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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Books are a powerful way to increase our understanding and generate new perspectives. Good books are immersive and profound: they can change the way we live our lives. In teaching us new lessons, stripping away fallacies and inspiring independent thought, the following books on lucid dreaming are bestsellers for a reason - they are groundbreaking and thought-provoking reads to expand your awareness and develop your lucid dreaming skills.
Galantamine is best known for its ability to improve memory and provoke intense lucid dreams. Research by Dr Stephen LaBerge has found that taking galantamine intensifies your dreams on many levels, including cognition, lucidity, recall, control, bizarreness and visual vividness. If you want to boost your dream life, and maybe prompt some lucid dreams, it's worth taking the occasional galantamine supplement.
Why write a book about how to "hack" sleep? Well, I've suffered from sleep issues throughout my entire adult life. Sleep was such a tough thing to figure out. It didn't respond to willpower. I could beg and cry and kick and scream to myself to fall asleep, but my body would not listen. Finally, I realized that enough was enough and that I was going to fix this very important area of my life for good, or at least do my best to try. I spent nearly one year constructing a system to improve the quality of my sleep.
Humans are unique in our endless capacity for imagination. According to Steven Mithen, an anthropologist at the University of Reading in the UK, we needed to evolve seven critical mental skills before we could have imagination as we know it. Each of these abilities serve a distinct purpose in their own right, while imagination is the culmination of them all.
This dream starts out pretty violent but then suddenly goes all profound on me. I'm having a nightmare in which a thin, gray-faced man is trying to kill me. I become lucid and battle him with ease, firing shots of lighting out of my hands and hitting him in the chest. He falls to his knees and I lock him in a gated prison using only my mind. But then my lucid dream evolves into a lucid nightmare. Another villain, who looks like Krang (or Krang's body at least) from that delightful cartoon about giant mutant turtles, frees the gray man using his telepathic powers. I am no match for him.
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?