Recurring Dreams

Updated: Jul 23, 2020

Today, we’re digging deep and looking at recurring dreams!

Recurring dreams include a lot of the topics we have already discussed, like teeth falling out or failing the test! Today, however, we’re talking about their recurrence and its importance to our processing of life.

To that point, Psychology Today says recurrent dreams are often comprised of typical dream themes. What differs about recurrent dreams is that they are experienced frequently and repetitively in one individual’s life, whereas typical dream themes refer to the universal or inter-individual commonness of dream themes. The article goes on to say that recurrent dreams occur in between 60 and 75 percent of adults, and more often in women than men.

Do you want to hear the most common recurring dream topics?

According to Wikipedia, here are the most common recurring dreams:

  • Being held down or otherwise unable to move (compare sleep paralysis)

  • Nakedness in a public place

  • Being held back in school or failing a test or exam you didn't know about

  • Losing the ability to speak

  • Escaping or being caught in a tornado/storm

  • Drowning, or otherwise not being able to breathe

  • Finding lost items

  • Unable to turn on the lights in one's house

  • Being with a significant other

  • Missing a bus, plane or train, and possibly attempting to chase it

  • Having to return to an old school due to an unfinished assignment or other unresolved issues

  • Being chased by an animal or murderer.

Even if recurrent dreams are vanquished for a certain time, they will sometimes return again during a new period of stress. One subject in Psychology Today’s lab reported a recurrent dream of being unable to speak, a common theme that might involve teeth falling out or lips being glued shut. This captures a sensation of being unable to speak and may reflect shyness or difficulty expressing oneself. In this case, the subject had this recurrent dream many times as an adolescent, though the dream disappeared during college, presumably after having overcome this challenge. However, after moving to another country and having to learn a new language, the dream came back. While the original conflict of shyness had been overcome, the new situation of communicating in a foreign language triggered the same “script” of being unable to speak. Thus are old scripts sometimes revived in new, different times of stress.

Another example, a person has recurring dreams of making love with a movie star that they find attractive. In this example, the dreamer might dream about this actor for as many times as it takes until they (usually subconsciously) feel they have integrated a masculine or feminine aspect of themselves that the actor represented. At the point when the dreamer feels like they’re over it, and the dreams stop... the qualities they admired in that actor have usually integrated into the dreamer’s own personality in one way or another.

A few other recurring dream theories...

Gestaltist dream theory - This theory views recurrent dreams as representing the person's current state of psychic imbalance. By bringing this imbalance to consciousness through the recurrent dream, it is possible for the person to restore their self-balance.

Freud believed that recurrent traumatic dreams showed expressions of neurotic repetitive compulsions.

Jung believed that recurrent dreams played an important role in the integration of the psyche.

Culturalist dream theory brought to light by Bonime in 1962, holds that recurrent dreams represent a lack of positive change or development in a person's personality.

Lucid dream theory holds that some people dream in recurrent form and it is a normal phenomenon.

We hope you enjoyed learning about recurring dreams! If you want to help us out, we’d love it if you could subscribe, rate and leave a review on iTunes or Apple Podcasts - it really helps others to find us!

If you love what you’re hearing, check out our Patreon account at and commit to helping us monthly for as little as $3/month. Patrons of our podcast get exclusive behind the scenes access to the podcast including polls, sneak peeks and more!

You can also send your dreams to us at (with two zz’s!) And check us out on Instagram and Facebook.

Sleep tight! And remember, don’t let the recurring dreams bite! Night night!

Amelia & Cecilia


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