A Database of Dreams

Everyone, at one time or another, has wondered where dreams come from. What do they mean? Why do we have them? Recent studies suggest that our brains use the time during sleep to hardwire memories and learn. But sometimes dreams have emotional components that leave the dreamer feeling as if something truly significant has taken place. Nightmares may come to mind, but there are also powerfully positive dreams.

I remember the old science fiction movie, Dreamscape. As a child, the movie fascinated me. The concept that there is a separate dream reality where other humans can interact with one another was powerful. In the scene below, two individuals interact in a shared dream reality.

Interacting in Dreams

Interacting in Dreams

Having a shared dream reality may seem a little far fetched. But remember, dreams, brain waves and thoughts are comprised of or caused by electrical signals passing between neurons in the brain. Out entire planet is bathed in a magnetic field. Could information be transmitted through this medium by our brains?

A database of dreams could help us answer that question. We might be able to find correlations between the dreams of billions of people on any given night. With the help of search engines like Google and Baidu, this could be possible. These entities have the reach and ability to collect this data with a few key strokes. Imagine if a billion people were asked a single, daily question about their dream the past night. A question like, “Was the dream a good one or a bad one?” Over time, what kinds of trends and correlations could we find?

Follow me on Twitter

65 thoughts on “A Database of Dreams

      1. appdata

        Yes, I agree! If the data was collected anonymously and treated carefully, I’m sure that most people woud volunteer to take part in a study on this.

        1. danielledavidson

          I think that it would be awesome if it was anonymous like you said. I mean it would be a great tool so that we could learn more about dreams. I think that we would be able to learn more just from being able to see the dream that we are having. We might know more about why we are having those bad dreams, and why we are having those good ones.

      2. Novelangel

        My dreams are so all over the place at times that the future generations might think I was a complete nutcase. Would you index the entire dream as a whole, or break it up into parts and pieces that can be fitted together to make more sense? I’m not sure which would be the best way, but I do think that dreams would make great movies if only they could be recorded as they were happening.

    1. edustadar001

      That’s also my opinion. But if there would be a chance to have a database for my dreams where only I (and I mean really only me and nobody else) have access to this database than I would take the chance to collect all the data. Some self-analysis would be really nice 🙂

  1. Davew

    If people all recorded their dreams they might learn a lot about themselves. Personally I think dreams tell us a lot about ourselves. We need more study into this.

    1. afatosum

      Dreams reflect our inspirations and fears. There is a lot to be learnt about ourselves if our dreams can be indexed and studied. Great insights can be made and help humanity know about themselves.

    1. afatosum

      It is scary to imagine somebody with access to your dreams. Dreams I believe are private experiences and should remain so. I am not at all comfortable with somebody having access to my dreams.

  2. Academic

    It’s not too easy to put oneself out there on the line. But I think it’s important that people do it. It’s probably just a matter of time before we start recording dreams in someway. It will be a reverse crowdsourcing psychotherapy.

  3. Tammy

    It’s great. I believe that the seeds of the future exist in the present, and a community of dreamers may someday predict the futures that are possible and those that are likely.

  4. Mathew Tatro

    It’s a cool idea and would be interesting to study. However, what happens when the government get their hands on the information and starts using your dreams against you in some way, or used to profile people in some way. It’s sad that we have to fear that in America. I’ll stick to my dream journal !!

  5. Mike Oh

    It’s a cool and scary though. For sure, you’d love to see a fantastic dream, one where you’re travelling, falling in love, meeting someone you haven’t met before or anything really cool. The other thing is there are dreams that we would love to just forget. So it has its pros and cons I must say.

  6. nss

    I believe that our dreams are mostly from something called day-residue. Concepts, figures, people we have thought about or seen during the day come into our dreams at night. My husband says I have so many nightmares because I’m an anxious person, so I believe that nervous people are more likely to have the dreams carry their worries out too. It’d be crazy if we could just download our dream when we wake up and watch it in the morning, or put it in a database.

