Dream question: why am I hearing my name?

Jessie asks “What about hearing your name called whilst asleep when no ones around?”
Delphi writes:

This is an interesting phenomenon and I hope firstly to reassure you, you’re not alone; many people have shared their experience of this with me.

Hearing your name called out in a dream can feel so real you wake up convinced someone is in the room with you.

Some people will find that external noises in their dreams influence their dream content; so if you dream the ‘phone is ringing you may wake up to find it actually is. (This is similar to dreaming someone’s at the door, to find the doorbell going as you “come to”). It’s also similar to waking up with a song in your head.

But what about hearing your name?

The interpretation of this can depend on the context of the dream, so it’s worth considering not just who the voice might be, but how you felt about it and why has this happened at this point in your life.

Spend some time when you wake up to focus your attention on the nature of the voice and consider the questions:

* “Is the voice male or female?

* Do I recognise it at all?

* How did I feel when I heard the voice, e.g. scared or comforted?”

Determining how you felt about your dream is just as important as what happened in it, and can give clues as to how you’re experiencing life at that time.

If the voice sounds familiar (even if you cant see the person behind it) it may be that someone in your waking life has been trying to get your attention but, for whatever reason, you’ve not been paying attention or taking any notice. Our brains can pick up subconscious clues when we’re awake, which don’t get our attention until we’re asleep (this is one of the theories behind precognitive dreams ). So, perhaps you’ve been caught up in your life in such a way that you’ve been distracted away from giving your time to people who matter most.

If the voice was demanding or scared you, it may be you’re worried you’re in trouble over something or recent events are getting the better of you. If ever a dream feels like a nightmare, it can help talking it through with someone you trust.

Sometimes the voice can be calming and reassuring, almost angelic. Some cultures believe dreams are a divine portal for messengers to introduce themselves to you. People who are beginning to explore a spiritual path may consider meeting their “guardian” or guide through their dreams.  Its important to emphasise that dreams of this nature will always leave you feeling positive and refreshed – re-energised even – never sad or distressed. If you woke up hearing your name, and you want this to happen again, you could try asking, before you next go to sleep – and if you feel ready – if you can ‘meet’ the person behind the voice in your dreams.

On this note, there is an apparent reference to this type of dream in the Bible. In Genesis 31:11 Jacob hears his name; he replies “Here I am” and an angel appears. At the time of the dream, Jacob is involved in an unhealthy ‘to-and-fro’ with his father-in-law, where he seems to be being tricked (certainly, taken advantage of). The angel seems to suggest that enough is enough, that Jacob needs to stop playing this game and walk away from the drama. Whether this resonates or not, it may be time to healthily address any problems in your waking life which are taking their toll on you.

From a different perspective, if you wake up as soon as your name is called it is also possible that your brain is alerting you to an immediate problem which needs your attention in an awake state. You may be getting too hot and so waking you up is the best way of cooling you down. You may also find my article about the First Night Effect (FNE) interesting.

Don’t forget to keep a dream diary if this is something that happens on a regular basis – you may notice patterns which offer an important clue as to why you have this dream when you do.

Most importantly, if the voice feels scary or malevolent this is more likely a symptom of stress or sleep deprivation.  Always speak to your doctor if you’re worried about your physical or mental health.

Subscribe to my newsletter to receive exclusive access to a free resource on how to keep a dream diary.

Interested in mental health? You might like Helping You Sparkle™.

Can’t find the dream you were looking for?  Why not pay for a dream interpretation.

You can also subscribe to dreaming, my regular newsletter about sleep and dreams, for fascinating insights and free online access to The Dreams Maven™ Information Hub, containing eGuides and resources on the topic.

Due to the volume of comments received in this thread, it may not be possible to read and reply to all of them.

Published by Delphi Ellis

Therapeutic counsellor, well-being trainer and author working with grief and mental health, helping people get their sparkle back. Explores dreams on telly. Avid tea drinker. © Delphi Ellis - Helping You Sparkle™ 2006 - 21

25 thoughts on “Dream question: why am I hearing my name?

  1. just before i woke up at around 4am
    i Heard a female voice calling out my name but it was very comforting made me happy.then i woke up to find my self alone in my room.
    could it mean anything?


  2. I woke up last night thinking I was in hospital and a doctor was shouting my name to wake up . I was going in and out off sleep in my dream and they kepted saying wake up by name . I woke up and went back to sleep in the morning I asked my husband if he was drying to wake me up he said no .


  3. Around 4am I woke up to someone calling me by my nickname (only family use this name). . It was like they were trying to wake me up. The first was just normal quickly followed by a more urgent, slightly louder call. I was not dreaming at the time and was in quite a deep sleep, I called out ‘what’ before I even had time to open my eyes. My heart was pounding having woke so suddenly. I then began to realise the time and that at this point I was in the house alone as hubby was working. So convinced that some one had called me I had to check the house. What does this mean.?


    1. Hi Amanda I can’t see any comments awaiting moderation (that doesn’t mean there aren’t, but I receive so many, sadly I don’t have the time to check every day, when people want free advice). Also, sometimes people don’t ask a question, they just leave a comment and don’t ask for / need a reply. The “spam filter” on WordPress called Akismet sometimes clears comments before I see them; not sure what happened but apologies if I missed yours. You’ll see I reply with pretty much the same thing every time to most comments I’m left currently about this topic these days – this article about “Hearing my name” has moved to this page: https://thedreamsmaven.com/2016/05/05/dream-question-why-am-i-hearing-my-name/ If that doesn’t address your comment then look out for other features coming soon! 😊 Thanks for getting in touch!


Leave a Reply to Delphi Ellis Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: