Whether it’s dreaming about falling, cuddling our pets or bumping into a dreaded ex, dreaming is something we all have in common when our head hits the pillow. Dreams themselves can be weird, wonderful and often perplexing, causing us to turn to the likes of Google for answers on the meaning behind these dreams.
Recent studies have shown that the average person has four to six dreams per night, and scientists have long debated whether dreams have significant meaning or not. Freud believed that our dreams uncovered revealing parts of our psyche, whereas other psychologists have suggested dreams are entirely random.
But do dreams vary depending on the country you live in? We were curious to find out whether surroundings affect the type of dreams you’ll have when you snuggle up at night.
With this in mind, we’ve delved into Google search data to reveal the dreams we collectively experience the most, and how this might differ around the world. Take a look below to see how your dreams match up!
What Are The Most Common Dreams Worldwide?
According to the data, we’re all often experiencing a woof night’s sleep, dreaming of our four-legged canine companions more than anything else, with 19 of the 185 countries we analysed searching for ‘dreams about dogs’ more than any other topic.
No. of countries who dream of this the most
|7||Teeth falling out||10|
In fact, dreaming of our pets in general was a common theme, with the United Arab Emirates and various other Asian countries yearning for dogs most during their sleep, whilst five countries, including Poland and Bulgaria dream more about their feline family members. Interestingly, fish also feature when Hungarian and Jamaican dreamers lay their heads to rest at night.
Whilst many of us see our pets as part of the family, the UK, France and Switzerland are bringing things even closer to home, as they’re among the 18 countries that dream most frequently about being pregnant.
The Most Common Dream In The UK
The second most common dream around the world, Brits are Googling what it means to dream of pregnancy the most. Pregnant dreams can often relate to ‘trying something new’, and with 9% of Brits changing jobs each year, and so many people trying new hobbies on a daily basis, it’s no surprise that this is at the top of the UK’s most searched-for dreams list. Usually, when people change jobs, they’re keen to make a positive impression and grow, so it’s only natural the same feelings of nurturing are creeping into many of our minds at night.
The Most Common Dreams In Europe
Like their British counterparts, countries in Europe dream the most about being pregnant, with the theme topping Google searches in 11 European countries including France, Switzerland and Iceland.
The second most common dream in Europe is cheating on a partner. Alongside the USA, this is also the most regularly searched for dream in Sweden, Norway and Denmark, showing that cheating dreams are particularly common in Scandinavian countries.
The Most Common Dreams In North & Central America
Also featuring in the top five most searched for dream meanings, cheating on a partner topped the list in the USA. With between 30 – 60% of married couples allegedly cheating on their partners at least once in their relationship, dreaming about a partner cheating, or you cheating on your partner is a common theme.
Americans needn’t be worried about their steamy dream infidelities, as dreaming about cheating on a partner doesn’t necessarily mean you want to pursue things with the particular individual involved, but that something else may be causing this dream. You can read more about the meaning behind this dream below.
Meanwhile in Canada, Canadians may be rushing to the dentist when they wake, as the most common dream across the country is the nightmarish experience teeth falling out.
Most Common Dreams In South America
South America is a continent brimming with places to go and sights to see, so it's only fitting that its inhabitant's dreams are filled with wanderlust and the want to explore more too, with dreams about travelling topping the list for South America. This was the case for various countries including Peru and Venezuela.
In equal first place, dreaming about an ex also takes place more in South America than it seems to elsewhere, with Argentinian and Colombian residents stewing about an old flame in their sleep. But rest assured, these dreams don’t necessarily mean you want to reignite a past love, more that you’re looking for more passion in your life.
Most Common Dreams In Africa
Africa stands with the global rankings with its top dream amongst residents featuring dogs, being the most common dream for Algerian, Nigerien and Egyptian residents.
Dreams about snakes and money also feature highly in the continent, with snakes topping the list for South Africa and Rwanda, and money being on the mind of Ugandan and Nigerian dreamers. While dreams about snakes are considered to have negative connotations, dreams about money are thought to be symbolic of a richness in life, whether that is confidence, love or self-belief.
Most Common Dreams In Oceania
Dreaming about teeth falling out may denote feelings of self-doubt, frustration, or fear, and this particular dream was most common for residents of New Zealand and Samoa. While, like Americans, cheating on a partner, or being cheated on, features more frequently in the dreams of Australian residents.
Most Common Dreams In Asia
Similar to the global standings, Asia’s four-legged friends were a common occurrence in their sleep stories, with dogs being the most common dream for nine of the 43 Asian countries researched. This included countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Qatar.
