childhood and adult life, dreams are known to affect our intellectual and emotional
is a scary dream. A
night terror is quite different: it is not a dream
but a confused state when waking from deep sleep.
Below is an overview of
how to recognize dreams, nightmares and night
terrors and how you can help.
How can you
tell if your baby is dreaming?
A dream occurs
in a specific phase of sleep, called REM sleep - Rapid Eye Moment. A
sleeping baby spends more time in this phase than any other. And so she
time dreaming than not dreaming.
the dream phase,
your child appears very
active: she'll make (funny) faces,
stretch and clutch fingers, wiggle arms and legs about, make soft
If you look closely, you can see the
eyes move behind the eyelids:
going quickly from left to right (that's the rapid eye movement).
How to avoid waking up from baby dreams?
(Why) Does a baby dream?
Do babies dream?
Yes, most sleep experts agree that babies dream. And the
younger, the more they dream ... even before being born.
Scientists have suggested that an unborn in the womb dreams almost all
time. The function of that prenatal dreaming would be for brain development.
A newborn still dreams most of the time when sleeping and so does a
young infant. The brain is still in full development.
Very gradually the amount of dreaming becomes less. Adults still dream,
but not most of the time. The function of dreams is then less obvious
but dealing with emotional situations is one of them ...
dreams are gentle and won't disturb nap and nights.
But some babies wake themselves up from waving their arms and
legs about. Often this is just a short wake - jumping up - and
then they go back to sleep again.
Sometimes it wakes them up completely, over and over again. And
that can really make falling
asleep difficult - babies usually go straight to a dream
phase when drifting off.
To avoid your little one waking
tuck her in, arms well tucked under the blankets and in
the toe to feet
position (feet at the foot end of the bed to avoid sliding under the
covers for a safe baby
Alternatively, use a sleeping
The right size sleeping bag gives a good tuck and nicely
keeps her legs still.
When you hold your little one while she drifts off, for example after feeding, hold
her closely and securely her arms.
If she continues to wake up frequently, and your baby has the right age for it to be safe, consider
swaddling I recommend checking with a medical professional to make
sure swaddling is still safe for your baby.
Niedermeyer E., Da Silva F.L. - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins,
2005.  Ontogenetic Development of
the Human Sleep-Dream Cycle Howard P. Roffwarg, Joseph N.
Muzio, and William C. Dement - Science,
Vol. 152. no. 3722.  Neonatal
Electroencephalography Dreyfus-Brisac C. - Reviews in Perinatal Medicine
Vol. 3. p.397, 1979