Do Babies Dream? My Thoughts On An Impossible Question!
I remember watching each of my newborn babies twitch, smile, or sigh during sleep and pondering, “What’s going on in that tiny head of yours? Are you dreaming sweetie?” It got me wondering, is it even possible for a newborn baby to dream? And if so, how could she be dreaming about anything other than eating, sleeping, and diaper changes? Well, I decided to find the answers, and I’m excited to shed some light on this little mystery.
Why babies probably don’t dream
It’s difficult to definitively answer the question whether babies do or don’t dream simply because they can’t tell us… but there’s plenty of speculation by neuroscientists and sleep experts. Here are the arguments as to babies’ inability to dream for the first few years of life:
- The brain has enough going on already – Babies’ brains are otherwise occupied with developing new connections and undergoing rapid growth during sleep, which is a big reason why babies sleep so much in the first place. It would be nice to sleep that much, wouldn’t it?
- Lack of experience – Dreams are narrowed by perceptions, so if babies dream, they probably wouldn’t be very exciting dreams. If you’d never seen images of a dinosaur, for example, how could you dream about one?
- No awareness of self – Recognizing who we are as individuals doesn’t seem to solidify until 7 or 8 years of age.
- Immature brain – It’s possible that a baby’s brain is just not mature enough to imagine things during sleep.
- Must be able to talk to express having a dream – Children younger than 4 or 5 years old typically lack the language skills necessary to communicate a dream.
Seriously, who really knows? Personally, I think there’s SOMETHING going on in there even if it’s not a dream as WE think of a dream. I guess it’s just one of life’s little mysteries. And if baby is dreaming, all that sleep time could provide some pretty amazing imaginary adventures!
Until next time, my fellow moms and dads – sweet dreams!
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