Did you have the strangest dream ever that involved scary scenes of fire, blood, or trees that look like humans?
Did you have a fever or feel unwell when you had this weird dream?
If so, then you had a fever dream.
A fever dream is a night vision consisting of strangely unpleasant events you experience when you have a fever.
The content of such dreams is so disturbing that many who experience them are left wondering what the dream really means.
If you had one and are curious about what a fever dream means, you have come to the right place. In this article, I will explain why fever dreams occur and why they are more bizarre than your average dream.
We will also explore common interpretations of fever dreams. As you will find out, there are many types of fever dreams, and each of these strange dreams has its unique interpretation depending on your life’s unique situation.
So, let’s dive in and find out: what does a fever dream mean?
What Is a Fever Dream?
Put simply, a fever dream is a dream you have when you are ill and suffering from a fever. These visions can appear at any stage of the sleep cycle but are more likely to happen during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.
The REM phase occurs 60 to 90 minutes into the sleep cycle. During this phase, dreams are more vivid, and you are likelier to remember the dream’s content when you wake up during or immediately after the REM phase.
A fever dream is quite different from your common dream in several ways. For one, fever dreams are almost always vivid. The vision feels abnormally real, and you can remember almost every dream detail.
Another distinguishing characteristic of a fever dream is the bizarre content. These dreams usually entail strange happenings that will leave you shaken or confused when you wake up.
For example, a fever dream may constitute traumatic childhood events, spatial distortions such as walking trees, cars flying in the air, melting cliffs, or walls with human features.
When you have a fever, you might also dream about distorted human figures with long limbs, see yourself in a maze or witness weird sounds. Getting trapped in strange darkness in which you neither move nor talk is also a common fever dream.
Of course, there are many types of fever dreams you can experience. The meaning of each dream will vary from one person to another. It all depends on what is going on in your life.
Causes of Fever Dreams
Fever dreams are so strange and often disturbing that one can’t help but wonder: what causes a fever dream in the first place? Why would such nightmares happen specifically when you are unwell and suffering a fever?
The exact cause of fever dreams or nightmares is still unknown and is an area of great interest among sleep researchers. But, several hypotheses attempt to explain the possible reasons fever dreams occur.
Let’s take a look at some of the potential causes of fever dreams:
Thermoregulation is the natural process by which the body regulates its body temperature, ensuring a normal and steady temperature that can support bodily functions. Thermoregulation ensures the body is neither too cold nor too warm for the organs to function properly.
When you are sick with a viral or bacterial infection, the body temperature rises abnormally, causing you to suffer from a fever. A fever is not bad; it is simply the body’s way of fighting the illness and attempting to heal.
But, a high body temperature can mess up your sleep quality. This explains you are likely to experience insomnia, a lack of energy, restlessness, unexplained nervousness, anxiety, and body aches when you are ill and down with a fever,
At the same time, the high body temperature can affect the brain’s normal functioning, leading to distorted memory and thoughts. In particular, fever affects the hypothalamus, which is responsible for thermal regulation.
Since the brain isn’t functioning optimally, it conjures distorted memories and images. This is why fever dreams entail bizarre, unexplainable, and vivid visions.
High stress levels can disrupt your normal sleep cycle, resulting in insomnia and sleep imbalances. Any disruptions to the sleep cycle can cause the brain to make up strange visions that appear as lucid dreams.
The sleep cycle consists of two main cycles: the non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and the rapid eye sleep cycle (REM).
Most of our sleep consists of NREM, with REM sleep occurring intermittently throughout the sleep cycle. All aspects of the sleep cycle are important, but REM sleep greatly impacts your mental health. It is here that most dreaming occurs, which explains why you are likelier to remember your dream if you wake up during or right after REM.
Stress can predispose you to illness that may be accompanied by a fever. Fever or even just stress alone can disrupt your sleep and cause you to wake up severally throughout the night.
These sleep disruptions decrease the brain’s capacity to maintain a healthy sleep pattern, leading to emotional dysregulation and distorted thoughts. The result is vivid and strange visions during sleep.
3. Real Life Experiences
Dreams often reflect our thoughts, emotions, desires, worries, and overall mental state in waking life.
If you experience negative emotions such as worry or fear, you can manifest this in your dreams in the form of nightmares or vivid dreams.
You will likely get fever dreams if your waking emotional state is out of balance. Emotional imbalance can change your brain’s normal functioning, resulting in the brain conjuring weird visions and vivid dreams to overcompensate for the imbalance.
