The Dream Book: A Young Person's Guide to Understanding Dreams

The Dream Book: A Young Person's Guide to Understanding Dreams

by Patricia Garfield



Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780887765940
Publisher: Tundra
Publication date: 04/02/2002
Pages: 128
Product dimensions: 6.99(w) x 8.99(h) x 0.37(d)
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

Patricia Garfield has been keeping a journal of her dreams since she was 14 years old. 50 years later, she is still keeping a journal of her dreams. This journal has informed her research and her writing. In addition to a PhD in Clinical Psychology, Patricia is one of six co-founders of The Association for the Study of Dreams. She is THE international authority on dreams. Her work has appeared in most major magazines, from Reader’s Digest to Mademoiselle, from The New York Times to People. She has appeared on television many times, and has a website that receives 4-6000 hits per day! Her work is international in scope, and her subject is of universal interest.

Patricia Garfield was born in Erie Pennsylvania in 1934. She has lived and traveled around the world, and now makes her home in the San Francisco Bay area of California.

Read an Excerpt

The Craziest Dream

When you compare your dreams to what happens while you’re awake, your daytime life might seem pretty boring. Have you ever had any of these dreams:

• that you were flying on a dragon’s back
• that you were being chased by a vampire
• that you were eating a hot fudge sundae
• that you were being kissed by your favorite movie star
• that your teeth were falling apart
• that you were riding in a car with no brakes
• that you were hunting for the room where you were going to take a test
• that you were falling through black space
• that you were soaring to the moon
• that you were running naked down the school hallway
• that you were wearing a totally cool outfit
• that you were nearly drowned by a tidal wave
• that you were trapped in your body
• that you found an extra room in your house
• that you were talking with someone who is dead?

If you have, then you’re not alone. All these have been dreamed by kids a lot like you. Welcome to the wild, weird, and wonderful world of dreams!

More Sleep, More Dreams

Your dreams are changing, big time. Those hormones you hear so much about not only cause guys to get beards and girls to get curvier bodies, but they can also create chaos in your dream life. Researchers tell us that the quality of dreams changes as adolescence begins. Nice dreams decrease. Wild and wacky dreams increase. If you start having some crazy dream adventures, you should know that so does almost every other kid your age.

During the years you are doing the most growing, you are also dreaming more. The more you sleep, the more you dream. Soon, you’ll want to sleep more than you used to — you might have already noticed that you get drowsy more often. The same hormones that cause the radical changes in your body during adolescence also make you feel more sleepy than at any other time in your adult life (except during pregnancy for women).

What Is Sleep?
We spend about one-third of our entire lives in sleep. We need more sleep during times of stress. Sleep is one of our basic needs.

You need to sleep, just as you need to eat and drink, to survive. Scientists are not really sure why, but they have found that people who are kept awake for several days usually become irritable, inattentive, and irrational. (Kids are often accused of not being able to keep their temper, pay attention, or think straight — maybe you can blame it on sleep deprivation!) Animals deprived of sleep for a long time grow thin and die.

Some researchers think that sleep restores something in the body that gets used up while we are awake; others think sleep removes toxins that have built up in the body as we get tired. We know that a certain “growth hormone” is only released into our bodies during the deepest stages of sleep. This hormone helps kids develop normally, and also helps to repair tissues and heal wounds.

Our brain waves change during sleep. They shift from the fast irregular rhythm (called beta waves) of wakefulness to a slower regular rhythm (called alpha waves) as the body relaxes. Sleep actually begins when the brain sends out bursts of “sleep spindles.” When you feel so drowsy you can’t hold your eyes open and you begin to nod off while reading or watching TV, your brain is producing sleep spindles. You may notice wisps of dreams as you drift, or suddenly startle awake before falling asleep again. The brain waves get even slower (delta waves) as we enter deep sleep. The slowest waves our brains produce (theta waves) may appear next. Your soundest sleep is often during the first hour or so of the night.

Then, about ninety minutes into the sleep period, your eyes start to dart back and forth under your closed lids in rapid eye movement, or REM. That’s the dream state, not the band! This brain pattern resembles the waking waves of an active mind, but it differs because your body remains deeply relaxed. It seems like the large muscles in your legs and arms are paralyzed, while the small muscles in your face and fingers may twitch.

What Are Dreams?

When you close your eyes to the outer world in sleep, you open your mind to an inner world of dreams. Dreams are a kind of thinking that takes place during sleep. This thinking is mostly in images, like a language of pictures.

