What Do Your Nightmares Say About You? Researchers Decoded Some of Them

What Do Your Nightmares Say About You? Researchers Decoded Some of Them

Even while our dreams are intensely personal and frequently reflect the things that have occurred to us throughout our lives and during the course of a single day, there are a few recurring motifs that are common to all of us. There are also certain fundamental reoccurring elements that could assist you in comprehending what your brain is attempting to convey. These patterns can be seen in nightmares. Having an awareness of these patterns may provide a beginning point for determining the feelings that are operating in the background of your consciousness.

In a research that was completed in 2018, Michael Schredl, who is the head of the sleep lab at the Central Institute of Mental Health in Mannheim, Germany, together with his colleague, studied over 1,200 nightmares. The participants in the study were asked to recount their most recent traumatic dream. After that, they organized them according to the recurring themes. The things that they discovered are really fascinating to consider. Have a look down below at some of the most typical nightmares that individuals have, along with the meanings that researchers have ‘translated’ for them.

Tragedy/ Catastrophe

The occurrence of catastrophic events such as fires, floods, or even something more extreme like nuclear fallout is frequently the focus of people’s nightmares. Approximately 4.5% of the dream reports that Shredl examined had references to catastrophic events. Therefore, what gives you the nightmares you’ve been having concerning that?

According to Corelli of Stanford University, they might be an indicator of overall worry for the future since they are a means for your brain to dwell on something you’re scared may occur in the future. It depends on how you feel about the changes that are occurring in your life and whether you see them as positive or bad.

Illness and death

Concerns about one’s health and the possibility of death ranked in the center of the rankings for this poll and were mentioned in 11.6% of the reports. According to a recent study by Insider, this symptom may be symbolic of an overall dread of illness and death or the idea that one lacks control over one’s own personal well-being. According to the findings of a study that was conducted in 2020, it may also be a means for you to handle your sorrow.

Presence of evil

The Cleveland Clinic reports that patients who suffer from sleep paralysis frequently see hallucinations similar to evil presence while they are sleeping. This unpleasant sleep condition arises when the regions of the brain that are responsible for keeping you motionless while you sleep and the areas of the brain that are responsible for keeping you asleep do not communicate well with one another. There is probably nothing more to these horror movie characters than the fact that your brain is employing well-known cultural tropes in order to describe your current state of anxiety.

Feeling worried

Even in our dreams, many of us appear to be plagued by an irrational fear of things that we cannot explain. A lot of people have dreams involving experiencing something uncomfortable, like this emotion or mood. Everything, including the people we interact with and the way we live our lives, is related and can set off such feelings of worry.

Being chased

Having dread and trying to avoid the things that make you feel afraid is basic psychological training. Schredl identified this pattern of conduct as one of avoidance. Therefore, in most cases, having a dream in which you are being pursued indicates that you are apprehensive about something that you may be ignoring.


Someone else is looking; how do you perform? Do you know the stuff you have to know? And of course, this is a typical situation, for I think every person who is working, explained Schredl.

Due to the fact that this is an expansive term, there are several possible meanings that one might adopt. Dreaming that you are taking a test might indicate that you have doubts about your performance at work or at home or that you are recalling a traumatic experience. If you find yourself dreaming about situations like these, it’s possible that you’re struggling with feelings of insecurity over your own talents or the opinions that other people have of your performance.

What do your nightmares look like? Share your experience with us in the comments below.


Jeffrey likes to write about health and fitness topics, being a champion fitness instructor in the past.

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