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Common Nightmares

Written by: Editorial Staff

November 16, 2012
Filed Under Offbeat 

nightmaresContributed by Info Guru Lauren Dejesus-Glasgow

According to famous psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, dreams are the manifestation of impulses and desires hidden deep within the subconscious mind.

Everyone has awoken in the middle of the night from ghoulish nightmares wondering what it could have meant the next morning.

As it turns out, there are a few common nightmares that occur more frequently than others—each their own meaning, as well as their own correlation to waking reality.

10. Poor test performance

Poor test performance

These nightmares usually occur with people who have long since been out of school, so having to revisit the anxiety of failing an exam can be quite terrifying!

Poor test performance in dreams can reflect the sense of being unprepared for an upcoming event. It could also make the dreamer question whether or not they are at the right stage in their life.

9. Disaster


To dream of a natural disaster, or even a man-made one, can make a dreamer wake up in a cold sweat. Nightmares containing a catastrophic event usually allude to anxieties and stress in a person’s waking life. These stresses should be handled promptly to avoid stumbling into a real-life disaster.

8. Car Issues

 Car Issues

Where the subconscious is concerned, one’s car is an extension of the human body. To have a nightmare with a car that is out of control, or to be in a car without a driver, denotes that the dreamer feels out of touch with their life. They lack control over their own lives just as they do with their metaphorical vehicle, and possibly need to reassess their responsibilities.

7. Nudity


Ah, the classic “standing-in-front-of-the-class-in-underwear” nightmare. Being partially or fully naked in front of an audience stands as a testament to our self-esteem. Clothing is seen as a kind of shield that covers and acts as a barrier between our bodies and our environment. Without them, we are left exposed and with fears of being humiliated.

6. Feeling trapped

Feeling trapped

Nightmares with feelings of being lost or trapped directly correlate with similar positions in reality. A person who feels that they are in a rut in their career or feels confined in a relationship usually has these dreams.

5. Being chased

Being chased

To be chased in a dream is one of the more distressing situations a person might find herself in. Whether it is by creature or human, avoiding an attack by some unknown assailant can make for a vivid, disturbing nightmare thanks to our fight-or-flight mechanism. Being chased in a dream however has a much milder connotation than expected. The dreamer is running away from an attacker in their slumber, but running away from an intimidating circumstance that they are too afraid to tackle in real life.

4. Death


If the mere thought of handling death in reality sends people running for the hills; imagine what it feels like to experience it in a nightmare! Nightmares concerning death, much like dreams of being chased, have less severe meanings than the dream actually implies. Dreams of death, particularly your own, represent the fact that important life changes are at hand, and key decisions need to be made.

3. Drowning


An individual who feels as if they are overwhelmed might also be having nightmares of drowning. There is a factor—real or imagined—that is weighing them down, such as low confidence or repressed emotions. The dreamer needs to slow down and analyze their options before leaping into action.

2. Teeth


Having teeth fall out in a nightmare is quite common, and seems to be culture-specific. These dreams are prevalent among young women, especially in cultures here in the West where a big, beautiful smile is a key indicator of attractiveness. To dream that teeth are rotting away and falling out signify embarrassment, feelings of inadequacy, or even fears of ageing.

1. Falling


Falling nightmares take the top spot in most common nightmares. These dreams suggest that an individual harbors a sense of failure or incompetence in a certain situation. It may be a fear of failing an exam or being turned down for a job promotion; any circumstance that leaves the dreamer shamed or with low self-esteem will most-likely result in dreams of sinking or falling.


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