Recurring Dreams: Who Is Having Them and What Do They Mean?

Have you ever had the same dream over and over? Experiences of you falling off a cliff, being chased by a frightening being, or even being back at school? Recurring dreams are when a person repeatedly has the same dream over time.

Recurring dreams are common, but they might make you wonder: Is your mind trying to tell you something?

Amerisleep surveyed 2,007 U.S. residents about the nature of their recurring dreams. Seeking a representative sample, they gathered answers from 49.9% male and 50.1% female respondents, aged 18 to 74, and representing all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

When Do They Start

To better understand recurring dreams and their origin, the participants were asked when they had their first recurring dream.

The research found that there is no exact time for recurring dreams, and it seems they can start at any stage of one's life. Amerisleep concluded that 39% had recurring dreams in the early years of their lives, 21% indicated that their recurring dreams began in adolescence, and 15% said their dreams started in adulthood.

Interestingly, 25% of the respondents admitted that they never had a recurring dream, suggesting that recurring dreams are not universal and only affect certain people. Or perhaps people don't always remember their dreams.

What Causes Them

Many scientists have researched the cause of recurring dreams, and there has been no conclusive answer.

One scientific study showed that two-thirds of recurring dreams were negatively toned, while only a quarter of recurring dreams created a positive feeling in the dreamers.

Scientists have tentatively linked the source of recurring dreams to events and disorders in the dreamer's waking life, such as psychological needs, stress, anxiety disorders, and trauma. These events tend to surface from the subconscious while the individual is asleep, resulting in uncomfortable recurring dreams.

What Do They Mean

Throughout history, dreams have been a mystery. Some consider dreams a source of power or even a portal to another world, while others believe dreams are a way to communicate with the dead or supernatural beings such as angels.

Scientists have not been able to prove if dreams truly have a meaning or if they are simply a collection of images simulated by the brain's overactivity during sleep. Unfortunately, dreams are challenging to study, and very little is known about them.

The Most Common Recurring Dreams

Recurring dreams often have common themes, and multiple dreamers experience similar dreams. According to the survey by Amerisleep, the most common type of recurring dream is falling, accounting for 53.5% of those surveyed. The second most common dream was being chased, with being back in school trailing close behind.

Other common recurring dreams include: flying, being paralyzed or unable to speak, seeing spiders, snakes, or other creatures, traveling to a beautiful place, losing teeth, driving an out-of-control vehicle, and being unable to find the restroom.

Certified Sleep Science Coach McKenzie Hyde said: “If you've been dreaming for years about falling off a cliff, running from a faceless stranger, or moving in slow motion, you're definitely not alone. Recurring dreams, especially of the anxiety-inducing sort, are common throughout the U.S.”

In the Amerisleep study, men and women reported differences in the types of dreams they had. While there are common instances of recurring dreams, sex can a contributing factor to the type of dream.

Interestingly, women are more likely to have uncomfortable recurring dreams about being chased or losing teeth. In contrast, men are more likely to have positive recurring dreams such as flying or getting rich.

Breaking The Cycle

Many people have reported having uncomfortable recurring dreams and have longed for them to stop. This prompted research exploring how to decrease or even eliminate the occurrence of these dreams.

Many scientists have credited meditation, improvement of sleep conditionsexercise, and calming activities to reduce the occurrence of recurring dreams.

Certified sleep science coach McKenzie Hyde says the most promising ways to minimize recurring dreams are to reduce day-to-day stress and get a comfortable mattress. In addition, optimize contributing factors such as diet, room temperature when you sleep, and the overuse of technology before bed.

While no exact documented method exists to eliminate recurring dreams, scientists are continually researching the topic.

For Problematic Dreams, Consult an Expert

If you have recurring dreams, you are not alone. While there is no definite cure, reducing stress, maintaining a healthy diet, and exercising may offer relief from your recurring dreams. If the dreams begin to impact your quality of life, reach out to a mental health expert that can give you professional advice.

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This article was produced by Motherhood Life Balance and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.