Do Women Dream the same as Men?

3 Min Read | By Laura Barns

Last Modified 3 March 2021   First Added 28 October 2014

This article was written and reviewed in line with our editorial policy.

One thing you may not know is that broadly speaking, women and men have very different kinds of dreams from each other. According to various research sources, women usually dream more often than men and can remember them more easily. If a woman is woken up during sleep, 95% of them can tell the story-line of their dreams. Around 80% of men can. What’s more, women’s dreams seem to be twice as long as men’s.

Woman Dreaming

Women tend to dream about people they know

Research also shows that women tend to dream about people they know, male or female, and the setting is usually indoors and familiar. Typically, a woman’s dream would take place inside her home or workplace and involve family or friends that she interacts with on a regular basis.

Man Sleeping

Men tend to dream about strangers

Men’s dreams, on the other hand, are usually set outdoors and are generally centred around male characters that are more often than not unfamiliar. The action in these dreams usually involves other males demonstrating an aggressive attitude against the dreamer. So on the whole, men’s dreams are not quite as sweet as the female variety.

Bad Dreams

Hostile dreams vs. harmonious ones

While men’s dreams seem more hostile, featuring competition with other men, women are more likely to dream about harmonious relationships with individuals of both sexes. Curiously though, although men are more likely to dream of physical aggression, women are often more likely to dream of verbal aggression.

Studies by the University of the West of England in Bristol also discovered that women have more nightmares than men. During 5 years, volunteers were asked to write down whether they had nightmares during their sleep. A small 19% of men reported nightmares, compared to 34% of women. Keeping a journal by your bed is a great way of recording dreams. It will also help you see whether there are any patterns that could indicate why you are having these thoughts.

Related: How Important Is It To Keep A Journal By Your Bed?

Opposite - Couples

Our dreams are as different as we are

None of this should come as a huge surprise though. Men and women are biologically different, emotionally different and psychologically different, so it stands to reason our dreams – and our nightmares – are going to be different too.

Taking all this into account, we also have to be careful not to generalise too much and form gender-based stereotypes about dreaming. The truth is that each of us has different degrees of masculine and feminine traits. This means quite simply that people can dream similarly or differently, regardless of gender identity. Dreams can be a production of thoughts you’re having about events that have gone on in the day. They can also reflect anxieties and things that are playing on your mind.

So next time you have a dream that’s vivid and memorable, make sure you tell your partner all about it and compare notes.

Do you find that your dreams differ from those of the opposite sex? Have your say in the comments!

About the author

More from the Sleep Matters Club