584: Recurring Dreams

A Thousand Things to Talk About
584: Recurring Dreams

Do you have recurring dreams?

Full episode script

Dreams are properly and completely fascinating — not just because there’s multiple theories about why dreams exist and what function they serve in our lives. Recurring dreams are an especially intriguing subset, because they are potentially indicators of our fears, concerns, stress points, or at least what our minds tend to latch on to and refresh in some form or fashion.


One study in 2017 – informed very heavily by the idea that dreams are built on processing of experiences and events, posited that:

We found mixed support for the notion that experiences of psychological need frustration would be reflected in dream themes. Those higher in general psychological need frustration reported recurring dreams characterized by negative dream themes, such as ‘falling’, ‘failing’ or ‘being attacked’; yet, such findings could not be replicated in. […] recurring dreams may be more sensitive to distressing psychological experiences that must be processed by the individual. In line with this, researchers and theorists have argued that recurring dreams challenge individuals to process the most pressing problems in their lives. For example, lower general psychological well-being has been linked to recurring dreams, as has depression and other psychological disturbances


If that is the case, well, psychological disturbances may be more common than many want to talk about. On mattress manufacturer Amerisleep’s Early Bird blog, they reported on the recurring dreams that are most common in the USA. That survey found that the most common recurring dreams are falling, being chased, being back in school, being unprepared, and flying. 38.8 percent of respondents also reported that their recurring dreams started in childhood. Most interestingly, professions did have a strong correlation with the type of dreams that recurred. Specifically, illicit sex was a recurring dream reported by 50% of military members, while 73.9%  of telecommunications workers reported falling as their most common dream.

This script may vary from the actual episode transcript.