Imagine you’re lost deep in sleep, dreaming of all things nice and sweet — only to be jolted awake by a loud, shrill cry. You go to check the culprit behind this terrifying scream and are met with your sobbing child, woken up from their slumber.
It’s actually pretty common for babies to wake up screaming and crying in the middle of the night. But do you know why that happens? Most people chalk it up to hunger. However, sometimes, the real reason can be much more alarming.
People often wonder, ‘can babies have nightmares?’ ‘can they dream?’ And the answer to that is: we don’t know. Since babies don’t talk, there isn’t much research to prove any of that, but there are certain factors that offer a little bit more insight on the topic.
Do Babies Dream?
When a person transitions from light to deep sleep, they commonly experience certain dreams or night terrors. However, most people, especially children, are out flat when this happens. Not only are they unconscious, but they also are not likely to remember what transpired in their sleep.
There’s a high chance that babies have dreams, but without accurate data and research, nothing can back them up. However, it’s essential to note that as soon as kids learn to speak, they go on to narrate their bizarre and nonsensical dreams to parents or anyone who would listen. Based on that circumstantial evidence, one can say that babies do, in fact, dream when they’re asleep.
What do Babies Dream About?
Unlike adults, who have peculiar dreams and settings, babies have a much simpler dream format, especially toddlers. As children grow up and develop, so does their dreamscape. Typically a kid’s brain replicates what they see in real life. Due to this, their dreams probably appear as a sideshow of familiar images rather than a creative side story formulated by an adult brain. Pictures of family members, cartoon characters, people eating, doing menial chores, etc., are typical.
Can Babies Have Nightmares?
During the second half of your baby’s sleep, the deep sleep period, it’s likely for the child to be in a state of rapid eye movement (REM). Add in crying and waking up abruptly from sleep, and you’ll have a classic case of a nightmare on your hand.
When your child is asleep, they go through two key cycles, the REM and non-REM phases. In the REM phase, your child might move around their eyes as if rapidly looking around behind shut eyelids. But no matter how erratic this may seem, they’re not going to be conscious. According to some, moving eyes is a sign of being deep in a dream.
In contrast, though, a non-REM phase is limited to the first half of the sleeping cycle. Nothing significant happens when your child is in this phase. Instead, they’re in a period of light sleep before transitioning back to the REM phase. Throughout the night, this shift from REM to non-REM sleep cycle is constantly in progress.
Want to Know More About Sleeping Patterns & Behavior?
If your baby woke you up in the middle of the night, crying at the top of their lungs, you might have wondered if babies can have nightmares. And although it’s not proven 100%, there are certain instances and sleep patterns that go on to affirm the beliefs that, yes, babies can have nightmares as well as good dreams. Nonetheless, for more information, contact Sleep & Headache Solutions at (832) 688-8886.