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The Mind At Night: The New Science Of How And Why We Dream

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Over the past few decades, there has been a revolution in scientific knowledge about why we dream, what's actually happening to the brain when we do, and what the sleeping mind reveals about our waking hours. Beginning with the birth of dream research in the 1950s, award-winning science reporter Andrea Rock traces the brief but fascinating history of this emerging scientif Over the past few decades, there has been a revolution in scientific knowledge about why we dream, what's actually happening to the brain when we do, and what the sleeping mind reveals about our waking hours. Beginning with the birth of dream research in the 1950s, award-winning science reporter Andrea Rock traces the brief but fascinating history of this emerging scientific field. She then takes us into modern sleep labs across the country, bringing the scientists to life as she interprets their intellectual breakthroughs and asks the questions that intrigue us all: Why do we remember only a fraction of our dreams? Why are dreams usually accompanied by intense emotion, such as fear or anxiety? Can we really control our dreams without waking up? Are universal dream interpretations valid? Is dreaming our way of consolidating long-term memories and filtering the day's mental detritus? Can dreams truly spark creative thought or help solve problems? Accessible and engaging, The Mind at Night shines a bright light on our nocturnal journeys, while revealing the crucial role dreams could play in penetrating the mystery of consciousness.


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Over the past few decades, there has been a revolution in scientific knowledge about why we dream, what's actually happening to the brain when we do, and what the sleeping mind reveals about our waking hours. Beginning with the birth of dream research in the 1950s, award-winning science reporter Andrea Rock traces the brief but fascinating history of this emerging scientif Over the past few decades, there has been a revolution in scientific knowledge about why we dream, what's actually happening to the brain when we do, and what the sleeping mind reveals about our waking hours. Beginning with the birth of dream research in the 1950s, award-winning science reporter Andrea Rock traces the brief but fascinating history of this emerging scientific field. She then takes us into modern sleep labs across the country, bringing the scientists to life as she interprets their intellectual breakthroughs and asks the questions that intrigue us all: Why do we remember only a fraction of our dreams? Why are dreams usually accompanied by intense emotion, such as fear or anxiety? Can we really control our dreams without waking up? Are universal dream interpretations valid? Is dreaming our way of consolidating long-term memories and filtering the day's mental detritus? Can dreams truly spark creative thought or help solve problems? Accessible and engaging, The Mind at Night shines a bright light on our nocturnal journeys, while revealing the crucial role dreams could play in penetrating the mystery of consciousness.

30 review for The Mind At Night: The New Science Of How And Why We Dream

  1. 4 out of 5

    Owlseyes

    Chuang Tzu, Taoist philosopher (4th century B.C. ) This is a “new” approach on dreaming and sleep, one that puts into question those psychoanalytical views constructed by Freud and Jung. Mainly, it is the experimental approach, which takes recourse to the findings issued from animal experimentation as well as those studies which consider certain specific brain areas and structures and their functions on sleep and dreaming activities. It comprises 10 chapters, each starting with a quote. I Chuang Tzu, Taoist philosopher (4th century B.C. ) This is a “new” approach on dreaming and sleep, one that puts into question those psychoanalytical views constructed by Freud and Jung. Mainly, it is the experimental approach, which takes recourse to the findings issued from animal experimentation as well as those studies which consider certain specific brain areas and structures and their functions on sleep and dreaming activities. It comprises 10 chapters, each starting with a quote. I've found those quotes illuminating, so I will write them next, after the chapter’s title. Chapter 1: Rockettes, EEG’s and Banana Cream Pie “We experience a dream as real because it is real…the miracle is how without any help from the sense organs, the brain replicates in the dream all the sensory information that creates the world we live in when we are awake” William Dement Chapter 2: The Anti-Freud “Those dreams that on the silent night intrude, And with false flitting shapes our minds delude, Jove never sends us downwards from the skies, Nor do they from infernal mansions rise; But all are mere productions of the brain. And fools consult interpreters in vain” Jonathan Swift, “On Dreams” Chapter 3: Experiments of Nature “Perhaps it is simply the ghost of Freud that is getting in the way” Allen Braun Chapter 4: The lesson of the Spiny Anteater “Dreams were never designed to be remembered, but they are keys to who we are” Jonathan Wilson. Chapter 5: Rerunning the Maze “The dream is memory itself changing before your eyes” Bert States Chapter 6: Nocturnal Therapy “We do not have emotions about our dreams so much as dreams about our emotions” Rosalind Cartwright Chapter 7: The Ultimate Spin Doctor “Freud was 50% right and 100% wrong” Robert Stickgold Chapter 8: Creative Chaos “Dreaming is above all, a time when the unheard parts of ourselves are allowed to speak” Deirdre Barrett. Chapter 9: Altered States “Once I, Chuang Tzu, dreamt that I was a butterfly, a butterfly flying about, feeling that it was enjoying itself. It did not know that it was Chuang. Suddenly I awoke and was myself again, the veritable Chuang. I do not know whether it was Chuang dreaming that he was a butterfly or whether I am now a butterfly dreaming that it was Chuang” Chuang Tzu, Taoist philosopher (4th century B.C. ) Chapter 10: Consciousness and Beyond “The brain is the most complex system in the known universe” Christoff Koch

