Dying in your dreams doesn’t always mean you’re in the throes of a life transition, however. For some people, it can alternatively indicate anxiety around death itself — referred to medically as “thanatophobia,” explains the Cleveland Clinic. “The majority of human beings are relatively unsure about their own death,” Sumber told HuffPost. “[Many people] wonder when it will happen, if it will hurt, and what will occur afterward. Thus, our psyche is constantly working these dilemmas out through our waking as well as subconscious experiences.” Therefore, if you’re someone who experiences a great deal of worry around death, dying in your dreams may be your mind’s way of attempting to process this fear. However, if you find anxiety is impacting your day-to-day life, consider reaching out to a mental health professional for support.
Sumber also points out that we often do not get to the end of death dreams. Rather, we tend to wake up in the moments just before it happens. This is thought to occur because our brain does not have any reference material for what comes next after we’ve slipped off that cliff or after that wild animal has caught up with us. Essentially, because our brains have no prior experience with what comes after death, our brain doesn’t know how to proceed with the dream and so it instead comes to an end.