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8 min read

7 common dreams and what they mean

written by Liz Tabron

updated 23.12.2022

7 common dream meanings

Dreams, we all have them, some are vivid and some nights it’s like you haven’t dreamt at all. Sometimes our dreams can spark inspiration or they can bring a feeling of deep emotion. You may never experience a certain dream again or you might have a recurring dream, where your teeth are falling out or you're running late. Many of us have recurring dreams, which can be rather disconcerting, and at some point you’ve probably wondered if they have any true meaning. In this blog, we share some of the most common dreams and the most likely meanings behind them.

what is a dream?

A dream is a series of thoughts, images and sensations that occur in your mind during sleep. Dream content is varied, but common characteristics include a first person perspective, elements of our working life, incoherent or illogical content and can provoke strong emotions. Dreams can happen during any sleep stage, however they are usually at their most intense when you’re in the REM phase of sleep.

dreams about teeth

If you’ve been dreaming about your teeth falling out, becoming loose or even rotting, there’s really no need to worry and does not mean anything serious is going to happen. Dreams about teeth are very common and can be an indication of loss or grief, or that a person is going through a stressful or anxious time. Dreaming about teeth can also represent disempowerment or a loss of control, and may represent a fear of growing old too.

dreams about being late

Dreaming about being late typically represents a significant level of stress and worry relating to the working world. With this common dream, you may not only dream about what you are late for, but the reason you’re not on time. 

Dreaming about being late for work, for example, could mean you are unhappy within your job and the negative feelings you have towards it. Being late for a flight or any kind of travel, can represent a missed opportunity, such as a new job or missing out on a promotion. And if you dream you’re running late for a specific event such as an exam or a job interview, it can indicate you are struggling to deal with the pressure that’s associated with a life changing moment.

dreams about falling

Dreams about falling are pretty common and are a sign that you are worried about something in your life and can represent a sense of helplessness. This dream theme can be connected to anything that can fluctuate up and down, such as your finances, relationships and expectations for example, and can also signify a loss of control over an important situation.

If you often dream you are falling from the sky, this could mean that you feel something is out of control in your life and is most likely to happen when you are going through a life changing event. Whereas, dreaming you’re falling off a cliff edge, indicates you are stressed over something or a specific person.

dreams about being pregnant

Whether you dream you’re the one who is pregnant or someone you know is expecting, it can mean you’re experiencing a new chapter in your life or can be linked to personal growth and development. Dreams about being pregnant are also a reflection of anxiety, fear or excitement connected to parenthood.

Having dreams about someone else being pregnant can signify you miss a particular person in your life and you may want to talk to them again after a long time. This dream could also be interpreted as that you’re about to hear some good news from a family member or a good friend. But if you’re the one who is pregnant in your dreams, there could be an impending shift within your life, whether that’s something small or significant. 

dreams about giving birth

Dreams about giving birth are only natural if you’re pregnant of course, but may seem a little strange if you’re not! Dreaming about giving birth usually symbolises a new start or a shift in your daily life, and doesn't necessarily mean you’re about to conceive or have a baby. A dream of this nature is mainly connected to new beginnings, creativity and prosperity, and so the new baby in your life could be linked to a sign of a fresh start, a new and exciting project or a blooming relationship. 

So, does dreaming about giving birth to a girl or boy represent different things? They say if you dream about giving birth to a girl, that it promises a happy and comfortable future, and is a sign of good luck and health. And if you give birth to a boy, it represents a new beginning and also signifies success in various aspects of your life.

dreams about an ex

Dreaming about an ex-partner is really common and you’re probably wondering what it means, especially if you’re happy in a relationship or single. If you dream about your ex, it doesn’t necessarily mean you want to get back together with them, however it does have a connection with how you feel in your daily life and is usually connected to emotions. 

Dreams about an ex could mean you are emotionally dissatisfied or you may have unresolved feelings. Furthermore, research has shown that experiencing stressful emotions and trauma can impact your dreams, so if you’re dreaming about an ex, this could indicate you are recalling past trauma from a relationship.

dreams about dying

Dreams about dying can be scary and unsettling, but what do they actually mean? If you often dream about dying, this could be the result of ongoing stress and unresolved issues. There could also be some kind of change or ending happening in your life that you are anxious about and it indicates a fear of the unknown too. If the dream is about you dying, this could signify you are in an important life transition, whereas when you’ve dreamt about a family member dying, it might be due to changes to your relationship.

why do we dream?

Although a lot of experts don’t know why we dream or where dreams come from, the theory is that dreaming helps us to process emotions and consolidate and analyse memories. Many researchers believe we dream due to these reasons, rather than a particular theory and some think dreaming is essential to our mental, emotional and physical well-being. But the fact of the matter is that, even though many theories have been proposed, there still isn’t a solid answer for why we dream, and it’s something that has fascinated scientists and philosophers for thousands of years.

Sigmund Freud, who was an Austrian neurologist and the founder of psychoanalysis, believed that dreams represent unconscious desires, thoughts, wish fulfilment and motivations. In the Interpretation of Dreams, Freud wrote that dreams are “disguised fulfillments of repressed wishes” and he also described two different components of dreams - manifest content (actual images) and latent content (hidden meaning). His theory contributed to the popularity of dream interpretation.

how do dreams affect our mood?

We all know how annoying it can be to wake up suddenly from a deep sleep and a nice dream, but as a nation, are we allowing our dreams to affect our day-to-day lives too much?

Nearly half of Brits admit they are so influenced by their dreams that they let them affect their mood the following day, according to a study by Silentnight. The research, which found that 47% of people let their dreams impact how they feel when they wake up, also found that 28% of people have fallen out with their partner as a result of how they’ve behaved in a dream.

Silentnight’s study also found that 37% of people rely on dreams to help them make decisions in real life.

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