  2. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    I highly recommend "The Mind at Night" for readers who are interested in dreaming as it relates to brain function, neurophysiology and chemistry, psychology, personal identity, lucid dreaming, creativity, sleep disorders, mental health, memory and the history of scientific discovery. The development of dream research and discovery is told through the lives and works of the scientists and researchers who studied how the brain creates dreams, and how those dreams affect us. She plays experiments an I highly recommend "The Mind at Night" for readers who are interested in dreaming as it relates to brain function, neurophysiology and chemistry, psychology, personal identity, lucid dreaming, creativity, sleep disorders, mental health, memory and the history of scientific discovery. The development of dream research and discovery is told through the lives and works of the scientists and researchers who studied how the brain creates dreams, and how those dreams affect us. She plays experiments and scientists off of each other in order to effectively advance the reader's understanding of the development of dream theory: Solms became more convinced that the brainstem alone did not trigger dreaming when he encountered another fascinating group of brain lesion patients: those who couldn't stop dreaming, even when they were awake. These patients suffered damage to a specific group of cells in the base of the forebrain that played a crucial role in Hobson's view of how dreams are created. Hobson contended that the brainstem's dream-generating signals projected onto these cells (called basal forebrain nuclei) and that they in turn activiated the forebrain structures needed to create visual images and the other stuff of which dreams are made. If Hobson's theory were correct, then damaging those cells should result in a loss of dreaming, but Solms found just the opposite was true. Damage to those cells and closely related brain structures instead created patients whose nighttime dreams were unusually vivid and frequent and who had difficulty distingiuishing between dreams and waking experience during the day. The reality-testing system that goes off-line when we dream - allowing us to fully believe that we're back at the high school prom wearing nothing but our underwear - normally comes back online when we awaken. Not so for patients with damage to these clusters of cells. Rock's sense of humour and details of the scientists' personal lives and professional rivalries added a depth that kept the book from becoming dry, as in the following excerpt: In order to run his dream experiments without having to spend nights away from his wife, he converted part of his apartment to a sleep lab, running local ads to recruit test subjects. A member of the Rockettes happened to see the ad, and she spread the word among other members of the Radio City dance troupe that they could earn money for simply sleeping in Dement's lab - an idea with great appeal to many of the young women. Though the research was entirely aboveboard, the routine that ensued made Dement quite the object of curiosity in his apartment building as a steady parade of women came straight from the chorus line to do their nightly stint in the lab. "A lovely woman, still in theatrical makeup, would arrive at the apartment building and ask the doorman for my room," Dement recalls. "In the morning, she would reappear, sometimes with one of my unshaven and exhausted male colleagues who had spent the night monitoring the EEG. One day, the doorman could finally stand it no longer. 'Dr. Dement,' he demanded, 'exactly what goes on in your apartment?' I just smiled." Each chapter features an overarching theory, with subsections that neatly fold into each other to create the summarized argument at the end. Each subsection contains the main theory/argument, a major experiment, supporting research if it exists, a note about how this either confirms or challenges previous ideas, and occasionally quotations from the scientists themselves. The Theory Dreaming can also be understood via principles of chaos. Most of the time when we're awake, neuromodulators such as serotonin act to restrain cerebral chaos, but in REM, the physiological shifts that occur bump the brain into a chaotic state, and vivid, complex dreaming is the outward sign of its self-organizing response, argue Hobson and Kahn. The only constraining forces come from internal memories and traces of recent experience, leaving the door open for a broad repertoire of possible combinations in forming dream imagery and story lines. The Quotation "Dreaming may be our most creative conscious state, one in which the chaotic, spontaneous recombination of cognitive elements produces novel configurations of information: new ideas. While many or even most of these ideas may be nonsensical, if even a few of its fanciful products are truly useful our dream time will not have been wasted," says Hobson. The Supporting Research In fact, suggests long-time dream researcher Stephen LaBerge, the creative and novel neural connections that are possible in REM may serve an even more fundamental purpose that gives us an edge in the Darwinian scheme of survival of the fittest. "Perhaps dreaming generates a wide range of behavioural schema or scripts guiding perception and action from which to select adaptive fits to changing environments," says LaBerge. Each chapter has a thought-provoking closing: Concludes Barrett: "Dreaming is, above all, a time when the unheard parts of ourselves are allowed to speak - and we would do well to listen." The book finishes with some summaries of current research and planned future projects, as well as applications for said research: Also, she has been examining the effects of sleep deprivation on rats' brains at the molecular level. Initial results reveal that there is only one gene whose expression is caused by long-term sleep deprivation, and it is one that is involved in balancing levels of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. Being awake nonstop keeps these brain chemicals circulating in the brain in high concentrations continually rather than being shut off periodically as the brain moves through its various sleep stages. Her research thus far suggests an interesting hypothesis. "It may be that an important part of sleep's function is to give the brain a break from neurotransmitters that are predominant in waking hours. Having them around at high levels all of the time could somehow be toxic to neurons," she says. The amount of information contained in this book is staggering, and yet never overwhelming. Each chapter is well planned and organized, with each point supported by a range of methods. This lends a narrative flow that aids comprehension and makes for an enjoyable reading experience. Rock also has a knack for knowing when the reader may need to be reminded of certain names or pertinent information. A fascinating read. Five stars.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Justarius

