12 Common Nightmares & What Your Bad Dreams Really Mean

What is the universe trying to tell you?

what do nightmares mean spiritually Joeprachatree, andreiuc88, & Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock

You'd think that once you hit double digits in life you would be rid of nightmares forever. But, in actuality, there are 30-something-year-olds, or older, who still use a small night light to scare away the bad dreams.

Nightmares have nothing to do with age, but rather our inner fears. Nightmares are a way of your brain connecting with your soul and communicating to you what you are worried about, concerned about, or afraid of in your waking life.


But each nightmare you have has a spiritual meaning behind it. So, get rid of your dream catchers and learn about what is truly bothering you, and how to face it and destroy it.

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What do nightmares mean spiritually?

Nightmares scare us, bringing along with it a state of alertness. This alertness allows us to pick up on the spiritual messages the universe is trying to tell us.

Nightmares carry special spiritual meaning that differs depending on the type of nightmare you have. Many revolve around emotional disturbances in your life, while others come with a warning. Nightmares can indicate that something bad may occur in the future unless you take the necessary action against its occurrence.

Additional psychological nightmare meanings are associated with personal troubles, making wrong decisions, being afraid to take a leap forward, or negative energy around you.

12 Common Nightmares & What They Mean Spiritually

1. Missing a plane, train or bus

Missing something, especially a type of public transportation, can indicate that you are missing out on something you would like to do in your waking life. But this kind of nightmare could also mean that you are losing touch with someone with whom you have a close relationship.


2. Being naked

Most people have had that dream (or nightmare) where you end up in school... naked. It's certainly a very common nightmare in television or movies!

This type of nightmare is associated with being vulnerable, exposed, embarrassed, or ashamed. Be sure to ask yourself what this could relate to, as you could feel this about anything in your waking life.

3. Falling

Nightmares about falling are related to the loss of control, anxiety, or vulnerability. You could feel out of control in your waking life, like in your professional or romantic relationships.

4. Experiencing damage to your home or other personal property

If you have frequent nightmares where something you value, like your home or appliances, are damaged, it could mean that something valuable in your life is at risk. Pay attention to your dream to find clues that can hint at what might be troubling you.


5. Being trapped

This nightmare can become increasingly scary. You might be trapped in a room, a car, or even a cage. The feeling is terrifying, but your mind may be communicating to you that you feel powerless in a situation.

This nightmare could be a sign that you don't feel like you can change anything in your life or have control over what you do with it.

6. Performing poorly

This type of dream could involve performing poorly on a test, a presentation, or a solo event. This nightmare is related to feelings of having anxiety about a situation, or that you are feeling inadequate or insecure about yourself.

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7. Natural disaster

Natural disasters can be pretty scary considering we never truly know when they will occur in our waking lives.

Having a nightmare where you are going through a natural disaster like a tornado, earthquake, or tidal wave could mean that there is a problem arising in your life that you can't control.

8. Someone chasing or attacking you

If you are being chased in your dream by someone, or this person is attacking you, the universe is delivering a slap in the face to you, figuratively speaking. Consider this dream a warning that you have way too much stress in your life and the universe needs you to take a chill pill.

9. Dying

Dying in your dream can truly be horrifying, but the meaning behind a dream about dying is much more positive than you think. The most common meaning is that you need a fresh start.


Of course, there is also a more literal interpretation where you are dealing with a loss in your life. It could be the death of someone close to you, or losing a best friend to their boyfriend.

10. Being lost

If you have a nightmare where you are lost, whether it be in the forest or even in a town you are familiar with, you could be dealing with a conflict in your life, and you need to address it.

A dream about being lost could also relate to confusion. In the waking world, you might be confused about how to solve a problem or unsure about your love life.

11. Injury or illness

This type of nightmare indicates that you are suffering from a loss of some kind, are feeling vulnerable about an issue, or are generally unhappy. Other meanings relate to toxic events you may be dealing with.


12. Vehicle troubles

A vehicle problem is a nightmare in itself, but this dream is conveying a message of frustration about challenges that may be coming up. It could also relate to frustration about reaching a goal.

How can you stop having nightmares?

If you suffer from frequent nightmares and want to banish them, there are a few steps you can take to stop them from happening.

The first step is to listen to what the universe is trying to tell you in your nightmares. If they are indicating that you are stressed, take the time to relax in the waking world. And if they are saying you need to confront an issue, face it head-on.


Other options include meditating or doing other spiritual exercises to get your emotions back on track. You can also try using protection magic, like a protection spell jar or crystals. Cleanse your environment of negative energy and use positive affirmations daily.

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Deauna Nunes is an associate editor who covers pop culture, lifestyle, zodiac, love and relationship topics for YourTango. She's been published by Emerson College's literary magazine Generic. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.