You wake up in the middle of the night in a sweat. Frantically, your fingers scan your face for any sign that it was real - are all of your teeth still there? Do you have a test today? Are you really naked? Stress dreams can manifest in our subconscious as our minds try to work through a problem in the waking hours. What do these dreams mean and how can they help us understand our own fears and causes for anxiety?

According to a study published in The Journal of Neuroscience, our dreams represent the pattern of brain waves from our memories. The more we think about a subject and attach a certain emotion to it, the greater the likelihood it will rear its ugly head as we slip into our deepest dream state — REM (rapid eye movement).

Here are the most often dreamed-about stressors and how they play an essential role in our lives.

5 Strange Stressors That Appear While You Sleep:

1. Late For Class

Have you ever thought you signed up for a class you or have to take a test you didn’t know about until it was too late? It doesn’t matter if you graduated 20 years ago or a week ago, these stress dreams tend to appear at the moment you’re anticipating something momentous. It could indicate you're feeling overwhelmed or unprepared for big changes that are ongoing in your life.

2. Losing Teeth:

Imagine falling asleep only to find yourself in a dreamland dentist chair. The friendly man in the white coat has just finished the procedure, but when you reach for the mirror all you see is a gummy expression looking back at you in horror. Chew on this thought: If your teeth are falling out or being pulled out, it could represent your personal power, which means you feel a loss of control in your life.

3. Naked in Public:

Were you in the middle of a conversation with your dream colleagues and then all of the sudden look down to find yourself flaunting your birthday suit in that important meeting you’ve been thinking about all week? Clothes serve as armor that keeps us protected and safe from the rest of the world, which is why being nude in public reveals feelings of shame, exposure, or vulnerability. They can also point to anxiety you may have with intimacy, in and out of the bedroom.

4. Being Chased:

Someone wants to hurt you and they’re catching up to you quickly. What else can you do but run as fast as you can? Being chased in a dream is your brain working out a problem in a very literal sense: You are trying to avoid something big in your waking life. The dream may serve to help you confront the issue at hand so that it stops plaguing you night and day.

5. Driving Out Of Control:

You get into the passenger seat of a car. Then all of the sudden, the car spirals out of control and the driver — you — can’t reach or control the steering wheel or brake. This frightening dream scenario could indicate that you don’t have enough control on your road to success, raising the question of whether you will take responsibility for your actions and the potential you could reach in the future.