The Most Common Dreams

7 Min Read | By Sam Atherton

Last Modified 30 May 2024   First Added 26 March 2021

This article was written and reviewed in line with our editorial policy.

Every night during sleep, every individual will have around five dream episodes, lasting between 15 and 40 minutes. Dream experts explain that our dreams are crucial to processing the world around us and mirror fundamental patterns of human behaviour. They can reflect who we are, what we need, and what we believe in. Below, we’ve identified the most common dreams but you can also search for specific dreams in our dream meanings dictionary.

The 14 most common dreams

To get you thinking metaphorically, we’ve looked at 14 of the most common dreams and their meanings.

  1. Teeth falling out
  2. Being chased
  3. Unable to find a toilet
  4. Being naked
  5. Failing exams
  6. Flying
  7. Falling
  8. Crashing a car
  9. Unused room
  10. Running late
  11. Snakes
  12. Cheating on a partner
  13. Ghosts
  14. Hair falling out

Want to know more about dreams? Visit our dream meanings hub

An x ray of teeth in black and white.

1. What does it mean if your teeth fall out in a dream?

The most common dreams about teeth falling out include having your teeth crumble into your hands, fall out one-by-one with just a light tap, or starting to rot. These dreams might be reflecting your anxieties about your appearance and how others perceive you. Typically, these dreams stem from a fear or rejection, embarrassment or feeling unattractive.

Dreaming that you are losing your teeth can also relate to communication. When you are missing your teeth, you will find it more difficult to talk. Therefore, your dream might be highlighting some difficulty communicating with someone or expressing yourself in some way. It can also relate to a sense of powerlessness as teeth are used to bite, tear and chew. You may be lacking confidence or need more privacy in some situation.


2. What does it mean if you’re chased in a dream?

Running away from something or being chased in your dream suggests that you are running away from something that is causing you fear or anxiety in waking life. Your action of running in your sleep suggests that is how you would respond to pressure and cope with stress or fears day-to-day. It is suggesting that you have a tendency to run away from issues rather than tackle them. This can be a recurring dream until you find the issue and resolve it in your waking life.

3. If you can’t find a toilet in your dream, what does it mean?

When you have a dream where you can’t find the toilet, this can relate to something in your waking life where you may be struggling to express your needs in a certain situation. You might feel that, as you are putting others first, you are lacking time for personal issues.

two naked women in a dreamy landscape

4. What does being naked in a dream mean?

Dreams of being naked in a public place suggest that you are struggling to find yourself or that you feel wrongly accused or exposed. If you are not the naked person in the dream but you see a nude person and are sickened by it, the dream may mean you are worried about exposing that person over a particular issue. It could also mean that you are comfortable in your skin or that you understand everyone is different.

5. What does it mean if you feel unprepared for an exam in your dream?

Dreams of feeling unprepared for an exam are commonly linked to young adults or children who are under stress. They can feel so real that we wake up convinced that we just failed an important test. Test dreams are a reflection of the individual’s lack of confidence and inability to advance to the next stage in life. This type of dream is a mirror dream that has nothing to do with anyone else. At least 1 in 5 people will experience an exam dream in their lives.


6. What does it mean to fly in your dream?

Dreaming of being able to fly in your dream can be interpreted in many ways. A tough time flying in your dream suggests that someone (or something) is stopping you from moving to the next step in your life. If you are unable to fly it suggests that you might be struggling to meet the high goals you set for yourself.  Similarly, being alone and struggling to fly implies that you are lacking confidence within yourself.

falling in a dream

7. Falling in a dream, what does it mean?

When falling in your dream and being overcome with fear, it signifies insecurity and anxiety about a situation. You may have failed at doing something in your waking life and the dream is letting out your feelings about not doing as well as you’d hoped. If you are happily free falling it suggests you are not afraid of changes and you are ready to embrace the beauty of it. If it is in water the dream suggests that you have very strong feelings for someone.

Car exhaust fumes

8. What does it mean to crash a vehicle in your dream?

Cars in our dreams represent our drive in life and the direction we are taking. If you dream of your car losing control you may feel that you are off track and need to get back on the road to keep going. If you lose control with someone you know driving the car, you might feel you need to get them back on track. The person driving will help you to understand who is controlling your direction.

bedroom door left open

9. What does finding an unused room in a dream mean?

If you learn of a new room in your dream 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, like a blank canvas ready to be painted on.

A close-up shot of a clock face

10. What does it mean to be late in a dream?

Dreaming that you are late represents your worry and anxiety about taking a different direction in your waking life. You may not be 100% confident about making a change. It may also mean that you feel like you are running out of time to get something done. Your unconscious is telling you that it is never too late to do the things you want in life.

A green snake coiled on a branch

11. What do snake dreams mean?

Snake dreams have long been discussed in the public realm by ancient dream experts like Artemideros to more modern psycho-analysts such as Carl Jung. The most agreed-upon meaning centres around oppression and paralysis, linked to the feeling of being constricted. More positive meanings include the feeling of change on the horizon this is generally linked to the idea from certain cultures that snake venom is transformative.

12. What does it mean to dream of cheating in a relationship?

Dreams about cheating can vary wildly. They can include you being the one who cheats on your partner or vice versa. They can also vary on who is being cheated with. For example, dreams of cheating with a celebrity are common. For dreams where you are the one cheating on your partner, consider who you are cheating with and what values they represent. Typically, these dreams don’t indicate a sexual attraction but that they may have certain qualities that you wish your partner could emulate.

Our UK Sleep Survey found that the influence of dreams over peoples’ relationships has increased by 750% as people said they have separated from a partner due to something they did in a dream. Since 2016, there has also been a 127% increase in individuals falling out with their other half because of something they did in a dream.

13. Why do we dream of ghosts?

The meanings behind dreams about ghosts range from feeling overwhelmed to guilt or the fear of something from your past being resurfaced. If you dream of a ghost attacking you, this is most often due to that sense of being bogged down by responsibility but can indicate a fear of changing circumstances or a sense of impending doom. Like most dreams, they typically reflect your emotional state. However, if you dream about being possessed by an evil spirit, you could actually be suffering from sleep paralysis.


14. Why do we dream about our hair falling out?

Dreams about your hair falling out often centre around feelings of loss. This can be metaphorical, i.e. the loss of youth, or something more physical. Perhaps you’ve recently bought an expensive item and have anxiety about losing it? These dreams can also signify a sense of anxiety so it’s worth considering ways to reflecting on what may be causing that.

Why not share our infographic about the 10 most common dreams?

most common dreams infographic

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