Do spirits communicate with us during dreams?

15th May 2019. Reading Time: 11 minutes Stuff paranormal investigators need to know, General. 13539 page views. 12 comments.

It has long been said by many that believe in spirits that they feel they can communicate with us or give us messages through our dreams.  Let's look at the different dream states and their claimed connections with spirit visitation. Are they just dreams, or something more?

It has long been said by many that believe in spirits that they feel they can communicate with us or give us messages through our dreams. Like a lot of things in the paranormal, it is pretty impossible to ‘prove’ if a dream is just our subconscious or if it really is a message from the other side. In order to explore this concept further, we need to understand where our dreams come from and what they typically mean. So let’s look at dreams, the different kinds of dream and sleep states, and the phenomena surrounding visitations to see if there is a connection.

What is REM sleep?

When we sleep, we go through 5 stages of sleep. 4 of these are considered to be NREM - non-rapid eye movement, with the final stage labelled as REM sleep - rapid eye movement. We can dream during any cycle of sleep, but it is most common and most vivid during REM sleep. IT is believed that we have between 4-6 dreams every night, we just don't always remember them.

What do our dreams mean?

A dream is a story or a movie that our brain creates while we are in REM sleep. There is still a lot about dreaming that Science does not yet know or understand. Some speculate our subconscious plays a major role in 'creating' these stories. So much so in fact there is what is called a dream dictionary. Psychology suggests that it comes from our subconscious and our current state of mind or emotions can play a role in the type of dreams that we have. There are common dreams that people share. From falling from a building to turning up to school or work completely naked, we have all had a certain type of dream at some point in time. A lot of people however do tend to argue over what the meaning of these dreams is. In the early 1900s, Sigmund Freud explored this quite extensively. He believes a dream was a result of our deepest anxieties and desires. He believed they often had a connection to repressed childhood memories or obsessions.

Precognitive dreams

A precognitive dream is one that shows the dreamer a vision of the future. There are many accounts all over the world of people perhaps dreaming of a certain place they have never seen or heard of before and months later they suddenly find themselves in that exact same place. Some people believe they are warned about future events in their dreams. There are reports of people for example who dream of natural disasters days before they occur. Another form of a precognitive dream is considered to be a sign that you are on the right path. Some take it as a message from spirit or spirit guides. Some consider it just a coincidence. When the event itself happens and you experience it in waking life, you have a sense of déjà vu because everything is familiar.


Hypnagogia is a state where you aren't quite asleep and you aren't quite awake, you are a little bit of both. It would probably be what you would associate with as dozing. It is a state that is compared to REM sleep where a person is in their deepest sleep. Your mind is going through a lot of thoughts, emotions, ideas and accessing memories. During REM sleep, you are in such a deep sleep that you are not aware of you don't remember this. When you are in a hypnagogic state, you are in between full sleep and being awake so you are aware of these thought processes. A lot of people enter a meditative state which is pretty similar to hypnagogia in order to 'meet' their spirit guides or have some form of communication with the spirit world. They also claim it is the perfect time for spirits to communicate with us because our mind is open and free of outside influence and even our own subjectiveness. You essentially are letting stuff happen without your own judgment clouding things as you are virtually asleep. It isn't until you wake up and start looking at things that your judgment comes back into this. It is of course how you interpret everything you have seen and felt and experienced when you wake up as to if you think you have had a hallucination or if you think it could be something more. This state is thought to be closely associated with sleep paralysis and it can cause a person to hallucinate. Certain medications, stress, over tiredness and alcohol can all be factors that can cause a person to have a hypnagogic hallucination. It is the number one conclusion that a lot of people will jump to when a person claims to have some sort of alien visitation in bed. While there is a scientific explanation here, does this explain all occurrences?

Lucid Dreaming

A Lucid dream is a dream where you are aware that you are dreaming and you are able to control your actions. The term of lucid dreaming was coined by Frederik can Eeden who was a Dutch author and psychiatrist, in an article he published in 1913 called A Study of Dreams.

Aristotle once wrote

"often when one is asleep, there is something in consciousness which declares that what then presents itself is but a dream"

It is thought by some to be a reference to lucid dreaming. In fact, there are references made to it throughout history. It is thought by some to be a powerful tool when used in such a way to help people overcome their fears. Some in the medical field even believe that it can help treat conditions such as anxiety and PTSD, however, there is not enough research to conclude either way.