    Some of the other reviews criticize the lack of depth, but honestly, how much can you pack into 200ish pages? Given the brevity of the book, the author paints a fine picture of what we currently know about dreaming and where the field might be headed next. She weaves in background history and personal stories so that it isn't just another dry science textbook. This is a good, compact, and highly readable introduction to the science of dreaming. Some of the other reviews criticize the lack of depth, but honestly, how much can you pack into 200ish pages? Given the brevity of the book, the author paints a fine picture of what we currently know about dreaming and where the field might be headed next. She weaves in background history and personal stories so that it isn't just another dry science textbook. This is a good, compact, and highly readable introduction to the science of dreaming.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Karina Vargas

    The Mind At Night: The New Science Of How And Why We Dream : ¡4 estrellas!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rachel B

    3.5 stars A very interesting book that explores how dreaming is possible as well as the purpose of dreams. I loved all the neuroscience here. (Though frequently, brain scans were described and I would have loved to see photos of those included.) I was very frustrated, however, by Rock's portrayal of the evolutionary theory as fact. She did a great job at portraying other theories for what they were - possibilities - and yet evolution is referred to as a fact over and over and over, without actual 3.5 stars A very interesting book that explores how dreaming is possible as well as the purpose of dreams. I loved all the neuroscience here. (Though frequently, brain scans were described and I would have loved to see photos of those included.) I was very frustrated, however, by Rock's portrayal of the evolutionary theory as fact. She did a great job at portraying other theories for what they were - possibilities - and yet evolution is referred to as a fact over and over and over, without actual facts to back it up. The first few chapters held my attention very easily, but then the book began to get very repetitive and a little drawn out. It is interesting if you already like science, but could be tedious if you're not. My favorite chapters were the ones exploring memory, REM sleep in peoples who are depressed, and lucid dreams.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    One of my favorites on dream books. Anything dealing with the unconscious mind, dreamily floats its way onto my reading list. The Mind at Night is wonderfully researched and one the best, offering many insights into memory and dreaming that I had not read elsewhere. Some hard-core researchers detailed in this book, one must give respect. The day, I will be truly excited in this area of learning is when dreams can be recorded, though, I will be reluctant to let anyone into my unconscious mind. It One of my favorites on dream books. Anything dealing with the unconscious mind, dreamily floats its way onto my reading list. The Mind at Night is wonderfully researched and one the best, offering many insights into memory and dreaming that I had not read elsewhere. Some hard-core researchers detailed in this book, one must give respect. The day, I will be truly excited in this area of learning is when dreams can be recorded, though, I will be reluctant to let anyone into my unconscious mind. It must be said, Jung and Freud are on my list to read for dreaming study, and so I should let the psychological greats walk me through wonderland and see what is revealed. Otherwise, I personally, gained a lot of information from this work. Andrea Rocks the Dream World.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Vladimir

