Most Common Nightmares by State

We surveyed over 1,500 Americans to reveal the most common nightmare in each state.

By Ashley Little
Panoramic picture of a man suddenly awaken by a nightmare

Regardless as to whether or not you remember it in the morning, everyone dreams each night. Unfortunately these dreams aren’t always fun adventures where you can fly around the sky, meet your role models, and do all of the exciting things you wish you could do in real life.

Every so often, we experience nightmares. Sometimes these are onset by more obvious triggers like watching a scary movie or taking a new medication; other times nightmares could be a side effect of increased stress or long-term trauma from your upbringing. Or perhaps, nightmares could even influenced by where you live.

We polled over 1,500 Americans to see how the most common nightmares vary by where you live. Take a look to see what haunts your state’s dreams the most.

Demographics of Nightmares

Most Common Nightmares by State

Alabama: Missing important events (13.79%)

Alaska: Being chased (25%)

Arizona: Getting lost (19.23%)

Interesting Fact: Arizona, home to the Grand Canyon and other desert attractions for hikers, is one of two states (the other is Alaska) with the most open missing-persons cases per capita. The state even holds a Missing in Arizona Day each year where forensic experts and law enforcement revisit these cases in hopes of finding some of these missing people.

Arkansas: Falling (25%)

California: Falling (11.59%)

Colorado: Being chased (21.43%)

Connecticut: Getting trapped somewhere (15.63%)

Delaware: Dreaming of an ex (25%)

Fun Fact: Dreaming about an ex can mean many different things depending on the context of your dream. You may have recently encountered someone who subconsciously reminds you of a previous relationship, or you may be experiencing cold feet prior to a major life change. 

Florida: Being chased (12.09%)

Georgia: Falling (13.04%)

Hawaii: A loved one dying (42.86%)

Interesting Fact: One of the values in Hawaii is called `Ohana, which means “family.” Dreaming of a loved one dying could be a sign that there’s something wrong with your current relationship with them. You could be afraid of losing them or them leaving you.

Idaho: Being chased (22.22%)

Illinois: Being chased (25.68%)

Indiana: Falling (14%)

Iowa: Tornadoes (14.29%)

Interesting Fact: Iowa experienced 69 tornadoes in 2018. That makes Iowa the second-highest state for number of tornadoes last year, second to Louisiana. 

Kansas: Being chased (31.25%)

Kentucky: Missing important events (13.04%)

Louisiana: Being dumped (13.04%)

Interesting Fact: Dreaming of being dumped by your significant other could trace back to trauma from abandonment issues, personal insecurities, or a representation of your general fear of being left alone.

Maine: A loved one dying (21.43%)

Maryland: Falling (23.33%)

Massachusetts: Being chased (20.51%)

Michigan: Missing important events (15.69%)

Interesting Fact: Dreaming about missing important events could be your subconscious alerting you that you are underprepared for the future. These nightmares are generally provoked by increased stress and anxiety.

Minnesota: Missing important events (34.62%)

Mississippi: Being dumped (25%)

Missouri: Being chased (18.75%)

Montana: Getting trapped somewhere (50%)

Interesting Fact: Montana is one of the states with the worst animal trapping regulations. The guilt and empathy for the animals could be weighing on the residents’ minds. 

Nebraska: Being chased (44.44%)

Nevada: A loved one dying (25%)

New Hampshire: Being chased (40%)

Interesting Fact: Being chased was the most common nightmare across the nation. Dreaming about being chased typically means you’re avoiding an issue or a person. To decode the dream, consider what you’re running away from in your daily life.

New Jersey: Being chased (14%)

New Mexico: Being dumped (18.18%)

Fun Fact: Dreams about being dumped are fairly common (4.63% of the nation). These dreams could signify abandonment issues stemming from childhood experiences, your own insecurities, or they could be a sign that it’s time to let go of past attachments.

New York: Being chased (13.22%)

North Carolina: Being chased (19.15%)

North Dakota: Going bald (33.33%)

Ohio: Falling (13.21%)

Fun Fact: Falling was the second-most common nightmare in the nation (11.23%). Dreams about falling can be caused by increased stress and anxiety, or you could be experiencing hypnic jerk, which approximately 70% of people experience.

Oklahoma: Being naked in public (18.18%)

Oregon: Being dumped (21.05%)

Pennsylvania: Falling (18.42%)

Rhode Island: Teeth falling out (33.33%)

Fun Fact: Dreaming about your teeth falling out has a wide of range of possible connections to your psyche. It could represent: a major life change, low self esteem, rebirth, regret over something you’ve said, fear of aging, or financial insecurity.

South Carolina: Falling (21.05%)

South Dakota: Being chased (37.50%)

Tennessee: Monsters (15%)

Fun Fact: Legend has it that the Tennessee Wildman, a not-quite human and not-quite Bigfoot creature, lurks near McNairy County, TN. The last reported sighting was in the 1900s, but some believe this beast still takes residence in the state.

Texas: Falling (14.43%)

Utah: Falling (22.22%)

Vermont: Being chased (20%)

Virginia: Being injured (10%)

Washington: Getting lost (17.07%)

Fun Fact: Washington residents are known for their wanderlust mindset of exploring nature. Subliminally, they may really be afraid that this could quickly go wrong.

West Virginia: Being chased (30.77%)

Wisconsin: Being chased (21.43%)

Wyoming: Zombies (25%)

Fun Fact: Local legend has it that a Wyoming town once survived a zombie attack in 1848. In the tiny town of Owl Creek (population: 5), it is believed that 56 settlers known as the Knudsen Party turned into zombies after the outbreak of an infection. 

Most Common Nightmares Across the Nation

  1. Being chased: 13.45%
  2. Falling: 11.23%
  3. Missing important events: 7.83%
  4. Teeth falling out: 6.79%
  5. Loved one dying: 5.74%
  6. Getting lost: 5.74%
  7. Getting trapped somewhere: 4.70%
  8. Being dumped: 4.63%
  9. An ex: 4.57%
  10. Home invasion: 3.07%

Methodology

We polled over 1,500 Americans representing each of the 50 states on which nightmare they experience the most often.

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Download the full infographic

Infographic

Demographics of Nightmares

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