Falling dreams are often associated with some form of perceived failure in waking life. They are usually triggered by the sudden realization that you will not be able to completely control the outcome of a particular situation. You have probably set yourself high standards for the results you expect and you may feel like a failure if you aren’t able to reach them.

This can bring you down to earth with a bump and make you feel like you are letting others down as well as yourself. Sometimes, however, you need to release yourself from your responsibilities and the sensation of falling in dreams comes from this inevitable process of letting go. As you let go, you give yourself the freedom to move on.

When you fall asleep, you are releasing yourself from conscious awareness so that you can relax and repair your body, and give yourself the opportunity to dream. When you dream of falling, it is usually because your body is relaxing and you are releasing accumulated tension from your muscles.

If you trip over a small obstacle, such as a kerb, it often indicates that you are just releasing some minor tension from your daily life. A larger fall suggests you need to let go of some bigger responsibilities that are dragging you down. Hitting the ground indicates you need to take a more down-to-earth approach, getting your feet firmly back on the ground as you work out a way forward.

This dream is often triggered by accumulated stress and tension, and so is encouraging you to take a more relaxed approach in certain areas of your waking life. Most of your residual muscle tension can be released by physically relaxing before going to bed.

Muscular tension often arises from a fear of failure and it can feel like you spend most of your day braced for impact. When you are tense you are far less likely to notice opportunities and take full advantage of them. The more you relax, the more you can influence favourable outcomes.

The phrase we use to describe entering our sleeping state is ‘falling asleep’ and so we tend to associate relaxing with falling and letting go. As our large anti-gravity muscles relax, such as our back and legs and arms, we physically sink a little lower into our bed.

This release of tension is often experienced as a muscle twitch known as the hypnic jerk. If we are on the edge of sleep or have fallen asleep, then we usually feel that we are actually falling. Falling is often associated with failure in our language, such as ‘being let go’ or ‘falling from grace’.