7 common dreams and what they mean

Falling, being naked in public or missing a flight – whether it’s recurring or a once-off, what’s the meaning behind these common dreams?

Dreaming has a number of benefits according to sleep experts, who say dreams help us store important memories and sift out unimportant details that we pick up during the day.

They may also help us process painful experiences.

“The dream state of sleep, based on its unique neurochemical composition, provides us with a form of overnight therapy, a soothing balm that removes the sharp edges from the prior day’s emotional experiences,” says US researcher Matthew Walker, a psychologist and neuroscientist who has studied the impact of dreams.

The Sleep Health Foundation says most people dream every night and some dreams are more memorable and crop up more often.

So what do common dreams actually mean?

Dreams about falling

If you dream that you’re falling from a great height – perhaps from a cliff – you may feel unsupported.

“Some people crash to the ground and others wake as they fall,” international dream researcher Rose Inserra says.

“It can mean you don’t feel grounded and supported in life, perhaps at work or in your relationships.”

Dreams about flying

“Flying represents freedom and having no obstacles in your way,” Rose, author of Inside Your Dreams, says.

“If you have a lot of responsibilities and have this dream, you might be wishing you were free of those burdens.

“For younger people, flying represents feeling excited about the future.”

Dreams about being naked in public

You’re about to give a speech or on a busy city street – and you suddenly realise you’re naked.

“This dream can occur when you feel vulnerable about who you are,” Rose says.

“Maybe you’ve changed jobs or moved to a new place and you feel exposed and vulnerable.

“You think people can see through you and may not accept who you really are.”

Dreams about losing teeth

Dreaming your teeth are falling out or are crumbling in your mouth indicates feeling overwhelmed and being afraid to speak out.

“You can’t get your teeth into anything because you have too much to do and you aren’t as in control of things as you would want to be,” Rose says.

“You might also lack confidence in expressing your feelings and speaking your truth.”

Dreams about missing a plane or train

This kind of dream can occur when you have an important decision to make but feel unprepared or disorganised.

“You may feel you are missing out on an opportunity at work or in a relationship and this dream can be a push to look for another option, to be a bit more organised and to work out where you really want to go,” Rose says.

Dreams about cheating

If you see your partner cheating, you may feel you’re not being given attention,” Rose says.

“The person your partner cheats with has qualities you feel you don’t have. But if you cheat, you may crave the qualities of the person you have an affair with.

“For example, if you dream of having an affair with a celebrity, you may want to be recognised for your talents.

“You aren’t getting that recognition at home so, in your dreams, you look elsewhere.”

Dreams about snakes

Snakes in a dream represent a silent threat.

“We refer to someone we can’t trust as a snake in the grass,” Rose says.

“If you see a snake in your dream then you are feeling uneasy about something in your life.

“Think about what may be making you feel threatened and what you can do about it.”

Written by Sarah Marinos.