“There’s a variety of reasons why people might have disturbing dreams or nightmares,” Dr. Kelly Baron, associate professor at the University of Utah, told Glamour. “In many cases it is because they’ve experienced a trauma, and they are having a form of PTSD.” Dreams allow people to understand what is happening in their life, and helps them process it. In fact, “death in dreams is symbolic of things that are coming to a close, or ending, in your life,” wrote dream analyst Jane Teresa Anderson, per the publication. So if you dream of attending a family member’s funeral you might be on the brink of discovering that the relationship is no longer healthy, and you might benefit from distancing yourself. Death in a dream can also represent truths or necessary changes that you are not quite ready to accept or implement.
While it might seem scary dreaming about death, you can learn from your subconscious. “The emotions in the dream are very, very real,” Lauri Quinn Loewenberg, professional dream analyst, told The Cut. “And so you wake up thinking, ‘Dear God, am I seeing the future?’ But you’re not. So don’t worry. Instead, just ask yourself what change or ending is happening in my life right now?” That old urban myth that asserts if you die in your sleep, you die in real life is just that, a tall tale… unless you’re seeing Freddy Krueger in your dream. Then all bets are off.