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Learn What Your Work Dreams Mean to Turn Your Stress into Success

Though the science behind this topic isn’t certain, we’re learning more about why we dream. As we sleep, our brains process the day’s information and store it into long-term memory. Our minds use the restful period to draw connections between things we learned and things we already knew, making sleep essential for learning, creativity, and productivity.

However, this doesn’t mean that your dreams will always make sense. Often, they do not. If you find yourself waking from the same dream about giving a presentation you’re unprepared for, or showing up to work missing a few items of clothing, you may be wondering — why?

With most of our waking hours spent at work, your brain has a lot to process. Whether you’re having stress dreams, task dreams, or just plain weird dreams — most of us have had a dream about the office.

Is Dreaming about Work Normal?

Yes, dreaming about work is normal. Since so much of our dreams are based on our day-to-day, it’s no surprise that 50–80% of people report dreaming about work at one point or another.

These dreams may offer valuable insights into what you truly want, and how you can improve. With some reflection on your dreams, you may realize the source of significant ones. The people who appear often may represent some attribute to your subconscious, and the things that you do and experience are expressions of how you’re feeling and what you want more of in your life.

Why is Understanding Your Work Dreams Important?

Understanding what lies at the heart of your work stress dreams can help you perform better, embark on a more fulfilling career journey, and get a better night’s rest. For help determining what your work dreams mean, check out our infographic below:

Infographic Showing What Do Your Work Dreams Mean

What do Your Work Dreams Mean?

Even after hours, our brains may clock in to work. Learn what your work dreams mean to turn your stress into success!

You’re Not Dreaming Alone…

  • Over half of business owners say they have ‘Sleepworking’ dreams.
  • 83% of American professionals are stressed out at work.
  • 64% of people report waking up worried about their jobs.

What These 10 Dreams Mean About Your Work Life

1. Late for Work

  • You’re missing out on an opportunity.
  • Tip: Set goals for yourself and talk to your boss about what experience you’d like to gain.

2. Being Naked at Work

  • You’re feeling vulnerable and under-prepared.
  • Tip: If you’re losing sleep over a new position or responsibilities, find a mentor to go to for support.

3. Can’t Find the Bathroom

  • Your basic needs at work aren’t being met.
  • Tip: It’s time to reassess your job supports—if you’re exhausted, underpaid and unsupported, it may be time to leave.

4. Can’t Lock a Door

  • You’re feeling vulnerable and under-prepared.
  • Tip: If you’re in a new position or taking on more responsibilities, find a mentor to go to for advice and support.

5. Mundane Tasks

  • You care a lot about your job.
  • Tip: Make a to-do list for the next day before bed, so your mind can relax in sleep.

6. Your Coworkers

  • You admire a trait that your coworker displays.
  • Tip: Think about the most positive traits in that person and make an effort to incorporate their work ethic into your own.

7. Showing up at an Old Workplace

  • Some aspect of your current work or behaviors is similar to a lesson you already learned.
  • Tip: Reflect on your behavior at this job from time to time and make sure you’re not slipping back into bad habits.

8. Being Unprepared for a Presentation

  • This is a sign that you lack confidence in your abilities.
  • Tip: Practice situations that stress you out, from meetings and calls to presentations—but be careful not to over-do it.

9. Argument with the Boss

  • If you don’t often argue with your boss, this may represent a continuing struggle to prove yourself.
  • Tip: Sometimes it’s not ideal, but you may be holding yourself back by setting unreasonable standards.

10. Driving to Work

  • You’re worried about where your career is going.
  • Tip: Review where you see yourself in 5 years, and reassess if you’re taking steps to get there.

Tips to Deal with Workplace Stress

  • Set Regular Working Hours: Working 11 hours a day is associated with a 67% increased risk of cardiovascular issues.
  • Make Healthy Choices: Those who eat several servings of vegetables have 12% lower risk of feeling stressed. Learn more about the connection between nutrition and sleep here.
  • Find a Technique for Relaxation that Works for You: Meditation has been shown to improve anxiety in 60% of patients.
  • Give Time to Mindfulness: 46% of the population is actually able to multitask—give your brain a break by doing one task at a time.
  • Take Breaks: Regular breaks have been shown to improve productivity and performance.
  • Prioritize Better Sleep: Feel like your sleep habits are lacking? Practice sleep hygiene, get one of the best mattresses, and work on prioritizing your health.

Jill Zwarensteyn

Jill Zwarensteyn


About Author

Jill Zwarensteyn is the Editor for Sleep Advisor and a Certified Sleep Science Coach. She is enthusiastic about providing helpful and engaging information on all things sleep and wellness.

Combination Sleeper


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