Every single night after we doze off, we have dozens of dreams about our hopes and fears. Although most of us will recall one dream per night, we actually have multiple dreams. We just may not remember them all, since we dream every 90 minutes throughout the night and each dream cycle becomes longer than the next. If in our lifetime we have more than 100,000 dreams, what exactly are Americans dreaming about, and what is the meaning behind these series of illusions?

Estately teamed up with DreamsCloud, a site that helps users find meaning and deeper understanding in their dreams, to find out what each state tends to dream about, and the interpretation of those dreams. DreamsCloud analyzed the dream descriptions of users in each state and provided the five most common words/symbols that appear for each. The duo put the most frequently mentioned symbol on the map and listed the top five common dreams for each state. In their blog, Estately attempted to do dream interpretation to the most common dream symbols for each state, alongside with DreamsCloud’s Dream Dictionary for a more insightful analysis of the meaning behind individual dream symbols.

So What Are We Dreaming About?

People across the continental U.S. had similar dreams about sex to odd ball dreams about animals such as cats and piglets. U.S. states not included in the survey were Arkansas and Vermont for no data, and North Dakota for insufficient data. While dreams about sex seem pretty straight forward, and dreams about piglets seem unusual, they may mean different things to different people based on their personal beliefs. "When it comes to what we're dreaming about, dreams often can't be taken literally," said Jean-Marc Emden, the co-founder of DreamsCloud, Medical Daily reported. Emden believes the symbols in our dreams are supposed to be reflected upon and examined while we’re awake to get a better sense of who we are.

Reoccurring symbols in most U.S. states participating in the survey included: exes, family, and sex. Dreaming about an old flame, specifically an ex-boyfriend, is the top dream symbol for the people in the state of Kentucky, while Indiana closely follows, and people in Missouri are dreaming about either an ex-girlfriend or an ex-boyfriend. According to DreamsCloud Dream Dictionary, to dream about an ex may suggest that something or someone in your current life is bringing out similar emotions you felt during that relationship, and you may be in danger of repeating a pattern or mistake. On an unrelated love level, dreaming of an ex may be a pun on “X” as in cross out — perhaps there is something or someone that you need to delete or remove from your life.

Everything is bigger in Texas, and it’s no surprise family is the state’s top dream symbol. Hawaii, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Virginia, and Washington also have family among their top five dream symbols, suggesting family is always on the mind. Dreaming about family members cam mean many different things in dreams. Family members can represent different characteristics of yourself, such as thoughtfulness, or can signify the fact you need to incorporate this aspect into your persona. Other interpretations about family include security, reminiscing, or figures of speech that reference family, like the black sheep of the family.

First runner-up for the most common symbol in dreams for Americans is sex. The “Show-Me” state has sex as their top symbol, showing they are more than eager with a sexual appetite. Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and New Hampshire closely follow with the states dreaming about sex the most. Since sex is necessary for the survival of our species, it’s not a surprise we dream about sex. DreamsCloud Dream Dictionary says, “As with any dream symbol, what sex means to you in your dream will depend on your feelings about sex and your experience as a sexual being.” However, sex in a dream doesn’t always have to do with sex. From a psychological perspective, having sex in a dream can symbolize the combination of contrasting aspects of yourself, or a need to incorporate aspects of your dream sex partner into yourself.

While most Americans are dreaming about exes, family, and sex, cats were the second top dream symbol for New Yorkers, while piglet was the first symbol for New Hampshire. New Yorkers may be in touch with their femininity, intuition, magic, and sexuality, while piglet is too peculiar for DreamsCloud Dream Dictionary to have an interpretation for. However, their dictionary does state animals in dreams can symbolize basic or instinctual actions, behaviors, and emotions. They can also represent character traits or behavior that you exhibit during the day that are similar to those of the animal.

In order to understand what we dream about, and why we dream about it, we need to self-reflect and really put effort into writing down our dreams.