Dreams are associated with sleeping and if the dreams are disturbing people it is regarded as a problem. Disturbing dreams are usually associated with insomnia and there are a number of types of insomnia according to traditional Chinese medcine theories. Some people have trouble falling asleep and others can fall asleep but then wake up and can’t fall back asleep. Others have both types or nights can alternate between the two. Chinese medicine has a specific symptom called “dream disturbed sleep” and is important diagnostically. From a western medical perspective, excessive dreaming is not regarded symptomatic of anything and generally patients are told it is nothing to be concerned about.
Patients however, often complain that they sleep OK but toss and turn and wake up exhausted as if they have really been living out their dreams.
Excesive dreaming can have a number of causes. They can arise from excess and deficiency patterns. An example of an excess condition, is liver fire. This pattern of disharmony can effect people’s sleep with nightmares as well giving other symptoms like bitter taste in the mouth and violent headaches.
There is a condition in Chinese medicine called Heart and Gall Bladder deficiency. These people can wake up from a dream in a fright and often even the slightest noise can startle them.
In addition to deficency and excess imbalances, historically, specific reoccurring dreams are diagnostic of specific organs problems.
Listed below are a few dreams and their significance which have been taken from Giovanni Maciocia’s book Diagnosis in Chinese Medicine. Sadly, Giovanni passed away in 2018.
Dreams of voyages: Bladder deficiency
Dreams of large cities: Small Intestine deficiency
Dreams of being immerced in water: Kidney deficiency
Dreams of swimming after a ship wreck: Kidney deficiency
Dreams of flying and seeing strange objects of gold: Lung deficiency
Dreams of war and battles if dreamt in autumn: Lung deficiency
Dreams of forests in the mountains: Liver deficiency
Dreams of fire and smoke in mountains: Heart deficiency
Dreams of attack and destruction: Tape worms in the intestines
Dreams of crowds: Round worms in the intestines
Dreams of lying under a tree and being unable to get up: Liver deficiency
Dreams of building a house if dreamt in late summer: Spleen deficiency
A common acupuncture point used for dream disturbed sleep is Heart 7 shenmen located on the wrist.
Your recurring dream may be a sign of an organ imbalance.