    An interesting read. If you know about this field of research you are not likely to find it as interesting, it is after all a pop science book. However, what is remarkable in this book is how nearly every neuroscientist interviewed had the need out point that, my God, "Freud was wrong". This need to insult psychoanalysis at every chance possible is downright hilarious, because sometimes they come up with explanations "it's not unconscious in the way Freud believed, but it is unconscious because An interesting read. If you know about this field of research you are not likely to find it as interesting, it is after all a pop science book. However, what is remarkable in this book is how nearly every neuroscientist interviewed had the need out point that, my God, "Freud was wrong". This need to insult psychoanalysis at every chance possible is downright hilarious, because sometimes they come up with explanations "it's not unconscious in the way Freud believed, but it is unconscious because it is not conscious". It's highly entertaining, whatever your position may be on this subject if you can appreciate a funny frustration when you see one.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Daniel R.

    This book provides an excellent history and discussion of current research around dreaming. It is by the far the most approachable book on the topic I've read. Each chapter explores a different aspect of the mind at mind and calls out specific researchers leading the exploration of that area. The books builds upon itself such that the later topics, while dealing with more current and technical material, are digestible as previous chapters laid the groundwork for understanding them. This book provides an excellent history and discussion of current research around dreaming. It is by the far the most approachable book on the topic I've read. Each chapter explores a different aspect of the mind at mind and calls out specific researchers leading the exploration of that area. The books builds upon itself such that the later topics, while dealing with more current and technical material, are digestible as previous chapters laid the groundwork for understanding them.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Liubov Yaroshenko

    This book will surprise you by revealing incredible facts (!) about our brains, dreaming process and dreams. For example, everybody has dreams, but we forget them; you can remember a dream, if you wake up straight away and so on and so forth. The book helps discover this topic even deeper. I highly recommend you to read this book, if you are curious and ready to change your knowledge and the point of view on this topic completely. AND start being more self-conscious Peace V

  10. 5 out of 5

    Roberta

    This is a book about the science of dreaming - NOT dream interpretation. It took me forever to read the 200 pages and even though I found parts of it enlightening, I felt relieved when I was finished. I learned that your body actually sometimes becomes paralyzed when you dream. I had a hard time distinguishing between "lucid dreaming" and being awake. Seem like a very fine line to me. This is a book about the science of dreaming - NOT dream interpretation. It took me forever to read the 200 pages and even though I found parts of it enlightening, I felt relieved when I was finished. I learned that your body actually sometimes becomes paralyzed when you dream. I had a hard time distinguishing between "lucid dreaming" and being awake. Seem like a very fine line to me.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Maddy Maxey

    An enjoyable exploration of consciousness.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sienna