  7. Liv6

    I think this is a cool idea as we would be able to tell whether dreams are held in commonality among a certain region due to the same environment, lifestyles, climates, etc. It would make an interesting study to see if people with the same belief systems also shared similar dreams. I agree with Michael, however; dreams are private and should be shared by only those willing to participate in such a study.

  8. Jasmine2015

    I think dreams can tell you a lot about a person. I also think that if we are going to start recording dreams, where will it be stored and who gets access to it needs to be planned. This would be fine in the medical field dealing with mental health. Though I don’t want this taken so far that big businesses start advertising to me based upon my dreams.

  9. Alex

    Dreams are abstract, so even if we could record them we need to interpret them. I write down the parts I recall and try to piece them together and figure out what the ‘message’ was. I did some dream workshops with several people including Stanley Krippner and dreams are our subconscious thoughts whether they are desires or guilt.

    Then we all have dreams we are glad are over, sometimes it’s best to keep them in the past and if you get a dream that repeats then you will know it’s something you really need to take notice of.

  10. CrowdedHighways

    I side with the people who are cautious about the idea. It would feel like an infringement of my privacy if someone were to use this technology on me, although if it was only us ourselves who could access our memories, I would definitely use the technology. I think I am much more creative with coming up with stories when I am dreaming than I could ever be while awake.

  11. SereneAngel88

    If dreams can be indexed on a database, it would probably mirror the internet we have now, which is a interesting comparison to me. The dreams that are common or otherwise positive would be the ones that is more accessible to people and would be at the surface while dreams that are dark and all out disturbing to where it would need its own trigger warnings would be buried in the dark like the Deep Web and the only way to access those dreams would be a special server and caution would have to be advised to those seeking it out.

  12. Sara

    That’s a cool idea, but there are some errors in it, Some dreams are just stupid probably coming out of stupid events and talks that we have had and some dreams are weird that you don’t know if it was a good dream or a bad one.

    Let me put a tweak in this idea: what if we collected a database of people’s lucid dreams ! Lucid dreams are so special ( I think I have had only one, maybe two lucid dreams in my life) and they reveal one’s deepest emotions and thoughts…and they’re usually interesting…the last one I had was amazing, it could turn into a great movie I think…

    1. paultraining

      Sara I have had many lucid dreams before. I practiced being able to become lucid in my dreams. There are several techniques to becoming lucid in your dreams. I can’t remember the techniques I used because I did this a decade ago.

      I notice that when I become lucid in a dream, it is very easy to wake up.

  13. urgableh

    I have woken up more than once thinking that something has happened and anxiously checking all my belongings. Yet dreams are so vague, and they often don’t stay in our minds for very long. I don’t think it is possible for such a vague source to be able to transmit data in any way. Even if it were possible to communicate via dreams, how clear would this be? Would it just be some vague memory that fades away seconds after waking?

  14. juanperez1990

    This opens the doors to a whole other level of introspection! Also, 90% of the time we can’t remember what we dreamed. Can you imagine the things you could learn about yourself, but also the laughs to be had? Dreams, my at least, are most time nonsensical. I’d love to watch them. But… What about privacy?

    1. anorexorcist

      I think that if this is a real possibility someday, the privacy issues would be obvious but at the same time, the people behind the whole project need to take care about this aspect. I personally wouldn’t had issues when it comes to sharing my dreams on anonymous way, there’s a lot of crazy dreams going on, and one more wouldn’t hurt anyone, lol.

  15. juanperez1990

    This opens the doors to a whole other level of introspection! Also, 90% of the time we can’t remember what we dreamed. Can you imagine the things you could learn about yourself, but also the laughs to be had? Dreams, my at least, are most time nonsensical. I’d love to watch them. But… What about privacy? What happens if you have a sexual dream and your spouse sees it? What happens if you have a dream in which you are a Nazi. Hell, I’m no Nazi and I’ve dream of being one. Would the police come knocking on my door?

  16. thecorinthian

    I always believed that we possess a collective soul, that at any given moment or in a great spiritual disaster we might finally be able to communicate on a higher level. When I watched the movie Perfect Sense it is there that one by one humanity loses their senses but experience it being heightened for one last time. Dreams, I think is the way or unconscious speaks to us and perhaps in the near future a way to speak to each other like telepathy. Great article as always.

