Dream meanings explained: The top 10 nightmares and what they mean

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Halloween is almost upon us, but horror films aren’t the only thing causing nightmares in Brits. Dreams about cheating increase by 16 percent during the lockdown, so who knows what other horrible things Brits are seeing in their dreams! MattressNextDay have discovered the top 10 nightmares Brits are googling. Phobia expert Lauren Rosenberg and Environmental Psychologist Lee Chambers explain what they mean.

Getting shot

Searches for dreams about getting shot have increased by 84 percent since last year.

Apparently this nightmare is about fear of being hurt.

The experts said: “If you experience death as the result of the shooting, this indicates that you are being hurt by someone in your waking life, however, if you survive – then this suggests that you are passionate and fighting for something in your waking life.”

You can use this dream to figure out what is going on in your life.

If someone dies in a dream it usually symbolises that something has come to an end in your real life, and suggests you aren’t at peace with this.

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Being in a fire

Nightmares about being in a fire have more than doubled since this time last year.

The experts said: “To dream of a fire can mean many things.

“A dream of fire can mean many things. It can symbolise passion, light, destruction, anger and more.

“The trick to working out what your fire dream means is to look at the rest of the dream.

“ If you were unafraid of the fire, then it could be a reference to your own internal fire.

“Your views and opinions could be changing, bringing forth a renewal of self.

“If you are burned by fire, it indicates that your temper is raging, and you are ‘burning up inside’.

“Fire can also represent your drive and creativity. When someone says you are ‘on fire’, it’s an expression of being really good at something.

“Alternatively, it could be trying to warn you against risky or dangerous activities, or playing with fire.”


The third nightmare on the rise is dreams about your teeth falling out.

Google searches for this nightmare have doubled since this time last year.

Mr Chamber said this is a sign of psychological stress.

He explained: “If you are under intense pressure, significantly worried about major life changes or neglecting your self-care, this dream can be extremely common.

“Whilst it is scary in the moment, it is likely a sign to look at your overall health and wellbeing.”

Ms Rosenberg said this dream is your mind trying to tell you to look after yourself.


Nightmares about seeing ghosts have increased by 49 percent since last year.

Unsurprisingly, 30 percent of UK cities as a whole say dreams about ghosts are their biggest nightmare.

The experts said this dream is usually a subconscious expression that you are suffering from grief or loss.

However, they said: “If the ghost is a deceased relative or loved one, this will feel distinctly different, and usually more positive.”

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Drowning is another frightening dream that has increased since last year, this time by 26 percent.

This dream is normally linked to a fear of losing yourself in some way, the experts say.

They said: “Whether it’s being overwhelmed by work, a relationship or stress, it is normally to do with a fear of losing yourself in some way.

“You will feel like you are ‘drowning’ under the weight of emotions, and being unable to handle or process them.”

Being chased

Being chased is the sixth most common dream at the moment, with searches for this dream increasing by 24 percent in the last year.

The experts say this is about avoidance.

They said: “This dream suggests that you are avoiding a person or an issue that needs attention.

“The key to figuring out this dream is to focus on who or what is chasing you, and what the person or thing represents.

“You may just be running away from your fears or something you feel uncomfortable addressing.”

Being naked in public

The classic nightmare about being naked in public is more common than last year, with searches for the dream rising by 23 percent.

The experts said this dream is linked to feeling embarrassed about something that other people don’t know about you.

Being attacked

Dreams about being attacked have also risen by 23 percent.

The experts said: “This is not usually about wanting to hurt yourself or others, but is more linked to your own unresolved internal conflict.

“Perhaps there is something in your life that you need to get rid of – such as a behaviour or belief you have outgrown.”

Surrounded by bugs

Dreaming about creepy crawlies is also common at the moment, with searches for this rising by 23 percent since last year.

The experts said: “Dreaming about insects, especially in large numbers, is often a symbol of negative thoughts or feelings – such as guilt or anxiety – that are haunting you, or, more metaphorically are crawling through your unconscious mind.”

Getting lost

Finally, getting lost is the 10th most common dream to be searched online at the moment.

Searches have increased by 22 percent since last year.

The experts said: “This is often linked to a situation in your waking life where you are anxious about not finding your way, however, these dreams can help you find direction.

“Or it can symbolise that you feel like you have lost an aspect of yourself.”

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