It's been a while since I've had the pleasure of an honest-to-God nightmare. One of those dreams where you wake up screaming, heart racing, covered in sweat and have to lie there and think for a minute if it's real-life or just a dream. I still remember a ridiculously scary nightmare from when I was just a little kid. It involved me running like crazy to get away from an evil kangaroo that was bounding after me. In my dream, the marsupial with the evil eyes caught me, just as I almost reached the safety of my dad's pickup truck cab.  I know...  pretty f'd up, right? Most dreams are. And nightmares are usually weirder than normal dreams.

Psychologists, spiritualists, scientists, and doctors have all been curious about dreams, why we dream and what they might mean. They honestly don't know as much as you would think. Psychology Today says:

There is not likely ever to be a simple answer, or a single theory that explains the full role of dreaming to human life. Biological, cognitive, psychological—it’s very likely that dreaming may serve important functions in each of these realms.

Like sleep, dreams are vulnerable to disruption from problems with mental and physical health. There are a number of conditions (as well as medications) that may affect dreams, and that can make dreams more difficult and disturbing.

There are some common types of nightmares, usually involving stuff like falling, being chased, drowning, teeth falling out or losing a loved one. A company called Mattress Advisor recently conducted a study that analyzed the nightmare content of 1500 people in all 50 states. They found the most common nightmare in Montana is getting trapped somewhere. With 50% of respondents stating this was their nightmare. I'm not sure how big their Montana sample size was since the national average of people reporting getting trapped is less than 5%.

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%

Ok, so we're afraid of being trapped somewhere.  At least that's not as ridiculous as Wyoming's nightmare. 25% of their bad dreams involve zombies.  Yes, zombies. And North Dakotans are apparently worried about going bald, with 33% of NoDak residents claiming it's their worst nightmare. Check out the most popular nightmares by state, according to their survey.