  17. vegg

    I tend to kind of be a skeptic, but I have spoken with some people who have had very elaborate and eery connections in dreams. A cousin of mine claims to have shared a dream with someone she met years later. The other person recognized her as well. I don’t know if I entirely believe the story, but it is still really interesting to think about.

    It would be quite the experience to be able to lucid dream with another person. I’m reminded of the movie Inception in which they build their own universe in their dreams.

  18. turtledove

    A database of dreams could, in theory, be a great way to excel in the field of science. However, I think that practically, very few people would be willing to share all their dreams. Many dreams are very personal, and I doubt that everybody wouldn’t mind telling others about their private thoughts and feelings.

  19. guruproto

    A database of dreams may not be as hypothetical as people would think. The collective unconscious is a term created by Carl Jung, founder of analytical psychology and former colleague of Sigmund Freud. Jung believed that certain aspects of the unconscious mind, such as instincts and archetypes, are shared among the members of the same species.

    This could be an explanation to why the same themes and motifs appear in dreams. Ever had a dream where you were falling, naked in the classroom, or chased by an unknown assailant? These are a small example of how our minds, in some way, are connected.

    A more extreme example is in mythology. A lot of civilizations across time have had similar themes, such as the End of The World theme (Christians have Judgment Day and Vikings have Ragnarok, for example). Carl Jung believed that, on some level, our unconscious minds are connected and are being expressed through mythology and dreams.

  20. surlaw

    That’s really something to think about. I know I (and many others) keep a dream journal and record my dreams each night. I feel that my dreams are too personal to share with many others, but simple questions like “Was it a good or bad dream?” are comfortable to answer and promise some interesting results. Have there been studies on this already? I feel that correlations are inevitable, and I’d like to see if that’s true.

  21. rhauze

    It would be cool to have a database of my dreams, although I think they mainly come from a combination of what we experience during the day mixed with our fantasies, insecurities, and past experiences. The thing is, how would we know the database is accurate? We only have our own memories to rely on when reporting dreams, and I know I don’t remember half of mine.

  22. sase3119

    I have a history of strange dreams and I’ve constantly felt like I was missing something from them, that they were meant to tell me something and I just don’t have the time to really analyse them. A friend of mine has less vivid dreams with the same central group of people in them as mine, despite us not knowing these people in real life, and not knowing each other when the dreams started.
    Often I wake up with my heart pounding, but immediately the dreams begin to fade. There are only a few that still stand out in my memories from years or weeks ago. I would love to be able to go back and look at these dreams, to see if they have a connection to my friend’s, to see what it was that made me wake up in such a panicked state.

  23. spaceboytaylor

    I feel like the invention of a dream database would completely change the game in the psychology world, there would be whole major fields of science dedicated to studying the dreams of test subjects. I can only imagine how cool it would be to spend the day experiencing the dreams of others, then again that may cause a person to go insane. Either way, this invention would completely change the world because it will give us a pretty clear window into on of the most mysterious things in our world, the human mind.

  24. joshc428

    I actually keep a dream journal, allowing me to access and relive my dreams whenever I want to. I did this because I want to learn to lucid dream. This way, I’d be able to learn ant physical skill I wanted to in my dreams. Figuring a way to traverse the Earth’s magnetic field is an amazing, yet highly unlikely idea.

  25. Coolbutlame

    This would be an extremely useful tool. Dreams are supposed to be a problem solving method for things in our every day lives, so being able to tap back in and study what happened would be invaluable. Psychologists could figure out how the mind works and be able to give thorough diagnoses. I do hope it is opt-in, however. There are too many strange things the subconscious likes to do for comfort.

  26. briannagodess

    Am I the only one here who cannot remember my dreams except for its last part? I don’t know why. Sometimes, even after just waking up, I can’t remember the dream at all. It would be nice to have a journal or a memory bank of my dreams. I think it is a great way to know a person’s personality, problems or fears. It could be extremely dangerous as what others have said since dreams are very personal. But as long as the study is confidential, why not? I am all for it. I would love to have my dreams known and interpreted by someone who is an expert.

