The 10 Most Common Nightmares And What They Mean

4 min read

Last Modified 21 May 2021 First Added 5 July 2016

By Brett Janes

Have you ever been chased, had your teeth fall out, or found yourself naked in the middle of the high street? It turns out you are not alone. As horrific as they may be, nightmares are an increasingly common phenomenon and occupy many of the 35 billion dreams that occur on the planet within a 24-hour period. As experts have clarified, our nightmares and dreams echo patterns of human behaviour. So they reflect who we are and what’s on our minds. While, the decoding dreams is not so black and white, this is guide to what common nightmares could mean.

Related: The 10 Most Common Dreams & What They Mean

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The 10 Most Common Nightmares & What They Mean

Every night during sleep, each of us creates around 5 dream episodes. These dreams can last for between 15 and 40 minutes, so we all spend around two hours dreaming every night.

With 7 billion dreamers on planet Earth, that means we collectively create 35 billion dreams in any 24-hour period.

All of these dreams mirror fundamental patterns of human behaviour.

Some believe these dream patterns reflect who we actually are, what we really need and what we believe.

Teeth falling out

Dreams about your teeth can reflect your anxieties about your appearance and how others perceive you. Such dreams may stem from a fear of rejection, embarrassment or feeling unattractive.

As teeth are used to bite, tear, and chew, dreams about losing your teeth can stem from a sense of powerlessness which means you may be experiencing self-confidence issues.

Being chased

Being chased suggests you are running away from something that is causing you fear or anxiety in waking life.

It indicates that you have a tendency to run away or avoid a particular issue. The chaser can also represent an aspect of yourself e.g. your own feelings of anger, jealousy or fear can manifest itself as the threatening figure.

Unable to find a toilet

Having trouble finding a toilet means you may be finding it difficult to express your needs in a certain situation. It can represent feelings of your personal needs not being met by always putting others first.

You may feel that you are lacking time for personal issues and need more privacy, self-care or self-expression.

Naked in public

Being naked in a dream symbolises not being able to find yourself, uncertainty, or being wrongly accused.

If you are not the naked person in your dream, but you see a nude person and you are sickened by it, it means you are worried about exposing that person.

Unprepared for an exam

Exam dreams can be so real that we actually wake up convinced we just failed an important test. At least 1 in every 5 people will experience an exam dream in their lives.

Exam dreams are a reflection of your lack of confidence and inability to advance to the next stage in life.


A tough time flying in your dreams suggests that someone (or something) is stopping you from moving to the next step in life.

Being afraid to fly proposes that you might be having trouble keeping up with the high goals you set for yourself.  If you were alone and struggling to fly, it implies that you are lacking confidence within yourself.


If you fall anywhere and you are overcome by fear, it signifies insecurity and anxiety about a situation.

Enjoying the feeling of falling suggest that you are not afraid of changes.

Out of control vehicle

Dreams of cars represent our drive in life and the direction we are taking.

At this stage of your life you may feel that you are off track and need to get back on the road to keep going.

Finding an unused room

If you learn of a new room in your dreams, it denotes new outlooks and abilities that you have realised about yourself.

If the room is white it means you are ready to make a new beginning in your life.

Being late

Dreaming that you are late represents your worry and anxiety about taking a different direction in your life, or that you are trying to get things done but you feel that you are running out of time.

Remember, when you are trying to figure out what your common nightmares mean, your unconscious will not spell it out for you; this is a job for your conscious to figure out.

Dream symbols are presented in a metaphoric fashion for you to decode.

How many of these common nightmares have you experienced? Let us know in the comments!


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