    There's a forest of page markers sticking out of this fascinating journey through sleep & dream research. When I reached chapter seven, "the ultimate spin doctor," I tried to stop marking everything that stopped me in my tracks. 126 "'Once you realize the brain is so gullible, you don't want to believe a damn thing it does. It's always trying to make sense, and in doing so, it fabricates more than just dreams,' says John Antrobus." It took me a while to finish the book because it made me think so There's a forest of page markers sticking out of this fascinating journey through sleep & dream research. When I reached chapter seven, "the ultimate spin doctor," I tried to stop marking everything that stopped me in my tracks. 126 "'Once you realize the brain is so gullible, you don't want to believe a damn thing it does. It's always trying to make sense, and in doing so, it fabricates more than just dreams,' says John Antrobus." It took me a while to finish the book because it made me think so much -- & dream! Two wonderful lucid dreams that must have come from the tips & explanations in the book. Highly recommend to anybody interested in dreams or how the brain works, & plays. 85 "We remember only what we have encoded and what the brain decides to encode depends on our past experiences knowledge and needs." 100 "As Robert Stickgold puts it, 'Figuring out what memory means, rather than simply recording events, is the brain's mission at night.'" 104 "Cartwright argues that when you're dreaming, you're updating your concept of who you are." 112 "...some psychologists suggest that a properly functioning dreaming system may actually be more effective than forms of psychotherapy that encourage the depressed to become introspective and ruminate still further." 120 "'We send our study subjects transcripts of the dreams they reported in the lab along with questionnaires asking if they recognize anyone, if there are any relationships between one dream and another, any connections to what's going on now in their lives,' says Rosalind Cartwright. 'And even the subjects who deny that dreams have any importance or meaning -- boy, do they go to town and write and write. It's do-it-yourself psychoanalysis.'" 134 "Says psychophysiologist Stephen Laberge, 'If what people see in ink blots can tell something about their personal concerns and personality, how much more revealing should dreams be, because they are the worlds we have created from the contents of our minds. Dreams may not be messages, but they are our own most intimately personal creations. As such, they are unmistakably colored by who and what we are, and could become.'" 157 "Maintaining lucidity for any length of time in a dream requires the delicate balance of remaining a detached, receptive observer of your emotions, actions, and thoughts at the same time that you were actively experiencing them -- the same mix that's required for meditation." 163 [an insight within a lucid dream, full dream is fantastic] "The degree of awareness one is able to achieve while in the dream is in direct proportion to the degree of awareness one experiences in waking life." 175 "The human brain appears to be uniquely capable of using its computing power to figure out its own operating rules."

  13. 5 out of 5

    Wiktor Dynarski

    Despite the fact that there are a few issues with the author's thinking surrounding culture and gender, this book is a fascinating read, especially for someone like myself who, although interested in science, is most definitely an amateur and requires an elaborate and downgraded introduction to concept that for many people of science may be quite basic. I highly recommend this journey through what we know and what we WILL know about dreaming in the future. Despite the fact that there are a few issues with the author's thinking surrounding culture and gender, this book is a fascinating read, especially for someone like myself who, although interested in science, is most definitely an amateur and requires an elaborate and downgraded introduction to concept that for many people of science may be quite basic. I highly recommend this journey through what we know and what we WILL know about dreaming in the future.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa Princessa

    I read this book thanks to Blinkist. The key message in this book: Dreaming is an incredibly important function of the human mind that has, in many different ways, helped us get to where we are as a species today. Although remembering your dreams isn’t that important, knowing how and why you dream most certainly is.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Richard Eyster

    I have read many books on dreaming -- on the science and the mystery of dreaming. There are books that range from dopey astrology to those written by professors trying to make a name for themselves through their pet theories. Andrea Rock is an extraordinary journalist. This is probably the best book on dreaming I've ever read -- out of many. Highly, highly recommended. I have read many books on dreaming -- on the science and the mystery of dreaming. There are books that range from dopey astrology to those written by professors trying to make a name for themselves through their pet theories. Andrea Rock is an extraordinary journalist. This is probably the best book on dreaming I've ever read -- out of many. Highly, highly recommended.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Wells

    There are surprisingly few books out there on the topic of dreaming and far fewer that are as well researched as this one. This is an insightful book on what goes on in your brain during the state of dreaming and what benefits can come from it.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Andrii Khliakin

    Too many historical facts. Boring...

  18. 5 out of 5

    Augusto Lara

    Fascinating insights into REM sleep and it's evolution. Fascinating insights into REM sleep and it's evolution.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shani

    Fascinating! Scientific coverage about dreams. I was skeptic of how scientific a book about dreams could be, but this was a no-nonsense, interesting book with huge coverage of the topic.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ktbird

    An interesting look at sleep research, yet it left me wanting to understand so much more (not the author's fault - just the reality of the research). An interesting look at sleep research, yet it left me wanting to understand so much more (not the author's fault - just the reality of the research).