Sleep paralysis

Sleep paralysis occurs when a person is in REM sleep - Rapid Eye Movement. It is in this state that the brain has vivid dreams. It also sends a message to your muscles to relax which puts you in a state of temporary paralysis so that you don’t go and start physically acting out what you are dreaming. If you dream of punching someone, you don’t want to be punching your partner in your sleep - or if they snore as mine does maybe you do! Sometimes a person wakes up and becomes conscious before the brain sends the signal to the muscles to wake up. It means a person is lying there and is conscious but is unable to move and unable to speak. It is common to hallucinate in this state as well as you are still technically in REM and some people report seeing figures in their room or at the foot of the bed. They can feel a heaviness on their chest or a choking sensation which makes you feel like it is the figure at the foot of the bed doing this to you. It doesn’t take long for the body to catch up, but it can feel like an eternity when you are in this state. It is absolutely terrifying. It is called sleep paralysis. It can occur if someone is sleep-deprived, stressed, on certain medications or if they suffer from other sleep disorders such as narcolepsy or sleep apnea. People often associate this with what they consider negative spirits and feel it is a form of psychic attack.

Spirits visiting people in dreams

As you can see from the above, there are potentially different ways or more specifically different dream states which we can be in that could potentially open a door for spirit communication. Whether our mind is free of us 'thinking or judging or trying to control things' to it simply just being in a state where our consciousness is the most vulnerable, quite a lot of people report having some sort of spirit visitation during a dream. How do you tell if it is just a normal dream or a visitation? A lot of people tell me that they know KNOW when it is a visitation as there is a specific message that they understand or perhaps needed at that time. Simply dreaming of a person doesn't necessarily mean a visitation in their eyes. I have also been told that when you wake with the feeling of love and comfort after a dream, it is a visitation as you are feeling the energy of your loved ones. I have also been told that they are often surrounded by a glowing light indicating that they are using 'Devine light' to communicate with us. I haven't had an experience in this sense so in this case, I am going by what people have told me through their own experiences. It could also be argued, particularly by someone like Freud that a dream could just be some sort of way of dealing with the grief or loss of a loved one. Perhaps there are some unresolved issues you feel deep down but don't wish to confront. Maybe something you wish you had said or done. Maybe there is guilt associated with it. Our subconscious is a powerful tool ...... but so is our consciousness.

Now when I look at all the different ways that we can dream, there is a common denominator ..... our consciousness. It is unknown exactly what our consciousness is capable of and if it even lives on after we die. If our consciousness is not confined to our physical body, where does it go when we are sleeping? Is a dream our subconscious or perhaps is it a peek into something else. We live in a 3-dimensional world. The 4th dimension is time which we cannot see. Some consider it to be the bridge between our physical world and the spiritual world. The 5th dimension is thought to be the first major spiritual dimension where a person reaches a higher form of consciousness. It is in the 4th dimension that people claim they can astral travel and leave their body via their consciousness to visit another place or person. The 4th dimension is also made up of time. When we dream, it can feel like a dream has gone for hours, yet in reality, a dream lasts for only 20-30 minutes on average. Time doesn't seem to apply in our dreams - the ones that we remember anyway. Is this an indication that perhaps during our dreams, we are entering a different state of consciousness? Is that what would make it possible for us to receive a visit from a loved one in the form of a dream? Is that why we only remember certain dreams?

My own experience with a spirit visiting my dreams

I have some pretty crazy dreams. Once I didn’t talk to my husband for 2 days because he dream cheated on me and it took me a while to realise that I was basing my anger on a dream. Sometimes though, I have dreams that really stick with me to the point that I think there is possibly something more to it. My Grandfather passed away just before my 21st birthday. I wasn’t actively investigating the paranormal back then, it was just something I had an interest in. A few months after he died, I had a dream that I was surrounded by my family when the phone rang. Back then it was common to have landline phones. I answered the phone and I heard his voice on the other end. I asked him where he was. All he said was I’m OK. I was crying in my dream. Tears of happiness. It was the first time I had experienced the death of a loved one and it took me a while to come to terms with it. It was comfort and reassurance I personally needed at the time. I woke up feeling a sense of comfort thinking perhaps he had found a way to contact me and let me know he was OK wherever he was. Fast-forward to earlier this week. I had a dream where my mobile rang and I received a call from a payphone (something that doesn’t really exist anymore). He was on the other end. He told me he was getting on the train with my Nan (who passed around 5 years ago) and they were going shopping. What was extra odd was this took place on a Wednesday which was the day that we all used to go shopping together. In both dreams, I never saw him. I only heard his voice and it was his voice. He even said my name in the funny way he would always say it. Again I woke up comforted. It had been 16 years since I had ‘heard’ from him. I have never had any experience with any other ‘spirits’ or loved ones that have passed. These are the only two occasions. I could say it is my subconscious or something else, but I honestly don’t want to. I feel comforted and I feel loved and all day I was remembering him. It was a lovely feeling and I like to think it was his way of saying hello.

