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10 of the Most Common Dreams and What...

Illustrations of teeth falling out, being in school, being naked and running
AMY TSCHUPRUK

Have you ever woken up in the morning (or the middle of the night) from a dream and thought: what the hell was that all about? Us too. We were curious about the meaning of dreams and the most common dreams, so we spoke to Montreal-based dream analyst and author Layne Dalfen.

When talking to Dalfen about what do dreams mean, she says there is no universal answer. “Those books where you look up what a dog means — they don’t work,” says Dalfen. “You have to talk to the dreamer to find out how they think and feel about dogs.” Do you like dogs? Were you attacked by a dog? Did your childhood dog die when you were young? How you feel about pups in your waking life will dictate how to approach dreams interpretation. That being said, there are some general conclusions you can make when discussing dream theories. Here are the most common dreams and what they might mean.

Related: All the zodiac signs as dog breeds.

Being chased

Have you ever had a dream about being chased — by a person or an animal or a monster? Perhaps they catch up with you or perhaps you’re constantly just always running away from this big scary person.

Illustration of woman being chased
AMY TSCHUPRUK


This is what this dream means:

Dalfen says dreams in which you are being chased are almost always about incredible pressure or deadlines. “What is going on that week that makes you feel pressure?” asks Dalfen. She says to pay close attention to how you feel in the dream. “A dream is the conversation you’re having with yourself.”

Back in school

Did you dream about being back in school — high school or university — long after you graduated? Dalfen says these dreams usually have an element of being unprepared. “You can’t find the classroom, you don’t know the combination to your locker… you’re taking a test, but you don’t feel ready for it.”

Illustration of woman in chair raising her hand
AMY TSCHUPRUK

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This is what this dream means:
Dalfen says being unprepared in a dream like this means you are having trouble doing something you thought you could do quite well, like parenting or being a good partner or friend. “What is the situation from your waking life that you’re trying to solve?” asks Dalfen. “The dream is trying to solve it for you.”

Related: Why the best sleep of your life happens with your dog (and not your boyfriend!).

Flying

Are you flying and it’s the best feeling ever? I CAN FLYYY! Or are you flying away from something in fear?

Illustration of woman flying
AMY TSCHUPRUK

This is what this dream means:
“The first thing I ask is how did you feel [when you were flying],” says Dalfen. If you felt afraid and were flying away from something — ask yourself what you are fearful of or what you’re struggling with. If you were flying towards something and happy — it’s likely a reflection of something you’re overjoyed about.

Teeth falling out

Are you just going about your dream life, minding your own business and then all of a sudden, your teeth start falling out? Every time you try to talk, more fall out? Where do all these teeth coming from?!

Illustration of a mouth missing a tooth
AMY TSCHUPRUK

This is what this dream means:
“Because it’s around the mouth – it could be that you have something to say that you haven’t been saying,” says Dalfen. “You’re holding something in and the dream is providing a rehearsal to spit it out — literally.” Dalfen says this dream could also be about a transition that is inevitable — getting older for example — because we have no control over the fact that we lose our teeth when we’re children.

Related: I tried 9 insomnia remedies, here’s how I found sleep.

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Lost

Did a dream stir up images and feelings of being lost — either physically (in the woods?) or emotionally?

Illustration of a woman confused about where she's going
AMY TSCHUPRUK

This is what this dream means:
Sometimes there is no hidden, deeper meaning: dreaming about being lost means you’re feeling lost in your waking life. “You have some kind of life situation and you don’t know what to do,” says Dalfen.

Not being able to move/speak

Dreaming of being unable to move, walk or speak in your dream? You’re frozen or stuck?

Illustration of a faceless woman holding onto her throat as she's lost her voice
AMY TSCHUPRUK

This is what this dream means:
“This is a fantastic dream for a procrastinator,” says Dalfen. It is the unconscious reminder to give you the push you need to get to work or get something done. “It will give you the extra oomph you need.”

Related: 9 reasons why you can never get enough sleep.

Being naked in public

It may be funny in that stand-up comedy routine, but not so much IRL or dreamland.

Illustration of a naked woman trying to cover up her bits
AMY TSCHUPRUK

This is what this dream means:
“In what way do you feel that you exposed yourself?” asks Dalfen. This dream is processing a situation in which you embarrassed yourself or revealed your true self or feelings (like telling someone “I love you”).

Related: How the zodiac signs fall in love.

Falling

Most likely this dream was scary: who wants to fall from the sky, from a cliff, from a building? It’s also possible you began to fall after you were flying. In sum: bad vibes.

Illustration of a woman falling from the sky
AMY TSCHUPRUK

This is what this dream means:
This is often about feelings of rejection or failure. Think about that “sinking, horrible feeling when we feel rejection,” says Dalfen – that feeling is being translated into your dream life. Dalfen adds that even if you hit the ground (read: hit rock bottom), the dream is telling you that you can pick yourself back up.

Death

Waking up from a dream where you or someone you love dies is definitely not a nice feeling.

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Illustration of death
AMY TSCHUPRUK

This is what this dream means:
Usually this dream is not literally about death. It usually reflects language or experiences in your waking life. “Think about a circumstance that might create a dream like that in someone’s life,” says Dalfen. Are you so overwhelmed with exams or work you feel like you’re suffocating or drowning? Have you caught yourself saying “I could die” from an embarrassing situation? Could you “just kill” your mean boss?

An Ex

Are you having a dream about an ex-partner or lover of yours? Perhaps years later? Is it making you question whether or not you’re really “over” them? Spoiler alert: “If you haven’t seen this person in the last week or so – then it’s not about them,” says Dalfen. Then what can dreaming about them mean?

Illustration of your ex
AMY TSCHUPRUK

This is what this dream means:
Dalfen says everyone you’ve ever dated in the past (and present) becomes interchangeable in the dream world. So if you dream about a particular ex, it represents one of their personality traits or a way they made you feel when you were together. “If your [current] partner made you feel rejected yesterday, maybe you’ll dream about that person you dated when you were 16 that made you feel rejected.”

Related: Can exes still be friends? Here’s what to do first.

Learn more

Follow Dalfen on Instagram or order her book
Listen to the Dream Logic podcast.



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