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Dream Meanings And Interpretations of Not Being Able to Breathe

Dreams about not being able to breathe signify adverse effects on your health. It includes lowered sleep quality or developing severe cardiovascular disorders. You might feel nervous about falling asleep and develop insomnia.

These dream plots reflect your inner turmoil and anxiety. Pay attention to these images to understand your real self.

Dream Meanings And Interpretations of Not Being Able to Breathe

Nonetheless, such intimidating dreams can also signify positive images. They encourage you to break away from toxic circumstances or rebel against opportunists.

Navigate the various aspects of life that dream about the shortness of breath convey. Find out how they expose your past experiences and influence your present.

Pro Tip: Resort to dream journalling to keep track of your dreams and draw inferences from them.

Dreams About Not Being Able to Breathe – General Symbolic Interpretation

Dreams about breathing troubles symbolize various physical and emotional conditions. They include stressful working conditions, unaddressed childhood trauma, or exhaustion in life. Apart from them, an array of symbols can help you decipher your dream images.

1. Attention-Seeking Tendencies

Attention-Seeking Tendencies

The illusive incapacity to breathe is a mindful urge to attract attention. The subconscious warns you of dire situations or urges you to seek help for problems. Dream analysts often comment that the mind prepares you for fight-or-flight mode.

2. Untreated Trauma

Dreams about breathing troubles arise from past traumas you’ve suppressed but never treated. Premature emotional distress or memories of childhood abuse can leave you suffocated. The dream scene exposes your vulnerability and panic attacks if not treated well.

3. Liberty From Work or Relationship

Liberty From Work or Relationship

Exhaustion of obligations and others’ expectations makes you yearn for freedom. These massive work or home duties have taken a toll on your mental stability and made you feel confined. On a brighter note, the dream variant urges you to think several times before accepting.

4. Signs of Health Concerns

Dreams about breathing issues reflect different health concerns. They include sleep apnea and other respiratory troubles. The dream can show your need to seek medical help before the illness gets critical.

5. Not Ready to Sacrifice

Not Ready to Sacrifice

You’re comfortable in your current situation without any intention of exploring new opportunities. Thus, when the situation demands you to give up on your luxuries, you feel trapped and unable to function. Introspect, try to understand how your present amenities hinder your growth.

7 Dreams About Not Being Able to Breathe And Their Interpretations

You might not be able to breathe for various reasons. It can be because of smoke, water pressure, or some medical issues that block your air passage.

In a dreamscape, each of these reasons contributes to the overall meaning of a dream sequence. And they vary from person to person.

Seven usual dream plots on breathing problems with choking sensations are:

1. Dream About Not Being Able to Breathe and Struggling to Catch Your Breath

Dream About Not Being Able to Breathe and Struggling to Catch Your Breath

A dream about your incapability to breathe can signify a nightmare. But trying to catch air alters the meaning and adds an optimistic undertone. Hence, the dream sequence is a blend of positive and negative connotations.

This dream sequence implies your underlying fear and insecurity.  Someone or something in your profession has harmed your mental health. You’re confused about which way to go or escape such a troubling situation.

The image of catching your breath signifies your determination to leave the worrying situation. The subconscious asks you to take a break and rejuvenate yourself. Clear your mind and think from a different perspective to resolve the problem.

Such dream experiences are possible when you remember an unpleasant or overwhelming situation. The recurring dream segment implies you’re committing the same mistake and suffering from it. Consider remembering the lessons you’ve learned from experiences and take adequate measures.

2. Dream About Not Being Able to Breathe And Holding Your Breath

Dream About Not Being Able to Breathe And Holding Your Breath

From a metaphorical perspective, breathing connects with living and fulfilling dreams. The dream of being unable to breathe is a real-life situation that’s making it difficult for you to live. As you hold your breath, ‌your surrounding has grown toxic, and you must leave.

We associate divine connections or spiritual attachment with the act of breathing. Dreaming about breathing trouble signifies your growing cynicism and waning faith in spirituality. Holding your breath in a dream denotes your resistance to pessimism.

The illusions depict stepping away from your comfort zone. Severe stagnancy can limit your capacity to face the trials and tribulations of life. To gain immense success, consider giving up on a few luxuries and taking the long route to glory.

The dream image also carries an optimistic undertone that reflects your personality. The situation worsened enough to make you feel persistent about gaining better ground. You have already planned and have sacrificed an essential part of your career.

3. Dreams About Not Being Able to Breathe Underwater

Dreams About Not Being Able to Breathe Underwater

The presence of the dream scene underwater represents your deep emotions and vulnerability. Analysts believe the underwater dream signifies your wish to be free and live on your terms. Suffering from breathing troubles underwater represents negative emotions obstructing your path to happiness.

Your professional circumstances have become challenging because your former colleagues are your competitors. Likewise, you exert more effort than before, or else you might have to lose your position. Such hostile conditions are taking a toll on your holistic development.

