BY DOROTHY ROSBY
I dreamt there was an actual three-ring circus going on in my home. At the same time, I had two visitors planning to stay the night and as I led them past the circus and down the hall to our guest room, I wished them a good night’s sleep despite the noise. In the way dreams do, it made perfect sense while I was dreaming. Actually, the way my life is, it kind of made sense when I woke up too.
It inspired me to go to the fount of all knowledge, the internet, and research dream interpretation. Sleep experts think dreams are the brain’s way of working through issues left over from our day. I’m not sure how well it works though because when I woke up my life was still like a circus with the monkeys loose.
Apparently some of the most commonly reported dream themes are death, being late, flying and falling. I’ve had dreams about falling which, according to my research, could mean I feel like I’m losing control over something in my life. If you had a three-ring circus going on in your living room, you’d feel like you were losing control too.
Losing teeth is also a common theme in dreams. That seems odd—unless you’re a dentist. I don’t remember ever having that one myself, which doesn’t mean I haven’t. According to the National Sleep Foundation we dream up to six times each night but we forget 95 percent of our dreams. That’s probably a blessing considering some of the most common dreams are about death, falling and losing our teeth.
A lot of people also have school-related dreams even if they’ve been out of school for decades. They don’t know their class schedule; they can’t open their locker or they’re struggling to take a test they haven’t studied for. I once dreamt I lost a library book. Oh wait. I was awake when I did that.
Another one of the most commonly reported dream themes involves appearing naked in public, though I wouldn’t call that a dream. I’d call it a nightmare.
But according to my research, if you’ve had this dream, it could mean you’re honest, open and carefree. Or it could mean you’re feeling vulnerable, judged and as if everyone is looking at you. Of course if you’re going around naked they probably are.
Fortunately I don’t recall ever having that one and it seems like the kind of dream I’d remember. I have dreamt many times about appearing in public wearing my bathrobe though. I’m not making that up. I’m not sure what it means except that maybe I’m more modest than other dreamers.
I’ve had several dreams where I was back at my former place of employment wearing my robe. Maybe it means I was comfortable and relaxed around my coworkers. Or that I cut it kind of close getting out of bed and ready for work when I was employed there.
Mostly I have good dreams. But one unpleasant theme that often shows up in my dreams is that of not being prepared. I’m about to give a speech I haven’t practiced or even written. Or I’m in a play and I don’t know my lines. On the bright side, I’m usually wearing something other than a bathrobe.
Lucky for me, I’m one of those people who occasionally has what sleep experts call a lucid dream. That’s the kind where you’re aware you’re dreaming so you’re able to control what happens. It doesn’t happen often but when it does, I can learn my lines fast or shoo the circus clowns out of my living room.
I was surprised to read that not everyone has lucid dreams, though I shouldn’t be. If more people could control the outcome of their dreams, they’d put their clothes on before they went out in public. Or at least their bathrobe.
Dorothy Rosby is the author of three books of humorous essays, including I Used to Think I Was Not That Bad and Then I Got to Know Me Better. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.