What do dreams look like?

Do you often find yourself asking this question? Well, the good news is that you’ve reached the right place for the answer. 

Research suggests that dreaming is a hallucination that can be experienced in a relaxed state of mind. While dreams can be good or bad, let’s start with understanding what the research suggests about dreams “looks”.

What Do Dreams Look Like Here’s your answer!
What Do Dreams Look Like

What does a dream look like? – A research

Have you ever heard of taking images of your dreams? Do you think it is possible? Well, the researchers in Germany have made it possible and taken brain scan images. These images explain dreams and how our brain tries to combine thoughts and connects the dots to build a narrative.

In this experiment, the dreamer was aware of the fact that he was dreaming. Instead, he was lucid dreaming. There was no movement in the body except for twitching in the eyes. This happens even when a person is dreaming normally. This study was conducted by Czisch and his colleagues.

The group of researchers recruited six lucid dreamers for the experiment. They used fMRI to note the brain activity of these dreamers. This fMRI tracks the blood flow in a person’s brain and tells us which areas are presently active. To do this, the dreamer has to sleep on a flat surface. After this, he is slid down a tunnel while the dreamer makes no movement.

The dreamer was then asked to dream inside the machine. These lucid dreamers were then asked to control their dreams. In sequence, they had to squeeze their left and right hands in dreams. Only one dreamer could do it successfully.

The researchers noted his brain activity at the time of dreaming and then compared it to the brain activity while he was awake. He was asked to repeat the same activity. It was found out that the same regions of the brain were active in the dream as well as in waking life.

What do dreams of men look like?

The study of dreams in men suggests that 37.9% of men usually dream of traveling to far-off places. These travel destinations can be a new planet, space, another country, or anywhere they can imagine. At times, these dreams also provoke positive or negative emotions within them.

The next popular dream among men is of sex. If we compare this dream between the two genders, 15% of men and 8.5% of women dream of sex

The third most common dream among men is obtaining superpowers. While 8.7% of men dream of superpowers, 8.4% of men dream about money.

There are also a few colors that occur frequently in the dreams of men. These colors include blue, red, gray, black, green, and brown.

What do dreams of women look like?

Just like men, travel dreams are common among 39.1% of women. This is because everybody likes to explore new places and live a free life.

Another popular dream among women is romanticism. Approximately 15.2% of women dreamt of falling in love. This number stands at 6.2% for women. But if we analyze the statistics, 15% of men dreamt of sex whereas 15.2% of women dreamt of love. 

The third common dream among women is flying. 12.4% of women dream of flying whereas only 6.2% of women dream of money.

The colors that women usually visualize in their dreams are the shades of red and blue.

What do nightmares of men look like?

The most popular nightmare among men is falling down. 19.4% of men report dreaming of falling down and it leaves them feeling helpless and disgusted.

The second frightening nightmare is that they feel as if somebody is chasing them. This dream was reported by 17.1% of men. It is not necessary that some human is chasing them but they also dream of reptiles or animals running behind them.

After these, 13.7% of men reported being attacked in the dream. When the same thing was asked to women, the numbers came out to be as low as 9.7%.

What do nightmares of women look like?

The most recurring dreams in women are about being chased by somebody. This nightmare actually haunts the women in their waking life too. 19.6% of women reported this dream to be a frequent nightmare.

9.9% of women mentioned that they have dreams where they see their teeth falling down. After which, 9.7% of women said that they experienced dreams of being attacked whereas 8.3% of women said that their dreams include ending their relationship with their partner.

The colors that women observe the most in their nightmares are gray, brown, and black.

Dreams across Generations

1. Baby boomers

Baby boomers are the people born between the year 1946 and 1964. This means, they are somewhere between 57 – 75 years of age and also constitute a major part of the world’s population, especially in developed nations.


Our baby boomers like to explore new things and places, have fun and create more memories. That’s why their dreams are also filled with such elements.

You’ll find the baby boomers dreaming the most about visiting a new place. 44.8% reported visiting tropical destinations and creating youthful memories. While having this dream, they experienced the feelings of “satisfaction”, “curiosity”, “love” and “excitement”. A few also experienced fears of taking up the challenge of exploring something new.

Their dreams include flying as the second popular dream. 17.9% said they dream about flying and find it soothing, exciting, fearful, and euphoric at the same time. Hardly 7% dreamt of love whereas 6% mentioned money and test-taking. Their last priority was to dream about sex and food.

The colors associated with their dreams are blue, gray, and green.


