While interpretations about falling dreams should not be thought of as facts or diagnoses, it may be worth considering the different meanings of your falling dreams.

You find yourself falling down a cliff head-first, hurtling towards the ground — and just before you reach it, you wake up.

Many people dream about falling. It’s one of the most common recurring dreams.

Some people seek out meaning from their dreams. If you often find yourself dreaming about falling, you may be curious about how to interpret it.

However, you may want to avoid overreacting to dream interpretations. Dreams may not be signs of impending doom or proof of mental health disorders, but they may be a symptom of or related to some conditions.

Let’s look at these interpretations and how you can manage their effects on your life.

Falling in a dream may reflect feelings of fear, anxiety, or betrayal.

Other common interpretations of falling in a dream could include:

  • feeling out of control
  • feeling unsupported
  • fearing taking a risk

Instead of viewing a dream as definitive proof that you’re feeling a certain way, you might want to check in with yourself.

Are you feeling anxious about something? Do you need to ask for help? Is there a risk you want to take?

Also, nightmares are common in people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If you’ve had a trauma that relates to falling, this may play a role in your falling dream.

Generally, falling dreams may prove an unpleasant experience that may bring about feelings of helplessness, fear, or betrayal.

Like many other common dreams, falling dreams may reveal to you important lessons about what’s affecting you in your daily life.

Many people are interested in interpreting their own dreams.

Superstitions may offer explanations for your dreams. For example, some people believe that dreams about your teeth falling out might mean you’re about to get a large sum of money.

But viewing dreams as signs of luck in the external world may prove problematic or disappointing.

Psychology offers people more systematic approaches to interpreting their dreams. However, there’s no general or single approach to dream analysis. It’s still a complex field of psychology.

There’s no scientific consensus on what dreams mean. In the fields of psychology and psychiatry, there are many different schools of thought on interpreting dreams.

Early psychiatrists like Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung believed that dreams were messages from your unconscious that held significant meaning. Unlike Freud, Jung argued that analyzing our dreams may help us understand our internal conflicts and how to overcome them.

However, other contemporary psychologists disagree. Over the past few decades, numerous approaches to dream analysis have been developed, many of which complicate or refute Jung’s dream theories.

Here are some common theories:

  • Dreams may be a way to regulate emotions.
  • Dreams are simply a reflection of what we do, think, and feel during the day.
  • Dreams may be a way to practice identifying and responding to potential threats, according to threat simulation theory.
  • Dreams may be a random selection of images and ideas generated by our brain during sleep, according to activation-synthesis theory.
  • Dreams are a kind of screensaver that plays while your brain focuses on processing memories in your sleep, according to continual-activation theory.

Depending on which school of thought resonates with you, you may interpret your dreams about falling in a number of different ways.

You may also find that different types of dreams about falling reflect different emotions and experiences.

Dreaming about falling in water

Dreams about falling into water might represent a literal fear of swimming or the ocean.

However, the feeling of being suspended in water may be a reflection of feeling like you’re in limbo. You may feel unsure of where you stand on a social, career, or emotional matter.

Dreaming about falling from the sky

Many people interpret dreams about falling from the sky as a reflection of their feeling out of control.

Feelings of indecisiveness, fear, or doubt may bubble up during the dream and after you wake.

Dreams about falling through the floor

If you dream about the floor opening up beneath you, it may represent a few different things. It may be that you feel unsafe, or that something you thought was certain suddenly changed.

If you’ve felt like you’ve had the rug pulled out from under you, your feelings might be reflected in your dreams. Examples of these sudden life changes may include you losing a job, losing your house, or ending a relationship that meant a lot to you.

Dream interpretation of someone else falling

A dream about someone else falling can bring up feelings of impotence and shame — especially if you tried to save them but couldn’t.

This may represent tension in your relationship with that person. It might also suggest that you’re trying to help someone, but can’t.

Perhaps you find it more alarming watching someone else falling in a dream rather than yourself.

If you feel as if you’ve been spending so much mental effort trying to save someone else in a romantic or platonic relationship, you may want to look into the signs of codependency.

You might find that you jerk awake just before you hit the surface. This is called a hypnic jerk, also known as a “sleep start.”

Hypnic jerks are involuntary muscle contractions that usually happen just as you fall asleep. It happens as you transition from a wakeful state to a sleep state.

Also called sleep starts, hypnic jerks are generally considered harmless, although they may sometimes be unpleasant.

Dreaming about falling can be distressing. Nightmares can cause you to have a poor night’s sleep, and you might wake up feeling groggy or anxious.

Although nightmares are something almost everyone experiences, you might want to seek help if you’re experiencing nightmares often — especially if they make it difficult to sleep adequately or function during your day.

Persistent nightmares may be a sign of a sleep disorder or an anxiety disorder.

Good sleep hygiene might help you sleep better and reduce nightmares.

This can include:

  • avoiding caffeine, especially before bedtime
  • sleeping in a quiet, dark room at a comfortable temperature
  • ensuring that your bed and pillows are comfortable
  • meditating, journaling, or engaging in deep-breathing exercises before bed
  • sleeping and waking up around the same time every day, if possible
  • avoiding blue light before bedtime
  • avoiding daytime napping, if possible

If you’re still having difficulties with nightmares despite having good sleep hygiene, consider speaking with a therapist. This might help you get to the root of your sleep issues.

You may also benefit from PTSD treatment, if you’ve been diagnosed with the disorder or think you may have it.

You might also want to try imagery rehearsal therapy (IRT), a kind of therapy for people who often have nightmares.

There’s still plenty of debate within psychiatry and psychology about the science of sleep and dreams. There’s no scientific consensus on what dreams mean and how to interpret them.

Dreams about falling are common, but they can be quite unpleasant. If you often have nightmares, you may benefit from practicing good sleep hygiene and talking with a therapist.

If you’re looking for mental health support, the following resources might help:

Avoid the urge to overreact if you’ve experienced a falling dream. They may just be a sign of your unconscious thoughts or worries.

If you find your nightmares reoccur and impact your day-to-day life, consider the resources above and seek some professional help.

There’s no one-size-fits-all interpretation for your dreams. But don’t be afraid to write down your dreams and consider ways they can inform your everyday life.