Do babies dream? The answer, quite simply is, yes - as far as we can tell.
Dr Charles P Pollak, director of the Center for Sleep Medicine in New York, points out that newborn infants all display REM sleep, because you can literally see the rapid eye movements under their eyelids.
He explains that this REM behavior is "an evolutionarily old type of sleep that occurs at all life stages, including infancy, and even before infancy, in fetal life."
So it is a well-based inference that babies are dreaming during this REM sleep.
As for the content of babies' dreams, Dr Pollak said: "That is like asking whether your pet dog or cat is dreaming, because they can't communicate, and you can't ask. We presume that infants dream infantile things, but we don't really know what it is that they dream."
If you've ever watched your pet dog sleep, you can sometimes see their feet twitch as if they're dreaming of running. Or sometimes they make little baby barks in their dreams - subdued versions of real life actions. So if your dog dreams about the the thing he loves doing most... what do babies dream about?
"There is some evidence in adults that the direction of eye movement corresponds in a crude way to the content of the dream," Dr Pollak says. "If they are dreaming about walking in a field," he said, "the movement is most likely horizontal. If they dream of looking up at a building or climbing stairs, vertical eye movement is more likely to predominate. We can't go further than that."
Sure, the scientists can't go further than that. But we can have fun guessing. My guess as to what they dream about? Babies dream of lying around pooping their pants, watching the world go by, and searching for giant nipples to suck on...
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So here's a quirky little nighttime oddity that can strike terror into your soul. Sleep paralysis. It's the mechanism that stops you from acting out your dreams. It happens to you every single time you go to sleep, and you've probably never even been aware of it. There's a lot to say about sleep paralysis. One the one hand, it's a very normal bodily process. One the other, it can be a terrifying sleep disorder. And on the third hand (yes, that's three hands now) it's the gateway to the lucid dream world. It covers quite the spectrum of emotions.
Want to get your hands on some futuristic technology? Then why not use your lucid dreams to explore new scientific concepts and developments? In fact, it's thought that numerous well-known scientists including Nikola Tesla exploited their dreams to simulate theories and prototypes in action. Here are five futuristic concepts to get your dream cogs in motion.
So you want a real challenge for your next lucid dream? Check out these thought experiments. They have no right or wrong answers, at least as far as we can prove in 2015. If you undertake any of these - please add a comment below. The beauty is that everyone's experience will be different and I'm eager to read your results.
So you want to know the easiest way to start lucid dreaming? You found it. I've been lucid dreaming since I was 14 years old. Over the years, I've researched a lot about lucid dream induction. I have practiced many different exercises and developed my own ways to become lucid and stay conscious in the dream state for longer. The following is a snapshot of all that work. It's my big picture take on lucid dreaming for beginners, whittled down into 5 sensible steps to prime your mind for lucid dreams.
Everyone knows that horror movies beget nightmares. But did you know that peak nightmare experiences are a common trigger of lucidity? It's like the terror of realizing you're about to be ripped to pieces by the knife monster shocks you into realizing you're dreaming. So next time you're writhing about in a nightmare scenario, or screaming at yourself to wake up, take a second to focus your energy on declaring the dream for what it is: a harmless rendering of your innermost thoughts and fears. Lucidity is then yours.
Experts agree that everyone is capable of having lucid dreams. Dreaming itself is a normal function of the mind. We all dream every night, even if we don't remember. And we all achieve conscious awareness while awake every single day. So what does it mean to combine these states? Why, the amazing ability to have conscious - or lucid - dreams. Sounds simple, doesn't it? So why do I keep hearing from people who say they can't achieve their first lucid dream?