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...
Have you ever seen a tiger in the clouds? How about Jesus in the gnarled bark of a tree - or Richard Dawkins in a coffee stain? This peculiar quirk of human psychology goes by the rather lovely sounding name of Pareidolia (say: pah-ray-doh-lee-a). Many great scientists have pondered the origins of this trait. The simplest explanation is an evolutionary one: being able to detect predatory faces and figures amid background noise gives you a greater chance of surivival.
Members of our lucid dream forum have been asking how to create dream characters in lucid dreams. The most common problem is having characters who look nothing like they should. Or they seem disinterested in your company. Or they fail to show up on command altogether. So, how to combat this? It's a matter of finding creative solutions that bypass logical expectations.
To lucid dream, I recommend being able to remember at least one vivid dream per night. That will boost your self awareness in dreams (making lucidity more likely) and also means you can actually remember your lucid dreams. Which is nice. Here are four detailed tips on how to remember your dreams more frequently. And if you don't think you dream at all - trust me, you almost certainly do. It takes an extraordinarily rare sleep disorder to deprive someone of dream sleep.
Virtual reality is upon us. Shipping of the Oculus Rift began in April 2016. Vive launched in June. And Playstation VR breaks loose in October. These mind-expanding technologies are bringing interactive virtual worlds to gamers everywhere. But did you know that you already possess a far superior form of biological virtual reality? It stretches all the way back to before the discovery of fire. To the the dawn of our species.
Chloe is a natural lucid dreamer. That's to say that all of her dreams are conscious (lucid), highly realistic and incredibly vivid. She can remember these dreams as far back as being a toddler. That level of mindfulness we regular folk strive to achieve in our dreams is always present in her nightly escapades. Her dreams, by default, are highly intense, profound and acutely self aware.
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?