Skip to main content

Dreams

  • Chapter
  • First Online:
Understanding Sleep and Dreaming
  • 9572 Accesses

Abstract

In this chapter, we will focus on the characteristics and content of dreams. But first several issues are explored. Does dreaming only occur in REM sleep or also in NREM sleep? How good are our memories of our dreams? And does the method of obtaining dream reports such as in the sleep lab versus “at home;” whether written, voice recorded, dictated to another person; and just who that person is, affect the report? Beyond these issues, what people typically dream about is different from what is commonly believed. Although similarities far outnumber differences, in many interesting ways women’s dreams differ from men’s dreams. Characters and their interactions and activities are a major focus of dreams. Emotions or moods are commonly present in dreams but are not often mentioned in dream recalls. Bizarreness is a striking feature present in most dreams. Children’s dreams are different from those of adults and show characteristic changes with age. A person typically has several dreams during a night of sleep that can be seen as related to a theme for that night. Other aspects explored include lucid dreaming, creativity in dreams, and how an individual can improve their dream recalls.

Specific references to statements in this chapter that can be found in multiple, widely available sources are not included in the text. A selection of these sources is listed below and can also be consulted for verification or more detail (Carskadon 1993; Domhoff 1996; Kryger et al. 2011; Lee-Chiong 2006; Moorcroft 1993).

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 79.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 99.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD 139.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

References

  • Antrobus, J. S. (1983). REM and NREM sleep reports: comparison of word frequencies by cognitive classes. Psychophysiology, 20, 562–568.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Antrobus, J., Hartwig, P., Rosa, D., Reinsel, R., & Fein, G. (1987). Brightness and clarity of REM and NREM imagery: Photo response scale. Sleep Research, 16, 240.

    Google Scholar 

  • Aserinsky, E., & Kleitman, N. (1953). Regularly occurring periods of eye mobility and concomitant phenomena during sleep. Science, 18, 273–274.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Barrett, D. (1993). The “committee of sleep”: A study of dream incubation for problem solving. Dreaming, 3, 115–122.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Blagrove, M., & Akehurst, L. (2000). Personality and dream recall frequency: Further negative findings. Dreaming, 10, 139–146.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Busink, R., & Kuiken, D. (1996). Identifying types of impactful dreams: A replication. Dreaming, 6, 97–119.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Carskadon, M. A. (Ed.). (1993). Encyclopedia of sleep and dreaming. New York: Macmillian.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cartwright, R. D. (1978). A primer on sleep and dreaming. Reading: Addison-Wesley.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cartwright, R. D. (1979). The nature and function of repetitive dreams: A survey and speculation. Psychiatry, 42, 131–137.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Cartwright, R. D. (2010). The twenty-four hour mind. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Delaney, G. (1998). All about dreams. New York: HarperCollins.

    Google Scholar 

  • Dement, W., & Kleitman, N. (1957). The relation of eye movements during sleep to dream activity. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 53, 89–97.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Domhoff, G. W. (1996). Finding Meaning in Dreams: A quantitative Approach. New York: Plenum.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Domhoff, G. W. (2003). The scientific study of dreams: Neural networks, cognitive development, and content analysis. Washington: American Psychological Association Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Domhoff, G. W., & Schnelder, A. (1999). Much ado about very little: the small effect sizes when home and laboratory collected dreams are compared. Dreaming, 9, 139–151.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fiss, H. (1991). Experimental strategies for the study of the function of dreaming. In S. Ellman & J. Antrobus (Eds.), The mind in sleep: Psychology and psychophysiology (2nd ed., pp. 265–307). New York: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  • Foulkes, D. (1978). A Grammar of Dreams. New York: Basic Books.

    Google Scholar 

  • Foulkes, D. (1982). Children’s dreams: Longitudinal studies. New York: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  • Foulkes, D. (1999). Children’s dreams and the development of consciousness. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hall, C., & Van de Castle, R. (1966). The content analysis of dreams. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hicks, R., Lucero, K., & Mistry, R. (1991). Dreaming and habitual sleep duration. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 72, 1281–1282.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Hobson, J. A., Pace-Schott, E., & Stickgold, R. (2000). Dreaming and the brain: Toward a cognitive neuroscience of conscious states. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 23, 793–842 and 904–1121.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hong, C. C., Potkin, S. G., Antrobus, J. S., Dow, B. M., Callaghan, G. M., & Gillin, J. C. (1997). REM sleep eye movement counts correlate with visual imagery in dreaming: A pilot study. Psychophysiology, 34, 377–381.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Horne, J. (2006). Sleepfaring. New York: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hurovitz, C., Dunn, S., Domhoff, G. W., & Fiss, H. (1999). The dreams of blind men and women: A replication and extension of previous findings. Dreaming, 9, 183–193.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kryger, M. H., Roth, T. R., & Dement, W. C. (Eds.). (2011). Principles and practice of sleep medicine (5th ed.). St. Louis: Elsevier.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lee-Chiong, T. (Ed.). (2006). Sleep: A comprehensive handbook. Hoboken: Wiley.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mestel, R. (1997, April 26). Get real, Siggi. Retrieved from http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg15420799.700-get-real-siggi–freud-would-have-been-furious–hardnosed-pragmatists-are-invading-the-fabulous-dream-industry-he-founded.html.

  • Moorcroft, W. H. (1993). Sleep, dreaming, and sleep disorders: An introduction (2nd ed.). Lanham: University Press of America.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nielsen, T. A. (2000). A review of mentation in REM and NREM sleep: “Covert” REM sleep as a possible reconciliation of two opposing models. Behavioral Brain Science, 23, 851–866.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Pagel, J. F., & Myers, P. (2002). Definitions of dreaming: A comparison of definitions of dreaming utilized by different study populations (college psychology students, sleep lab patients, and medical professionals. Sleep, 25, A299–A300.

    Google Scholar 

  • Pagel, J. F., Blagrove, M., Levin, R., States, B., Stickgold, B., & White, S. (2001). Defining dreaming—a paradigm for comparing disciplinary specific definitions of dream. Dreaming, 11, 195–202.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rechtschaffen, A. (1978). The single-mindedness and isolation of dreams. Sleep, 1, 97–109.

    PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Rechtschaffen, A., & Buchignani, C. (1983). Visual dimensions and correlates of dream images. Sleep Research, 12, 189.

    Google Scholar 

  • Resnick, J., Stickgold, R., Rittenhouse, C. D., & Hobson, J. A. (1994). Self-representation and bizarreness in children’s dream reports collected in the home setting. Consciousness and Cognition, 3, 30–45.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Schredl, M. (2001, July). Factors of dream recall. Presented at the annual meeting of the Association for the Study of Dreams. Santa Cruz, California.

    Google Scholar 

  • Stickgold, R., Hobson, J. A., Fosse, R., & Fosse, M. (2001). Sleep, learning, and dreams: Off-line memory reprocessing. Science, 294, 1052–1057.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  • Strauch, I., & Meier, B. (1996). In search of dreams. Results of experimental dream research. Albany: State University of New York Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Uga, V., Lemut, M. C., Zampi, C., & Salzarulo, P. (2006). Music in dreams. Consciousness and Cognition, 15, 351–357.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to William H. Moorcroft .

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York

About this chapter

Cite this chapter

Moorcroft, W.H. (2013). Dreams. In: Understanding Sleep and Dreaming. Springer, Boston, MA. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-6467-9_7

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics