What Dreams Are Made Of

The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), June 11, 2002 | Go to article overview

What Dreams Are Made Of


Byline: Lyndsay Moss

Children's dreams are affected by what they watch on television and the books they read, a survey revealed yesterday.

The Dream Lab experiment found that 66 per cent of children said their dreams were influenced by their TV viewing habits and 44 per cent said books had an impact.

Events happening during their day also affected the dreams of 51 per cent of children according to the survey commissioned by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals as part of the Frontiers: Science in Libraries campaign.

The questionnaires, which examined links between aspects of ''waking life'' such as reading books and dreams, was distributed to libraries across the country and more than 10,000 adults and children responded.

Announcing the results of a sample of questionnaires received, Dr Mark Blagrove, from the University of Wales in Swansea, said: ''The main importance of the survey is what it reveals about the correlation between waking life and the characteristics of dreams.''

The results of the survey were analysed by a team of psychologists led by Dr Blagrove, who revealed the findings at the Science Museum in Kensington, central London.

Dr Blagrove also noted the link that was found between children who kept a diary and the incidence of lucid dreams - a dream where they are aware they are dreaming.

"If they tended to keep a diary they were more likely to have a lucid dream, they seemed more self-aware and that carries over into their dreams,'' he said.

The survey also found that children aged six to 16 who read scary books were three times more likely to have nightmares than children who did not.

Dr Blagrove said: ''Children who reported reading scary books had three times the number of bad dreams than children who don't.

"Adults were not affected in the same way which seems to be because adults kept away from scary books if they knew they were going to be affected by them.''

Children who read more fantasy books were more likely to have lucid dreams, the survey also revealed.

Dr Blagrove said the current scientific view was that Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, the part of deep sleep during the last few hours of sleeping, was involved in laying down permanent memories from the previous day.

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