Dreams About Spiders: Dream Meanings Explained
Dreams about spiders are a fairly common theme at bedtime. If you or a loved one has been covering this ground at night, you might have questions about what it all means. As part of a Huffington Post series on dreams and their meanings, we spoke to Cynthia Richmond, author of "Dream Power," and frequent guest on shows like "Oprah" and "Dr. Phil", in Camp Verde, Ariz., to get expert advice about the meanings of dreams about spiders. Note: While dream analysis is highly subjective, this post might provide some insight into why this dream occured or is recurring.
What do dreams about spiders mean?
"Spiders weave a web -- a beautiful, intricate trap to catch it's prey," says Richmond. "As such, spiders are associated with manipulation. Depending on the rest of the dream, the spider may indicate that the dreamer is being manipulated or that the dreamer is the manipulator."
What can I learn about myself from dreaming about spiders?
Richmond suggests asking yourself if you're being manipulated. If the answer is yes, determine what you can do to protect yourself. If you think you're manipulating someone for your own good, ask yourself how you can withdraw from that type of behavior.
Are there any tricks to avoiding or inducing dreams about spiders?
The key in avoiding a dream about spiders is to fix what the problem is outside of your dreams. "The dreamer should ask themselves, 'Where in my life am I being manipulated or manipulating others?' and resolve that," says Richmond. If you want to induce dreams about spiders, Richmond suggests looking at photos of spiders before bedtime and to think about them as you drift to sleep.
Beyond analysis, what cultural symbolism can be found in dreams about spiders?
Cultures that value the spider may find that dreaming about them represents something aside from manipulation. For example, in a culture where farming is a means of life, spiders can stand for prosperity since they eat pests and represent good growing conditions. On the other hand, in situations where a person is afraid of spiders, such dreams may not be as welcome. "In that case, the dreamer must take charge to come to terms with their fear," says Richmond. "I suggest a good therapist and hypnosis."
Who tends to have dreams about spiders most frequently?
Spider dreams are common in both males and females of all ages.
Does dreaming about a poisonous spider in particular have special meaning?
Anything poisonous in a dream indicates a treacherous or deadly force, explains Richmond. "The spider could indicate that the dreamer is using drugs or alcohol in excess or that a relationship, career or person has turned bad," she says. Perhaps it's a relationship, a new venture or anything else that's physically, emotionally, financially or even mentally dangerous to you.
Cynthia Richmond is a board certified behavioral therapist, educator, speaker and author of "Dream Power." She writes a regular column titled, "In Your Dreams" for the Los Angeles Times and has appeared as a dream expert on "Oprah," "Entertainment Tonight," "The View," "Donny and Marie," and "Dr. Phil." In addition, Richmond provides live dream interpretations on InfiniteQuest.com.
Also on HuffPost:
...Increase Stroke Risk
Even without the typical risk factors, like being overweight or having a family history, short sleep can up your risk for stroke, according to 2012 research. Adults who regularly slept fewer than six hours a night had <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/11/sleep-stroke-risk_n_1586837.html">four times the risk of stroke symptoms</a>, HuffPost reported.
...Lead To Obesity
Too little sleep can spur some less-than-ideal food choices, including <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/25/sleep-portion-sizes-deprivation-food-calories_n_2735497.html">serving yourself larger portions</a>, and a hankering for junk food, thanks to some complicated hormonal changes that occur when you don't get sufficient shuteye. It seems that six hours of sleep or less <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/26/sleep-deprivation-obesity-leptin-ghrelin-insulin_n_2007043.html">bumps up production of the hunger hormone ghrelin</a> and limits leptin, which helps you balance your food intake, according to a 2012 review of 18 studies of sleep and appetite.
...Up Diabetes Risk
A pair of small studies from 2012 examined the link between poor sleep and insulin resistance, a telltale risk factor for diabetes. One found that among healthy teenagers, the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/03/sleep-insulin-resistance-teens_n_1929374.html">shortest sleepers had the highest insulin resistance</a>, meaning the body is <a href="http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/insulinresistance/#resistance">not using insulin effectively</a>, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. The second study examined fat cells, in particular, and found that cutting back on sleep <a href="http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1379773">increased insulin resistance in these cells</a>, even when <a href="http://news.health.com/2012/10/15/sleep-deprivation-insulin-resistance/">diet and calorie intake were restricted</a>, Health.com reported.
...Fuel Memory Loss
You probably know that on the days when you are most tired, you're forgetful and unfocused -- but sleep deprivation can lead to <a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130127134212.htm"><em>permanent</em> cognitive issues</a>. The less we sleep, the less we benefit from the memory-storing properties of sleep. But additionally, a lack of sleep can cause <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/28/sleep-deprivation-memory-loss_n_2566999.html">"brain deterioration,"</a> according to a 2013 study, which may at least in part explain memory loss in seniors.
At least in rats, long-term <a href="http://ebm.rsmjournals.com/content/237/9/1101.full">sleep deprivation seems to contribute to osteoporosis</a>, according to a 2012 study. Researchers found <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/26/sleep-deprivation-bones-marrow_n_1898610.html">changes to bone mineral density and bone marrow</a> in the rodents when they were deprived of shuteye over a period of 72 days. "If true in humans, and I expect that it may be, this work will have great impact on our understanding of <a href="http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-09/sfeb-los_1091812.php">the impact of sleep deprivation on osteoporosis</a> and inability to repair bone damage as we age," Steven R. Goodman, Ph.D., editor-in-chief of Experimental Biology and Medicine, said in a statement.
...Increase Cancer Risk
A small (but growing) body of research suggests that short and poor sleep can up risk for certain types of cancer. A 2010 study found that among 1,240 people screened for colorectal cancer, the 338 who were diagnosed were <a href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cncr.25507/abstract">more likely to average fewer than six hours of sleep</a> a night. Even after controlling for more traditional risk factors, polyps were more common in people who slept less, according to the study. Getting just six hours of sleep a night has also been linked to an <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/06/sleep-breast-cancer-aggressive-deprivation_n_1854658.html">increase of recurrence in breast cancer patients</a>. The study's author has pointed to more and better sleep as a possible pathway of reducing risk and recurrence.
...Hurt Your Heart
The stress and strain of too little sleep can cause the body to produce more of the chemicals and hormones that can lead to heart disease, according to 2011 research. The study found that people who slept for six hours or less each night and have problems staying asleep had a 48 percent <a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110208091426.htm">higher risk of developing or dying from heart disease</a>.
It's not just heart problems that can lead to sleep-deprivation-related death. In fact, <a href="http://healthland.time.com/2010/09/02/lack-of-sleep-can-cause-depression-weight-gain-and-even-death/">short sleepers seem to die younger</a> of any cause than people who sleep about 6.5 to 7.5 hours a night, TIME reported. A 2010 study examined the impact of short sleep on mortality and found that <a href="http://www.journalsleep.org/ViewAbstract.aspx?pid=27894">men who slept for less than six hours of sleep a night were four times more likely</a> to die over a 14-year period. The study's authors called this link "a risk that has been underestimated."