What Your Dreams Really Say About You

Taryn Davies
Published: September 25, 2019

In honour of World Dream Day on 25th September, Bed SOS conducted a poll of 2,000 adults in the UK to reveal the top 20 most common dreams. The land of dreams is a place where anything could happen, as shown by 1 in 25 men dreaming about being pregnant. Dreams can be strange and confusing, but these "stories" are symbolic messages from your subconscious. Dr Keith M. T. Hearne, a British psychologist specialising in dreams, explains that dreams are usually not literal and have a deeper meaning. Being able to decode your dreams can reveal your desires and fears that you may not even be aware of. Read interpretations of 9 of the most popular dreams below to find out what your dreams really say about you.

Teeth Falling Out

Shutterstock 1160184172Dreams about your teeth falling out are quite common. About 26% of people dream about losing teeth, which can seem strange if you have no dental problems in your waking life. If you take it a bit more literally, dreaming about this could mean that you are subconsciously afraid of being unattractive. Teeth are actually symbolic of things that are important to you. If you dream about teeth falling out, you could be worried about big changes in your life. In some cultures, losing teeth is symbolic of lying or not being true to yourself. Have you been saying things you shouldn't?

Being at Work

Shutterstock 1431469238One of the most common dreams is on the surface quite boring: being at work. You probably spend most of your waking hours at work, so it's not that unusual for this familiar experience to crop up in your dreams. A solid 25% of people have dreams about being at work. Depending on the emotion that you feel relating to the dream, it could be expressing your attitude to your job. Do you enjoy your job and find the work fulfilling? Or is it so overwhelming that the stress affects you even when you try to sleep? Your subconscious could be telling you that you need to take a break.


Shutterstock 212426593Flying by yourself, with or without wings, is something that most humans have no actual experience with. However, up to 22% of people have dreams about flying. It can be a vivid experience, no matter how high you imagine that you're flying. This type of dream is generally positive because it can create a feeling of exhilaration, which can be encouraging when you wake up. Flying is also a metaphor for being successful. Dreaming about this could mean that you're doing well and in control.

Missing the Bus

Shutterstock 217875652Similar to being late, a smaller 14% of people dream about missing a bus or some other form of public transport. Missing the bus or the train is also symbolic of a missed opportunity, but it implies that your subconscious knows that it may have already passed and you could be too late. You might be afraid that life is passing you by and you are falling behind. Or it could mean that things are moving too fast for you, or that you feel cut off and isolated from other people or other areas of life.


Shutterstock 285580538Dreams about death are never pleasant, especially if you are dying or if one of your loved ones passes away in the dream. Thoughts of irreversible and significant loss could cast a shadow on your mental state. However, dreaming about death is not a premonition! It may simply mean that you are anxious about death or loss. On the other hand, death can sometimes be symbolic of new beginnings (even a literal birth). Your subconscious could be sending a figurative wake-up call to start over.

Unprepared for a Test

Shutterstock 1483613651Do you remember how stressful exams were in school? The pressure of living up to expectations and deciding the outcome of the rest of your life? Never feeling like you had studied enough? Well, when you dream about being unprepared for a test, as 13% of people do, these are the associated feelings. No matter how old you are or where you are in life, you could feel pressure to perform and succeed. You could be anxious about the consequences of failure, even if there is no literal test.

Sleep Paralysis

Shutterstock 61837997613% of people have experienced sleep paralysis when dreaming. Sleep paralysis is a real condition which occurs when the natural paralysis of REM sleep continues when you wake up. During this false awakening, people may imagine that there is something in the room with them that is the cause of their inability to move, and struggle against it. The imagery can sometimes be sinister, but it is not real. There is no deep meaning to it. The experience should end when you wake up properly.

Difficulty Steering a Vehicle

Shutterstock 1317498959Around 12% of people have dreams where they find that they are having difficulty steering a vehicle. Even if you do not actually drive, you might have dreams where you struggle to steer a car. Dreams like this are not warning you about the literal safety of your car - especially if you don't even have one! It is usually a sign that you feel that a particular aspect of your life is out of your control. You struggle to move in the right direction and might feel like you are helpless to change things.