With the dream-bending Inception only days away from release, we thought it appropriate to delve into the surreal, revelatory, and often frightening world of dreams. We all have them. I just had one last night that involved playing basketball with Shaq, finding out that microscopic organism are turning the world into dust, and finding out I had two African-American half-brothers. Go figure.

A lot of people put a ton of work into trying to figure out what these mean. Some of their ideas are interesting. Others are more, shall we say, exotic. Here is a list of the top 10 most common dreams, their popular interpretations, and finally, my own interpretations (pretend for a minute that I am a credible dream guru):

1. Flying

flyingIn the middle of your dream, whether by your own concentration or not, you begin to levitate from the ground. Then you are to break free of the very force of gravity and take to the air like an overgrown sparrow. You may be flying out of control. You may be as confident as the Last Son of Krypton. At any rate, you are airborne.
Their interpretation – Sex, of course. Dream-studying guys, Russell Grant and Vicky Emptage, say that flying dreams are a reflection of one’s confidence regarding sexual matters. Other experts say these are just a reflection of how one feels about his or her own abilities and potential. When your mind takes flight, it is telling you there are things in your life keeping you earthbound when you could soar.
My interpretation – Flying is awesome. Why wouldn’t you want to fly? But if I were a psych man, I would tend to agree with the second interpretation. You want to do more with your life.

2. Falling

It doesn’t matter where you are or what you’re doing. You suddenly begin to topple over a conveniently placed ledge. You claw and grasp at the air, but to no avail. Soon you are tumbling through space. Quickly or in ultra-slow motion, the ground is rushing up to meet you.
Their interpretation – Some experts cite insecurity or a lack of support as the motivating forces behind falling dreams. They may also be tied to feelings of isolation or failure.
My interpretation – Inevitability. After all, what fact is more inevitable here on Earth than this: what goes up must come down? When you have a falling dream, you are afraid that, no matter where you go or what you do, somehow the forces of entropy will inevitably bring your accomplishments crashing down.

3. Being Chased

being chasedThis is where horror movies came from. Everything is proceeding normally in your dream when someone or something starts to follow you. A little voice inside tells you your pursuer has ill intentions. So you start to run. But they run faster. Your legs are suddenly heavy. They are closing in on you.
Their interpretation – Expert Candice Janco says these dreams represent a perceived threat in your waking life. Others say the dreamer is trying to avoid challenges in their waking life.
My interpretation – If you live in East Los Angeles, you are not dreaming and you need to run into the nearest liquor store and call 911 ASAP. For everyone else, I think being hunted is one of the most primal feelings we experience and is part of what makes us human. Bravery in facing the threats that stalk you in the real world will relieve you from these scenarios in dreamland.

4. Naked

You step out of your car at work or hop onto the bus to school. You look down. You have forgotten to put on clothes. Depending on the dream, people around might, or might not, notice your undressed state. You are flooded with feelings of terror and embarrassment.
Their interpretation – Sex… again. Freud equated public nudity dreams with repressed sexual wishes.
My interpretation – Exposure. Human beings build up layers of protection to function in a sometimes harsh world. To be naked is to be completely unprotected and to incur public scorn, especially in Western society, where public nudity is generally unacceptable.  If you have naked dreams, you are merely afraid to show the world who you really are. In our world, that fear is not so unreasonable (TMZ, anyone?).

5. Superpowers

superpowersYou can dunk from half-court, take down a squad of trained hitmen, shoot fireballs from your eyes, and toss a freight train like it was yesterday’s paper. You are a superhero. Nothing is beyond your ability.
Their interpretation – Wish-fulfillment. The experts say real people can’t have superpowers, silly kids. You just want it so bad your brain is making you think you can.
My interpretation – You are the bomb… at least in your own eyes. Similar to in flying dreams, your mind is telling you that you have the power to take on any challenge, do impossible things, and master any foe. Yeah, superpower dreams rock!

6. Catastrophe

catastropheThe world is falling apart. Earthquakes and volcanoes are rending the very earth beneath your feet. People are rioting. Foreign soldiers are gunning people down. Nuclear weapons are lighting up the sky. An alien mothership just blasted the White House, the Empire State Building, and the Hollywood Sign into oblivion.
Their interpretation – Some experts believe these dreams are your mind’s way of conditioning you for rough times ahead. How your mind knows rough times are ahead depends on your ideology.
My interpretation – This is the mind’s built-in warning system reminding you to be ready for bad things to happen. You know, the whole “hope-for-the-best-prepare-for-the-worst” thing.

7. Recurring

You dream a distinctive chain of events or images. You wake up and then go back to sleep and have the same dream again. Same events or images, sometimes for weeks on end.
Their interpretation – Some experts say this is your sub-conscious mind tugging on your sleeve, trying to tell you something your conscious mind has forgotten. Something important.
My interpretation – Someone or something is trying to tell you something important. Is it your deceased Uncle Fred? Is it the voice of the Cosmos? I have no idea. But, the way I see it, when dreams, which are typically chaotic, assume such obvious order- and repeating order at that-, you should sit up and pay attention.

8. Celebrity

So in your dream, you’re hanging out at school or work. Next thing you know, LeBron James or Mickey Mouse or Humphrey Bogart is chilling next to you. You guys go on a series adventures or you just sit around, eating Doritos, and playing Halo. In another version of this dream, you are LeBron, Mickey, or Humphrey.
Their interpretation – Experts have a number of explanations: 1) you are starving for friendship or (depending on the dream) romance; 2) you think of yourself as a peer or equal to that celebrity (for instance, if you guys were hanging out or you were able to do what they do); or 3) you desire to live vicariously through that celebrity, wielding their power, fame, or riches.
My interpretation – You’ve been consuming too much media. Your mind is working with the building blocks you give it. If the only people you hang out with are LeBron or Mickey, they will show up in your dreams. If you think you are them, you have spent waaay too much time with them.

9. Worst Day Ever

bad daySometimes combined with the aforementioned naked dream, this dream involves the worst possible outcomes occurring at every turn. You rip your pants, spill your coffee in your lap, get fired, get laughed at by the girl (or man) of your dreams, wreck your car, and accidentally burn your house to the ground.
Their interpretation – Experts would attach these unfortunate dreams to some sort of anxiety that looms on the horizon for you. Fear of failure is also predominant in these analyses.
My interpretation – Too much non-managed stress from too many directions. These dreams are a direct reflection of how you view your life, one endless chain of chaos and accidents. They also indicate that you are handling your stress in negative ways.

10. Best Day Ever

Everything goes right. You are eloquent, attractive, successful, powerful, and funny. The woman (or man) of your dreams is madly in love with you. You knock out the school bully in one punch. If you think it, you can do it. And everybody loves it.
Their interpretation – Sort of like the flying dream without the repression thing, experts say the perfect dream is a reflection of one of two things: 1) simple wish fulfillment or 2) a life absent of anxiety or fear.
My interpretation – A fantasy. An embodiment of the soul’s deepest desires. Sometimes the mind needs to make these things real for us, if only for a few hours, to relieve the pressure of living, so to speak.
So which dreams have you had most often? Vote below and tell us more in the comments section.
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About the Author: Marcus Varner has been blogging on the subject of movies, comic books, and current events for the last 3 years. He enjoys reading, writing, watching films, and trivia.

One comment on “10 Most Common Dreams

  • I don’t know about falling, but I always have dreams of tripping. I’ll be walking down the sidewalk in the dream, trip, and jump – which wakes me up.

    Dreams are weird.

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