    1. paultraining

      Briannagodess a way to remember your dreams after you wake up is to stay still. This is what I did. Right after waking up I would try to remain still as possible. This is a technique I read about. For me that works because if you stay still you sort of hold onto what was just happening, kind of relaxing and closing your eyes to hyptnoize yourself to remember a repressed event.

      Also it will probably help if you don’t try to consciously remember the dream, but just the memory happen on its own naturally.

  27. The Saturn Embassy

    Are we talking about downloading? If this technology ever comes to pass, I would rather learn and then do it myself in my own home. A personal database. I could then compare “notes”, or dreams, with others who have done the same. If there are enough of us doing this, than we alone would be learning how and why dreams come to pass.

    Why do always look towards leaders in a field to do this for us, when in reality we can do things like this for ourselves? If anything else, the privacy issue would be a moot one because the individual would be the one in charge of who see’s what, and when.

    On a side note, I learned something interesting about this many years ago. Someone said that he tried and accomplished to remember more of his dreams by writing down whatever he could remember as soon as he woke up. In time, he was able to remember everything he dreamt.

    He had his own personal database……….on paper. No technology required.

    1. paultraining

      The Saturn Embassy I was actually writing down my dreams every morning for a while. I did that for over a year. I recorded over 500 dreams and many days I remembered about ten dreams. I felt like I was remembering every single dream I had, like you said. I remember I was able to remember which dream came first and which dream I dreamt later. I even wrote them down in the order I dreamt them. I got so good at remembering them I even could remember them in order, I would recall the last dream I had, then kind of “tap in” to the previous dream and so on in that order.

  28. grandmaof5

    It would be awesome to analyze our dreams. I hate having those out of body experience dreams were I am in a comatose state and it seems so surreal. So I would love to know what causes us to have dreams like that.

  29. misskrystal1982

    I think this could be interesting, but you have to deal with private dreams. What if you had one you did not want to share? There would have to be a way to keep things private and if you want to delete it, then you should be able to.
    Nobody should have to share their unconscious thoughts at all times. After all, sometimes we can have some pretty messed up dreams that really do not reflect upon us as a person. But if other people saw them, they could definitely see you differently.

    1. paultraining

      Misskrystal1982 I can see that becoming a big issue. Usually in my experience dreams can be very weird and I have no control over what my dreams are.

      If the goal, as a participant of the databse, would be to record my dreams every time I wake up more than often I could face a situation where I would not want to write down what happened. And it is not like I can change what happened in the dream. More than often I wake up and remember my dream and say “no way…why in god’s name did I dream that”?

      That could be a problem as well because if participants are unwilling to share what they dreamt often then the database may end up being inaccurate. People who at first decided to make a committment to the database could start recording things they made up but did not dream just to feign their continuation as a participant.

    2. 17emilyhalko

      I definitely think that this would be a problem, but I also believe that this could be solved by simply not letting others record your dreams. I think that these weird or embarrassing dreams are still important to record (because they could mean something that was significant), so those who were uncomfortable with others having access to those types of dreams could just not participate so that the data was accurate as possible.

  30. KCDavis

    I think that would be a fun and interesting experiment. My dreams are mostly nightmares, when I do dream. But it would be interesting to see if there is a correlation between peoples dreams. I also think it would be a good idea to find a way to document dreams. I believe they are an extension of your subconscious and understand your own subconscious can really help a person better them selves. I think I have two different ideas going here.

  31. staplerashtray

    That sounds like a really good idea for a web/mobile application. While many people use dream journals nowadays to document and opinionate about their dreams, if we could network all that data together we could definitely start seeing correlations and similarities on that data. It would be fascinating to see how place of residence, age, ethnicity, quality of life or even social class effect our dreams. How our daily lives have an impact on what we dream about and what it all means. Putting all that data together could really shine some light on some previously dark areas of dream studying.

