stress dreams

10 Common Stress Dreams and What They Say About You

Every night, you have at least five sets of dreams. Dreaming is very normal and it is a sign that your brain is healthy and reacting appropriately to its environment. Sometimes we may have peaceful dreams that enable us to sleep soundly throughout the night, like weddings or just having fun with some old pals.

But some dreams come in negative forms and are associated with stress and anxiety. The common term for these types of dreams is nightmares. Stress dreams have similar characteristics but are different from nightmares.

Stress Dreams vs. Nightmares

A stress dream or anxiety dream is an unpleasant dream which is characterized by feelings of distress, unease, and apprehension upon waking up, but it is less disturbing than a nightmare.

A nightmare contains things that you cannot conform, but a stress dream is rather organized and may recur over and over. Stress dreams can happen for any number of reasons, including:

  • When you're fearful, anxious or stressed over something.
  • When the worries of your daily life get to your unconscious mind.

Dreaming is like thinking but your brain does it using images, words, and metaphors. After a stress dream, you will often wake up with fear, your heart pounding, drenched in sweat and feel tired and exhausted like you were never resting.

The best way to make stress dreams go away is by facing your issues and getting to the bottom of your insecurities. A dream is a reflection of your thoughts.

Interested in analyzing your own dreams? 

We recommend grabbing this dream journal to track your dreams each morning. You might be surprised by the trends you find. It also makes it easier to understand the meanings behind your dreams!

Need help analyzing your dreams?

Here are 10 of the most common stress dreams and what they mean about you:

1. Falling

If you experience a dream about falling freely through the sky or even through water, and all you can do about it is to scream, this might be pointing out that you are in a situation that you fear is heading to the bottom.

You might be in a situation that has gotten much worse over time, so you’ll feel as if it is spiraling downwards and there is nothing you can do about it.

These stress dreams signify a lack of security.

Your relationship might be hitting rock bottom, or you might be on the verge of losing your job. You are likely to experience these dreams which signify failure.

falling stress dream

2. Being Chased

Many people regularly have dreams about running away from something. Sometimes you might not even see what's chasing you, but all you know is that you have to run.

You run your breath out and you keep looking back to make sure that what's chasing you can never catch you. The interpretation of this dream is sometimes based on what is chasing you.

But if you are running, it means that you are avoiding something very big in your life. And maybe it is time to face it and come to terms with it.

3. Losing Your Teeth or Your Teeth Falling Out

Teeth are interpreted as a symbol of power. When you dream about your teeth falling out or your teeth being pulled out even by a dentist, it may signify highly charged emotions which indicate that you have a problem or situation that you can not “chew” through.

If you cannot handle a challenge that comes your way, you'll feel like you are not powerful enough. The feeling that you have lost control of your life may get to your conscious mind, which results in this stress dream.

4. Being Late for an Important Meeting or Event

You might dream about constantly missing a flight or turning up very late for work or school. If you have dreams associated with not being able to make it on time, it is likely that you feel unprepared or completely overwhelmed about some major steps you're are about to take in your life.

If you are going through some big changes that are changing the course of your life, you will feel as if it is difficult to live up to your demands and the demands of others. So your thoughts will revolve around not making it.

5. Being Naked in Public

Being nude in public will leave you feeling exposed. All eyes will be glued to you despite all your efforts to cover and conceal yourself.

Stress dreams about being naked are linked to a feeling of embarrassment and feeling ashamed.

Our clothes act as our shield to protect us from the rest of the world. Without them, you are left emotionally vulnerable. These dreams indicate stress and anxiety about private matters and affairs like intimacy and lack of trust.

naked in public stress dream

6. Losing Something Valuable & Important

If you dream about losing something which has some importance to you, or an item that you value so much, like your wallet containing all of your cards or a valuable piece of jewelry, it may indicate that you have the stress of losing grip on what is important in your life.

This may mean that you have a lot going on in your life that you have lost sight of what is important. You might have a feeling of loss or you may be worried that you are not giving much attention to some factors.

7. A Dream About Driving Out of Control

This dream is mainly about personal responsibilities and your ability to accomplish them by yourself. If you lose control while driving yourself, it may indicate a feeling that you are not ready to take charge or be accountable for your responsibilities.

If someone else is driving and you lose control, this may mean that you are not ready to let go and let someone else take control of your destiny. This dream comes with the stress of being in power or handing over the power.

driving out of control stress dream

8. A Large Tidal Wave

If your dream is associated with a large tidal wave that sweeps over you and threatens to sweep you away, it indicates that you are in way over your head. You're completely overwhelmed by too many responsibilities so you feel they might sweep you away altogether.

If your responsibilities are getting bigger than you perceive yourself, then it might be time to get some things off your plate. You need to lighten your load and brighten your mood.

9. Dreams About the End of the World

These dreams are termed as Armageddon dreams. If the world is ending in your dreams, it might be an indication of a deep struggle or a conflict that is causing you much emotional and psychological distress.

If this struggle requires every little bit of your strength and focus, it might leave you feeling as if it is only you against the world. You will need to summon up all your energy and deal with the situation but don’t hesitate to get help if you need it.

10. A House on Fire

Dreaming about some of your valuable assets or your house on fire is one classic indication that your mind is stressed to its maximum. This signifies that you are completely overloaded.

A house symbolizes a place of refuge, your home. It symbolizes your personality, your state of mind and all you treasure. If your house burns up in your stress dreams, you probably need a lot of time for yourself so that you can set your life straight and cool down a little bit.

A vacation to a peaceful quiet place might come in handy.

house on fire stress dream


Stress dreams are like messages that you should always pay keen attention to because they are triggered by your day to day activities and what you think about all the time. Stress and anxiety are unavoidable problems that we go through daily in our lives. But if your stress levels are too high, your health will be affected.

The ability to monitor and manage your depression, anxiety and stress is a viable tool you can use to know what is going on in your life before you experience the real signs and effects. You are able to take the necessary precautions, actions and solve any issues. Your dreams (and stress dreams) will always be there to guide you.