Does Dreaming of Failure Affect Your Success?

You have a tough job in the morning—a meeting with the boss, a presentation for the board, or a serious exam. So what does it mean if you dream of failure the night before?

According to a study Consciousness and Cognition, dreaming of failure prior to an exam is linked to more exam success. Researchers contacted thousands of students who had just sat a very important exam that would dictate their access to medical school. Over 700 participated and completed a questionnaire about their sleep quality and dreams the previous night. They also asked about any exam dreams over the course of the prior term.

Of the students who reported dreaming, 44.1% said it had been about the exam, and most said it featured some kind of problem like missing a pen or not understanding anything. Sadly, the classic “naked in the exam room” dream with not mentioned.

Then, researchers looked at the student’s exam results, which showed that students who had dreamed about the exam prior to did better than those who did not. Also, the more exam dreams the student had over the term, the higher their grade tended to be.

“As stated by some students, the immediate benefit of dreaming was the drive to address weaknesses in knowledge after awakening, which certainly provided an advantage,” the researchers said. “Additionally, the contrast between the horrible situations experienced in the dreams (appendicitis, lateness, impossibility of competing) and the more casual reality (good health, appropriate timing and tools) the next morning may desensitise the students to anxiety, which can be reassuring and beneficial for competition.”

Of course, take this study with a grain of salt. That said, perhaps dreaming of failure isn’t such a bad thing after all.

Photo courtesy of flickr

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