We know that babies to enter REM sleep (dream state sleep) because we can see their eyes twitch as they sleep.

In fact they spend over half their time in REM sleep! Way more than adults.

But what do they dream about?

Neuroscientists believe REM sleep serves a completely different role in babes: It allows their brains to build pathways, and helps them develop languages.

But they lack the head space and the ability to imagine themselves as the heroes of baby adventures, or to dream of toys.

According to neuroscientists, even children at the age of 4 or 5 typically describe dreams that are static and plain, with no characters that move or act, few emotions and no memories. 

Vivid dreams start at age 7 and 8, when the child can become self-aware, and know that she/he is a person. 

In fact, the amount of self awareness— understanding that they would be the same person even if they had a different name, for example — strongly correlates with the amount of plot structure in that child’s dreams.



I think children have vivid dreams a lot earlier because I still remember a dream I had when I was 4 where I was strapped down to a mad scientist’s table and was about to be experimented on. 

Reading through the comments, a lot of people report back having vivid dreams at 4 or 5. Perhaps this theory is wrong after all. 

Yah I’m pretty sure this is B.S. or they just suck at interviewing kids. I had vivid dreams for as long as I can remember. My daughter’s friend, at age 3, had a vivid dream involving her mother and drowning. My own daughter frequently has nightmares about having to share toys (god forbid). She’s described other dreams as well, though I can’t remember them now.

Keep in mind that children this young have a limited vocabulary, can be understood more easily by their primary caretakers, or may not have understood what the scientists were asking. They also flat out won’t pay attention to questions or answer them correctly if they’re not in the right mood.

Yep. When I was three I remember dreaming (or remembering past life?) I was an adult woman and living in a lovely luxurious beach mansion. I wore silk robes and the room had marble flooring. It was sunset and I was staring out into the ocean and colorful sky.

(via ampattenden)