Time in dreams is a wondrously wired thing. Linear dreams are not uncommon, but non-linear, time jumping, time meshing and chaotic time are are as equally common. Often time is not so much a character in a dream but a means for the mind to get as much into a dream as possible. Most of these terms are used by dream loggers and mappers in their journals.
Also called skips, this is when a recorded dream has a gap in the chronology or plot that is hard to make sense of. Sometimes this can be a memory or recall issue with the logger. Sometimes the dream just skips for no reason, or as threads of dream plot interact. Jumping is more a phenomena then a part of interpretation.
Linear time is a fairly common thread in life, non-linear however occurs in dreams. This isn’t so much about time jumping around, as a way for a dreaming mind to deal with complex subject or concept. It might also be the influence of TV and nonlinear plots in the media. It’s more likely though that nonlinear dreams influenced TV plots than the other way round. These dreams could be about any number of subjects.
Ever had a dream with a Pharos, a astronaut, a 1950s London policewoman and a priest from Benedictine France in the 1820s?
Just me then.
This is a brief description of time meshing, a number of different time periods that don’t belong in the same plot. Dr Who may have a case to answer for some of these dreams. History researchers might also encounter such dreams with large frequency. These dreams are in general about memories of the dreamer.
Chaotic time dreams:
Dreams with no time aspect at all or were time is jumping so much to make sense could be common for some. Time is not always important for dreams to be helpful for your psychology. Focus is more likely on the characters or objects in the dream.
Clocks as a recall or lucidity function:
Reading clocks in dreams is a common means of obtaining lucidity as a Reality check (RC). LeBarge mentions it in a number of books. The method involves making sure you always check clocks twice, or thrice every time. This habit becomes usual and when you do it in a dream you become lucid. Some practitioners find it easy, some find that clocks occur less and less frequently in dreams as they container to practice. Combined with other RC methods its generally useful.