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”).
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.
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