What Do Recurring Dreams Mean? Coping With or Stopping Recurring Dreams Update 06/2024

Women are more likely than males to have recurring dreams, with between 60% and 75% of American adults reporting that they do. Despite the fact that recurring dreams are a typical aspect of most people’s sleep, their substance can be unpleasant. Even while they might be enjoyable, bad dreams account for 77% of all recurring dreams, with the most prevalent occurrences being tooth loss and automobile accidents.

To better comprehend your own dreams, it may help to learn about the prevalence of recurring dreams as well as the most recent speculations concerning their significance. Psychological disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder and poor mental health have been connected to recurrent dreams as well. Bad dreams are common for people with GAD, but the substance of these nightmares can vary widely. If you are bothered or concerned about your reoccurring dreams, you should discuss them with your doctor.

Are recurring dreams normal?

Sleep researcher Antonio Zadra, a professor of psychology at the University of Montreal, claims that 60 to 75 percent of adults have recurring dreams in the book chapter Recurrent Dreams: Their Relation to Life Events. As a result, having repeated dreams is not only natural, but it’s also quite common. He adds that most people characterize their recurring dreams as unpleasant. We may need more time to process tough content if dreams are used as a means of processing it.

What Your Recurring Dreams Actually Mean | Glamour UK

What are recurring dreams about?

Dreams that recur have a tendency to have recurring themes. In a recent survey by Amerisleep, falling, being chased, losing teeth, being late for an exam, becoming lost or paralyzed, dreaming of snakes and driving an out-of-control vehicle were the most common reoccurring dreams.

What Are the Most Common Recurring Dreams?

As with other types of dreams, recurring dreams tend to be populated with familiar faces. Every time you have one of those recurring nightmares, you’ll either see the same thing or you’ll see the same thing over and over again. There are, however, a few plotlines or themes that appear frequently in dreams. Among them are:

  • Falling.
  • Flying.
  • Crashing automobiles are a common occurrence.
  • In search of a restroom.
  • Having a hard time keeping up with housework.
  • Being unable to talk.
  • Tooth decay.
  • Attacked by someone.
  • Nakedness in public.
  • Making a triumphant return.
  • To arrive to school or work unprepared.
  • In the midst of a chase or snare.
  • Finding new places to stay, whether at home or at a familiar place.

A few topics are more popular than others. Recurring dreams about falling are experienced by over 53% of the population, while dreams about losing teeth are experienced by only 15% of the population. Even if your dreams don’t have any of these elements or are based on your own personal experiences, it’s normal to have recurring ones that do. It’s possible that your reoccurring dreams are vivid or difficult to recall.

What Recurring Dreams Do Children Have?

Children may have more frequent recurring dreams than teenagers or adults, despite the fact that both sexes experience them. According to one study, 35% of 11-year-olds and 15% of 15-year-olds, respectively, reported having had a recurring dream in the previous year.

It is not uncommon for children to encounter characters from their favorite fairy tales in their stories, as well as other popular themes like falling, being chased, and vehicle accidents. When it comes to recurring dreams, children are less likely to experience happy ones, but they are more likely to experience negative ones.

What Do Recurring Dreams Mean?

Freudian dream theory held that dreams contain hidden meanings within their content. The concept that dreams with the same material or themes have the same significance for everyone is based on minimal evidence. In a therapy situation, it can still be useful to examine what your dreams mean to you personally.

Regardless of the substance of the dream, repeated dreams may indicate underlying problems. It has been hypothesized by many experts that having frequent, recurring dreams as an adult is associated with poorer mental health than not having these dreams at all. Recurring nightmares may have provided our ancestors with an opportunity to improve their detection and avoidance skills, according to another idea.

A lack of stress is not linked to having more pleasant repeating dreams, while those who are more stressed likely to have more bad recurrent dreams.

Recurring Dreams and Mental Health Disorders

Recurring dreams are common, but they can also be a sign of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). People who suffer from these diseases also exhibit a wide range of additional symptoms.

Trauma-affected individuals are also more likely than healthy individuals to experience recurring dreams that are distinct from those of healthy individuals. Reliving the experience that triggered their PTSD is the most typical cause of their nightmares.

Recurring Dreams and Temporal Lobe Epilepsy

The most prevalent cause of adult epilepsy that is difficult to treat is temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). TLE patients frequently suffer from recurring nightmares, which may be triggered by nocturnal seizures or the impact of REM sleep on the temporal lobe. Recurring dreams that are frightening, vivid, and elicit strong emotions like dread are common in people with TLE. As soon as a person has had their first seizure, they are more likely to have these dreams.

