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What Does It Mean to Dream That You Are Falling?

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Analyzing your sleep behavior gives clues into your waking life and current psyche.

Analyzing your sleep behavior gives clues into your waking life and current psyche.

Dreams About Falling Explained

Dreaming that you are falling can be quite scary. You may wake up right before you slip off a cliff edge or right before you hit the ground. Despite how alarming this type of scenario can be, it is actually one of the most commonly reported themes in dream interpretation.

It's also time that we debunk a common myth: If you don't wake up before you hit the ground, you will die. This is simply not true. If this is a reoccurring dream for you, then it is important to analyze your waking life to make sure you are managing your stress and anxiety properly.

Common "Falling Dream" Themes

You may have a fear of failure or feel inadequate in the following areas of your life:

  • love
  • relationships
  • status
  • work
  • school
  • finances
  • impulse control (sexual)
  • confidence
  • parenting

If you are falling off a cliff or down stairs, this may indicate some important clues about your waking life or subconscious—such as instability, insecurity, anxiety, and uncertainty about certain aspects in your day-to-day.

According to Freudian theory, dreams represent our unconscious desires, thoughts, and motivations. So, let's take a look at the many meanings of this type of scenario.

Do you wake up before you hit the ground?

Do you wake up before you hit the ground?

The idea of falling fluidly translates to a sense or feeling of a loss of control. This is especially true if you are gripping onto something and holding on for your dear life but eventually lose your grip. A lot of people dream about falling to their death. Here are some common themes you might encounter in your dreams and their meaning.

Being Pushed

If you are being pushed and falling off a cliff in your dream, for example, it's important to analyze who or what is doing the pushing. You may feel like the person pushing you is manipulating you or controlling. Perhaps it's your boss, spouse, or mother-in-law? If you are pushing yourself (as in, there are two of you), perhaps you are forcing yourself to overwork and not taking a much-needed break.

The sensation of falling reinforces that you believe this person is causing you to lose your grip on life and you may feel as though you are being overworked by their demands.

Falling Off of a Cliff or Mountain

Dreaming you are falling off of a cliff represents a clear sense of powerlessness in your life so it is important that you analyze where you feel you are drowning. Maybe you aren't doing so well in school or your finances are out-of-control?

Maybe you are feeling distant in your relationship with your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, or partner, or you've taken some time apart. You may be overwhelmed with bills, household duties, commitments, and childcare. Take a serious look at your daily duties and acknowledge which ones are causing you the most stress.

Driving Off a Cliff

If you are driving off a cliff in your dream, you may not be good at setting boundaries or rules for yourself. Perhaps you are partying too much, and your lifestyle is getting out of control. Maybe you are binge shopping, binge eating, or making impulsive decisions without thinking about the consequences. You may want to slow down and evaluate your decisions before things get out of control.

Falling Into Water

If you are falling into water and even drowning, you may literally feel like you are drowning in waking life. You may have too many responsibilities on your plate and feel like you can't keep up with your commitments. Maybe it's time you learn to start saying no until you get your life back on track.

Falling Off a Bridge, Building, or Roof

Maybe you are dreaming that you are driving off a bridge in your car, sliding off a roof, or in a building and slipping out the window towards the pavement.

Again, slipping from a ledge or driving off a bridge represents an out-of-control feeling and should be a taken as a warning that your lifestyle is not sustainable at the rate it is going. You may want to reassess what is causing you stress and anxiety and take some time to do less or nip the problem in the bud.

Drowning may indicate a real sense of being overwhelmed in waking life.

Drowning may indicate a real sense of being overwhelmed in waking life.

Jumping Off of a Cliff Edge or Ledge

To dream you are jumping off of a cliff edge or ledge may imply that you feel the need to take big risks to achieve or conquer what you need to do. In your waking life, it may be important to reach out to your support network for reinforcement and help with any major tasks in your life—whether that's starting a business, childcare, or finding a life coach to help you start a new chapter in self-care.

Why Is the Sensation of Falling so Real?

Some theories suggest that the reason it feels so real is because of a physiological event called a "hypnagogic jerk" or "boggie jerk." This occurs in the body when there is a sudden muscle twitch.

As the body begins to relax, the brain processes the relaxation as a signal that the body is falling; this may be triggered by fatigue and discomfort or strenuous activity during the day. It often occurs before someone enters into the first stage of sleep. According to, some 70% of people have experienced a hypnagogic jerk but it is more common in children.

How Can I Stop Anxiety Dreams or Night Terrors?

If you are having repeated night terrors, it's important to change some aspect of your waking life. Longterm stress has major effects on your body, mind, and soul. If it is necessary, consider working with a counselor. Some past events in your life or PTSD may be triggering stress while you sleep.

Regardless, it is important to address the issue and take care of yourself so that you can live a prosperous and healthy life.

Twitching Before Sleep: The Hypnic Jerk

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2018 Laynie H