Dream content

Some common themes for dreams have been identified. Many people report that they have had dreams that involve one or more of these themes:

  • Failing a test  
  • Appearing nude in public  
  • Having the ability to fly  
  • Falling  
  • Finding money

Yet the content of most dreams tends to depict ordinary events. Studies show that bizarre, fantastic or intense dreams are rare. Most dreams put you in a very normal situation with people you interact with on a regular basis. The dreams tend to simulate your everyday life. Most dream content involves the general concerns you have when you are awake.

Studies show that childhood dreams change as children get older. Children under the age of five recall very few dreams. Animals often play a central role in the dreams these children do report.

Children over the age of five begin to describe more dreams. Older children and teens begin to dream less about family members. By the time children approach the teen years their dreams are much like those of adults. Dreams then change little during the adult years and old age.

Kryger M, Roth T, Dement W, editors. Principles and practices of sleep medicine. 4th ed. Philadelphia: Saunders; 2005.

Lee-Chiong TL, editor. Sleep: a comprehensive handbook. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons; 2006.

Provided by ArmMed Media