It’s unfortunate that so many people sleep through the night (a good night’s rest is important though) just to wake up with no recollection of any of their dreams. Dreams are an extraordinarily mysterious phenomenon, believed to be a way to “act out unconscious desires in a safe or ‘unreal’ setting,” according to the National Sleep Foundation. But our dreams can be extremely cryptic too. Falling, being chased, and being cheated on by our partners aren’t necessarily what most of us want, yet they’re some of the most common nightmares we experience.

These kinds of dreams, and seven others mentioned in the video below, show us how our unconscious mind can take the desires and feelings we barely knew we had in our everyday lives to paint a vivid picture with multiple layers of meaning. Dreaming of a cheating partner, for example, may indicate that your partner isn’t paying enough attention to you in real life, or that you long to spend more time with them.

In ancient times, shamans and mystic would be the go-to people for interpreting dreams. Later on, psychoanalysts and mental health experts took the helm. Today, these “experts” may still try to decipher dreams, but there are also books and websites dedicated to it. Still, there are some experts who believe that these are only tools to help us better understand our dreams, and that ultimately, it’s up to us to determine what our dreams mean by looking within ourselves.