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Dream Dive: Falling
by BetterSleep
8 min read
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You have probably experienced falling in a dream. It is one of the most common and universal dream themes, along with chasing and being chased. You may have felt a jolt upon waking as your body “catches” itself from the fall.

But why do we fall into dreams? And what does it mean?

From interpretations of ancient cultures to modern psychology, there are many theories about the meaning of falling dreams. Some believe that it is a sign of impending danger or bad news. Others interpret it as a representation of feelings of inadequacy or failure.

Still, others believe that falling dreams are simply a way for our minds to process daily stressors and worries.

This article will explore the various interpretations of falling dreams and what they might mean to you. We will also discuss when to seek help for sleep problems and how to get better and more restful sleep.

Falling Dreams: An Intro

There is no stranger feeling than falling through the air in a dream. It is estimated that nearly everyone has experienced this at least once in their lives.

The sensation of losing balance and falling is so vivid and realistic that we often wake suddenly. We may even cry out in fear as we try to prevent falls.

So what do falling dreams mean?

When we fall asleep, our body goes into complete relaxation. This is when our mind is free to wander and create dreams.

Learn more about what cats in a dream could mean

Many dream experts agree that falling is a dream symbol of anxiety or fear. It may reflect feelings of insecurity, inadequacy, or failure. Falling may also be a way for our minds to process the day’s happenings. In this way, it is similar to the sensation of “butterflies” in our stomach when we are nervous about something.

Some cultures believe that falling dreams are a sign of impending danger or bad news, while others think that these dreams are too common and are, therefore, insignificant.

Is There Science To It?

Some scientific evidence supports the idea that falling dreams are a way for our minds to process what happens in real life. For example, a recurring dream has been linked to a psychological need to be fulfilled.

During sleep, involuntary muscle movement called REM (rapid eye movement) occurs. This is when we dream. REM sleep is an active state of sleep that is important for memory, learning, and mood regulation. It is thought that muscle movement during REM sleep helps to process and consolidate information from the day.

Stress and anxiety can interfere with REM sleep. This may explain why stressed or anxious people are more likely to have reoccurring dreams, including falling dreams.

Your Dreams Are Personal To You

Dreams are highly personal and unique to each individual. When trying to interpret the meaning of your falling dream, it is important to consider the specific details:

  • Were you falling from a great height? Or was it a slow, gentle fall?
  • Were you alone or with someone else? If you were with someone, do you have a good relationship with them in real life?
  • Was there anything else happening in the dream that was memorable or eye-catching?

All these details can help you understand your dream’s meaning better. You will notice that some of your frequent thoughts, the activities of the day, your hopes, and the people around you show up in your dreams. Some more often than others. In interpreting your dreams, these details can give you an insight into the inner workings of your mind.

Examples of Falling Dreams and Their Interpretations

As mentioned above, dreams about falling are quite common. Here are a few examples of falling dreams and their possible interpretations:

  • A woman dreams that she is falling from a cliff. She wakes up just before she hits the ground. This dream may represent her feelings of anxiety and insecurity about an upcoming work presentation.
  • A man dreams that he is falling from a skyscraper. He wakes up before he hits the ground. This dream may symbolize his fear of failure in his career or personal life.
  • A young child dreams that she is falling into a deep, dark hole. She wakes up crying and scared. This dream may be interpreted as the child’s fear of being separated from her parents or loved ones.

These interpretations may not be 100% accurate, but they give you an idea of how falling dreams can be interpreted. If you have a falling dream, consider what may be causing you anxiety or fear in your waking state. This can help you better understand the meaning of your dream.

Waking Up from a Falling Dream

It is common to wake up from a falling dream just before hitting the ground. When this happens, it can be quite a shock! Some think it could be our dreaming brain protecting us from the fear and anxiety associated with the dream.

Others believe that waking up from a falling dream before hitting the ground is symbolic of avoiding a bad situation or making a last-minute change that prevents us from experiencing failure or harm.

Whatever the reason, waking up from a falling dream can be a very disorienting and confusing experience. If you have experienced this, it is important to take a few moments to relax and center yourself before getting out of bed. Here are some tips for calming your mind and body after a falling dream.

  • Talk to a friend or a partner. We and our partners’ processing of the dream may be completely different, but talking it out can help us better understand.
  • Take some deep breaths and focus on the sensation of the air moving in and out of your lungs.
  • Remember that it was only a dream and that you are safe.
  • Think of something peaceful or calming, such as a beautiful landscape or your favorite place.
  • Focus on the present moment and what you can see, hear, and feel in your surroundings.
  • Get up slowly and take your time transitioning into your day.

Suppose you find that you are having difficulty shaking off the feeling of anxiety after a falling dream. In that case, it is important to seek help from a qualified therapist or counselor who can help you to understand and manage your anxiety.