Coping With or Stopping Recurring Dreams

Repeating dreams that cause you to feel sad or depressed can be extremely tough to deal with, even if they are considered a typical aspect of sleep for most people. If you have trouble sleeping or coping with your daily life because of your reoccurring dreams, talk to your doctor about how you might get some relief.
If you have recurring dreams about the same person this is what it means

Changing your way of living can also help you deal with or minimize the frequency of your reoccurring dreams. Among them are:

  • Anxiety and depression, as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), can all be caused by recurring dreams. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which has been shown to be effective in the treatment of stress, PTSD17, and nightmares, is one sort of therapy that may be beneficial in these situations.
  • People who engage in regular physical activity are better able to deal with stressful situations because of their increased emotional resilience. Regular physical activity has been shown to enhance both the quality and the length of sleep.
  • Exercises to help you relax: Relaxation techniques that have been proven to work include deep breathing, meditation, and guided imagery. It is also possible to incorporate these routines into your nightly bedtime rituals.
  • Therapeutic dream interpretation sessions have been shown to lower the frequency of recurring dreams.
  • When you’re having trouble sleeping because of reoccurring nightmares, it’s important to practice good sleep hygiene and create a calming bedtime routine. Sleep deprivation can lead to feelings of anxiety and tension, thus enhancing your sleep can help alleviate these feelings.


Do they follow any common patterns?

Some themes in dreams are quite universal, even if you don’t have the exact same dream as someone else.

There is a greater likelihood of unpleasant or stressful encounters than happy ones, even if they don’t seem frightening all the time.

The following are the most often mentioned subjects:

  • flying.
  • falling.
  • In the midst of a chase or attack
  • being exposed to the elements.
  • being unable to get out of a predicament.
  • resuming education.
  • missing a tooth.
  • loss of the ability to communicate.
  • absence from a test.
  • Showing up late for a significant event, such as a first day of school or work.
  • Slow motion or inability to run.
  • loss of control of a motor vehicle and consequently a crash.

It’s possible that no two of your dreams are exactly alike.

As an example, you can have recurring dreams of driving across bridges that suddenly collapse. Even if you don’t drive across the same bridge every time, this is still considered a recurring dream.

It’s possible that your childhood dreams will evolve over time to better reflect your experiences and viewpoint.

Do they really mean anything?

Repeated nightmares can indicate that a character has supernatural abilities, the capacity to predict future events or other exceptional qualities in literature.

Recurring dreams haven’t been proven to have any deeper meaning by scientific investigation. They just reveal areas of your life where you may be under stress. Even so, it isn’t impossible.

We still don’t know a lot about dreams, and they’re notoriously tough to study.

What could explain them?

Recurring dreams, according to experts, are a good indicator of what’s going on in your life, such as:

  • unfulfilled desires.
  • the sources of my resentment
  • questions unanswered from the past.

You’ve probably had a dream about forgetting a test or paper due at some point in the future. Final exams and research papers may have first sparked this dream, but it can easily return later in life, long after graduation, due to the real-world stress they cause.

If you’ve had this dream before, it’s very probable that you’ll have it again whenever you encounter a situation that makes you anxious about succeeding or failing. A job interview, a major date, or a research paper may all fit this description.

Unresolved issues

Many people have unpleasant or painful memories from their past that they carry with them. Many people don’t know, however, that the physical and emotional effects of trauma can endure for years. The following are examples of potentially life-altering experiences:

  • abuse
  • bullying
  • disasters
  • family conflict

A common symptom of unresolved emotional trauma or abuse is having reoccurring nightmares that represent the feelings you had at the time of the event.

It’s possible that dreams of drowning or being trapped or running in slow motion could indicate that you’re still unable to get out of the situation.

Dream recurrences might sometimes be a sign of more commonplace inner struggles.

Maybe you’re unsure about a recent decision you’ve made, or maybe you’re dealing with an essential decision.

You may have reoccurring dreams about being lost, failing a test, or generally making a mistake until you make your decision and accept it.

Current events

Dreamed of persons with no mouths in the last few days? A recurring nightmare can be a place where you are stranded on your own, or a big insect.

You may wake up in the middle of the night with nightmares about current events.

There is a significant likelihood that you will feel some of the anxiety surrounding COVID-19 in your dreams if you are constantly reading about it in your day life.

For example, a dream researcher tells the Harvard Gazette that these themes can be obviously seen (masks and seclusion) or more symbolically (bugs, which your brain may interpret as a virus) in your dreams.

When you’re agitated or concerned throughout the day, you’re more likely to have disturbing nightmares.

There is nothing wrong with feeling anxious about the future. However, you may not be able to sleep well until you’ve taken actions to alleviate your anxiety during the day.

Is there any way to stop them?

It’s unlikely that reliving the same horrible dream over and over again will make you feel any better.

You may not always be able to influence the content of your dreams directly, but you may be able to take more indirect action by striving to alleviate the stress in your life.

A therapist can offer advice on self-care practices and tips for coping with discomfort productively, no matter what obstacles you’ve encountered.

You can do the following things while you’re receiving therapy:

  • look for origins of undesirable feelings and investigate them thoroughly
  • deal with their impact on your life.
  • learn how to deal with worry and stress in a healthy way.

There is no way to completely eradicate stress from one’s life. You can alleviate your frustration by changing the way you respond, and this can have a positive impact on your attitude and outlook.
Recurring dreams: Why you get them & what they mean | Marie Claire

As Popular Science interviewed Barrett in 2013, he discussed the possibility of using lucid dreaming as a way to control the frequency of undesirable dreams.

In a lucid dream, you are aware of the fact that you are in a dream state. Those who are aware of this can utilize it to manipulate their dreams.

Those who don’t want to become involved can simply sit back and enjoy the dream as if it were a reality.

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