Sickness is a major contributor to emotional imbalance. Depending on how sick you are, you may experience worry, fear, and isolation, and all these negative emotions will be carried over to your dreams. This is why sickness-related emotional states can cause you to have bizarre dreams.
Now that you understand the scientific explanation for a fever dream let’s explore the spiritual interpretations.
So, what does a fever dream mean spiritually?
6 Spiritual Meanings of Fever Dream
1. You need emotional healing
The scary images you see in a fever dream symbolize your traumatic past. These weird dreams may occur when you haven’t fully processed the emotional pain you have accumulated since childhood.
Unprocessed trauma can wreak havoc in your life, leaving you in a vicious cycle of emotional imbalance. Due to this imbalance, your waking life might be characterized by unhealthy patterns such as getting into and staying in abusive relationships, binge eating, addiction, or having a negative self-image that can lead to poor decision-making.
Your emotional state in your waking life will be carried on into your sleep. If you have recurrent nightmares, this is a sign that you should pay more attention to your emotional and psychological wellbeing.
Make peace with your past and embark on a journey of healing. If possible, seek the help of a therapist or spiritual guide to aid in your journey.
2. You are neglecting a certain aspect of your waking life
Fever dreams can be difficult to decipher because of their utter strangeness. But, these dreams symbolize an aspect of your life you have made a ‘stranger’ and are neglecting.
Whatever you are not paying attention to (when you should) could be anything, including your health, finances, or relationships.
Your neglect and lack of attention symbolize you pushing the important things to the back burner.
In most cases, a fever dream points you to something unhealthy in your life. Do an audit of your life; what aspect of it is not in alignment and needs fixing? Once you identify areas of improvement, direct your attention there and fix what is needed.
3. You are scared for your life or worried about something
A major theme underlying fever dreams are fear and worry. As mentioned, dreams can reflect the happenings in your waking life.
If you have nightmares, it could signify that you are fearful in your waking life. It could also be that you are worried about one thing or another that you are yet to resolve.
Living with fear can be stressful and burdensome and affect your sleep hygiene. Scary dreams urge you to stand up, face your fears boldly, and let go of your worries.
It will not be easy to stand up to your fears, but you will be a better and stronger person for it. Also, living a more fearless life might help you stop scary dreams dominated by themes of fear and anxiety.
4. You feel powerless and out of control
It is normal to feel powerless and lack control when you are sick. These feelings can be carried over to your dreams, where you might see yourself in helpless situations.
For example, if you are overwhelmed by feelings of powerlessness in your waking life, you might have fever dreams in which a wild animal is chasing you. You could also dream that you are falling off a cliff, a mountain of lava is about to cover you, or you are caught in a dark maze with no way out.
While feeling powerless is normal in times of sickness, try as much as possible to enamor yourself. For example, you could try health-restoring affirmations to get back some sense of control over your situation.
5. You are about to experience personal change
A common fever dream entails your brutal death. Seeing yourself murdered in a dream can be a scary and traumatic experience.
Thankfully, this fever dream doesn’t mean you will be murdered in real life. On the contrary, a dream about dying symbolizes personal change.
This dream means you are undergoing some form of transition, and the uncertainty is causing fear and anxiety.
The upside is that personal change is almost always good for you. Your old self is dying, and you will reinvent yourself for the better.
Sickness can also be a trigger for personal change. It could be that your sickness-induced fever is a wake-up call to pursue a healthier lifestyle. Perhaps the sickness has prompted you to be more mindful and live in and appreciate the present moment. These are major shifts from how you have lived life in the past.
6. You need to be more assertive
Many people report having a fever dream involving being in a vicious fight with invisible beings or strange beings with extended limbs.
Nightmares about bloody fights signify the need to be more assertive in your waking life. If you let others walk all over you, this dream tells you to do what it takes to regain your power.
In the course of life, you will encounter all kinds of people. It is up to you to commit to being your authentic self and take your rightful place, whether in your professional, domestic, or social life.
This dream reminds you that no one will stand up for you unless you stand up for yourself.
Summary: What Does A Fever Dream Mean?
A fever dream is nothing short of a nightmare. These dreams are scary and paralyzing and can leave you shaken for days.
Knowing what a fever dream means can be difficult because of these dreams’ strange and distorted nature. But, what is for sure is that fever dreams reflect your emotional and psychological state.
In addition to sickness, experiences of fear, stress, anxiety, and helplessness can trigger nightmarish fever dreams. On the upside, your fever dreams will likely go away as soon as your sickness and fever subside.