Thursday, November 3, 2011

Does Anyone Really Know What Time It Is?

Art by Ada

           Have you ever noticed what time of day it is in your dreams?   Is the time setting even identifiable as an actual time of day or is in a twilight zone of dream time?

            I can recall a few dreams which I know were nighttime settings.  For one thing it was dark.  Also there was some factor that indicated to me that it was night.   These dreams always have to do with something frightening or ominous.

           In the night dreams I can often see something awful happening in the distance.  There are lights in distant buildings that tell me that it is night.  Sometimes the setting seems to be during a time of war and other settings seem to be usually a vague disaster or crime.  Though I feel a sense of dread or even a fear, I am not terrified to extent of waking up.  The feeling is more like one that I might have while really getting into a scary movie and suspending all disbelief to the extreme.  It's an almost theatrical fear bordering the edge of the real thing.

           The majority of my dreams seem to be occurring in a sort of daytime setting.  I don't recall ever actually seeing the sun or even the day time sky in these dreams.  In a sense these dreams seem to take place indoors on a movie sound stage.  In fact my dreams are almost like movies--movies that make little logical sense.  But they hold my interest and are usually rather entertaining.

          Night?  Day?  Some ambiguous undefinable dream time?  Does it matter which?  I wonder if there is any significance when the time is identifiable or specified.   Unless the time setting has a specific bearing upon the dream story, I don't think the time means anything in particular.

          In a dream I may find that I'm late for something, but I don't ever recall knowing what time it is during the dream or what time I'm supposed to be somewhere.  The time itself never seems to have any importance, only the dream activity.  The state of being late, the anxiety of trying to get somewhere on time seems to be the main factor of the dream.  Feelings seem to trump specific details.

           Since dreams for the most part do not rely on any tangible fact or accuracy of time and space then the dream state is probably more a sensate realm of feeling and emotions.  The visual aspect of dreaming is merely symbolic cuing triggered by those feelings, releasing memories of our experiences and the perceptions of things we know.

            Do you usually associate your dreams with any particular time of day?   Do you find "dream nighttime" to be frightening?   Is the concept of light or dark noticeable in your dreams?



  1. My dreams are usually in daytime as far as I can remember.

    Loved the topic something to watch out for in the future.


  2. there have only been a couple of times that I was aware in a dream of the time...and even then in generalities not specifics. The one night time one was horrifying and woke me up screaming.

  3. An excellent topic for discussion, though now I can't get Chicago out of my mind (which is not a bad thing.)

    I'll be back to see more of the responses. As for myself, I am definitely aware of day and night in dreams, even when in an indoor structure because there are usually lights on or windows.

    Loving this blog, Lee.

  4. Night or day, light or darkness, these elements have no reliable significance in my dreams, but the experience of time is very common, usually as anxiety nightmares.

    Time dreams usually involve one of three elements: 1) I'm running late for something important to me; 2) I'm waiting for something or someone but either time becomes agonizingly slow or the anticipated person or thing is running late; or 3) I'm enjoying something desirable but I am aware that there is a time duration ticking away which will bring my fun to an instant end.

    The precise time is not important, but the passage of time is crucial.

  5. Yes, I notice day and night in my dreams. It seems important to me..the day/light is usually happy or comfortable and the night/dark is most often frightening or troubled.

  6. Yvonne -- "As far as I can remember" is the key phrase here. Were you really paying attention? Was time of day relevant? Maybe now you will pay more attention to whether or not there is an identifiable time. It may be difficult since it's not something you really think about while you are dreaming.

    Delores -- That's my dream perception too. The dreams where it is night usually tend to be more frightening.

    Suze -- I wonder if your dream awareness of time of day has something to do with how you perceive things during waking hours?

    LJR -- This is an important point, especially considering that dream experts claim that dreams are actually very short in real time, but can seem very long in dream time. Your first two examples are some of my most common dream experiences.

    Patricia -- Like Suze, you may attach more significance to day and night and what they represent to you. There seems to be some pretty obvious symbolism that you have pointed out.


  7. >>...Night? Day? Some ambiguous undefinable dream time? Does it matter which? I wonder if there is any significance when the time is identifiable or specified. Unless the time setting has a specific bearing upon the dream story, I don't think the time means anything in particular.

    BOIDMAN, I couldn't disagree with you more. If the time was not relevant in some way, I don't believe the mind would even bother to note it, or "manufacture" it for your dream.

    Just because you have not isolated the relevancy of the time does not mean it has none.

    The time factor may only be attempting to get across to you some general concept, but why would your mind even bother to conjure up a "time" element unless it was meant to be interpreted in some way?

    And as with most symbols in our dreams, it's probably conveying a very personal message. What do day and night, light and dark mean to YOU personally in a general or even specific sense?

    I am aware of the time in a small percentage of my dreams. But the very fact that in most of my dreams time is not identifiable and does not seem to play any part in the story tells me that those rare occasions when the time IS specified it's there for me to contemplate, investigate, and interpret.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  8. I don't know what time it is in my dreams; I'll look next time.

    My dreams lately are very emotional.

  9. StMc-- Actually I think we are in agreement on this. My point is that the aspect of time is part of the setting that doesn't particularly have relevance to the dream story being told. In this case the mind does not note time because that is not a focus and since we perceive events as occurring in a time setting we naturally attach the time aspect as a part of that setting.

    However, in the dream there are often no specific cues to tell us anything about specific time (such as the sun, the moon, or something that is time specific) and the dream is more focused on what is happening than when it is happening.

    I think time is like you say important when it is identifiable and specified and then it becomes a major part of the symbolism of the dream and should be heeded as such. But in many cases time is just a setting that just is because the dream seems to occur in a framework of time as we understand it.

    I don't deny that there are probably sublayers of relevant symbolism to every single detail of a dream and each symbol is very personal and should be considered.

    The symbolism of light and dark probably has more meaning than any specific time of day. And if the dream setting is known to be day or night then that too would have symbolic value.

    In my dreams at least and accounts of the dreams of others that I have read, time of day is not something that is usually considered and when thought about after the fact the time is merely surmised by what we understand about events in waking life in relation to time of day.

    Ultimately passage of time is probably a greater concern than time as a setting. At least this is how I see this.

    Teresa --Last night I had a dream that somewhat refutes my theory here and is a good example of what Stephen mentions in the previous comment. I will be discussing that dream in a couple of weeks.


  10. Time doesn't seem to hold significance for me - images are rather grayed except for dreams of flying, which always occur in outer space, and it's dark out there. Strange, it's something I've never thought about or remembered, but I will make a point of it now.

  11. I've never really noticed. But, now that you mention it, I'm going to try to pay closer attention.
    What I DO notice is that, when I have THOSE kind of dreams (you know the kind I'm talking about), I always wake up before I "close the deal' (so to speak). On the other hand, when I dream I'm falling off a cliff, I always wake up before I go splat. So, I'm thinking it's kind of a wash.
    Plus, I could always nudge Mrs. Penwasser.

  12. Hi again, Lee!

    As stated in an earlier comment- I seldom dream - however, reading this article will hopefull cause me to take note of the time factor the next time I dream and can wake up with a mindfulness of it!

    Oh by the way- I really like all of your pictures, Lee for each new dream story!!


I'd love to hear your comments or to just know that you were here. Please let me know what you think. And if you'd be so kind, please click on the Friend Connect button. It's nice to be joined on my dream journey with others who want to explore the mysterious world of the subconscious mind.
Sorry, due to too much spam I no longer allow anonymous comments on this site. If you want to comment and aren't registered yet then please sign up. It's not all that difficult and I'd really like to hear what you have to say. Comment away!

The Dreamer