At the end of the day, like most things in the paranormal, we can’t really ‘prove’ if someone is receiving a message from spirit or if they are just dreaming. I can argue all day on this topic and look at all the different possibilities and even if a spirit is what we think it is. Sometimes though, I like many others just want the comfort of knowing that my loved ones who have passed are ok. So maybe this is something that doesn’t need to be debunked. Is it hurting anyone by thinking a loved one visited us in a dream? I don’t think so and I know I like to think my special experiences are my Grandfather’s way of saying I haven’t forgotten you I am here doing the things I always loved to do. For me, that is enough.

Do you have a story about a dream visitation you want to share? Do you think spirits visit us in our dreams?

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  • ellen 4 years ago

    they always look for a way to make a connection, and as some people because of some reasons send them a positive signal by having a powerful opened mind, they grab the string and send messages one after another.
    about 25 years ago, I had a near dead experience and after that, I had some abilities to listen, to predict. I could listen from the other side. now there are some weeks that I have dreams all in an incomplete house where is full of dead family members. in this house I visit alive family members too, but its very odd because the most are deads. at first, I didn't take it serious, but after some days, my aunt passed away accidentally and I believed there is something, maybe a message. I cant analyze this but….I think I got the first message now and it was my aunt’s passing. but why they keep appearing in my dreams everyday? I can talk to them, I know they are dead, but it seems its not important and just look. in my dreams I exactly know the address of the building, I know all streets and places, I also know Im dreaming and I just decide to go to that house when Im awake. but sadly, when I wake up, I have forgotten the address and dont know where the house was located. I just remember that the house was in our city, a little further … but dont know where. now I have started to read about dreams and dreaming to analyze my dreams and visions. what do you think?

  • Mary Ellen 4 years ago

    I had a dream a few weeks after my fiance committed suicide that we were laying in bed on a Sunday morning as we normally would. I could see him plain as day laying right there next to me, he was holding me. I believe this is one way that my fiance contacted me to let me know he still loves me and that he is sorry for what he did (committing suicide). He loved us spending our Sunday's together, just lounging in bed until we decided to get up and get moving for the day. It definitely brought me peace in the morning when I woke up.

  • Nat 4 years ago

    In my dream I was in a train carriage...from a distance I could see my grandma( she died over 10 yrs ago)..she was sitting down and staring at the train map..almost confused..nitvknowing at which station she was supposed to exit(this is what I felt in my dream)..
    The day after I was on the phone with my dad that lives overseas. At the end of our conversation he told me.." I just wanted to let you know that yesterday we exhumed your grandmother's remains and moved into a mausoleum.."
    I was in shock

  • Joseph Kapusta 4 years ago

    I may have told about this experience before but it pertains to this topic. My wife & I stayed overnight in Springfield, CO., a small town with a small, historic hotel over 100 years old. The street it is located on was an old stage coach pathway. Countless bad guys, outlaws, criminals most likely passed thru this area on their way west. The hotel inside is decorated with numerous artifacts of the 'wild west' period. What transpired was this. Being a paranormal investigator at heart, I had brought along a trap camera and situated on the bureau in the room, pointing it at our bed as we slept. The video did not reveal any strange orb movement however what was captured is very intriguing. In the middle of the night, while sleeping, an EVP is captured in a whisper voice stating "now leave." Approximately two seconds later my wife states, while still asleep, "yeah but I don't have anywhere else to go." Unfortunately she retained no memory of this upon waking.

  • Noah 5 years ago

    My grandpa died a couple months after my 21st birthday, and before he died he had promised me a few acres of land for me and my fiancé to start our life’s on.. well after he passed my grandma refused to give me the land and has been being quite rude about it!! She says she doesn’t remember anything about it and that even if he promised me the land that he was probably on a lot of meds at the time... well I had a dream about him lastnight, it wasn’t exactly clear where we were but I just remember walking with him and he bought me some food lol (like he always used to) and I told him about my grandmother(his wife) refusing to give me the land that he promised me, and he replied “ well then maybe it’s not a good idea”. Could he be trying to tell me something or was it just a dream?? Keep in mind I have had a lot of stress about this whole situation

  • julie 5 years ago

    I lost both of my parents within 18 months of each other and find I dream of them a lot.Most dreams seem to show them alive and younger etc.Then other ones more distressing where I start to cry and realise they are dead.Last night I became very distressed during such a dream, sobbing loudly waking my husband too.I also felt as if I was awake and tried to look at my hands but couldn't?I felt a firm hand in mine which left then came back.I seemed to be semi awake by then it was strange.Was it possible one of the WAS holding my hand?I guess I will never know but would like to think so.Has anyone else had such an experience?

