Nightmare Meanings: Explained

Nightmare Meanings: Explained

You don't need to be Lord Vecna to know your nightmare meanings. (Yeah - we're watching it, too)

Person waing up from common nightmare

Whether losing yourself in labyrinthian corridors, delivering your monthly update in your birthday suit, or tussling with terrifying horrors from beyond, you're likely had your fair share of nightmares.

And you've got your brain to thank for it

You see, our brains love narrative. They do. It's how we interpret and organise information. And they don't discriminate, either. They just want to understand; and help us to do likewise.

Essentially, common nightmares (and their do-gooder cousins, dreams) stem from unresolved anxieties; and our brain's attempts to process them. You've probably noticed that you experience an upturn in nightmares when you're mulling over a problem.

And, because life is complex, our brains undertake the lion's share of this processing as we sleep, entering a sort of 'freestyle session' between our conscious and subconscious minds.

Taking place at a very specific sleep stage, nightmares have baffled sleep experts and psychologists alike. But, after years of research, they've got some fascinating theories.

Still with us? Good. Because here's where it gets interesting. Let's explore and unpack some common nightmare meanings, shall we?

Common Nightmares and Meanings

Pop quiz: what springs to mind when you hear the phrase 'common nightmares?'

We can't be sure, but we'd imagine you thought at least one of the following:

  • Falling
  • Being Chased
  • Losing teeth
  • Getting injured

Now, your brain will likely present you with this information in an aesthetic that appeals to you - some people will be chased by a hungry zombie; others by an angry in-law - but the underlying meanings tend to be more universal

Let's delve a little deeper...

Being Chased

Always disquieting, dreams of being chased often indicate that you're running away from a problem in the waking world. And, because dreams work in metaphor, your pursuer will sometimes be symbolic of your problem. (Although this isn't always the case)

So, take a moment to self-assess. Are you anxious about an upcoming event? Avoiding a difficult conversation? Maybe you're feeling overwhelmed by your daily tasks?

Falling

Dreams of falling tend to rank highly on the scare-o-metre, and for good reason.

When we fall, we experience a temporary loss of control. It's why skydivers, bungee jumpers, and base jumpers do what they do. Temporarily relinquishing control can be exhilarating.

But it can also be terrifying. After all, not everyone wants to lose control.

Psychologically speaking, dreams about falling are thought to indicate underlying anxiety, or a lack of control over everyday life. (Case-in-point, they're often reported when people move house or change jobs.)

But, because our brains are tricksters, the way you fall in your dream can alter the meaning. For example, a gentler fall may symbolise the gradual process of letting go of something, whereas a high-velocity plummet may speak to feeling powerless.

Losing Your Teeth

Nightmare meanings tend not to be fixed, but given the less-than-subtle symbolism, dreams about losing teeth are typically thought to pertain to concerns about our appearance.

Makes sense, doesn't it? We're often hyper-focused on our teeth from an aesthetic standpoint, so it follows that our brains would interpret losing them as horrific.

And because the answer to the question 'what do nightmares mean' is sometimes 'lots of stuff', there's also the notion that losing teeth links to financial woes.

Being Naked

We've all had this dream at some point, right? Standing in front of a room of your peers, nude as a Greek statue and utterly mortified.

And, as with other common nightmares, the meaning lies with the dreamer, and can be interpreted both positively and negatively.

For example, the lack of clothing could indicate a sense of vulnerability, or the fear of being exposed and criticised, but could also indicate confidence as your nudity represents that you feel free to, ahem...express yourself.

Getting Injured

From Lord Vecna of Stranger Things to his striped-jumper loving predecessor Freddie Krueger, pop culture has mined this particular nightmare delightfully petrifying effect for decades

Always visceral and never pleasant, dreams of getting physically injured to emotional wounds in daily life. (There's that symbolism again.)

For example, dreams about being wounded often link to a fear of being hurt by friends and family, or that they may have let you down in some way.

Your brain, sadist that it is, serves you those anxieties in the most literal form it can think of, hence the injuries.

Burning House

Again with the literal.

Dreams of your house being on fire are more common than you'd imagine, and can signify a number of things.

Chiefly, dreams of this type are commonly thought to symbolise feeling burnt out and needing to take time to relax and recharge. Similarly, they can also indicate disarray in your personal life, and threats to your mental health and wellbeing.

Being Trapped

As common nightmares go, being trapped is bona fide staple.

Whether presented was being trapped in a house of endless corridors, a specific room, or even a vehicle, dreams of being trapped are widely considered to indicate that you're feeling emotionally or physically restricted.

And while you're stuck in limbo as you attempt to figure a way out of your predicament - be it an unfulfilling job or a relationship that isn't working - your subconscious conjures up a metaphor to needle you into action.

Missing Dealines

And finally, a nightmare meaning that touches upon universal experience.

Is there anything worse than the regret brought about by a missed opportunity? Whether romantic or professional, everyone's got a story of a chance that slipped through their fingers, or they failed to act upon in time.

And no matter how these dreams are presented, the meanings ring true; you're processing regret.

But it works pro-actively, too. For example, it could be your brain signalling that you're at risk of missing a deadline, perhaps in your career.

Ask yourself: "Am I putting off something important due to a lack of confidence?" Then, do the opposite.

Person kept awake by common nightmares

So, being kept being kept awake at night can be an ongoing issue and nightmare meanings are, in fact, subconscious messages from your brain that something is wrong.

But good sleep is key to a healthy life

And it has many elements, So, while problems in your life are a factor, a comfortable place to sleep makes all the difference. Dormeo has a large range of mattresses to suit all needs and budgets. After that, if you ever wake up in the middle of the night after a bad dream, we are sure you can fall quickly back to sleep in the comfort of a Dormeo mattress.

Read our blog and get information from our sleep experts on how you can get a better night's sleep.

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