Dreaming About Falling May Mean You're Defying Gravity In Numerous Ways

Dreams speak a language all their own. Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, believed that dreams represent the fulfillment of repressed wishes. In order to interpret the specific meanings of his patient's dreams, he would engage them in what he called free association. This exercise consisted of breaking the dream down into multiple elements and then asking the patient to say aloud every thought that came to mind when considering each element without hesitation or filtering of any kind. He was rather adamant that this method was superior to attaching fixed meanings to specific symbols in a dream dictionary.


Today, most dream interpreters, whether professionals or hobbyists, use some form of standard symbolism in combination with considering the waking experiences and emotional state of the dreamer. Certain dream themes seem to be experienced by people all over the globe, suggesting that their symbolism must share some commonalities. One of these common themes is falling. If you frequently dream about falling, here is your guide to unraveling the meaning behind your experience. 

Falling in your dreams

The lead-up to falling in a dream can present in many different ways. One person may dream about being trapped in a falling elevator while another dreams about falling out of a window on the 35th floor of a skyscraper. The result is typically the same; you're freefalling with no way of stopping or slowing your fall. You have no control over when, how, or where you land or whether you'll survive. This might evoke terror or you might feel a sense of peace, freedom, or relief as you float toward the ground.


The sensations you feel physically and emotionally while falling into your dream are the key to interpreting what the experience means in the context of your life. If the dream turns into a nightmare when your elevator plunges into darkness and you wake up covered in sweat, heart pounding, you may need to deal with your fear of losing control of yourself or your situation. If your fall feels more like pleasant floating with no sense of impending doom, it's likely a sign that you're ready to surrender to the universe and accept what it has to offer. Nothing — including gravity — can stop you from embarking on your next chapter. 

Experiencing the physical sensations of falling

Dreaming about falling and experiencing the physical sensation of falling in your body while sleeping or falling asleep are two different experiences. When your brain recognizes that you're falling asleep, it sends signals to your muscles to relax. When it's time for you to transition into the next phase of sleep, sometimes your brain misinterprets this change as you waking up. As a result, it scrambles to wake up your muscles, causing you to experience a jolt that feels like falling, known as a hypnic jerk (via MedicalNewsToday).


Occasionally, experiencing a hypnic jerk and dreaming about falling can align to form a phenomenon known as dream incorporation. When you experience dream incorporation, your brain will use stored information to create a plausible scenario to appropriately incorporate a hypnic jerk into the context of a dream. For example, you might dream about walking up the stairs in your office building and just as you trip on a stair and begin to fall, you experience the physical sensation of falling via a hypnic jerk. These types of falling dreams are less likely to hold a deeper meaning and more likely to simply showcase the vast complexities of the human brain and nervous system.