Dream of Sleeping: Decoding Their Hidden Messages

Dreaming that you’re asleep, when you actually are asleep? How strange is that? Not unusual at all. Mental health professionals have even identified things that are likely to be on your mind when you dream about sleeping.

This list is general, so it’s no substitute for talking to a counselor or doctor..(If you dream about pain or discomfort, your doctor needs to know.) Read for fun; then, seek help if indicated.

General Interpretations

Mental health professionals generally interpret dreams as indicators of what’s going on in your conscious mind, your unconscious mind, or your body.

The most general interpretation of dreaming about sleeping is that people who do it are comfortable in life. Of course, that’s not always the case. Sometimes such a drea, can warn us that we’re overlooking or denying something.

How, when, and where you’re sleeping, in a dream of sleeping, can make all the difference. You might be able to interpret such a dream right away.

  • After taking a sleeping pill, Bonnie dreamed that she’d wound the sheet around her neck and was choking, but she could not wake up to loosen the sheet. When she did finally wake up, the sheet was only loosely draped across her neck. She and her doctor recognized that dream as a warning not to use that pill again!
  • The morning before a meeting, I dreamed I’d slept until noon and a taxi was waiting. On awakening I saw that it was only six o’clock, when I usually wake up, and nobody had called a taxi. I was warning myself to wake up in time to prepare for a meeting at ten.

You may be at peace with yourself in a comfortable, mellow life. Or you may desire that level of relaxation so much that you’re losing your real peace of mind.

Maybe you need to get up earlier rather than take sleeping pills at night. Maybe you normally wake up on time, but you could feel more certain about that if you set an alarm clock.

Interpretations of Specific Dreams About Sleeping

Someone Sleeping Beside You

Anything in a dream may symbolize a part of yourself. A dream that someone else is still asleep after you wake up could be a warning that you’re aware of something you are refusing to think about.

Deep down, you know this thing is important. It may be boring or unpleasant, like filing taxes or finishing a report. The sooner you do it, the sooner it’s over. Your subconscious mind is telling you “Just do it.”

Sleeping Beside a Person

If you recognize the other person sleeping, the dream may be about your relationship with that person. Maybe he’s the one who is missing something that is important to you.

  • Seeing someone with whom you feel comfortable sleeping, in a dream, can mean that you feel at peace with him. You’ve done all that you could do to bring peace and comfort to your family. Your boss or teacher is satisfied with your performance. Or you wish that were the case.
  • If you notice the person as a stranger, that’s more likely to be a warning that you are avoiding something important. You need to face your fear or responsibility.
  • If you recognize him as a co-worker, the idea of being “in bed with” him (but not as an erotic dream) can mean that your work is being compared. You might want to focus on originality and independence in your work. You might be concerned about his competition.
  • If you dream about sleeping beside your father, or both parents, as an adult, you may be sharing your home with them again soon. If the dream didn’t feel like a nightmare, you feel comfortable about that.
  • Some psychologists assign other meanings to parents in dreams. Fathers used to be seen more as symbols of authority, while mothers were symbols of creativity. Whether this idea is still relevant has been debated.
  • If you recognize the person as an enemy, this could be a warning. Part of your mind feels that an enemy is near. Are you protecting yourself from possible attacks or competition?
  • If you recognize the person as a friend, or a friend’s spouse, this probably means that you’re comfortable with the friendship. This dream does not need to be worried about…or talked about.
  • If you dream about sleeping beside your own spouse or lover, again, you are probably comfortable and compatible. You’re not craving sex at the moment but will probably enjoy it again soon. At the worst, you wish your partner would notice something about you.
  • Dreams about sleeping beside someone who is dead can cause unnecessary fear. You might be concerned about your health or the other person’s health. However, most people who report peaceful dreams about sleeping with a dead person are in good health. Their subconscious minds are affirming that life ends.
  • Dreams about sleeping beside someone famous are reported by creative people. You might aspire to reach that person’s level of success and influence, or carry on the person’s work.

sleep sky

Sleeping While Someone Is Watching You

If you dream of someone watching you sleep, the mood of the dream is its interpretation. You may feel someone’s protective love. Or you may feel that others are observing and judging you, and you need to polish your performance.

Sleeping During an Earthquake

One obvious meaning of dreams about earthquakes, storms, and other external events is that something like them is really happening. You feel the bed moving because someone is jiggling it to wake you up, or you’re sleeping in a moving vehicle.