  32. SirJoe

    We can force dreams to do what we want those are the good ones, everything and anything is possible. The ones that we seem to have in the middle of the night for no apparent reason that we can’t control are probably the most interesting ones. many times it’s a way for us to resolve problems that might be hanging over our heads.

  33. roboticc

    I remember many of my dreams and they have always been a fascinating subject for me. I’m a little bit superstitious and try to interpret the things I see in my dreams and its pretty entertaining. Some people have nightmares every night, I have them like few times per month. Lucky me 🙂 I’d love if there was more research on dreams and dreaming.

    1. oportosanto

      Well, to interpret our dreams we need to recall them and for that to happen I do have a tip. When we wake up we should not move, we open our eyes, we know we are awake, we close the eyes again and we recall the dreams. We will recall more than we expect.

  34. Personablue

    Wrong, roboticc. We only remember those dreams that are not completed, like we are awaken in between. Completed dreams are not remembered. Dreams mostly occur in the REM phase of sleep. We undergo dozens of dreams every night. So, it would be a very important landmark if we could record dreams maybe by reading the electric activity of our brain. Remember in the REM phase of sleep, our brain has activity almost equivalent to when we are awake.

  35. paultraining

    When I was around 17 years old I recorded my dream every morning for a little over a year. I recorded over 500 dreams. I got good at remembering them as well and was able to remember about ten dreams on a lot of days.

    I liked the person’s idea about future generations seeing the database of dreams. That would be very interesting. I would be very interested in seeing what the dreams of people were like from the fifties for example.

  36. Novelangel

    It is fascinating to analyze dreams, as they can be so complex, realistic and confusing all at once. They can seem totally real, at least until you awaken, and then they seem surreal. Time simply stops in a dream, while your mind takes you on a little random adventure which can be very invigorating and crazy, or mild and easy-going. I sometimes wonder if dreams are the soul’s way of exercising a little bit, while the body sleeps.

  37. oportosanto

    I truly believe that when we are sleeping we are dreaming all the time, but we don’t recall most of it. I think we reproduce what we have lived during the day, with the difference that it’s on another world, a world with no rules, that’s why most dreams are so fantastic.

  38. anorexorcist

    This is so cool, how many coincidences would we be able to find in those dreams? Imagine if a lot of people one night shared a dream? What if we share dreams with strangers every single night? I just got a sense8 vibe just by thinking it.
    But at the end of the day, I think that dreams doesn’t mean nothing at all, it’s just our brain collecting and organizing all the information that we processed during the day, I guess.

    1. 17emilyhalko

      I find that I often share similar dreams to that of my friends.It would be fascinating to find that many strangers shared similar dreams, though. A part of me wonders whether this means something significant, or whether it is a result of culture or popular media.

  39. rz3300

    Well this is really fascinating to think about. I have always had an interest in dreams, as I am sure we all have, and knowing that we are using the time to learn is particularly interesting. I will admit I first I thought the idea of the database, while great, was a little far-fetched, but the more I read and thought about you bring up good points. With the search engines and technology, it is certainly possible. Interesting stuff, and thanks for sharing.

  40. deanyd_17

    This brings to man the “This Man” social experiment. Asking people in different cultures and situations if they’d ever seen “This man” in their dreams, and holding up a picture for them to look at. So many people had claimed to have seen him despite “this man” being a construct the experimenters had created. The potential for false memory within dreams has always fascinated me. How many people would claim to have had the same dream as what is stated in the database simply due to being exposed to the database.

  41. 17emilyhalko

    I think that this is a very interesting topic to explore. I definitely believe that there is a correlation between the dreams of people. In ancient times, different civilizations would think of tales and stories that had similar plots and structures, without any way of communication. Also, in my personal experience, sometimes my dreams sync the dreams of the people around me. For example, I will have a dream and then talk to them later about it, just for them to tell me that they had a similar dream.

  42. mkhl

    This is really is an interesting concept. What if within the & billion people on earth, you actually have met someone with the same dream in your dream and this logged dreams show that. I feel this is both creepy and amazing. It raises more questions though.

Leave a Reply