Home / AMERICAN NEWS / Why Do We Run So Slowly In Dreams? — ‘The Why’

Why Do We Run So Slowly In Dreams? — ‘The Why’

Welcome to the newest edition of The Why.  “Why do we run so slowly in dreams?” you ask?  Good question. (Besides, it beats answering the question: “Why did I dream I saw St. Augustine?” Seriously? Maybe it’s because you’re a hardcore Bob Dylan fan? Yeah, the song is “I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine” from back in 1967. Your rockin’ writer knows his music, thank you very much. )


Running in slow motion/Image: ShcokMansion

Did you ever notice how running –once a common activity when we all still had Physical Education classes—is so horridly complex and difficult in your dreams? Yohana Desta, a contributor to Mashable and on occasion this column, knows the feeling too.

She says: “You feel sluggish, weighed down, forced to pull your body through some kind of invisible quicksand hellbent on trapping you. It feels like you’re running in slow motion.”

The question is, of course, why?  Why do we run so slowly in our dreams?

The truth is several studies state that just about everything we do in our dreams seems to happen in slow motion. This is not uncommon and therefore if you run slowly in your dreams it is because at least a part of your brain is normal. Research proves it.

A psychologist at the University of Bern in Switzerland, Daniel Erlacher, actually ran an experiment on actions in dreams with the help of lucid dreamers or folks who actually try to control their dreams.

Desta, who also researched the project, confirmed that when Erlacher “asked them to complete an activity, the subjects took 50% longer to do it than they would have in real life.”


Running in slow motion/Image: RunBlogger

Another psychologist, dream expert Ian Wallace, told Mashable: “I have analyzed around 200,000 dreams for my clients and slow-motion running is the 55th most common.” He also notes that some people also sometimes dream they are running normally or at super-speed but states this is generally “a precursor to flying.”

Wallace says there is another reason why you are running so slowly in your dreams. He states: “Your legs represent your fundamental drive as you push yourself forward through life. If you feel that your legs are moving slowly, then you feel that there is something resisting your progress in waking life.”

Desta adds: “That dramatically slow sprint you’re attempting could be a manifestation of your daily life, if you subscribe to dream interpretations.” She believes Erlacher hit the nail on the head for most people who run in slow motion. She adds: “Since people can experience lucid dreams even without intending to, Erlacher’s research is likely the more common reason. Though you don’t know it, your dream is happening more slowly because of your state of lucidity.”

Why do we run so slowly in dreams? Now you know.

You ask the questions.  We provide the answers.

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About Will Phoenix

W. Scott Phoenix, B.A., B.S. was born in Hawaii, raised in Pennsylvania and resides in California. He has been a published writer since 1978. His work has appeared (under various names) in numerous places in print and online including Examiner.com. He is a single parent of three children and has also worked as an actor, singer and teacher. He has been employed by such publications as the Daily Collegian and the Los Angeles Times.