  21. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    Interesting survey of the research on dreaming (though now dated, of course, since it was written in 2004). Needs a good editing.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Leanna Palermo

    I was drawn to this book because of my desire to explore both the left and right brain information about dreams. There was quiet a bit of history, which I thoroughly enjoyed, from the Upanishad’s to Jung. I especially appreciated the deeper understanding of Freud’s vs. Jung’s take on dream study, and resonated with Jung’s sentiment of “The manifest dream picture is the dream itself and contains the whole meaning of the dream.” Being in the health care field I loved the emphasis on how healthy, e I was drawn to this book because of my desire to explore both the left and right brain information about dreams. There was quiet a bit of history, which I thoroughly enjoyed, from the Upanishad’s to Jung. I especially appreciated the deeper understanding of Freud’s vs. Jung’s take on dream study, and resonated with Jung’s sentiment of “The manifest dream picture is the dream itself and contains the whole meaning of the dream.” Being in the health care field I loved the emphasis on how healthy, essential and fundamental dreams are, as well as the theories presented to suggest the pivotal nature of dreams, in regard to our evolution. Also, the neurophysiology and progressive biochemical changes that happen from the womb until old age captured my attention. Learning about fatal familial insomnia (FFI) was fascinating and something I don’t wish on anyone! “Manipulating dream content” was brought up and some experiments documented. It was a nice balance to other books that I also enjoy tremendously, but which are far more anecdotal accounts of controlling or becoming lucid in the dream. Debunking the myth that the presence or absence of rapid eye movement (REM) dictated whether or not one was dreaming was interesting, although I’ll still make up stories about what my dogs may be dreaming when I see them moving all around in their sleep. And, I’ll always look favorably upon a book that supports my sleeping late in the morning… Overall I highly recommend this book for those leaning toward the science of oneironautics, and not those who live more in their right brains. I’m not sure how much of the science was new, as the subtitle suggests, but it is certainly a compilation chock full of really great information. It will remain on my shelf as a reference for my own explorations, when I need to be in my left brain.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    I chose this book because I didn't want myths and theories, I wanted the large-scale analyses of dream journals, EEG findings, and other scientific facts. It delivered and exceeded expectations in this area. There is so much to learn from this book about dreams. The one downside is the readers has to wade through lengthy anecdotes from the personal lives of the scientists whose research is featured, to get to the gems of information about dreams. The actual information itself is plentiful and wr I chose this book because I didn't want myths and theories, I wanted the large-scale analyses of dream journals, EEG findings, and other scientific facts. It delivered and exceeded expectations in this area. There is so much to learn from this book about dreams. The one downside is the readers has to wade through lengthy anecdotes from the personal lives of the scientists whose research is featured, to get to the gems of information about dreams. The actual information itself is plentiful and written in an understandable way.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Grace

    I have never been one to obsess over dream interpretation and the weak reasoning that is behind the so-called meanings of dreams that people often come up with. However, I have long been intrigued with dreams, since I am a lucid dreamer, and dreams are part of my everyday experience. When I first picked up his book in my late middle school or early high school days, I was surprised to find that there were whole studies on sleep and the biological phenomena (i.e. REM) that are associated with dre I have never been one to obsess over dream interpretation and the weak reasoning that is behind the so-called meanings of dreams that people often come up with. However, I have long been intrigued with dreams, since I am a lucid dreamer, and dreams are part of my everyday experience. When I first picked up his book in my late middle school or early high school days, I was surprised to find that there were whole studies on sleep and the biological phenomena (i.e. REM) that are associated with dreaming. This is the first book that I read that sparked my interest in how the brain works and what that means for mental life. It brought the relatively young field of neuroscience to my attention, and now, many years later, I am a neuroscience major. I realize now that this book makes the study of neuroscience quite approachable and understandable, as well as interesting to people who are not really familiar with the field. So, if you are interested in how dream arise, I recommend this book! (And I also discourage you from reading Freud's Interpretation of Dreams, which is far less reasonable and based on Freud's own biased interpretation, I believe.)

  25. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I am hugely interested in dreams (shameless plug for my DREAMzine- www.thisendlesspresent.com ) and I studied Psychology, so this book combines two things that are completely fascinating to me. It details a vast array of topics relating to dreaming, and is full of theories with summarized research findings and experimental data, and quotes from Neuropsychologists and Dream/Sleep Researchers galore. It is written for average people to read and comprehend, and most of the time it will read easily, I am hugely interested in dreams (shameless plug for my DREAMzine- www.thisendlesspresent.com ) and I studied Psychology, so this book combines two things that are completely fascinating to me. It details a vast array of topics relating to dreaming, and is full of theories with summarized research findings and experimental data, and quotes from Neuropsychologists and Dream/Sleep Researchers galore. It is written for average people to read and comprehend, and most of the time it will read easily, although there are a few sections in which the language gets a bit heavy, bordering on a little textbookish. Overall, though, it is compelling and an average-paced read; I guarantee you will learn a ton about how and why we dream from this book, and you will understand yourself (and people in general) better as a result!