Falling dreams can be unsettling, but they are also relatively common. If you have experienced a falling dream, try to take some time to reflect on the specific details of the dream and what they may represent for you.

How to Get Better Sleep

You can do many things to improve your sleep quality and reduce the frequency of falling dreams. Here are a few tips:

  • Be consistent with your sleep schedule, and try not to change it.
  • Avoid watching television, working on the computer, or using your phone in the hours leading up to sleep.
  • Make sure your sleeping environment is dark, quiet, and cool.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine in the evening.
  • Exercise regularly but avoid working out too close to bedtime.
  • Don’t go to bed hungry or stuffed.
  • Limit your fluid intake in the evening, so you don’t have to wake up to use the restroom during the night.
  • Don’t lie in bed awake for more than 20 minutes. If you can’t fall asleep, get up and do something else until you feel tired again.
  • Listen to calm, relaxing music before bed.

BetterSleep features a vast library of relaxation music and sounds that can be streamed for free. Listen to these sounds to help you calm down and fall asleep.

If you’re struggling to get enough sleep, talk to your doctor. There are many treatments available for recurrent falling dreams and other sleep disorders. With the right treatment, you can get the restful sleep you need to feel your best.

Dealing with External Factors Surrounding a Falling Dream

If you are struggling with anxiety or stress, many resources are available to help you. Here are a few ideas:

  • Seek out counseling or therapy from a licensed professional.
  • Read self-help books or articles on dealing with anxiety and stress.
  • Join a support group for people who are dealing with similar issues.
  • Practice relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises.
  • Get involved in a hobby or activity that you enjoy and that makes you feel good.
  • Write in a dream journal. Make a list of your dreams and goals.
  • Drink plenty of water and eat a healthy diet.
  • Take a break from whatever is stressing you, whether it’s work, school, or a personal relationship.

When to Seek Help for Falling Dreams

Falling dreams are often harmless and do not require treatment. However, if you experience frequent or recurrent falling dreams, it may indicate an underlying sleep disorder. Here are some signs that you should seek help for your falling dreams:

  • You have difficulty sleeping or experience insomnia.
  • Your falling dreams are accompanied by sleep paralysis.
  • Your blood pressure or heart rate is abnormally high during the dream.
  • Your falling dreams are accompanied by anxiety or panic attacks.
  • You have difficulty functioning during the day due to sleep deprivation.
  • You have injured yourself during a fall.

When these signs present themselves, it’s best to seek professional help to understand the root of the problem and find a way to treat it.


Falling dreams are quite common and are often harmless. They may be a way for our minds to process daily stressors and worries. In some cases, falling dreams may be interpreted as a warning from our subconscious to pay attention to what is happening in our waking life. If you experience recurrent or frequent falling dreams, you must consult with a sleep specialist or dream expert. They can help you interpret your dreams and provide guidance on how to get better sleep.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Will Falling Dreams Cause Me to Have a Heart Attack?

No, falling in dreams will not cause you to have a heart attack. However, if you experience anxiety or panic attacks during your dreams, it is important to seek help from a medical professional.

Can I Prevent Falling Dreams?

There is no surefire way to prevent falling dreams. However, there are some things you can do to reduce the frequency of falling dreams. Establishing a regular sleep schedule, practicing relaxation techniques, and avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine before bedtime may help. If you are struggling to sleep, it is important to consult a sleep specialist. They can help you identify any underlying sleep disorders and provide treatment options.

What Does a Slow Fall Mean?

A slow fall, as opposed to a fast fall, may represent a more gradual descent into anxiety or stress. It may also suggest that you have more time to process what is happening around you. Your body falling slowly may also reflect your feeling of being “dragged down” by a situation or problem.

Can I Trust Dream Analysis?

There is no one answer to this question. Some people find dream analysis to help understand their subconscious mind. Others may find it to be confusing or frustrating. Ultimately, you will need to decide whether you find it to be helpful or not. If you choose to explore dream analysis, consulting with a qualified dream analyst is important.

Are Falling Dreams a Sign of Mental Illness?

Falling dreams are not necessarily a sign of mental illness. When your mental health is impacted by stress or anxiety, dreams may become more intense or frequent. However, if you experience recurrent or frequent falling dreams, you must consult with a sleep specialist or dream expert.

Should I be Worried if I Keep Falling in My Dreams?

Falling dreams are often harmless and do not require treatment. However, if you experience recurrent or frequent falling dreams, it may be something you should seek help for. Some signs that you should seek professional help include difficulty sleeping, anxiety or panic attacks, sleep paralysis, or injuries sustained from falling in your dreams.

What Do Falling Dreams Mean for Children?

Falling dreams are common in children and often reflect their everyday worries and fears. In most cases, falling dreams are harmless and do not require treatment. When the dreams become recurrent or bothersome, however, it may be time to seek help from a sleep specialist.

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