Dreams, and nightmares, are among the most private things we experience in life. No matter how close your relationship might be with your spouse, your family members, or your friends, no one can actually share the dream with you. And if you’ve ever tried to describe a disturbing nightmare to someone, you realize you can’t really capture the way you experience it — if you can even recall the rapidly vanishing fragments of the nightmare at all. At best, you’re providing a pale reflection of an intense experience.
Still, wouldn’t you like to know whether other people have the same kind of nightmares that from time to time haunt your dreams?
One company did a survey of 2,000 respondents to find out about their nightmares and see which nightmare scenarios were the most common. The survey found some interesting results — including that the commonness of certain nightmares varies between men and women. Women, for example, are far more likely to have a nightmare about a loved one dying or their house burning down, whereas men are much more likely to have a dream about killing someone. (Curiously, women are slightly more likely than men to have a nightmare about going bald.) The survey also showed that the frequency of certain dreams may be tied to the respondents’ specific circumstances. Married couples are much more likely to have nightmares about abandonment by a partner or a partner’s infidelity than single people.
The top 10 most frequent nightmare scenarios, as determined by the survey, are:
- Being chased
- Feeling lost
- Feeling trapped
- Being attacked
- Missing an important event
- Waking up late
- Loved one dying
Farther down the list are other common scenarios, like being unprepared for an exam or being naked in a public place, and some weirdly specific nightmares, like your teeth falling out, being covered by bugs, or having car trouble.
Reading the list may cause you to realize that many of us have the same kinds of dreams, but also that there are other bad dreams that you luckily don’t have. I’ve never had a nightmare about killing someone, fortunately. And a word of caution — if you’re like me, looking at the list might cause you to remember a nightmare that you had otherwise forgotten.
Now, I can only hope that seeing some of the common nightmare scenarios other people have won’t cause my subconscious brain to add those to the nightly dream mix.