Revealed: Our top 10 nightmares, and what they mean

With Halloween just round the corner, a new survey has revealed Brits' worst nightmares - and what they mean.

Wednesday, 26th October 2016, 1:24 pm
Updated Thursday, 27th October 2016, 3:45 pm

Across the UK, a fifth of British adults admit to regularly experiencing night terrors.

The North East and East Midlands are nightmare hotspots, while Birmingham is named as the UK’s nightmare hotspot, while Belfast and Southampton are the cities of sweet dreams.

Here is a list of the top 10 nightmares which keeps us awake at night, with their meanings:

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1. Teeth falling out (52%) - can symbolise feelings of loss, either of a loved one or a job. It can also point to concerns about health or emotional issues, as losing teeth affects the ability to speak and eat.

2. Being chased/running for your life (45%) - avoidance of an issue that’s causing anxiety during waking hours.

3. Naked in public (32%) - often indicates that the dreamer is afraid of inadequacy in comparison to others.

4. Being trapped/buried alive (27%) - a sign of frustration about a real-life situation.

5. Spiders (26%) - for those with a fear of spiders, to dream of them can suggest fear of the future. They can also be symbolic of an overbearing female figure or feeling like an outsider in a situation.

6. Falling (23%) - a subconscious warning that a situation is taking a rapid downturn.

7. Losing something or someone important (22%) - can represent actual loss of dignity, control, health, direction or interest, depending on the object or person in the dream.

8. Health problems/injury (19%) - could point to an actual health issue or a more general concern about life.

9. Missing an important event (13%) - apprehension about not being able to perform to expectations.

10. Getting lost (11%) - often to do with a real-life situation where the dreamer feels they don’t fit in.

Across the UK, 60 per cent of people describe their quality of sleep as ‘not good’.

The average night’s sleep across the UK lasts just 6 hours and 26 minutes, which is hardly surprising when a massive 27 per cent don’t actually hit the sack until after midnight.

The main reason most Brits admit they don’t get enough sleep is the addiction to screens, either watching TV, or using a smartphone or computer.

An interactive map has been created from the collected data from the survey. It allows users to explore the sleeping habits of each region in the UK.

Jason Peterkin, who commissioned the survey, said: “With Halloween on the horizon, nightmares are bound to be an issue for some.

“But many of us struggle with scary dreams interrupting our sleep all year round.

“Bad dreams are often caused by stress or underlying worries, so it’s wise to be mindful of what’s keeping us awake at night.

“It seems even when we are under the duvet there are too many distractions – particularly due to us keeping tabs on Facebook through our smartphones and tablets – to get a decent night’s sleep.

“And when it’s not Facebook it’s our snoring husbands and wives who are to blame.”

Sleep expert Maryanne Taylor from The Sleep Works offered advice as a response to the findings.

“Stress and anxiety can be a huge factor in our sleep and raised adrenalin levels can inhibit the production of the sleep hormone, melatonin, which is essential for restful sleep.

“Ensure you have a relaxing lead up to bedtime – switch off all screens for an hour before bed, have a bath, write a ‘to do’ list for next day, keep lights dim, listen to music or read a book.”

Ms Taylor also commented on eating habits before bedtime: “Eat a light, low carbohydrate dinner in the evening and not too close to bedtime. Heavy, spicy meals eaten too late can upset the digestive system at night.”