Whether you remember them or not, everyone dreams. Dreams can last anywhere between five minutes to an hour, and occur dozens of times throughout each night. Some leave us feeling blissful, while others, often called nightmares, can cause a rapid heart rate and cold sweats. Certain nightmares are common among many people and may recur quite often, especially during times of increased stress. We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 frequent frighters and what each of them mean.
10. Car Accident
Since we drive, or are near, vehicles on a daily basis, it’s not surprising they often appear in our dreams. Vehicles represent a path we’ve taken in our lives, so if your dream about a nice country drive turns into a metal mash-up, it can mean that you are experiencing deep anxieties or fears about the direction your life is taking. These dreams are meant to encourage us to reassess our lives and determine if we need to make a change or, at the very least, slow down.
9. Being Late
Our schedules are hectic. Between work, appointments, activities and otherwise, we are constantly pressed for time. Since we spend all day rushing to be on time, it’s no wonder this fear of lateness makes its way into our dreams. While these dreams most obviously mean you are overwhelmed, they can also symbolize a fear of change or uncertainty about taking on a new opportunity.
8. Losing Teeth
We spend time each day taking care of our pearly whites, but at night many of us dream they are rotting or falling out. This could mean you feel guilty about your delinquent flossing, but more likely it means you are struggling with your self-confidence or have a deep fear of losing power.
The inevitability of death is a subconscious thought carried by most, but dying in a dream, while terrifying, may not necessarily be a bad thing. It often represents inner change and self-discovery, where a part of you must die in order for something new to begin.
6. Unprepared for a Exam
We’ve all experienced the stress of preparing for a big exam, which is likely why this dream is so common. You wake up the day of the test only to realize that you haven’t studied, and panic sets in. This fear of unpreparedness is said to mean that you are being very self-critical and have a sense of anxiety.
Being trapped, whether in jail, paralyzed or buried alive, are fears that many of us have. If these situations occur with in a dream it may indicate frustrations you have with your life, such as a bad relationship you can’t get out of or a job you hate but can’t leave. These dreams are an alarm bell that you should not ignore, providing clarity about the things that are holding you back.
Water is an essential element of our lives for drinking, cleaning and nourishing the earth. But in dreams it symbolizes your current emotional state of being. So if you find yourself drowning in a dream, it means you are feeling emotionally overwhelmed and issues you have repressed may find their way back to haunt you.
3. Being Chased
Other than dogs and small children, not many people care to be chased. But perhaps all of those James Bond opening scenes have gotten to us, because trying to escape someone or something terrible is a very common nightmare. But in our dreams, the person or thing chasing us may represent be our own fears. If you’re able to remember the dream clearly, analyzing it may be a helpful way to understand how you handle stressful situations.
2. Naked in Public
These dreams often involve showing up at work or school in the buff. When people realize you’re sporting your birthday suit, mortification and embarrassment are sure to set in. In real life this translates to feelings of vulnerability and fear of rejection. It could also mean that you’re shameful of something you’ve done and are trying to cover up.
We’ve all fallen. Whether it be down the stairs or off of a ladder, there’s a mid-air moment when you realize you can’t do anything to prevent the inevitable impact. In that moment your heart flutters rapidly and your stomach feels as though it’s lodged in your throat. These feelings are not too far off of what the dream represents, which is a sense of anxiety or loss of control. Interestingly, these dreams tend to occur during the first stage of sleep.