A study out of the University of the West of England in Bristol, tracking 193 women and men over 5 years, found that women suffer more nightmares than men. Moreover, the research determines that men and women have dreams of a different nature, too. A small article from the Daily Telegraph (“Women suffer more nightmares than men”) wrote, “[W]hen asked to record their most recent dream, 19% of male students reported having a nightmare compared with 34% of women.” Overall, that seems to me like quite a high level of nightmares. Jennifer Parker, a psychology lecturer at the University, said “I believe these results show women carry over their waking concerns into their dream life more so than men do.” I have a couple of comments to add, based on my own unscientific observations that are rife with generalisations (and where the word ‘women’ could equally be written as ‘those having feminine characteristics’): 1/ As Parker suggests, I would agree that women develop stronger emotional connections with their waking concerns which provides fertile grounds for a subconscious negative reveil during the dreams. 2/ In my experience, women tend to live their dreams more vividly and to recall them more frequently. I, as a sample of one male, rarely recall my dreams, nor give much credence to the stories brought up when I do remember them.
Meanwhile, as I found in an ABC report which is much longer and more articulate about the topic than the Telegraph report, I was interested by the notion, you are what you dream. Rosalind Cartwright, dream research and chairman of psychology at Rush University Medical Center, says many of these variables are easy to understand. “They are the ones you might imagine, anything that makes for distress and disadvantage,” she said. “These include low income, unemployment and other factors.”
And, as the ABC article continues, “…past research reveals some surprises. A July 2001 study by researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, suggested that Republicans are nearly three times as likely as Democrats to experience nightmares when they dream.
‘Half of the dreams of Republicans in my study were classified as nightmares, compared to only about 18 percent of the dreams of Democrats,’ said lead study author Kelly Bulkeley in a university-issued press release. ‘My speculation is that people on the right are very attuned to the dangers in the world, and they’re seeking ways to defend themselves against those threats.'”
In any event, beyond nightmares and political affiliations, I assume that women may also have a different relationship with dreams in general and, by extension, with sleep. Beauty sleep is, with dreams included, for an inside-outside beauty.