Dreaming is one of your body’s basic rhythms. Throughout day and night your body temperature varies, reaching peaks of highs and valleys of lows. Your food is digested and your heart pumps your blood in patterns that increase and decrease. During waking hours, you daydream in a cycle that lasts about ninety minutes. While you sleep, you dream in the same ninety-minute rhythm. In the “low” period of sleep, you have thoughtlike dreams that are not as vivid or active as the mountain peaks of your REM dreams.

With each cycle of dreaming, you dream for a longer time. At the beginning of the night, a dream lasts only ten minutes or so. By the end of the night, you are spending 30 to 45 minutes, even an hour, in a dream. As your dream periods grow longer, your deep sleep periods get shorter. Most adults dream 20 to 25 percent of the time they are asleep. You will go through four or five REM cycles during a typical night. If you sleep eight hours, you’ll dream two full hours of that time.

Dreaming through the Centuries

People have always been fascinated with dreams. Since the first written record was scratched into clay tablets in the days of the ancient Sumerian people, dreams have been part of humankind’s history. If you know the Old Testament of the Bible, you might remember Joseph’s interpretation of Pharaoh’s dream of the seven fat and seven lean cattle, and Jacob’s dream of the ladder reaching to heaven. The mother of the Buddha, the prophet Mohammed, and the founder of Mormonism, Joseph Smith, are among the people who have had important dreams recorded in holy books. Each religion has inscribed the dreams of their founders and chief followers, finding inspiration, warnings of danger, and guidance in them. Dreams were believed to be messages from the gods – and still are in some cultures.

All people have been fascinated with the mystery of dreams. Most cultures have developed ways to protect sleeping people from the evil spirits thought to bring bad dreams, and to insure good dreams. Some Aboriginal people of North America used to hang dreamcatchers above the cradleboards of sleeping infants to screen out nightmares and allow the passage of good dreams. Chinese parents provided their children with double-headed tiger pillows to scare off evil spirits who might approach from any direction. Japanese people carried amulets carved from ivory in the shape of a mythological creature called a Baku, who was supposed to eat bad dreams. Europeans hung a stone with a natural hole on a red ribbon and tied it to a bedpost to protect the sleeper.

Some societies believe that dreams foretell the future. Certainly some people experience dreams that seem to give information the dreamer could not have known in any other way. We don’t really know how many people have predictive dreams and how accurate they are. What we do know is that dreams are definitely a way to learn more about ourselves. From our dreams we can find out how to make waking life better.

Discover Yourself as You Dream
This book will show you what dreams you can expect and what they frequently mean. You’ll see that dreams can sometimes be shaped and you’ll learn how to cope with fearful figures in your dreams. You’ll get guidelines for having happier dream adventures.

How do I know that your dreams can help you? I have done several studies on dreams with people of different ages and in different cultures. Throughout this book, you will find kids describing their dreams in their own words. They have recorded their dreams for an Internet survey, and have told them to me during personal interviews.

In addition, since I was fourteen I have been recording my dreams in a journal, along with the main activities of my day. By keeping a dream journal, I learned a lot about how the dreaming mind works and how I could improve my dream life and my waking life. Although my work about dreaming has taught me much, I learned the most about myself from my own dream records. So can you. See chapter 15 “Be a Dream Detective” for tips on getting a good sleep, remembering your dreams, and learning from them.

Your dreams can teach you how you are truly feeling about yourself, your parents and other family members, friends, classmates, and teachers. They can tell you how you feel about your body. They can show you how you feel about the role you are playing in life at the moment. They can help you form your own identity.

A lot is going on in your waking life right now. You’re figuring out who you are and who you want to be. You’re testing your independence while still holding on to security. You’re thinking about what you might want in romance and relationships. You’re developing skills and pride in your accomplishments. You are finding your way to self-confidence. You’re deciding what is really important in life.

Dreams can help you with all of this, and more. As you start your own dream journal, or think about and explore your own dreams, you will be expanding your self-knowledge. Your best guide is as near as your pillow. Turn out the lights. Curl up in bed. Dream and discover yourself.

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The Dream Book: A Young Person's Guide to Understanding Dreams 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
A_Sloan More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be too text heavy for youth, but age is a big factor there I suppose. Dreams are filled with fantastical images, so why shouldn't there be pictures or symbols? I don't see why this book is better suited for young people than other dream guides. I'm overwhelmed quite frankly by the sheer number of dream books and dictionaries, but there is one out there still seems to stand alone. If your child suffers from nightmares, I strongly recommend The Nightmare Solution, as it helped my family find non-verbal ways to explore dreams and overcome the super scary ones.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is great. Young people all over the world MUST read it