14/08/2014 16:39 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Dreams: What Do They Mean?

The mystery of dreams never gets old. What we dream about is out of our control and half the time, we have no memory of dreams at all. However, when we do remember them, it sparks the inevitable question - what do they mean?

Common dream subjects are the easiest to interpret. A recent focus group run by TheCircle.comasked 100 people about their dream habits and the results showed the most popular dream topics are:

1. Falling
2. Being chased
3. Teeth falling out
4. Being late
5. Being naked in a public place or public humiliation


So - how should we explain what we dream about? Here's a guide to translating some of the most prevalent topics:

Ian Wallace, a psychologist and dream expert says falling dreams "reflect some experience of potential failure in waking life. This can happen if a person has set high standards for the results they expect, and it may seem as it they have failed if they cannot attain them. The person needs to release themselves from some of their responsibilities."

Being naked in public
This dream can be explained through the idea of personas, says psychology practitioner David Bedrick. "We all have 'personas' - ways of behaving in public," he writes. "These are like clothing, presenting an image of ourselves while covering other aspects. For some people, it becomes important to reveal their deeper feelings. Dreaming of being naked in public suggests it may be fruitful to do so, even if it challenges their deeper desire to not be exposed."

Being chased
Dreaming of being chased reflects irritations the dreamer is experiencing in their day-to-day life when trying to achieve a specific goal. "Although they appear to be being chased in the dream, they are actually actively hunting for ways to work through their frustrations," says Wallace.

Being late
Craig Sim Webb, a speaker and author, suggests this dream can reflect hidden emotions about a particular event or occasion. "Being late for an upcoming trip or exam for example is not usually about the event," he says. "Though it often shows an anxious feeling you haven't actually been conscious about and probably haven't been acting on. The dream may well in fact be warning you to get cracking and prepare more fully for an upcoming deadline."

Teeth falling out
"Teeth in dreams, like in waking life, are a feature of our insides we reveal to the outside world, says sleep and dream expert Dr. Rubin Naiman. "The image of tooth loss or toothless-ness can reflect ageing, illness, injury or loss of power. It might also reflect innocence and potential of infancy, so it can be negative and positive."

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