Everyone dreams (even if we don’t always remember them after the fact) and researchers have found that the majority of us have dreams with similar themes. For years people have tried to interpret the fleeting images that we see when we go to sleep – some interpretations are outright bizarre, while others are pretty understandable. This is a list of the interpretations that the Association for the Study of Dreams has given to the most recurring and common types of dream. Be sure to tell us whether you think it is accurate from your own experiences.
In these types of dreams you are usually in or near a car or some other type of vehicle which is out of control or has other problems that seem insurmountable. For example, the brakes may have failed, you may have lost control of the steering, or be heading over a cliff or crashing. You can either be the driver or the passenger. This is a very common type of nightmare and it occurs in all people – not just those who can drive. This dream usually means that you are feeling powerless over something in your life – or that you are heading for a crash (metaphorically speaking).
In the faulty machinery dream you are trying to operate mechanical equipment which either fails to work, or fails to work in the way that you expect it to. The vast majority of these dreams involve a telephone – either trouble dialing, losing a connection, or dialing a wrong number. It can involve a lost Internet connection, or something manual like a jammed or broken machine. This dream often means that you feel you are losing touch with reality, or that a part of your body or mind is not functioning as it should. It can also occur when you are feeling anxious about making a connection with another person in real life.
Dreaming about being lost is very common and will usually occur when you are having conflict in deciding how to react in a situation in real life. In the dream you are trying to find your way out of an area – such as a forest, city streets, a large building, or other maze-like structure. Another way this dream plays out involves you being trapped, buried alive, caught in a web, or unable to move for some other reason. This is often accompanied by a feeling of terror. This dream usually means that you are trapped in real life – unable to make the right choice.
In this type of dream you are rushing to catch a bus, train, plane, or other type of public transport – but you miss it – usually by a fraction of a second. Rather than feeling fear in this dream, you usually feel frustration. This dream can also occur in a different form, in which you arrive late for an important performance or sporting event that you are supposed to participate in, only to find that the event has already begun. This dream usually means that you feel that you have missed out on an important opportunity in your real life. It will often occur when you are struggling over an important decision.
This dream usually manifests itself in people who have been out of school for a long time. In the dream you are prevented from passing a test in a variety of different possible scenarios. In one scenario you find that you are unable to make it to the test on time, often through being unable to find the test room. In other versions you are unprepared (either through lack of study) or you are missing equipment. This dream usually means that you are feeling tested in some way in your real life. You may feel that you are unprepared for something or playing the wrong part in life.
In this dream, you (or a loved one) are ill, injured, or dying. It is a moderately common dream and, not surprisingly, occurs often at the onset of an illness. Aside from becoming ill, this dream can mean that you are emotionally hurt or are afraid of becoming hurt. The dream may also be warning you of an upcoming physical risk to yourself or a loved one. When it is someone else in the dream that dies, it can mean that you feel that part of yourself (that you see represented by that person) is dead. It may also mean that you wish the person would go away, or that you fear losing them.
Dreaming of being chased can be a truly horrifying experience. Most often the chaser is a monster or some person that is frightening, and occasionally it may be an animal. You may be surprised to know that this is the most commonly experienced nightmare theme. The meaning of these dreams is that someone, something (possibly something as obscure as an emotion) is making you feel threatened. One way to determine the root of the threat is to ask yourself who or what in your real life most closely resembles the “creature” or circumstance in your dream. It is also worth noting that sometimes this dream is a replay of an actual event in your life.
Teeth dreams are fairly common and they usually involve the discovery of extremely decayed or missing teeth in your own mouth. Sometimes you will dream that you open your mouth and your teeth begin to fall out. The fact that the majority of people today have reasonable teeth (perhaps with the exception of the British), it is not surprising that we feel so emotionally disturbed by these dreams. So, what does it mean when we dream about missing teeth? At the most basic level it means that we are afraid of being found unattractive. At a deeper level, it can signify a fear of embarrassment or a loss of power in real life. Oh – I was just kidding about the “British” thing!
In this type of dream you are in a state of undress, partial undress, or inappropriate dress (for example wearing pajamas to work). Occasionally you are the witness of another person who is naked while you are clothed. This is often accompanied by feelings of embarrassment and shame, but occasionally with the feeling of pride or freedom. The meaning of this dream is that you are feeling exposed, awkward, or vulnerable, or you are afraid that you have revealed too much of yourself (such as a secret or a very personal feeling) in a real life situation. An interesting fact about this type of dream is that it occurs much more frequently in people who are involved in a wedding ceremony in their real life.
We have all had falling dreams – it is such a common dream, in fact, that myths have arisen over them; the most common myth is, of course, that you will die if you hit the ground in the dream. I can assure you, having hit the ground in more than one falling dream, that this is not true at all. In the falling dream we are usually falling through the air and frightened. Occasionally we may be sinking in water (and in danger of drowning). Typically a person having this dream is feeling insecure or lacking in support in their waking life. These dreams often occur when you are overwhelmed in life and feel ready to give up. If you have this dream you should evaluate your current situation and try to locate the problem that is overwhelming you. Deal with it and this dream should go away.