Take active measures to transform your current situation and reinstate peace in life. Seek help from a relationship therapist if your marriage is facing constraints. Avoiding problems or letting them control your life can ruin your emotional well-being.

Every minute detail can change the meaning of your illusions. For instance, someone pushing you into the water holds a positive connotation. It denotes a new beginning of an idea.

4. Dream About Not Being Able to Breathe in Smoke

Whether a cigarette or a bonfire, many other fiery sources can give rise to fire. Each has its significance and can influence the course of your dream. But inhalation of excessive smoke causes nasal distress and might lead to death too.

Such dream variants don’t bear positive connotations. They focus on the claustrophobic impulse of your subconscious.

You’re trapped in a burning room, and the smoke is choking you. Such a dream instance reflects your dependency on someone. Attempt to overcome this strong dependence and explore life with no restrictions.

In a different context, smoke can represent a smokescreen. The dream might show that you’re hiding something crucial from your near ones out of concern. Fearing that others won’t accept whatever you’re hiding makes you feel suffocated.

Cigarette smoking often resembles a transformation, good or bad.  The cigarette smoke dream image exposes that the sudden change in life is harmful to you.  Besides, your new role has several unseen constraints, and hence want to quit but cannot.

Bonus Read: Did you know that smoking in your dreams has a bunch of interpretations deciphered by dream experts?

5. Dream About Struggling For Air

Dream About Struggling For Air

When you’re struggling for air and having chronic breathing problems in your dreams, it’s symbolic of something that scares you in reality. It can be a scene you imagined after getting inspired by life. Pay attention to the details of the context and try to find ways to resolve the situation.

In conscious life, several medical problems can be responsible for breathing troubles that eventually make you gasp for air. A recurring dream concerning similar themes can indicate your undetected sickness. The subconscious warns you of impending health issues that can aggravate and worsen your health if left unattended for a long.

Alternatively, an upcoming precarious situation can change the course of your life. A circumstance like meeting someone new can eventually alienate you from your close friends and family. You cannot endure separation or isolation; this idea not only alerts you of looming danger but also makes you feel trapped.

On a different note, the dream variant implies a simple mantra of livelihood. You remember that endless struggles and adversities define life. It’s a test for the fittest to see how efficiently they can survive the challenges of transition phases.

6. Dream About Not Being Able to Breathe For a Short While

Dream About Not Being Able to Breathe For a Short While

Even a short duration of breathing troubles can hinder your physical health. In your sleep, dreaming of such discomfort can rush your heart and make you sweaty. However, the dream sequence can represent both favorable and threatening connotations.

To find the meaning, identify the situation in which you felt out of breath for a short while. Whether swimming or running a lost distance, the fragmented image resembles your present emotions or mental condition.

You have taken up more responsibilities than you can handle. In your professional field, you’re trying to impress the supervisors by juggling too many projects simultaneously. Such a situation hampers your skills, and the shortness of breath depicts your inability to handle pressure.

Still, the dream image doesn’t convey negative implications but positive news. Are you out of breath but don’t feel any discomfort? It’s because you have something exciting to share with everyone and cannot wait to do it.

Such temporary short breaths also resemble that you love your partner and receive the same recognition and affection from them.

When interpreted from an optimistic perspective, you can expect rewards and promotions for the time and energy invested in the project. Consistency and tenacity will help you solve your problems and live life to the fullest.

7. Dream About Not Being Able to Breathe When Someone Tries to Strangle You

Dream About Not Being Able to Breathe When Someone Tries to Strangle You

A dream of someone strangling you can intimidate you and might as well wake you up from sleep. Such a daunting dream sequence warns you of people who are envious of you and might plot the onset of a slippery future for you. In addition, you’re guilty of committing sins against a few people in the past, and the regret still lives in your subconscious.

In another context, you feel like a puppet at the hands of someone close. They have taken charge of your life, and this makes it difficult for you to breathe. Their overwhelming and powerful presence makes it difficult for you to rebel against them.

Assume this dream sequence as a cautionary note from your subconscious urging you to protest against their wrongdoing. The person can be your parent or spouse but don’t lose courage or feel scared. Win back your freedom and live the way you always wanted.

At the workplace, your boss can dominate your life or career. Yet, his influence and authority have stopped you so far from breaking free. Consider planning meticulously and strategically before you conspire against someone who can obstruct your progress.

Bonus Read: Have you ever wondered what killing someone in dreams can imply?


Dreaming of incapacity to breathe doesn’t always imply unforeseen health troubles or misfortune. People believe such dream variants resonate with one’s impending death.

Yet, dream experts say dreams about not being able to breathe reflect your current status in life. They draw your attention to the lacking in your personal and professional life. The subconscious uses choking images to focus your attention on these trivial areas. They have the potential to upend your career.

Dreams on the shortness of breath annotate several influential life lessons. These fragmented images that frequent your sleep urge you not to settle for less. Work towards breaking away from any limitations and demand what you deserve.

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