5 Common Dreams and What They Mean

5 Common Dreams and What They Mean

Dream interpretation is not a new phenomenon. However, as humans have become more and more aware of what they are dreaming about, patterns have begun to emerge that may explain the source of dreams. Though it’s not a one-size-fits-all explanation, we’re going to go through the top 5 most common dreams and what they mean. 

How do we dream?

Dreaming is a normal part of the sleep cycle. It typically occurs during REM (Rapid Eye Movement) which is the last stage of the cycle and when the brain is the most active. However, dreaming has been shown to occur during other stages of the sleep cycle.* You can learn more about the sleep cycle here!

So, that begs the question... 

Why do we dream?

Though scientists don’t have the ultimate reason for the phenomenon of dreaming, there are a few worthy theories. 

First, dreams act as a type of therapy. When trauma or difficult situations occur, your brain may try to reason its way out through dreams. Dreaming is a safe way for the brain to test out scenarios and methods of problem-solving without real-life consequences.* 

Next, dreams may act as inspiration. Many people report heightened creativity through dreams, leading them to incredible discoveries or to create marvelous works of art, literature, theatre, and more.* You might be the next Michelangelo if you get a good night’s sleep!

Last, dreams act as a form of memory aid. As you walk through life, your brain is constantly storing short and long-term memories. Sleep itself helps to store memories, especially when you need to recall the information down the line.* 

Now that we know why dreaming occurs, what do the most common dreams mean?

Being Chased

Being chased is by far one of the most widely reported dreams.* Whether it’s a clown, your mom, or a hot dog bounding after you, these dreams can be very off-putting. You may also experience a sense of slowness, wanting to move quickly away from a threat but feel like you’re moving through molasses. 


These dreams could be a sign that you are wanting to run from something in your life. It may not be a person, but a problem or situation you are facing. Are you wanting to avoid responsibility for your actions or put off facing your fears? If you can get a good look at who or what is chasing you, you may have more insight into the source of your anxiety. 


Ranked number one in the most common dreams, falling can be a terrifying ordeal.* While we’re here, let’s dispel a common myth about falling in dreams. Contrary to popular belief, you will not die if you don’t wake before hitting the ground in your dream. We’re not sure how or when this myth began circulating, but it is most certainly proven false. 


The most widely accepted interpretation of the falling dream is that you have a lack of control in your life. This may be in regards to your life in general or may be a specific issue. Either way, you’re feeling helpless, and overwhelmed by the problem at hand. Falling could also be a sign that something you were hoping for isn’t working out the way you planned. 


Is that a bird? Is that a plane? No! It’s you, flying through the sky like Superman! You may have always had a secret desire to fly high with the birds and your dreams will allow you to do just that. 


The general consensus is that flying in your dreams is a signifier of liberation. Maybe you’ve recently felt restricted or held back in your life. Maybe things just haven’t been going your way. Well, dreaming of flight is an indicator that you have shed those restrictions, feeling freer than ever before. 

Inability to Speak

Have you ever had a dream in which you couldn’t get a word out? We don’t mean something as extreme as your mouth being glued together. Maybe your voice didn’t work or you had a particularly sticky substance stuck in your mouth and you could swallow. These are all frequently described scenarios for people who lose their voice in dreams. 


A lack of voice can be a huge indicator of suppression. You have something on your mind that you want to get out, yet you just can’t seem to find the words. Alternately, those around are ignoring you or can’t be trusted with this information. Take a hard look at your psyche to find what you are trying to say.

Teeth Falling Out

Dreams of teeth falling out of your mouth are much more common than you might think. You may have loose, wiggly teeth, or they may exit your mouth completely. There have even been reports of people dreaming that they had no teeth at all.* 


There are a few interpretations of this type of dream. However, it is generally believed that losing your teeth in a dream signifies that you have said something you weren’t supposed to or something that you regret. You may have been embarrassed by said situation, causing your subconscious to create the narrative of lost teeth. 

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Dream Analysis and interpretation. Sleep Foundation. (2022, March 11). Retrieved from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/dreams/dream-interpretation.

Nemo, L. (2020, December 3). Does dream interpretation have any scientific basis? Discover Magazine. Retrieved from https://www.discovermagazine.com/mind/does-dream-interpretation-have-any-scientific-basis.

Zhang, W., & Guo, B. (1AD, January 1). Freud's Dream Interpretation: A different perspective based on the self-organization theory of dreaming. Frontiers. Retrieved from https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01553/full.

Monet Moore

Written by Monet Moore