Nightmare Meanings – Interpret What Your Dreams Are Really Saying

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understanding nightmares

No one is immune to bad dreams. They are an unfortunate reality for many, with an estimated one out of every two adults experiencing a nightmare on occasion – with up to 8% experiencing them on a regular basis. That is why it is vital to learn what your dreams represent. Understanding nightmare meanings allows you to go beyond the fear and turn a negative moment into an opportunity to learn and grow.

Do you suffer from constant nightmares? Remember, they aren’t necessarily bad. Like all dreams, nightmares reveal desires, thoughts, and ambitions that are buried deep in the subconscious. Though the dreams themselves may be upsetting, they can actually do a lot of good. So, it is time to discover what your nightmares are really trying to tell you.

Nightmare Meanings – Common Themes and Situations

common nightmare meanings

It can be terrifying. One moment you are cozy and warm in your bed and the next, you are falling out of a tree or crashing an airplane into the ocean. Yikes! Nightmares have the ability to disrupt our sleep as well as our sense of security. While the actual details of a dream are unique to each individual, the general themes and situations are universal. A few examples of common nightmare meanings include

  • Being Chased. Often, we have dreams about being chased by someone or something. It could be a wild animal, a person with a weapon, or something else entirely. These nightmares typically suggest that there is something in your day-to-day life that is causing you anxiety. It may mean that you tend to run away or avoid conflict whenever possible.
  • Flying or Troubles In The Air. Another nightmare you may have experienced at one point or another involves being in the air. You may a passenger in an airplane or find that your aircraft is plummeting to the ground at a rapid speed. The meaning behind this has nothing to do with pre-travel jitters! Nightmares about flying represent the idea that something is stopping you from moving onto a new chapter in your life. It may also relate to the fear that you cannot live up to your own high standards.
  • Running Late. Another common nightmare is that you are running late or are rushing around. One interpretation of this dream is that you feel you are running out of time in your life. It may be that there is a goal you have been putting off or a task is taking longer than you want it to. Alternatively, this nightmare may indicate that it is time to take a different direction in your life or career.
  • Falling. Easily the most commonly experienced on the list is falling. Most people have had a dream that involves this at one point or another! If you have had a nightmare where you are falling or dropping out of the sky, the nightmare meanings typically relate to anxiety, fear, or an insecurity you have about something going on in your life. This dream may also be letting you know that you are struggling to accept some sort of change.

Though our dreams are unique and always changing, many themes and situations will appear time and time again. For instance, you may have varying versions of the same nightmare over the course of several weeks or months. Make note of any repeated themes and patterns. This is likely your subconscious mind revealing important (and potentially life-changing) information.

How to Deal with Nightmares Safely and Effectively

Waking up from a nightmare can be a jarring experience. One moment, you are in a terrifying or perilous situation, and the next, everything is okay. It takes your brain a while to adjust. To deal with a nightmare as safely and effectively as possible, start by:

  • Sitting up in your bed. The reason for this is that you want to move out of a sleeping position in order to physically separate yourself from the nightmare.
  • Sit on the edge of your bed with your feet touching the floor. Or you can stand up, walk out of the room, and get yourself something to drink. This process will help ground you in reality and create further separation between you and your nightmare.
  • Use logic to calm your mind. Remind yourself that it was just a dream and everything is fine. An affirmation can work well during this process, like “All is well and I am safe.” This is also a good time to use a dream dictionary or look online for possible nightmare meanings. Knowing what the dream actually meant can help you gain a sense of closure. If you feel it is important, quickly jot down anything you remember from the dream in a small journal. You can always come back to it the next day to learn more about your dream messages.
  • Do your best to go back to sleep. If necessary, put on some calming music, a guided meditation, or an ASMR video. One example is the Reiki ASMR Healing Session for Stress Anxiety Relief Peaceful Restful Sleep.

Tips and Tricks to Prevent Nightmares

dream catchers prevent nightmares

If you have grown weary of nightmare after nightmare, there are some preventative measures to consider. Be open-minded, try them out, and see what works for you.

  • Dream Catchers. These woven hoops have long been a part of Native American culture. (To find out more about them, check out this post on their history.) Dream catchers are thought to catch bad dreams and let only good dreams flow through the woven net or web. Not only are they beautiful to look at…but a dream catcher may be able to help you get a better night of sleep.
  • Pillow Sprays and Essential Oils. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is create a positive environment before you lay your head down for the evening. Purchase a pillow spray with lavender for a relaxing and peaceful aroma or create your own essential oil blend. Oils that effectively target nightmares include: roman chamomile, bergamot orange, rose, and sandalwood.
  • Healing Crystals. Many stones have been linked to a better sleep and a peaceful state of mind. A few well-placed crystals can help you let go of stress and avoid nightmares altogether. Some wonderful options include: amethyst (a healing stone that restores balance), moonstone (a stone that reduces emotional tension), clear quartz (provides a calm mental state), and smoky quartz (which gets rid of negative energy). Put one or more by your bed and say so long to nightmares.

We all experience nightmares at one time or another. That’s okay! They allow you to dig deep and discover more about your inner self. Understanding nightmare meanings doesn’t just take away fear-related reactions… it can also provide insight that helps you grow and change.