18.2% experienced the frequent nightmare of being chased by somebody and 16.2% reported that they dreamt of falling. When the Baby Boomers mentioned being chased by somebody, this ‘somebody’ included zombies, strangers as well as monsters and animals. These nightmares gave them a feeling of fear that they’ll not be able to escape the situation.

The third nightmare that occurred frequently was feeling lost and lonely. This was experienced by 14.1% of them. It had different ways of occurring like being lost in an unknown place or on mountains, buildings, or a hallway. Usually, these dreams appeared in shades of black.

2. Gen Xers

Gen-Xers were born between 1965 and 1980. This means they are somewhere between 41 – 56 years of age, precedes Gen Y or the millennial generation, and if followed by the Baby Boomers generation.


Like all others, our Gen Xers also love traveling and exploring new places. This was reported by 42.1%. After this, 17.9% of them dreamt of flying and called it a “joyful” experience. These vivid dreams are often what they want to experience in their real-life too.

Gen Xers often find blue, green, or red colors in their dreams. Now, if we talk about the sleep quality among different generations. Gen Xers have a very poor quality of sleep, followed by the Millennials and then Baby Boomers. This is why their dreams are also impacted and it becomes difficult for them to recall all sorts of dreams.


Similar to the Baby Boomers, our next generation also got the nightmares of being chased by somebody. The statistics show that 15.1% of Gen Xers experienced this dream.

Following the line was the dream of falling that was experienced by 10.9% of them. After this, 10.5% experienced the dream of being attacked. 9.2% also mentioned that they often had nightmares of reaching late at a particular place. And, 8.4% reported that they dreamt of feeling lost.

Our Gen Xers also observe the dark color black in their nightmares along with the shades of gray, brown, and red.

3. Millennials

The Millennials or Gen-Yers were born between 1981 and 1996. This means they are somewhere between 25 – 40 years of age. They are found to be the biggest generation in American history and have a very modern approach towards all worldly or non-worldly aspects.


You’ll experience different characteristics in Millennials depending upon the one you ask. These different characteristics are the reason why Millennials have diverse dreams.

Just like in every category, 36.1% of Millennials also dreamt of exploring new places. But this time, flying did not occupy the second position. Instead, 14% of Millennials dreamt of sex. When sex dreams were compared, it was noted that these dreams decrease with age. Sex dreams were highest among the Millennials, followed by 10% in Gen Xers and 4.5% in Baby Boomers.

Then the pattern is followed like their older counterparts. 23.1% remember dreaming about love and romanticism. These dreams are also found to be decreasing with age.


The Millennials have similar nightmares to its other two generations. The topmost nightmare in all generations remains the same. 19.9% of Millennials also fear being chased by somebody.

Since the second popular dream among Millennials was about love, the second common nightmare is about their loved one leaving them. Such dreams are common among 6.4% of Millennials.

Further, Millennials are so depressed than their older generations that their third popular dream is about their death. This has not been commonly found in the other two generations.

What do Lucid Dreams look like?

Lucid dreaming is difficult. It is the process through which we can attain a degree of control on our own dreams. This way we can also control what we see in our dreams. You might want to see your crush or yourself achieving goals in dreams and this is only possible via lucid dreams.

Not everyone is a lucid dreamer and this sort of control over your mind can only be obtained through regular practice.

There are parts of the brain that control our dreams. In fact, the study of dreams suggests different techniques to control our brain during Rapid eye movement (REM sleep), the stage of sleep when a person is found dreaming.

According to studies, the prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that is responsible for our imagination. With the help of various techniques, we can control it and see whatever we want in our dreams.

If you are willing to dream at your will, you must think about that specific thing before bedtime. If needed, keep talking to yourself about it.

For instance, if you want to see your crush in your dream, then repeat their name before going to sleep. You can also take the help of visual aids like their photographs. This tells our brain that it has to focus on that particular person.

Another way to attain lucidity is to be in a relaxed state of mind. You can never control your mind when you’re stressed because the thoughts will keep interrupting your dreams.

Final Thoughts!

Dream of each person looks different based on their individual emotions and experiences.

Researchers are trying their best to identify some commonalities and generalize dreams for everybody. But there have been no solid conclusions so far. 

So, don’t try to compare your dream themes with anyone else. If you’ve been experiencing nightmares frequently, it’s only wise to contact a counselor and seek proper medical guidance.

Article Sources

1. https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/what-dream-looks
2. https://www.mattressadvisor.com/dreams-look-like/
3. https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/illusion-chasers/what-lucid-dreams-look-like/
4. https://www.verywellmind.com/facts-about-dreams-2795938