What It Means to Dream About Spiders or Bugs Crawling on You
Creepy crawlies are such a nightmare! Here's why you might be seeing or feeling them in your sleep.
You’re snuggled up in bed and your eyes are drooping into a peaceful sleep. Suddenly, bugs are crawling all over your skin, spiders are hanging from the ceiling, and you’re absolutely freaking out. Then, you actually wake up, and realize that, thankfully, it was all a dream.
A horrible, anxiety-inducing dream, but a dream nonetheless.
Dreaming about spiders, roaches, bugs, and other creepy crawlies interacting with you is a very common theme. So common in fact, that a recent survey conducted by Amerisleep found that small creatures, especially spiders and bugs, are the third most common recurring dream among women.
Spiders, roaches, centipedes, and more are especially scary to dream about because many people have a real and debilitating fear of them in real life. While being chased or having your teeth fall out are not exactly fun dreams to have, they are instances that will likely never actually happen to you in your waking life.
However, if you have a fear of bugs, and are in locations where you encounter them regularly, the last thing you obviously want is to dream about them.
To learn more about dreams that involve spiders and other bugs, we spoke with Lauri Loewenberg, a Certified Dream Analyst and author of Dream on It, Unlock Your Dreams Change Your Life.
Why do bugs appear in our dreams sometimes?
It’s not just a turn of phrase — bugs have the potential to show up in our dreams when something is actually bugging us in real life.
To figure out what that conflict may be, Loewenberg says to try and recall the details of the dream, like how many bugs there were, where, and even which type of crawler.
“Every detail in a dream is connected to details in your real life,” Loewenberg says. “An infestation of bugs would mean there are a lot of things bothering you at the moment, to the point that it’s overwhelming you, whereas just one bug can mean one particular small issue.”
Oftentimes, these buggy issues are things we have the power to “squash” in real life as well. Seeing bugs in your office? There may be issues at work you need to resolve. Bugs in the bedroom? Think about any annoyances that may be present in your sex life or in your sleep habits that may need improvement.
Do spiders have any specific meaning in dreams?
Yes, they often do. “The vast majority of my clients who are involved with or trying to escape a narcissist dream of spiders,” Loewenberg admits.
“This is because of the nature of the spider: They spin a web of lies that trap their prey and they continue to feed off the prey for an extended period of time.”
Of course, personal associations matter, too. If spiders are a reoccurring presence in your dreams, it could mean you need to take some time to analyze your own actions. Are you spinning anything negative or shady at the moment?
What does it mean to dream about bugs crawling on you?
Sure, they are small and (mostly) harmless, but one of the worst feelings in the world has to be bugs crawling on your skin. If this is happening in your dream, pay attention to where they are making you feel the most uncomfortable.
“If they are all over your body, then you may be ‘bugging out’ about your whole body,” Loewenberg explains. For instance, if you’re unhappy with your weight or experiencing dry winter skin all over, this could be the meaning behind your bug-filled nightmares.
“If the bugs are crawling on your feet, then there may be something that is bugging you in real life that requires you to stand up for yourself,” she adds.
Bugs crawling around on your head or in your hair might suggest that “your mind has been infested with upsetting thoughts,” Loewenberg says. That’s definitely something to think about!
Other kinds of bugs that appear in dreams and their meaning:
We asked Loewenberg for a few other familiar insects that might pop up in your dreams. Some are subtle, others are more serious, but you can use this as a guide for anything that may be, um, bugging you about your dreams.
- Stinging bugs such as wasps and bees often represent stinging remarks or criticism you’ve received. They can also represent gossip or “the buzz” that’s been making the rounds.
- Worms can symbolize depression and low self-esteem since they wallow in the mud.
- Butterflies tend to symbolize transformation, ascending to a higher form in status or in your self-worth.
- Grasshoppers are known for their jumping and leaping behavior, so they often represent jumping to conclusions or jumping on the bandwagon.
Can you prevent yourself from dreaming about bugs?
It’s hard to control what images pop into your head once you’ve succumbed to sleep (no one really wants to dream about their college ex, right?). And in Loewenberg’s professional opinion, “The dream is shining a light on an issue the subconscious wants you to correct. These dreams that are bothersome are actually good for you because they are trying to help you work through it.”
In the case of bugs, spiders, and other insects, try to pinpoint what it is that they could be representing in your waking life, and then do what’s necessary to either change that issue or change your emotional reaction to it.
“Remember, no matter how upsetting a dream may be, it’s there for your benefit,” Loewenberg says. “Dreams are messages from you, to you, about you, in order to improve you.” Yes, roaches and all.