Sigmund Freud was one of first psychologists to study dreams and he explored two concepts: manifestation (the obvious meaning) and latent (the hidden meaning).
The brain saves information in complex patterns of association and when we sleep we go through several stages which allows us to access information that our conscious mind may overlook. This can be captured through mapping brainwave patterns.
Essentially, we begin to fall asleep, enter a state of relaxation, go into a deep sleep and then we enter REM (Rapid Eye Movement).
The meaning of dreams varies across different cultures and periods of time. They could represent spirit visiting, but could equally be your own soul and mind trying to make sense of information, or it could be a past life memory - what you believe matters!!!
Keeping a dream diary can help with: identifying patterns and themes – trying to understand a message from spirit or a psychic vision of the future or it could be that you simply gain a deeper insight into your own subconscious mind.
Don't wait; write!... get yourself a nice notebook
Include as much detail as you can... who what where why when
If it's easier, draw your dream... make a sketch
Compare your dreams to your waking life... experience vs dream
Look for patterns in your dreams; they might reveal what you're subconsciously thinking about.
Scary dreams and nightmares are common and natural. This, as well as sleep paralysis does not mean that a ghost or demon is attacking you. That is a thing, but very rare and most unlikely. It's more likely that your brain still thinks you're in REM (asleep) and that the chemical which prevents you moving during sleep (so you don't run when you dream about running!) is still at work. It can take a few minutes to work off. It can also be caused by anxiety, stress, depression, insomnia, substance use etc.
Try to get at least 6 hours of sleep each night and see a GP if you’re concerned about your sleeping pattern.