“The primary function of dreams is to help us better understand the experiences we come across in waking life,” says Dr. Kelly baron, a professor with the division of public health at the University of Utah. So, what does dreaming about death mean for your life? You can turn to the best sleep aids to escape these dreams, or you can confront and understand the dream.
Dreaming about death is never pleasant, and it can cause stress and anxiety. People dream about death even when their loved ones are sick and even when they watch some horrifying movies, among many other reasons. However, it doesn’t mean that you (or someone you love) will actually die – in fact, it can be a sign of good things to come.
Dreams are Symbolic
Dreaming about death sends many people panicking. Many people worry that the person they dreamt was dying will indeed die in real life. This is understandable, but it isn’t warranted. This is because these dreams are symbolic, not prophetic.
Lauri Loewenberg, an expert dream analyst, says, “Dreams are symbolic – you can’t look at them literally, or you’ll freak yourself out.” In this case, death is symbolic of a significant change currently happening or about to happen in your waking life.
Lauri goes on to explain, “Death in dreams actually means that there is some sort of change or ending happening in your life. To the subconscious mind, this represents the end of life as you now know it.” However, dreams about death can also be triggered by several other factors, as explained below.
Reasons for Dreaming about Death
The following are several factors that can possibly trigger dreams of death.
Many dreams are inspired by the things you experienced recently. To this end, undergoing traumatic experiences that involve danger and death can induce dreams about death.
For example, being in an almost fatal accident may make you start having nightmares about dying. Additionally, getting news that a loved one is critically sick can make you start dreaming that they are dead as your mind starts preparing for such an eventuality. This is natural, and it means that you don’t have closure on the experience yet.
Interestingly, more people have been thinking and dreaming about death amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This is especially common among people who have lost loved ones and whose communities have been adversely affected by the virus.
Ongoing or Impending Change
Dreams of death are also often symbolic. Death represents change, while the person dying represents one aspect of your life that is changing (or will change in the foreseeable future).
Death is an awkward (and rather rudely inappropriate) way of signifying change, which is why it is so worrying. However, death is one of the absolute representations of radical change. Changing an aspect of your life means putting some philosophies and behaviors to rest for good, just as death is absolute. This is usually a notable aspect of your life, which is what makes the change so significant.
The highlight of dreaming about death is the person dying. It can be anyone, including popular personalities with whom you don’t have a personal relationship. However, most people dream about people with whom they have close relationships, such as colleagues and loved ones, which is why these dreams are so disturbing.
However, the person dying usually represents the changing aspect. Consequently, the changing aspect is one of the dying person’s most prominent personality traits. For example, you may be looking towards a more serious future if you dream about an extra-ordinarily fun friend passing away.
You may also dream of yourself dying. This is normal and common, too. It shouldn’t be alarming, either, as it is usually symbolic of ongoing or impending growth from one phase of your life to another.
Understanding & Overcoming Dreams about Death
Controlling what you will dream about is impossible for many people. Consequently, you may dream about death repeatedly, leaving you feeling overwhelmed with stress and anxiety.
However, you can stop repeated dreams about death by understanding what they mean. You already know that these dreams represent change, but what aspect of your life influences these dreams? You will need to search your mind and soul extensively if the symbolism isn’t obvious. Talking to friends and loved ones also help bring some things into perspective.
It is also advisable to consult a therapist if the dream is difficult to understand and causes immense stress. The therapist will help put things into perspective so that you can make the right connections between the dream and your real life. Additionally, the therapist can help you cope with the ongoing changes, as they will be significant and can feel disruptive.
It is natural to feel worried when you dream about death. However, you don’t have to worry about anyone dying, or fill your body up with coffee so that you don’t sleep. The dream should inspire more curiosity than it does stress and anxiety. Instead, look out for major changes in your life, as death is symbolic of change.