This was followed by snakes in second place for residents of the Philippines and Vietnam.
Breaking out of the norm, crocodiles surprisingly placed third, with countries like Malaysia and Cambodia dreaming about the reptiles. Similar to snakes, crocodiles could have a slightly deeper meaning, manifesting as the result of changes in your life that you didn’t predict. But have no fear, it can also represent one’s ability to adapt, proving not all change is bad.
What Do The Most Common Dreams Actually Mean?
- What do dreams about dogs mean?
With dogs occupying many people’s lives, it’s unsurprising that they’re featuring heavily in our dreams too.
Dreaming about dogs can mean many things whether the dog is friendly and loving, or scary and aggressive, as well as where they are and what they are doing. Generally, it’s thought that dreams about our canine pals give us an insight into our thoughts about the relationships we have around themes of loyalty and protection.
Dogs can be a sign that you feel you need to protect a loved one, or that someone may be looking out for you. If the dog in your dream is loving and friendly, it could signify someone in your life trying to guide and protect you, whereas an unfriendly dog could indicate anxiety or fears that may be creeping into different areas of your life. If you are being chased by a dog, it may be representative of feeling that you need to escape.
Dog dreams were most common in Asia with nine countries searching for answers to their dog-based dreams including the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Qatar.
- What do dreams about being pregnant mean?
While many people wake up scared or confused after dreams, they don’t always have literal meaning. If you are dreaming about being pregnant, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re looking or trying to get pregnant. It is often perceived as you experiencing something new in your life, showing that you are growing as a person.
This could be anything from a new job, a new relationship or feeling, or even starting a new hobby. As we often experience new things in our life, it makes sense that this would be a common theme in a lot of dreams, with the new event or feeling being something you need to take care of and focus on if you want it to grow.
Countries searching for the meaning behind pregnancy dreams were most common in Europe with 12 out of the 18 countries based there, including France, Iceland and Croatia.
- What do dreams about snakes mean?
Snakes have featured in stories and myths across the world in different cultures and were the most common dream in six African countries, including South Africa, Tanzania and Rwanda. A common interpretation is that of change, especially when the snake is shedding its skin.
If your dream involves being constricted by snakes, it could show that you may be struggling with control, especially if you feel you are struggling to make a decision on something in your life.
If in your dream you are surrounded by snakes, it could show you are feeling anxious about someone in your life, and that you may need to review your friendships.
- What do dreams about travelling mean?
Dreams about ticking things off your bucket list were most common in South and Central America, topping the list of most searched for dream meanings for six countries including Peru, Venezuela and Honduras.
If you’re dreaming about travelling, it could show that positive change is happening in your life, that you are moving and are on a journey to a new destination. In the context of your dream, this could indicate new challenges or goals, or meeting new people.
- What do dreams about cheating mean?
If you’ve had dreams about cheating, you’re not alone. Cheating was fifth most common dream around the world, with residents of Norway, Finland and Denmark worried about dream-world infidelity. Further afield, Americans and those down under in Australia were also looking for the meaning behind their sleep-cheating dreams.
Cheating on your partner is another very common dream theme, which can have multiple meanings depending on who you cheated with. For example, cheating with a work colleague may not mean you want to pursue things in reality, more that you may admire a quality about them.
It could also be raising feelings about a past infidelity that you are still trying to process. If you are still harbouring insecurities about a past relationship or even in yourself, it can present itself in the form of something such as you, or a partner cheating in your dreams. Dreams are often our worries or deepest thoughts emerging, so shouldn’t always be taken literally, as it’s often your body’s way of processing complex emotions.
How To Get Prepared For The Perfect Dreaming State
If you are having problems drifting off to your dream-world, or are having some particularly strange dreams, it’s probably a good time to improve your sleep routine to set you up for a perfect night of dreaming.
Decluttering your bedroom and creating a ‘sleep-friendly’ space can be one way to help send you off for a relaxing night’s sleep. As remote working and home boundaries become blurred, having a sleep sanctuary with soft bed sheets and plush cushions away from other distractions such as devices can help you to unwind for the evening.
Optimising your sleep routine with relaxing smells, ditching technology early on, and breathing techniques are good ways to prepare your body and mind for good quality sleep. Ensuring you allow enough time for your routine is also important to make sure you get the right amount of sleep for your body to feel well-rested when you wake up from your favourite dream.
You can find more sleep tricks here.
We reviewed over 390 different common dreams using worldwide search data from Google Keyword Planner for 185 countries.
The top dream for each country was found using annual search data in each country for each dream.
*Not all countries provided enough search data to be featured – we've included the countries with enough data to analyse.