Interpreting and Translating the Most Common Nightmares

No matter how serene your sleep might usually be, it’s likely you’ve experienced a nightmare or two (or 50) at some point in your life. These haunting dreams are often elaborate, lengthy, and chock-full of imagery so terrifying that they can cause you to wake up in a cold sweat asking “What in the world just happened?”

While it can be fun to interpret more pleasant dreams, figuring out the meanings behind recurrent nightmares can feel particularly pressing for how intense and vivid they are in the moment. What does it mean to see a shadowy demon under your mattress night after night? And why is it that so many of us dream of losing our teeth when we’re stressed?

Turns out, it all depends on who you ask.

Dream Interpretation

For as long as there have been humans, there have been dreams to interpret. The earliest evidence of the practice dates all the way back to 3100 BC, when priests in the ancient civilization of Mesopotamia divined supernatural insights from the night time visions of kings. In Egypt and Greece, dreams continued to hold a prominent place in the collective consciousness, with royal and lay folk alike seeking out guides to mine meaning from their cranial conjurings.

As the centuries passed, dream interpretation gradually veered away from mysticism and found new roots in science. Scholars across China, the Middle East, and Europe interrogated the phenomena, but it wasn’t until psychologist Sigmund Freud’s groundbreaking The Interpretation of Dreams was published in 1900 that a full text would be devoted to the subject. And though mostly debunked at this point, the theories he put forth inspired a new generation of researchers to dig into why and how we dream.

Okay, But What About the Really Scary Ones

Ultimately, experts have yet to agree on what nightmares mean. Some say it all comes down to how you sleep, a few suggest it could be stress, while still others think they’re nothing more than random blips. However, there are some popular interpretations associated with the most common types of frightening dreams.

To see a few of our favorites, check out our top 11 scary dream interpretations below! While the meanings may be ghouslish or downright horrifying, worry not — everything’s open to interpretation, after all.

Interpreting and Translating the Most Common Nightmares - - Infographic

Like this infographic? Consider sharing it with this link or embed on your own site with the embed code below!

The following two tabs change content below.
Logan Block

Logan is the content director of Sleepopolis, which means he not only reviews new mattresses every week, but also curates all the comparisons, best of pages, and video guides on the site. He takes a straightforward, honest approach to his reviews and endeavors to give viewers an objective look at each new product he tries out. Logan has perfected his method by personally testing over 200 different mattresses, so he’s not only able to discern the overall vibe of a specific bed, but to contextualize its feel within the bed-in-a-box market as a whole.

Logan Block

Latest posts by Logan Block (see all)

2 thoughts on “Interpreting and Translating the Most Common Nightmares”

  1. Hello I am so grateful I found your site, I really found you
    by error, while I was researching on Yahoo for something else, Anyhow I
    am here now and would just like to say many thanks for
    a marvelous post and a all round thrilling blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to browse it all at the
    moment but I have saved it and also added your RSS feeds, so when I have
    time I will be back to read more, Please do keep up the superb work.

Leave a Comment