10 Common Recurring Dreams & What They Mean

Illustrated by Naomi Blundell Meyer
Dreams were once thought to be supernatural forewarnings from the gods. The ancient Egyptians even had sanctified 'dream beds' that vivid dreamers – who were considered blessed – would use to gain wisdom from higher powers as they slept.
Fast-forward to the 20th century and you have the likes of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung concluding that, actually, dreams provide insight into the inner workings of our minds. While our conscious mind switches off as we catch some zzzs, our unconscious mind reveals images that can offer insight into issues we might be blissfully unaware of in waking life.
Today, however, psychotherapist Matthew Bowes says: "Contemporary science about the psychology of dreams is somewhat split. There are those that believe dreams have no meaning and at the furthest extreme are simply random brain detritus. While at the other end of the spectrum [is the belief] that dreams are an essential part of maintaining our emotional, physical and mental wellbeing, by allowing the brain to process trauma, gain self-awareness and find the answers to your waking life dilemmas."
Whether scientifically proven or not, some extra insight into how to be your best self and navigate the many obstacles that life can throw your way doesn’t sound half bad. Yet while having a dream is one thing, understanding its hidden messages is quite another.
We asked Bowes to give us (and you) a helping hand and analyse some of team R29's most common recurring dreams. Here's what he said...

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