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29th Sep 2023

People baffled after realising they never see phones in their dreams

Steve Hopkins

‘Am I the only one blundering about trying to rescue my old maths teacher from the ocean phone-free?’

All sorts of strange things can happen in the mysterious Land of Nod.

While nightmares are thought to be the subconscious sending out a warning – as nightmares are the “brain working through emotions” – other dreams are “often about identity, because we’re figuring out who we are and what we need, and the beliefs and perspectives we hold,” dream psychologist Ian Wallace told The Independent in 2021.

But beyond the broader themes of our dreams – and what they mean – people have started to question the smaller details, like why their phones never appear in them. After all, phones are very present in waking life. According to a 2021 Ofcom survey, people in the UK check their smartphones, on average, every 12 minutes of their waking day.

According to a study published in Science Direct, the content of dreams even differs between men and women. The latter’s dreams are more likely to include more conversation, while the former tends to have more physical.

While researched believe people have several dreams a night, it is thought that 95 per cent of slumber vision is lost when people open their eyes.

So, many people might actually forget that they were also on their phones the whole time during their dreams.

The phone phenomenon has sparked some debate on social media where users question whether they have coverage and data in Dreamland.

A post from an account called @zephyr_on_call recently went viral across social media asking how in 2023 “nobody’s come up with a satisfying explanation as to why cell phones never show up in our dreams if we’re using them for 12 hours a day?”

The Times of India reports that researchers discovered that 3.5 per cent of adult women dream about mobile phones, and men dream about them even less (2.6 per cent).

Despite the stats, people on social media are debating how often they see their phones when they nod off.

One user who believes to have debunked the theory wrote: “I have dreamed that I texted to cancel plans and then woke up and thought it was real so I didn’t actually cancel them in time, cell phones definitely show up in dreams.”

A second wrote: “Are you all getting your phones out in dreams?? Am I the only one blundering about trying to rescue my old maths teacher from the ocean phone-free???

Another commenter said they have their phone in their dreams but, “I usually can not operate it.”

“Do (sic) people really not see their phones in dreams or do they just not remember? Because I do see and use my phone in my dreams. I don’t use it actively, it’s usually a thing that moves the plot forward because it provides me with new information like messages or as a map, but it’s there,” another commenter added.

Another commenter suggested age played a part, saying their 16-year-old sister “has dreams of phones” and shared a theory on it.

“But why not older people? When adults were young and most active in the creativeness of the mind, there weren’t phones around to imagine them in dreams.

“But the younger generation had phones around when their minds were most creatively active, so phones become part of what they imagine in dreams. This isn’t factual so I have no way of proving this theory but it’s made sense in my head.”

For more on what things in your dream mean, read this helpful piece from the World of Lucid Dreaming.

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