The Truth About Dreams

You often wonder, as you watch your baby randomly smile while she sleeps, what is she smiling about?

Well one things for sure, It’s not clear at what age kids begin to dream, but even toddlers may speak about having dreams — pleasant ones and scary ones. While almost every child has an occasional frightening dream, these nightmares seem to peak during the preschool years when fear of the dark is common.

But older kids (and even adults) have occasional nightmares, too.

People go through five stages when they sleep. Four of these stages belong to non-REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, and one stage is REM sleep — it’s called such because of its characteristic rapid eye movements.

Infants actually spend much more time in REM sleep — about 50 to 80 percent of their sleep time is spent in this phase. Many people presume that infants do indeed dream during this stage, just as adults do, but since it’s impossible to ask a baby to recount his dream, it’s impossible to know.

Parents can’t prevent nightmares, but can help kids get a good night’s sleep — and that encourages sweet dreams. To help them relax when it’s time to sleep and associate bedtime with safety and comfort, be sure that kids:

  •     Have a regular bedtime and wake-up time
  •     Have a sleep routine that helps them slow down, and feel safe and secure as they drift off to sleep. This might include a bath, reading bedtime stories, etc
  •     Have a bed that’s a cozy, peaceful place to quiet down. A favorite toy or stuffed animal.
  •     Avoid scary movies, TV shows

Know that nightmares aren’t real, that they’re just dreams and can’t hurt them.

Have your children experienced any nightmares? Tell us your stories!