Dreams: The Many Types

“A series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person’s mind during sleep.”

Oxford dictionary

Though we might not always remember our dreams, everyone is estimated to dream around 3-6 times each night. There are 5 main types of dreams, each one occurring due to different factors. 

Standard dreams

Standard or normal dreams are dreams that are predominantly visual. It is proven that the less stressed you are, the more pleasant your dreams will be. Your mood and other factors in your life can also influence your dreams. Some dreams can also reflect certain stresses or anxieties in our lives. 


On the flip side of dreams there are nightmares. Nightmares include dreams that one might consider to be scary or out right disturbing. Nightmares can be triggered by many things including stress, anxiety, sleep deprivation or other issues that may be prominent in someone’s life. Nightmares are pretty common, with most people experiencing them throughout their lives. The most common nightmares include death, physical violence or being chased.

Lucid dreams

Lucid dreaming occurs when the person dreaming is aware that they are dreaming and are sometimes able to control their dreams. Like a majority of dreams, lucid dreaming occurs when you are in REM sleep. Lucid dreaming can happen at random, though some people have stated that they are able to control having these dreams. In some cases lucid dreams can help reduce anxiety, refine motor skills and even enhance your creativity. 

Day dreams

Day dreams differ from other dreams as you are awake during them and not in a REM sleep. Daydreaming is a conscious action, though you may not always be present and aware of your surroundings. It is believed that as you get older you start to daydream less. Psychologists have researched that day dreaming is often done to plan and anticipate for the future. Once you are older your future becomes more of a reality, causing those dreams to stop.

False awakening dreams

The last most common type of dream is false awakenings. These occur when you dream that you have woken up, but in reality you haven’t actually. False awakening dreams are more likely to occur when you are lucid dreaming or during sleep paralysis (being conscious but feeling as if you can’t move). 

Other types of dreams

The 5 dreams listed above are ones that are more common and seen the most often. However there are many more types of dreams. These can include:

  • Healing dreams
  • Vivid dreams
  • Prophetic dreams
  • Recurring dreams
  • Night terrors

Works cited

Burr, S. (2020, December 29). 5 crazy fun facts about daydreaming. Legacybox. Retrieved April 17, 2022, from https://legacybox.com/blogs/analog/5-crazy-fun-facts-daydreaming

Elmer, J. (2020, May 20). 10 types of dreams and what they may indicate. Healthline. Retrieved April 17, 2022, from https://www.healthline.com/health/types-of-dreams#night-terrors

Martins, K. (2020, June 27). Lucid dreams: Definition, benefits, dangers, how to do it. WebMD. Retrieved April 17, 2022, from https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/lucid-dreams-overview

Mayo Clinic. (2021, June 5). Nightmare disorder. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved April 17, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/nightmare-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20353515#:~:text=Nightmares%20can%20be%20triggered%20by,can%20have%20the%20same%20effect

Nichols, H. (2018, June 28). Dreams: Causes, types, meaning, what they are, and more. Medical News Today. Retrieved April 17, 2022, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/284378#interpretations