An equally obvious interpretation of dreams about natural disasters is post-traumatic stress. You may be reliving what you have already experienced, or worrying about an event you saw reported as news.

When neither of those interpretations apply, you may be worrying about an upheaval–a literal disaster, or failure as a result of having postponed or avoided the work you needed to do. An earthquake is generally considered a warning symbol in a dream. However, sleeping through the upheaval may mean that you feel confident that you are or will be prepared to survive whatever life throws at you.

Sleeping at Work

While many different people have reported this type of dream in different situations, we all know what sleeping on the job means. You might feel so comfortable with your work that it would be safe to sleep during work hours, or wish you did. You might be afraid that you will fall asleep on the job due to lack of rest.

If you have noticed a tendency to fall asleep easily, suddenly, when you didn’t want to, tell your doctor. This can be a reaction to food or chemical sensitivities, loss of sleep, or more serious conditions such as diabetes or kidney failure. Dreaming about falling asleep at work could be a warning that, if such a condition is not treated, you may actually fall asleep while working or driving.

A dream that you and others are sleeping in your workplace could mean that you think the whole organization is overlooking or avoiding something important. Sleeping beside a supervisor could indicate that you’re comfortable with your job. Or you might be concerned about something your supervisor is ignoring, whether that’s a valuable new idea or a problem.

Sleeping on the Ground or Floor

Many people associate different levels in space with different levels of social status.

  • A dream about sleeping on the ground or floor can reflect your assessment of the status you feel you have, or deserve. You might be warning yourself that continuing to ignore a problem could cost your job or home. You might be reminding yourself to respect superiors, or warning yourself not to give more trust or respect than someone deserves.
  • Some people dream that someone else is sleeping on the ground or floor. This could mean that they feel that they are more valuable to their workplace or family than those other people..If you dream that the boss is sleeping on your floor, you may be hoping to be promoted over the boss’s head.
  • Some people have dreamed that they “have fallen and can’t get up” before they really did “fall” into serious illness. If you dream about sleeping or lying helplessly on a cold hard floor, talk to a doctor.
  • Sleeping on the road or street can symbolize a feeling that you’re “going somewhere” without too much effort…or, once again, you’d like to be.
  • A dream of sleeping on the beach may be a way of reliving happy memories, or a warning that continuing to deny problems can create bigger problems. A dream of sleeping on a boat may, likewise, be a warning that life is about to “rock your boat” of avoidance and denial. You might think you are sailing serenely through problems when, in fact, those problems are growing bigger and deeper.
  • A dream of sleeping in an open grave or cemetery can be a warning. What is about to die is likely to be a social relationship or position. The subconscious mind usually tries to warn us before it’s too late to improve a situation.
  • On the other hand, a dream of sleeping in an open coffin is considered a positive sign.

In some cultures, buying your own coffin and sleeping in it was a traditional way of showing acceptance of your own mortality. Doing that in dreams does not predict how long you will live. It is an indication that you want to cherish your moments and express love for loved ones.

  • A dream of sleeping among animals usually indicates uncertainty. For people who let a pet sleep on the foot of the bed, seeing the animal sleeping in the old familiar place can mean happy memories. If you dream that you were sleeping where the animals are kept, however, you might be ignoring a situation that makes family members want to “put you out in the barn.”

Biblical Meaning for Dreams of Sleeping

While several dreams are reported in Bible stories, those dreams are not about sleeping. However, in view of the tendency for dreams of sleeping to indicate that someone is not facing up to problems or responsibilities, a pastor might counsel someone who reported such a dream,to wake up and face up.

Bible texts for such a person might include Proverbs 6:9, “How long will you sleep, O sluggard?” The following verses describe a man whose house and fields fell into disrepair because of his laziness.

The Bible is not generally opposed to “the taking of rest in sleep,” because “if [a sick patient] sleep, he shall do well” (John 11:12-13). The Bible writers knew that the body needs rest. Indeed, the Ten Commandments specify that all people and animals, even foreign visitors who didn’t know about this law, had to be allowed to observe a weekly day of rest.

Excessive sleep as a form of laziness, or symbol of laziness, is a different matter. “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober” (1 Thessalonians 5:6).

Editor’s Comment

We don’t want to be “caught sleeping” by work or family responsibilities. If you are literally or symbolically lying in bed because of something you don’t want to do, don’t give the unpleasantness time to grow. I’m working on paying the bills before late fees are added to them. I find that, when I do it now, I have time to be glad it’s done later.

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