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How Long Does an Average Dream Last for

A dream is a group of images, emotions and/or thoughts that occur in the mind during sleep. The cause and reason for dreaming is not well understood and many different theories have been developed on the subject. Dreaming usually occurs during rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep because the brain activity is high during this time. Dreams can occur at other stages of the sleep cycle, but they are generally not remembered after waking. The content of dreams can vary widely and the dreamer cannot usually control the dream. A person does not remember all of their dreams, but being awoken during a REM cycle means a dream is more likely to be remembered. You may have heard the urban legend that states an average dream lasts for 3-7 seconds. Let’s find out if that is commonly repeated fact is accurate.

What is the length of the average dream?
Although dreams can last anywhere from a few seconds to about 45 minutes, the vast majority of dreams last between 10-20 minutes. An average person has about 3-5 dreams a night, although some people have 7 dreams per night, and they last longer as sleep progresses. For example, the first dream is usually 10-12 minutes long and the second and third dream are usually 15-20 minutes long.

Did you know?
During a full 8 hour sleep the average person will spend about 2 hours dreaming. This means that if a person lives to an average age they will spend about 6 years of their life dreaming!

Dream studies have shown that 99% of people can remember their dream if they awake during the last REM cycle of the night.

The last dream of the night is usually experienced as a series of stories because a person is likely to experience a series of brief interruptions to sleep as the night comes to an end.

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