  • Nancy 5 years ago

    It's 4:30 am. I just woke from a dream where I dreamt my fiancé's friend/work friend who passed away two years ago.i have to mention that I'm pregnant and have been having vivid and sometimes outrageous 'pregnancy dreams'. I had met him more than a few times and respected him because of the harsh life he had been handed and being able to raise kids that weren't his as a single dad with some sort of grace. He died of a heart attack and was only 32 (he was born with heart complications). I want to stress that I was not close to him and really only felt sadness towards the whole situation. However, my fiancé would mention (before and after his friend died ) that he admired me and would always side with me in when he spoke to him about our relationship. His friend would tell him o was a good woman and that he should take care of me and be careful not to lose me. When he died my fiancé told me that his friend had a crush on me and it kind of made me sad. Again, I was not in any way attracted to him, I just felt really bad for him and the kids he left behind. So there's the back story. He hadn't crossed my mind until last month (the anniversary of his passing) but tonight I dreamt him and it was peaceful but intense at the same time. I feel a bit of guilt and don't know how my fiancé will feel if I tell him what I dreamt so I figured I'd vent here and see if someone has had a similar experience. The dream: I'm standing outside of a Walmart when J (the deceased friend) approached me and starts chatting with me, a few of his friends approach us (I only know one of them) and we all sort of conversarte under a really pretty cosmic looking night sky. Then J starts talking about time and how flexible it actually is and how we can determine whether we are living life to the fullest. I wish I could grasp his technique because it was so simple in my dream. He managed to turn back time in a non-abrasive and guilt-free way. He offered to drive me home and I accepted, his friend was in the passenger seat chatting away and I was just admired by this young man's quirkiness (no atttaction, I'm just naturally a people person and avid people watcher). Then I catch J staring very hard at me in the rear view mirror, it felt like he was admiring how attentive I was of his friend's conversation. Then I start to calculate time and realize that I haven't met my fiancé yet, though I'm aware of this I understand that J's technique is still at work so I don't feel any loyalty to my fiancé . We get to my house and J gets out of his truck and starts to walk me to the door, I tell him it's completely not necessary but seems to want my dad's respect. he waves his hand over the glass door and I hear my dad call for me saying "Nancy! A is here (my ex from high school!), mortified I swing the door open and tell my dad (embarrassingly) that it's me and introduce J and also mention that me and A had broken up years ago. He apologizes and says he hadn't seen me. Me and J walk back to his truck and his friend is on the phone , walking along the sidewalk ,
    J pulls me against his truck and we kiss very slowly but with ALOT of intent. It was a single long kiss and I could feel he was extremely passionate about it, then when we pull away he stares at me and says "fuck " and I wake up. I have to mention that I woke up aroused then I started crying because I felt so bad for him and everything he went through just to die! I know people will assume that it's just my subconscious and maybe I had some sort of attraction to him but I honestly didn't which leads me to believe that he visited me in my dream and had intention on exploring me and my soul. I'm normally a vivid dreamer and I also control most of my dreams but this was not something from my imagination. The sky and the conversation about time was something I did not conjure up , it definitely felt implanted , it wasn't one of 'my dreams' if that makes any sense.

  • Nancy 5 years ago

    Love reading all of this I have a question I had a dream about That my husband came to me and said who’s little girl is that in my sleep a day later my daughter told me she was pregnant couldn’t be him coming to tell me that she was the one that was having a baby

    • Garry 5 years ago

      Sometimes spirit uses people you know ir familiar with to say things as a message or preventing bad thing as a warning something

  • Joyce Lynne Geb 5 years ago

    Great article! I too have had visitation dreams. In one, my stepfather told me that he loved me. This was very meaningful since we had differences before he died

  • Jenny 5 years ago

    Hi Sarah, great article. As a medium I have had very specific visitations from spirit in my dreams, from my them dropping in and taking over (family lol) to messages with imagery: my Dad was in a dream and then he disappeared, the next minute 3 “angels” were standing nearby, seconds later I was woken up to a phone call that he was enroute to hospital having a heart attack.
    How do I know when it’s spirit and not me? It feels different and you learn to discern the difference. Even when I’m not sure who’s running the show, when I tune into my intuition I can tell the difference.
    It can feel a bit intrusive sometimes, but it is what it is and for the most part it’s a lovely experience.
    It’s just another way they can communicate, but I suggest if anyone is having trouble believing that they should ask for signs of confirmation. But the trick is not to be consciously on the lookout for signs because then you’ll think everything is a sign...try to forget about it and I bet it will keep hitting you in the face until you get it.
    I’m only one person and I can’t 100% scientifically prove anything, but sometimes you just know what you know by how it feels

    • Mitch 5 years ago

      Hey Jenny, I Just wanted to enquire about something you said in regards to dreams.

      I've been Trying to find a medium to ask since I experienced something a few years ago.
      Many things have happened since then and I was wondering if you could hear me out.

      Is there any chance that I could Please email you.

      If not that's ok :) , I just thought I might ask