Types of Nightmares

Explore possible meanings of nightmares

Although dreams and nightmares can be different for every person every night, there are some recurrent dreams and types of nightmares that many people report having. Do you have a nightmare that keeps coming back? It may be one of the common types below.

Types of Nightmares

Some sequences come back repeatedly regardless of the nightmare's cause. Many people have dreams of falling off a cliff or out of an airplane; likewise, many people, at some point in their life, report having a dream of being naked in public somewhere. These are just a few of the types of nightmare themes that come back often.

Naked in Public

Some people dream that they show up to work or school naked and that everyone turns, looks at them, and laughs. Other people have a variation of this where they are fully clothed and suddenly, without any physical movement from themselves or others, they become naked. Either way, one is left feeling vulnerable.

What this bad dream can signify is an inner embarrassment about something or a feeling of being ashamed. Either this could be triggered by a specific episode the previous day where you were ashamed about something or it could be an underlying embarrassment that is deeply rooted in one's personality or personal history. Alternatively, this bad dream could be a sign from your unconscious that you are feeling repressed in some way and that your deepest desire is to reveal something to either someone in particular or to the world at large.

Someone Chasing You

Waking up in a cold sweat after a chase in a dream is a common complaint. For some people, the nightmare consists of being chased by an identifiable entity, such as a person that one knows. In other cases, the feeling of being chased is extremely real, but you can't quite make out who or what is chasing you.Stress is the most common culprit of this dream. Whether it's stress from work or from a personal relationship, the stresses in life can all manifest themselves through this particular nightmare. Don't forget that dreams should not be taken literally; if you can identify who or what is chasing you, it does not necessarily mean that that person or thing is what's causing the stress in your life. Dreams can be arbitrary in this way.

Bodily Harm

A common bad dream is to dream that you get hurt or that someone you dearly love gets hurt. In particularly vivid nightmares of this sort, you might even dream that you are being killed, that you are dead, or that a loved one is being killed or is dead.This nightmare can produce a particularly negative reaction in the person who dreams it, often leading to an inability to go back to sleep and in many cases, thinking about the dream, and its meanings, for many days afterwards. While it's natural to wonder if your dream 'predicts' something, try to stay away from this interpretation. The dream more likely represents that deep inside you feel a deep loss, or that you're ready to start a new chapter in life.

Falling Off a Cliff

Falling is another common type of nightmare that can include falling from a wide variety of high places. Some dream experts lump together nightmares of falling with nightmares of drowning because both can be signs that a person is overwhelmed.In addition to symbolizing that a person is overwhelmed, a common interpretation of the falling/drowning nightmare theme is that the dreamer is feeling helpless. Since freefall and drowning are both situations where the person can no longer control the situation, helplessness is often the underlying cause.

Being Trapped

Our last common bad dream type is the sequence where one is trapped in a labyrinth and can't find one's way out, or perhaps trapped in a locked room or elevator. Some may experience this dream type in a very similar way to the event of being chased in a dream; however, many experts deem the psychological triggers of these two common dreams to be different.Being trapped is commonly thought to represent confusion in one's life. Of course, confusion and stress (said to underlie the theme of being chased) can be closely intertwined, and that may lead to these two dreams producing similar sensations.

Further Assistance

Nightmares are just one type of dream, but if you keep having a recurring nightmare, you may want to consult a dream dictionary to help you sort out what may be the underlying causes. In addition, many professionals in dream research recommend keeping a dream journal in order to record all your dreamed experiences. Psychiatrists who specialize in dreams or the subconscious can also be good resources for someone suffering from a recurrent nightmare.

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Types of Nightmares