  26. 4 out of 5

    dejah_thoris

    I read this in a few days and it's a great read for the layperson interested in why we dream. Not much new material for me but I did like the discussion on depression and sleep. Apparently, the depressed would benefit from repeated waking during REM because, unlike normal human beings, our emotions do not get resolved in REM. Instead, the mind dwells on negativity, much like our waking hours, and dreaming merely becomes brooding. The epilogue also noted the problem of medications like Prozac, wh I read this in a few days and it's a great read for the layperson interested in why we dream. Not much new material for me but I did like the discussion on depression and sleep. Apparently, the depressed would benefit from repeated waking during REM because, unlike normal human beings, our emotions do not get resolved in REM. Instead, the mind dwells on negativity, much like our waking hours, and dreaming merely becomes brooding. The epilogue also noted the problem of medications like Prozac, which create AMAZING dreams, although it appears they wouldn't because of the serotonin levels. Still, if you're curious about what really happens during sleep, including sleep disorders, pick up this book as there's few long words or complicated explanations.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    Interesting book, helped me think about dreams in a different way--what their purpose is, what our brains are doing when we dream. I remember a lot of my dreams (like every day), so was curious to know what scientists thought about them. Turns out a lot of my intuited ideas about dreams coincide with what science says currently - namely, that occasionally something momentous happens in dreams, but often its just our brains tuning up, running through the previous day, spinning stories. I did find Interesting book, helped me think about dreams in a different way--what their purpose is, what our brains are doing when we dream. I remember a lot of my dreams (like every day), so was curious to know what scientists thought about them. Turns out a lot of my intuited ideas about dreams coincide with what science says currently - namely, that occasionally something momentous happens in dreams, but often its just our brains tuning up, running through the previous day, spinning stories. I did find intriguing the notion that part of what dreams do is process emotions, and how that works, or doesn't, in depressed people and those on antidepressants. Topics for more research.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Geyer

    The Mind at Night details several interesting insights into sleeping and dreaming. My interest in the book ebbed and flowed with the chapters. The chapters on the history of sleep and dream research and the scientific details thereof were a bit lackluster. I found the theories on the evolution of sleep and dreams and the common themes of dreams and how scientists’ views differed from psychologists’ to be the most compelling aspects of the book. Unfortunately, the most interesting chapter comes a The Mind at Night details several interesting insights into sleeping and dreaming. My interest in the book ebbed and flowed with the chapters. The chapters on the history of sleep and dream research and the scientific details thereof were a bit lackluster. I found the theories on the evolution of sleep and dreams and the common themes of dreams and how scientists’ views differed from psychologists’ to be the most compelling aspects of the book. Unfortunately, the most interesting chapter comes at the end of the book and feels rushed and incomplete.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    After some searching on Goodreads, this book appeared to be my best bet for tackling the subject of dreams as half neuroscience, half psychoanalysis. It was exactly what I was looking for. It doesn't careen off into the self-help realm. It contains fascinating study after fascinating study without getting overly technical. The author examines what consciousness means, and how the unconscious mind has adapted to help us cope with emotions. Occasionally repetitive, hence the one-star penalty. After some searching on Goodreads, this book appeared to be my best bet for tackling the subject of dreams as half neuroscience, half psychoanalysis. It was exactly what I was looking for. It doesn't careen off into the self-help realm. It contains fascinating study after fascinating study without getting overly technical. The author examines what consciousness means, and how the unconscious mind has adapted to help us cope with emotions. Occasionally repetitive, hence the one-star penalty.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Selene

    I really liked the beginning of this book. All the information on why we need to sleep and dream was extremely interesting. However I was also very glad to have finished it. More than halfway through the book got a little tedious. I found the information on lucid dreaming and even how you can get a creative edge while dreaming to be dull and perhaps dry (I'm not sure if that's quite the right word). I really liked the beginning of this book. All the information on why we need to sleep and dream was extremely interesting. However I was also very glad to have finished it. More than halfway through the book got a little tedious. I found the information on lucid dreaming and even how you can get a creative edge while dreaming to be dull and perhaps dry (I'm not sure if that's quite the right word).

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