Meaning of Dreams about suffocating

Having dreams where you feel like you’re suffocating can be unsettling. They can make you feel panicked and scared and usually represent a feeling of helplessness or being overwhelmed in your life.

These dreams about suffocating might indicate that there are some problems that you need to address like stress, anxiety and feelings you get when you don’t have control over situations, some other  meanings include:

Suppressed Emotions

Sometimes, we experience an overflow of emotions and then suppress them instead of letting them flow when we can still control them. However, whenever we fail to address our feelings, whether good or bad, they tend to pile up in the mind, and if managed well, there might be an explosion.

Yes, having suffocating dreams may be unsettling, but this dream suggests that those emotions that you chose to ignore, instead of dealing with them head-on, are threatening to come to the surface, but your subconscious is trying to bring your attention to these feelings, it’s reminding you to confront your feelings, they’re yours and won’t go away just by wishing them so,  you have to consciously deal with them.

Lack Of Autonomy

Dreams about suffocating

Autonomy in this case suggests your freedom, your sense of self and moral independence, and when this is taken from you, you start to feel trapped, you feel like you cannot deal as you please, hence your dreams about suffocating.

You’re having suffocating dreams because your subconscious is trying to reflect your state of mind in your waking life. You feel powerless and constricted in certain areas of your life. These areas could include your relationships, job or even marriage. You’re not okay with your voice being cut off, no one is listening to you you can’t voice out your feelings because others have forced their opinions of you, thereby involving you in a spiral of silence.

This is the case when you dream about someone strangling you, you feel trapped and restricted in certain areas of your life, and your dream of suffocating is an invitation for you to explore other aspects of your life where you’re allowed to exercise more independence and freedom in life and choose to do what makes you happy.

Inner Conflict

Sometimes, we have conflicting opinions and views on our own, this is especially so when we have to make difficult decisions regarding important aspects of our lives. This could be one of the reasons why you’re having dreams about suffocating. Your dream means that you’re experiencing some form of internal struggle between your conflicting desires of emotions.

One is trying threatening to silence the other, and you have no idea what to do about it. You need to know yourself, accept that these are what you feel, and take a stand for whatever you feel is right, as long as it is an informed decision,  this will lead you to a point of self-discovery, and if deciding is just too hard, you should see a counsellor for help, there’s no shame in that.

Fear Of Failure

A fear of anything can lead to suffocation in your dreams. Being overwhelmed by your feelings of not meeting up to either your expectations of yourself or the expectations that other people have of you,  may lead to stress and anxiety hence your dream.

Seeing someone suffocating you in the dream suggests that either someone is doing that in your waking life, or the opinions of people matter too much to you,  and you’re scared of letting them down.

If you feel like you’re a disappointment to yourself, and you are not achieving your goals as you’ve set them, being scared will only stay you farther away from reaching your goals. What you need to do is to address your fears, destroy them by renewing your mind, build resilience, and perseverance and also develop a better and positive outlook towards overcoming hurdles and challenges on your journey.

Specific scenarios of dreams about suffocating

Dreams about suffocating underwater

Someone trying to suffocate you underwater in your dream indicates that you’re having overwhelming emotions, drowning emotions because you’re sinking in them and can’t breathe. Your dream suggests that you have issues communicating effectively or expressing yourself in a way that people will understand, you have a way of aggravating conflicts rather than resolving them, and this keeps you feeling like you tend to lose control of situations very fast.

Having dreams of being suffocated underwater suggests that you’re feeling trapped and powerless in a circumstance or situation, and all efforts to find a way out have proved to be a failure, you should know that the way out of any situation is a strong will, because this too shall pass.

Dream of being suffocated by a pillow

If you rarely have dreams of suffocation or any dreams at all, and all of a sudden, there’s a dream of being suffocated by a pillow, then your dream must not be taken lightly, especially if you were battling to breathe in your waking life.

A dream of someone strangling you with a pillow suggests the presence of evil forces. Spiritual cleansing of your environment is very necessary because these forces are so present so much that they want to take you out. It’s an indication that you’re weak spiritually, you’ve broken the edge and so the enemy now has full access to you.

Rebuilding your spiritual life,  and relationship with God will help you to be strong enough to defeat the enemy when they come.


Being choked or smothered in a dream and you can’t breathe can show up in ways like being squeezed by something you can’t see or having trouble breathing underwater or being smothered by a pillow. The meaning like we’ve established, often links to feelings of being powerless, helpless and emotionally overwhelmed.

As much as your dream may reflect some real-life issues or what you’re going through, it could also be psychological, getting to see a therapist or psychologist may help in understanding your dreams better.