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Common Dream Meanings

by Rebecca Gold 12 May 2021

Dreams have mystified humanity from the beginning of time. Every night, we have the shared experience of falling asleep and drifting off into the world of the subconscious. As we go deeper into our sleep stages and eventually get to the deeper sleep stages of REM (Rapid Eye Movement,) we begin to dream. Our dreams often feel so real that when we wake up, we could have sworn everything we dreamt really happened. Whether it was a scary dream, a sad dream, an anxiety-inducing dream or a joyful one, we tend to wake up with the sensation of having been through real events. It often takes us a minute to orient ourselves in the waking world and remind ourselves that it was just a dream.

The search for meaning behind dreams is an ancient one and has continued to intrigue psychologists, therapists, sleep scientists, doctors, and other scientists from many disciplines. While everyone has dreams that are unique and specific to them, there are some common themes that tend to come up often for many people. Here are some common dreams that have been reported over the decades and the theories as to what they might mean.


Dreaming of Falling

This is one of the most commonly recorded dream types. While there are many theories as to what this dream means, several of them agree that dreaming of falling points to a loss of control or a fear in your life. It might point to something not going well in your life, whether its circumstances at work or in your personal life.


Dreaming of Flying

Now here’s the complete opposite: dreaming of flying. We’ve all had this dream at some point. If you’re dreaming of flying, you’re likely in the process of rising above a serious challenge, issue or problem that has previously held you down. Researchers and psychologists think this is your subconscious conveying your newfound accomplishments of vanquishing your struggles and reaching new heights in your life. If you’re dreaming of flying, congratulations! Take a moment to recognize the victories in your life.


Dreaming of Being Naked in Public

This is an embarassing one! Who hasn’t felt the anxiety of dreaming about public nudity? Whether your dream led you into a board meeting sans apparel, a class or the middle of Times Square in your birthday suit. This dream is, according to studies and theories about its meaning, all about the feeling of impostor syndrome. It comes when there are circumstances in your life that have catapulted you into a new position of power or if you’ve been thrusted into a more public position in life. You might feel like a little bit of an impostor or like you’re not actually qualified. This could come from inner insecurity about the situation you are now in.


Dreaming of Dying

This is a particularly alarming dream to have for all of us. We sometimes dream of ourselves or a loved one dying and wake up panicked, wondering if it’s some kind of omen. You can rest assured that this is a dream that many of us end up having at some point or another. This usually has less to do with premonitions and more to do with a need to end something in your life. Whether it’s a relationship, a job, a friendship, a venture or something else, some researchers believe this is a cry to let something go. Yet another theory about the true meaning of death dreams is more about a fear of change.

Dreaming of Infidelity

No need to wake up giving your partner the side-eye. This isn’t as literal as you think! Dreaming of a partner cheating doesn’t mean they’re cheating. It could mean, according to researchers, that you are noticing him or her spending more time focusing on other endeavors instead of your relationship. Maybe he or she is getting more hours at work or is focused on side projects at home. Regardless, it is most likely indicative that you’re not getting what you want and need from the relationship at the moment.

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