Dream survey – the results

So the day that at least some of you have been waiting for has arrived – the discussion of the result of my dream survey. The rest of you might have forgotten what it is all about, or are maybe new to this blog. It started off with me talking about having somebody else’s dreams. Then following the response I got in the comments and via email, I thought it might be a good idea to put up a survey and get an answer to the main question I had regarding having vivid dreams. That whether having vivid dreams as an adult was linked to having childhood night terrors and childhood sleepwalking. Obviously, because that is what happened in my case.

I had hoped for more responses, but as the pattern of answers emerged fairly early on, I think they give some indication of the answer to my question. Of course, I have to add (for those scientists and statisticians out there) that the survey questions were flawed. For example, it occurred to me just after I put up the survey, that although the terms “sleep walking” and “night terrors” were fairly easy to identify (you – and your family – will never forget if you had/did either!), the term “vivid dreams” was very subjective and could not be quantified. For me, somebody whom I would classify as having vivid dreams would have similar dream experiences to Lu – who describes her dreams in the post Befriending Mr. Sandman.

So to the results . . . As you can see the percentages were similar for both questions I asked.

[Click on the images to enlarge them]

So what can we deduct from the results? That . . .

  • for approximately 50% of all respondents there is no link between having vivid dreams, and sleepwalking or having night terrors as a child
  • it is very rare for people who did sleepwalk or have night terrors as a child, to not have vivid dreams as an adult
  • in only 25% and 21% of respondents respectively was there a history of having night terrors or sleepwalking as a child, and having vivid dreams as an adult.

So not quite what I expected. But that is Science for you . . . 😉

Does anybody have any interesting observations, suggestions or questions regarding this survey? Please leave a comment.


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Categories: Random


I live on the Southern coast of South Africa, and write about the things that interest, amuse or inspire me. You can find me at https://notesfromafrica.wordpress.com and http://southerncape.wordpress.com (my photoblog)


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14 Comments on “Dream survey – the results”

  1. December 20, 2011 at 4:38 pm #

    Well, even if the results weren’t what you expected, it was a fun survey, though, wasn’t it, Lisa?

    • December 21, 2011 at 1:40 pm #

      Yes, it was fun. Just don’t like having my pet theories blown out of the water . . . 😉

  2. December 20, 2011 at 5:19 pm #

    This is tough, as I would expect my dreams might be “vivid” according to Sara who listens to my talking and cursing in my sleep, but my subjective recollection is not that they are “vivid.”

    Happy holidays to you and Willy from me and Sara.


    • December 21, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

      Quantifying whether or not you get vivid dreams is difficult. Do you curse when you’re awake too?

      Happy holidays to you and Sara too!

  3. December 21, 2011 at 11:08 am #

    happy holiday Lisa, this was fun. continue…

    • December 21, 2011 at 1:43 pm #

      It was a fun exercise. Would have been MORE fun if my theory had been proved right! 😉

      Happy holidays to you too, Tony!

  4. December 21, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

    Hi Lisa, – It is kind of annoying when a personal theory gets blown out of the water, isn’t it? Despite that, this was a fun survey – and I enjoyed writing a guest post for you, too. It wasn’t necessarily subject matter I would have thought about posting on my blog – so it was great to sit down and think about an entirely different topic 🙂

    • December 22, 2011 at 8:37 am #

      Yes, it is annoying that my theory didn’t pan out . . . but one can’t ignore the “evidence”! 🙂

      Lu, if you ever feel like writing a post about a topic which doesn’t fit in either of your blogs, please consider publishing it on Notes from Africa. As you know, I write about almost everything except for politics and religion.

  5. jacquelincangro
    December 22, 2011 at 2:34 pm #

    Very interesting, Lisa. I rarely remember my dreams at all, so when I do, I would classify them as “vivid” simply because they stay with me for a while.
    Happy Holidays!

    • December 24, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

      The occassional vivid dream is nice, but I think I’d prefer not to have vivid dreams EVERY night.

      Happy Holidays to you too!

  6. December 23, 2011 at 12:42 am #

    Very interesting survey Lisa! My seven-year-old son has been suffering from nightly night terrors for over two years now and it is terrible. His are pretty intense. He gets up, cries and jumps around his bed. If you aren’t there to calm him down, then he is off running in his sleep throughout the house yet completely asleep. He doesn’t remember a thing in the morning and I think it is harder on us as parents than him. He has even seen a sleep specialist and there is something strange occurring in his brain to make the night terrors occur. God, I hope he doesn’t have these as an adult!!!!! I desperately want them to end.

    • December 24, 2011 at 2:20 pm #

      I used to have terrible night terrors as a child too. Like with your son, my parents were more traumatized than I was. I’d obviously wake up terrified, but the next morning I was fine again. My parents found out that I had a very specific fear/dream – a big black dog hunting me down. So they got the family a big black dog. Well, he was a cute little puppy at first, but grew up to be a big black labrador who was very protective of me. I don’t know if it was the dog which stopped me having night terrors, but things did get better after that.

      From what I’ve heard, kids do outgrow the night terrors. It would be interesting to know whether once your son reaches his teens, he also has very frequent and vivid dreams.

  7. December 26, 2011 at 3:31 am #

    Interesting reply Lisa. I sure hope his night terrors calm down as they are upsetting to me and also cause a lot of sleep interruptions for us. Plus my husband and I can’t really go out late as no sitter knows how to handle it. Oh well! Given his energetic personality, I can only imagine what his teenage years will be like with dreams!

    • December 28, 2011 at 6:55 am #

      I can understand what you must be going through. It was very difficult for me to go on sleepovers with friends. I not only had night terrors, but was also sleep walking at that stage. Can remember scaring the parents of a friend half to death when they found me wandering around in the middle of the night!

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