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ibstubro's avatar

Do you ever have serial dreams, or dreams that tell an on-going story, episode after episode?

Asked by ibstubro (18765points) May 18th, 2016

I used to have story dreams all the time when I was younger, but I thought I’d given it up. The dreams are like episodes of a repetitive and (frankly) boring TV drama. There’s a recap, a bit of a re-run, and then the addition of new story. The setting, characters and story line are the same, but evolving.

Does anyone else do this? Is there a name for it? If I were brilliant I suppose I might be dream writing the Great American Novel. As it is, the dream is comforting. I believe all the serial dreams I’ve had have been in the same vein.

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17 Answers

Pachy's avatar

Yes, I often have what I call “Saga Dreams” which are highly detailed, quite logical, and seem to go on forever. I’ve even awakened from some of these dreams—or at least thought I awakened—then went back to sleep and picked up the dream where I off.

ibstubro's avatar

And the saga continues over more than one night, @Pachy?

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

When I was young I had some recurring dream moments, locations or situations. I can’t remember any, but I remember remembering them.

Then for years I had really mundane dreams, where I performed chores. Taking in the dry cleaning, paying bills, grocery shopping – I guess I was trying to get things done 24/7.

Now I have cinematic dreams. Crazy stories, interesting locations, quests, defeats.

I wake up thinking, “Wow, that was interesting.” And hour later I can’t remember the story. I should start writing them down.

Cruiser's avatar

Yes…thanks to sneak viewing early Twilight Zone Episodes as a kid I had all sorts of marathon nightmare sessions…there were times I dreaded going to sleep because of the monsters under the bed.

Soubresaut's avatar

Usually my dreams are entirely stand-alone. Most of them involve some sort of impending apocalyptic scenario and an assortment of people I know from real life, so I guess they’re thematically/structurally linked—but the actual plots and settings are all very different.

I’ve had a few nights where I have the same nightmarish dream several times, and I keep trying different things and working through iterations—but they’re very rare, and usually even if the dream’s only resolution is my alarm waking me up, I won’t dream it again the next night.

I had a recurring invented dream character for a few months, though. I grew up next to a girl a few years older than me, Allie. Then my family moved across town. During the months leading up to the move, I had an “Allie” in my dreams every night—nothing like the actual Allie except in name—who was always my best friend/sidekick in various adventures. We each also had our own horse—because when you’re a child, all good adventures happen on horseback. When my family moved in at the new house and met our neighbors, one of the neighbors had a daughter named Allie about my age, who was nothing like the first Allie or the dream Allie except in name. Dream Allie disappeared, and I never saw her again… by then I felt like I knew her so well, she seemed real. I almost miss her.

Pachy's avatar

No, @ibstubro, not over more than one night, not that I recall. But I’ve had dreams that seem to take up the whole night. And I have many recurring dreams.

One such dream is that I’m back at my childhood home or at some other house in my past. The first thing I do is check the mailbox. It’s loaded with envelopes, but much to my frustration, I never get a chance to open any of them before waking up.

Mimishu1995's avatar

At one point I used to have a series of dreams that ran for three days. I was having a bit of a problem with someone during the day. The first dream was about me finally breaking free from that someone and they plotting revenge. The second was me getting tangled up in their ploy and trying to prove myself innocent in vain. The third dream turned into some kind of mystery movie. I gathered clues and finally pressured them to attend a trial. I was my own attorney and a dramatic fight broke out. After 3 days the series stopped and I couldn’t figure out what happened next. I was still in the middle of the fight.

Usually my dreams don’t extend to several days like that and there are some dreams that I really wish to know the end. For some reason this dream series doesn’t fall into that category.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

Yes. One week this past month I had an ongoing dream about moving to a large home on top of a hill. So many odd things happened, but the theme was the same each night. It was very strange and memorable.

Cruiser's avatar

Waiting with bated breath for @ Dutchess_III answer

ibstubro's avatar

@Call_Me_Jay my dreams are like any other, in that I can’t remember them after I’ve been awake a while. But just as I wake, I remember the previous story line and the new addition. I agree that it sounds like you should write your dreams down.

My episodic dreams are pretty mundane, @Cruiser.

Yes, @Soubresaut the “Allie dreams” sound familiar to me, in that I think a recurring character might have been the link in some of my earlier dreams. Honestly, I think there was a time I had at least 2–3 plot lines going in different dreams. It might be days or weeks between episodes, or the same every night for a while.

Honestly, I don’t remember recurring dreams, @Pachy. Not with the same plot. Mine always seem to evolve.

Perhaps your real life fight exploding into your dreams ended it, @Mimishu1995?

Ah, @dammitjanetfromvegas. My current dream involves driving down a familiar 2-lane highway onto a country road. I (we?) stop at a large house and interact with the woman living there in some ordinary way. She has a neighbor that lives in a large house next door, but I only remember her as walking away from us.
Last night I continued down the road and realized that it was on the ridge of a large valley, and that there was construction on most of the hillsides where new subdivisions were going in. Somehow the first house I stopped at seemed to be the manor house on the hill.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

@ibstubro That was you! You kidnapped my dogs.

Mariah's avatar

Yeah. I commonly have dreams about losing my teeth. Recently I had a dream in which I had lost 3 teeth. Then I had another dream where those 3 teeth were already gone and I lost a 4th tooth. I have other examples.

ibstubro's avatar

I did not kidnap your dogs, @dammitjanetfromvegas. However, if I’m there tonight, I’ll keep an eye out for them. I think it might be that lady next door. She seemed kind of cold.

Very much what I’m talking about, @Mariah. Do you think there was more to the dream, and losing your teeth was just the part you can’t forget?

I have had some of these dreams last for months, possibly even years. When I was younger I remember waking up and realizing that an old dream, like an old friend, had returned with a new installment long after I’d forgotten its existence.

Mariah's avatar

No there’s norhing deeper to it. I remember my dreams in their entirity. Other than losing the teeth the dream was just about struggling to find privacy to go to the bathroom. I have this dream often too. In both the case of the teeth and the bathroom it is just my sleeping body making a story about its physical discomfort. I grind my teeth in my sleep due to anxiety and because I have no colon I wake up badly needing the bathroom most mornings.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

^ It’s been suggested that dreams about losing teeth are (trigger warning) triggered by a fear of aging.

Pachy's avatar

I’ve always been fascinated by dreams. They can tell us what we’ve gone through in the past and are going through in the present emotionally. They allow us to commune with friends and relatives we have—and have lost. They amuse us, frighten us, perplex us, yet if we pay attention to them they can teach us about ourselves and even others.

They can also be nothing more than, as Charles Dickens might have put it had he been talking about dreams rather than ghosts, They may often simply be the result of an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato.”

ucme's avatar

Very rare that I remember my dreams & the few I do are completely random, all different.
I had a nightmare once regarding life without staff, wads of disposable income & sex…horrifying!

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