The Meaning Behind Your Dreams

This content was created by the National Sleep Foundation


Decode your dreams to understand what's really going on inside your head.

Ever wake up after a vivid dream and wonder: What did it mean? You're certainly not alone! Lots of people are stumped by confusing or mysterious dreams and long to interpret them in order to better understand themselves. While there's no exact science that can tell you exactly what to make of, say, a recent nightmare or erotic dream, psychoanalysts such as Sigmund Freud have devoted much of their careers to exploring this fun and intriguing topic. Learn more, below, about the potential meanings behind some of the most common dreams.

1. The Dream: Being naked in public

What It Feels Like: You’re at work, school, or another very public place, and you realize that you are not wearing any clothes. That's when you begin to panic!

What It May Mean: You’re feeling exposed because you’re not prepared for something (such as a work presentation or school test) or you're feeling insecure about your abilities. You may want to hide or conceal something about yourself, such as an embarrassing scar, secret, or failure.

2. The Dream: Flying

What It Feels Like: In this awesome and incredible dream, you are all-powerful and can do anything. Most importantly, you are in control.

What It May Mean: You've just gained a new perspective on things and you have a positive new outlook. You are on top of the world. Maybe you recently got a promotion, got married, or overcame an illness.

3.The Dream: Being chased

 What It Feels Like: In this dream, you experience a frightening sensation that someone or something is after you, and you cannot get away.

What It May Mean: You are avoiding or running away from problems, but the problems are catching up with you. You may be in denial about something—such as having a substance abuse problem or being married to a dishonest person—but your subconscious mind suspects a threat.

4. The Dream: Taking an exam

What It Feels Like: Suddenly, you realize that you are supposed to be taking an important exam. You’re upset because you can’t find the classroom, your pencil won’t work, or something is preventing you from actually taking the test. You feel distressed.

What It May Mean: You're being scrutinized unfairly or you’re being tested by someone or something and you don’t feel up to the challenge. Or perhaps there’s something or someone that you've neglected that needs attention.

 5. The Dream: Your teeth are falling out

What It Feels Like: You experience a strange sensation in your mouth and find yourself spitting out teeth.

What It May Mean: Teeth symbolize power and the ability to communicate. Losing teeth means that you may feel embarrassed by your appearance or that you have lost the ability to speak your mind.