Dreaming with aphantasia

As someone with anaphantasia I will always dream as if I’m reading a book or following a script. It’s kind of like there is a story going on and then it’s as if your subconscious brain is just telling you a story in your head. After waking up from a dream I won’t be able to remember any of the words that I thought but I still know what was going on in the dream. Do any of you dream in the same way? If not how do you dream?

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My dream recall has always been almost absent, I had more when I was younger but they were almost never visual in nature, I can count the number of visual dreams I remember on one hand, maybe two and that’s over the course of over 40 years.

My normal dream remembrance is only vague impressions of feeling or tiny fragments of scenes with no purpose, and even then that’s only ever few months. That vast majority of the time I go to sleep it’s light’s out, light’s on, that’s it nothing else.

After waking I have no recollection of any images but the feeling of remembering having seen something is very distinct in my mind and remains to this day as I can still recall these dreams even after 40 years with I think a fair degree of accuracy, mostly because the dreams themselves are so short, the longest sensation of the passage of time I’ve felt in a dream is less than a minute, and I only know this because I’ve had two lucid dreams, no control over them but the knowledge I was in a dream and seeing something is about as much concrete certainty that the sun is coming up tomorrow.

If it wasn’t for those dreams I probably would have never realized I was aphantaisic, as it was I discovered it when I was about 15 when some very detailed visualization practices that some friends were doing popped up. I knew then that I was different but there was nothing to look up back then and I never felt it affected me so I just moved on until the rediscovery and popularity of it started to rise, and so here I am 🙂

I’d love to hear more about your general dream experience and your general experience of aphantasia as I’m a fairly profound multi-sensory aphantaisic, about as far down whatever spectrum there is to this.

I think my dreams are more like watching a TV show on a TV set from the 1940s. Like, there are visuals and I know what they are while I’m in the dream, but they’re gone the second I wake up. It’s very much the same as what you described when you try to think back on them, Joshua. Even though there are words in my dream, I know the general idea of what was happening more than I know the specifics.

I also really love sleeping, I think because it’s the only time there are consistent visuals in my head. I’m curious if anyone else feels similarly.

I dream the same way! I have crazy dreams though that make no sense, if I can remember them (which is very very very rare), they are wild stories with events I can only describe as insane. It’s pretty fun

I am aphantasic also with absolutely no ability to visualize while awake , but my dreams are very visual and vivid.  I feel they are real when they are happening and have. on occasion remembered things I believed happened in reality, only to realized latter they never happened I had only dreamed them.

I am coming to understand from reading over the post from others with aphantasia that it is not the same for everyone.

Im trying to figure out if I dream in pictures or not.. Im curious how you determined that you dream as if reading from a book compared to picturing something while dreaming and then waking to remember it as if reading from a book? 


I don’t have the answer yet I’m trying to figure out how I dream since i found out I have Aphantasia but I’m not convinced in either direction yet.. I remember my dreams like a foggy memory and I know it was a dream but I dont yet know how I know that.. maybe my brain knows there was no visual component? but I can still think about how something looked in the dream, but did I just fill in the same contextual characteristics that I would if seeing something and remembering it later? Are my dreams pictures that I remember with Aphantasia later or are they picture free dreams that I treat like any other memory where I log the information and pull from it when i want to recall it?  

My experience of dreams is full immersion in the plot, visuals, audios. It feels real… Unless I get a few moments of lucidity(knowing I’m dreaming) but the experience has full visuals even if I’m lucid. I can’t pull up an image at will while I’m awake though.

Another fascinating thread for aphants (did not know that was the cool way to refer to us until today). My contribution is only this. I do feel fairly definite I dream in images (different parts of the brain, I think) because when I wake up I feel (?) like I saw things. I know that is hardly convincing.

But to add to someone else’s response, what I do know is that I very rarely have the kinds of “crazy” dreams that other people. Mine are so mundane that they are laughable …I once woke up with intense pleasure because the bathroom floor had been re-tiled in my dreams, another time I dreamt that the sugar was finished. Wild things! Most mornings, if I do have a vague recollection of my dreams, it is that I had a dream of something that could very easily have happened in my everyday life. 

On the plus side, I have also never had an erotic or racy fantasy/dream. I once woke up with the vague recollection of the naked shoulders of  the first girl I kissed …Wait,I am not sure how that is a plus?