Updated 20 February 2018

Here's the meaning of the 6 most common dreams

What could your dream possibly mean?

Claudia* woke up confused. It was the third time over recent weeks that she had dreamed of losing her teeth. And the dream had felt so real; she hurried to the bathroom mirror to check if all her pearly whites are in place.

What could this dream possibly mean?

Many of us have often experienced having a string of dreams with the same theme. It could be a stream of water that constantly features in the anecdotes of your subconscious mind, a vehicle that you struggle to drive, the inability to move your legs when you need to walk or run or your boyfriend cheating on you.

Does there lay a deeper meaning within those dreams?

Here are the meanings of some of the most common nighttime mental tales:

1. Being chased and the inability to move your legs.

You’re standing inside a dilapidated building and suddenly danger approaches. Luckily, you spot it early enough and decide to make a run for it. Suddenly, your legs become a stiff type of numb and you’re unable to move it.

You repeatedly attempt to make a dash, even resorting to telling your legs to move, but to no avail. It is in these dreams that anxiety reigns supreme, says Suzanne Bergmann, professional dream worker for more than 16 years.

In an article published by Huffington Post, Bergmann explains it doesn’t necessarily mean we literally fear being chased, but we should rather focus on what we are running from. There could be something in your daily life that you’re running away from – emotionally or physically – that you’re not consciously aware of.

Your dream is signalling that the specific issue requires your attention

2. Losing your teeth.

Lindsay* dreamed she practised poor oral hygiene, something completely unlike her in real life. One by one she started losing her teeth – they literally just fell out with ease.

She woke up the next morning, moving her tongue around her in her mouth, to feel whether all her choppers were in place – her dream had felt too real!

What does this mean? According to Ian Wallace, dream psychologist and author of The Complete A to Z Dictionary of Dreams says the dreamer has lost confidence due to a happening in his or her life. Wallace views teeth as a symbol of power.

This means if you’re losing your teeth in your dream, you could have lost power over something in your everyday life, which you knowingly or unknowingly deem important.

3. Water

It is important to note the quality of the water in your dream, says Bergmann. Is it crystal clear and strikingly blue or murky and dirty? Water in a dream signifies emotion and this is why the condition of the water plays such an important role.

The state of the water reveals how well we are managing our emotions or the emotional state in which we find ourselves – not the one we portray to our colleagues; the true and raw emotional state we’re in!

4. A house on fire.

Fiona* woke up distressed at the dream she had the previous night. Their beautiful home was on fire – no one put the fire out, there was no hysterical screaming and running around. The house was simply burning, like a never-ending fire.

Weeks later, her daughter, Kelly*, had a similar dream. Only this time, Fiona was the one to set the family’s home on fire. Upsetting dreams indeed! According to the website Chat About You, fire symbolises rejuvenation.

This means certain things in your life are coming to a close – emotions, friendships, dynamics – and by the exit of those things, it creates the space to ‘cleanse’ and ‘purify’ your life.

However, the website further explains that fire is a symbol of ‘aggression’ and ‘war’. In the case of Fiona and Kelly, it could mean there are underlying issues between mother and daughter that are unresolved.

5. Failure at driving a car.

In your dream, you’re unable to drive this car. Your clutch is in; you’ve put the car in the first gear, but for some or other reasons you cannot move forward.

Either your clutch control is out, your legs are too short to reach the pedals or you’re driving, but you have no control over the moving vehicle. That could very well be the case in reality – you have no control over the road ahead! “You may feel that you don’t have enough control on your road to success,” explains Wallace.

The dream could mean you’re not in control of something that plays a pivotal role in continuing the journey before you.

6. Your significant other cheating on you.


How often have we not experienced this disheartening dream? And then he cheats on you with the exact girl you’ve been feeling iffy about. It might just be a dream, but it’s enough to infuriate you, right ladies? Stress not, says Lauren Lawrence, a column writer on dream analysis for New York Daily News.

According to Lawrence, you could be feeling your partner is depriving you of his attention. “The cheating dream happens when your mate is spending too much time and attention on something that does not involve you,” she says.

She also reiterates that it could just be an extension of fears you have deep down inside. You might not completely distrust your man, but the idea of him chatting up another woman or his ex-girlfriend does tug at the back of your mind.

“Dreams are a universal language, creating often elaborate images out of emotional concepts,” explains Bergmann.

What we dream is often not direct links to what is happening around us, but rather what the situations around us create within us – the emotional impact it has on us.

So the next time you have a dream that you simply can’t forget or figure out, find the general meaning and do some soul searching on what’s bothering you. It could be useful in dealing with suppressed emotions.

*Names have been changed.