The 5 most common dreams and what they mean

Dreams are your mind’s way of working out issues and problems you may not be able to unravel or face during the day. Typically, people dream every 90 minutes, notes Lauri Loewenberg, a professional dream analyst and author of Dream On It: Unlock Your Dreams, Change Your Life.

“We’re so much smarter when we are dreaming,” she says. “Dreams don’t reflect waking life — they work in metaphors and symbols.”

Kelly Sullivan Walden, a certified hypnotist and self-described dream expert, places particular importance on dreaming during travels, especially when you’re on vacation. “They can be life-changing,” says Walden, author of The Love, Sex and Relationship Dream Dictionary. “Dreams can be good for the soul.”

Most Common Dreams
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Here are some of the most common dreams, and what these experts say they really mean:

Being chased

You could find yourself being pursued by a lion, a car or an ax murderer while you are sound asleep. The feeling of getting away means you are running from something in your life that’s bothering you, but you haven’t faced.

This most common dream could reflect that you want to quit smoking but haven’t done so, or represent some aspect of your personality that you are reluctant to tackle. “If you face that issue, and confront it, the chasing dreams will stop,” Loewenberg says.


Whether you dream of falling off a cliff, a skyscraper, or even just a slip-and-fall on the ground, it can mean you’re feeling some kind of letdown or overwhelmed and want to assert more control.

“If you are depressed, this is a common dream your body sends you,” Loewenberg says. “If you are going downward in a dream, ask yourself what in your life is going in the wrong direction.”


Maybe you’re soaring in an airplane or helicopter, or you’re gliding through the air like a bird. Either way, “Flying is one of the best dreams we have,” Walden says.“It symbolizes liberation, mastery and a reward for finally getting it right. In an airplane, it can be more of a success-oriented dream, that things are finally taking off.”

Teeth falling out

Any dream involving the neck, mouth or throat area is related to how you are communicating, Loewenberg says. Teeth dreams can be related to a conversation that you didn’t handle correctly. Cracking, breaking or losing teeth can be connected to loose speech, while crumbling teeth can correspond to weak speech or the argument that you didn’t make your point strongly enough, she says.

According to Walden, this most common dream also can relate to financial stress or feeling weak. “I’ve never met an angry person who has these kind of teeth falling out dreams,” says Walden, who notes the link between these dreams and teeth grinding. “People who have them may be nice people who are acting passive-aggressively, or biting back their feelings.”

Common Dreams And Their Meaning
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Being back in school

Whether you’re a current student or graduated years ago, it’s common to have a dream in which you can’t find a locker or classroom or are unprepared for an exam.

“These are so common because they tend to be connected to your job or career,” Loewenberg says. “School is your first job, and not finding your locker could mean you don’t feel you’ve found your place in life, while not being ready for a test could mean you are facing a new job, workload or even a software program, and you don’t feel prepared.”

To Walden, this most common dream also can signify you don’t think you’re measuring up. “I’ve never met a slacker who has recurring school dreams,” she says. “It’s always the people who are really driven, already successful, who worry they won’t be.”

If you wake up wondering just what that odd dream meant, it’s likely your brain is sending you messages that can help you work out a problem or reconsider some aspect of your life. Jot down what you remember as soon as you wake up. Then see if the themes or images guide you to seeing a situation in a helpful, new light.

Written by Cheryl Alkon

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