Let’s Challenge the Walk in Dreams

Optional audio transcript

Have you ever walked in a dream? This alternate reality of being able to walk, fall, get pushed or push, or fly. I never fly in my dreams, but I fall plenty, which is how I got the idea for this post. So, I had a dream last night that lost its context, but the end was plenty eventful. It’s time to understand the walk in dreams.

So, in this dream, I was having a conversation with a person who I had never met before. It was the end to a normal dream. Suddenly, I was rushed by something. I couldn’t tell what it was. But it forced me to fall back, in the dream, that is. I shot up in my bed, half-awake from the dream.

Now, I sleep with animals in the bed. My indoor cat, Toby, sleeps by the window which is right beside my bed. It’s his spot. I also sometimes have one of the dogs sleeping beside me. Anyways, Toby was right beside my foot, which during the dream, had kicked upwards. I know this because the kicking was still happening when I awoke.

Toby, as a response, clawed the ever lovingness out of my foot as it also spooked him. I suppose he didn’t expect me to wake up so violently. It was 4 A.M. It wasn’t a nightmare, in my mind, as I didn’t see anything scary. Nothing was chasing me, except the linebacker shadow that pummeled me out of the dream.

Why do we walk in dreams, anyways?

Someone has researched this, and I love them for it. Unfortunately, everything is behind an access code, so I will surely make it short. In this study [1], there are a few reasons as to why we move in our dreams.

Firstly, and the big one, is by psychiatrists J. Allan Hobson and Robert McCarley, the former being an author to the report. It is called the activation-synthesis hypothesis, which explains as to why we dream. Their theory is that dreams take place of other activities our brain that is sort of shut down while we sleep.

Dreaming by Gordon Johnson 

For this to happen, the limbic system, which is a part of the brain that controls responses of behavioral and emotional actions, becomes alive. From these signals, our fancy brain creates signals which, in turn, creates dreams.

Secondly, they speak of Freud because that man is everywhere in psychology. Freud believes that dreams are from an outside stimulus [2]. While I can assume that it comes from the same system in the brain, Freud adds more in. He states that what we experience in day-to-day comes with us in our dreams.

Sadly, I could not find what their third theory to test was as the abstract was, well, abstract, but these were the two contenders.

Is there an explanation for the movement?

Oddly enough, there is some explanation for movement during dreaming, and of course, they mostly involve disorders. Why we can’t have nice things and move without a problem arising, I’ll never know. The list is one that you are aware of if you ever investigated sleep issues.

  • Periodic Limb Movements of Sleep (PLMS)
  • REM Sleep Behavior Disorder
  • Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
  • Sleepwalking
  • Bruxism, teeth grinding

The one that I want to point out is the first one, PLMS, which I’m going to abbreviate because who has the time. PLMS is not a disorder and we all do it. This sleep phenomenon is typically a muscle twitch, nothing we can control and often occur in the lower legs. Usually, you cannot tell when you do it because you are asleep. It, like everything else, can get too bad to become a disorder, but that is something for your doctor to look at.

Sorry to Toby

While nothing crazy happened yesterday for this to happen, I suppose that my brain and body were in a bit too much of a sync and my cat was just an innocent bystander. Furthermore, this does not happen often, so I assume that I get my once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of accidentally scaring my animals.

Toby is fine. Oddly enough, the dog, Oliver, didn’t move an inch.

Toby the cat
Toby the cat

Additionally, I did want to add in on the second point, REM Sleep Behavior Disorder. This is like the second step up from PLMS. It associates with body movements and vocal outbursts during sleep. These two points are not the same.

If anything, it is more associated with nightmares and sleep paralysis. It is also incredibly rare, so if any of this pique your interest, talk to your doctor.

This one also can be associated with night terrors, but they are not one in the same. My dream and additional wakeup call were uncommon to my normal wake ups, but not part of a disorder. It was just a fun ordeal that I was curious about.

Because I like to humor dream meanings.

Being pushed is, for some reason, not a common ordeal in dreaming. In this case, I did find one meaning from the famous India Times. At this point, I just need to subscribe to this source. It states that I could be having a hard time in a situation that I may not want to be in. This isn’t exactly true sentiment, but I guess something may be up.

Turtle walking by Clker-Free-Vector-Images, illustrate walk in dreams
Turtle walking by Clker-Free-Vector-Images

It could also be a pushing from someone else to get me to do something that they want. This also isn’t part of my life at the time. At this point, my theory is that it was time for me to wake up and a push was what I needed. Who knows?

So, what have you dreamt about lately? Have you started to walk, push, or fall? Is there a meaning to what you dream at all?


[1] Porte HS, Hobson JA. Physical motion in dreams: one measure of three theories. J Abnorm Psychol. 1996 Aug;105(3):329-35. doi: 10.1037//0021-843x.105.3.329. PMID: 8772003.

[2] Zhang, Wei, and Benyu Guo. “Freud’s Dream Interpretation: A Different Perspective Based on the Self-Organization Theory of Dreaming.” Frontiers in psychology vol. 9 1553. 23 Aug. 2018, doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01553

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