Work Dreams, Lucid Dreams, Visitation Dreams: New Data from the Demographic Survey 2012

Now available in the Sleep and Dream Database are hundreds of new dream reports gathered as part of a demographic survey of 2252 American adults, conducted via online questionnaires administered by Harris Interactive.  I designed the survey to focus on three types of dreams that people often report with special frequency and/or intensity: Work dreams, lucid dreams, and visitation dreams.  I’ve just begun reading through the narratives, and they’re fascinating–I invite anyone who’s curious to take a look at the dreams for yourself, and let me know what patterns you see. (Update: I’m having some server issues, if you can’t access the site I’m sorry, please try again later and I should have it fixed.)


The work dreams are answers to the question, “Have you ever dreamed about your job or a situation at work?”  I’ve created a sample word search for the female work dreams and male work dreams, including all reports of five or more words.  For the most part these do not seem to be happy dreams.


The lucid dreams are answers to the question, “Have you ever dreamed that you were aware of being within a dream?” I’ve created a sample word search for the female lucid dreams and male lucid dreams, including all reports of five or more words.  At a minimum, these dreams testify to the frequency of lucid dreaming experiences among the general American public.


The visitation dreams are answers to the question, “Have you ever dreamed about someone who is dead appearing as if they were still alive?” I’ve created a sample word search for the female visitation dreams and male visitation dreams, including all reports of five or more words.  These kinds of dreams have played a big role in cross-cultural religious history, and I’m interested to study their occurrence among present-day Americans.


The survey also included questions about dream recall, nights of insomnia per week, and several other questions about demographic background (age, race, education, income, political ideology, religious worship, etc.).  These data, too, are available for you to study however you wish (although you may find it a little tricky–I’m still working on bugs in the SDDb system).  I’ll write soon about my initial findings with these demographic variables as they relate to patterns of sleep and dreaming.




Patterns in Jewish Dreaming

As a follow-up to the previous post about religious and non-religious people’s dreams, I’ve looked more carefully at the responses of people who identified themselves as Jewish.  This is a much smaller group in my data set, with 131 participants (82 male, 49 female).  I’m more confident talking about the sleep and dream patterns of protestants (1130 people), catholics (575) and “other/nones” (1078).  But I don’t know of any other study of Jewish dreaming that includes even 131 participants, so it’s worth taking a look.

Compared to the others, Jewish people reported about the same amount and quality of sleep, somewhat lower dream recall but somewhat higher nightmare recall.  Jewish people were most likely to talk with family or friends about their dreams, a finding that may indicate the influence of cultural and religious beliefs. 

The survey included eight yes-no questions about “typical dreams,” asking “have you ever dreamed of:” falling, flying, being chased or attacked, sexuality, being in a situation exactly like waking life, being visited by someone who is dead, being aware of dreaming, and being able to control the dream. 

 Jewish participants had by far the lowest frequency of falling dreams.  They reported the lowest frequeny of dreams of flying, chasing, being in a situation like waking life, and dream awareness.   They were in the middle with the other groups on visitations from the dead, sexuality and dream control.

Based on this small sample it appearss that contemporary American Jews are relatively open in talking about their dreams with other people, but their personal dream lives tend to be moderate.