asleep in. It can even happen in strange places you’re not normally sleeping in, for example in a hotel room.

Usually when this happens we have absolutely no way of knowing that the dream isn’t real life. There’s no way to do a reality check. So, it always takes us by complete surprise, and that can be a little unnerving! Sometimes, an obvious clue will give the game away though.

For example if, in the dream, your partner looks 10 years older or younger than you know they actually are. Or if things in your room don’t seem to be obeying the laws of gravity.

Lucid dreams and false awakenings are quite tightly linked, so if you find yourself experiencing false awakenings on a regular basis you should try to begin making reality checks while you’re dreaming. That way, you might find yourself easily slipping into a lucid dream and taking charge of the situation.

5: Nightmares

We’ve all had nightmares at some time or another. Some people find that they experience nightmares quite regularly, and can become very disturbed by the phenomenon. When we’re having a nightmare, we’ll find ourselves in the midst of a dream that’s taken a very frightening twist. Sometimes we’ll even know we’re in a nightmare, but we won’t be able to stop it and wake ourselves up.

Having a nightmare

Many humans experience nightmares that are very vivid indeed, and can wake up in cold sweats and a feeling of real terror. A common nightmare is a feeling of being chased, which evolutionists believe dates back to our common fear of being hunted.

Sometimes nightmares have no discernable cause, but they can also be brought about by things like illness, drugs, alcohol or periods of intense mental stress.

If you have a terrible nightmare it can sometimes lead you to be shocked into a lucid dream state (or a lucid nightmare). Have you ever felt so terrified in a dream that you’ve implored yourself to wake up? You might even have shouted at yourself in your dream to wake?

That’s a lucid dream starting! All you need to do from that point is take control of the dream and you can conquer whatever is frightening you in your nightmare and turn the experience into something altogether more pleasant. Try it next time you’re having a nightmare and you’ll see what we mean.