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The Mind At Night: The New Science Of How And Why We Dream
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The Mind At Night: The New Science Of How And Why We Dream

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  224 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Over the past few decades, there has been a revolution in scientific knowledge about why we dream, what's actually happening to the brain when we do, and what the sleeping mind reveals about our waking hours. Beginning with the birth of dream research in the 1950s, award-winning science reporter Andrea Rock traces the brief but fascinating history of this emerging scientif ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published March 2nd 2004 by Basic Books
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This is a book about the science of dreaming - NOT dream interpretation. It took me forever to read the 200 pages and even though I found parts of it enlightening, I felt relieved when I was finished. I learned that your body actually sometimes becomes paralyzed when you dream. I had a hard time distinguishing between "lucid dreaming" and being awake. Seem like a very fine line to me.
I highly recommend "The Mind at Night" for readers who are interested in dreaming as it relates to brain function, neurophysiology and chemistry, psychology, personal identity, lucid dreaming, creativity, sleep disorders, mental health, memory and the history of scientific discovery. The development of dream research and discovery is told through the lives and works of the scientists and researchers who studied how the brain creates dreams, and how those dreams affect us.

She plays experiments an
Leanna Palermo
I was drawn to this book because of my desire to explore both the left and right brain information about dreams.
There was quiet a bit of history, which I thoroughly enjoyed, from the Upanishad’s to Jung. I especially appreciated the deeper understanding of Freud’s vs. Jung’s take on dream study, and resonated with Jung’s sentiment of “The manifest dream picture is the dream itself and contains the whole meaning of the dream.”
Being in the health care field I loved the emphasis on how healthy, e
I am hugely interested in dreams (shameless plug for my DREAMzine- ) and I studied Psychology, so this book combines two things that are completely fascinating to me. It details a vast array of topics relating to dreaming, and is full of theories with summarized research findings and experimental data, and quotes from Neuropsychologists and Dream/Sleep Researchers galore. It is written for average people to read and comprehend, and most of the time it will read easily, ...more
I read this in a few days and it's a great read for the layperson interested in why we dream. Not much new material for me but I did like the discussion on depression and sleep. Apparently, the depressed would benefit from repeated waking during REM because, unlike normal human beings, our emotions do not get resolved in REM. Instead, the mind dwells on negativity, much like our waking hours, and dreaming merely becomes brooding. The epilogue also noted the problem of medications like Prozac, wh ...more
Interesting book, helped me think about dreams in a different way--what their purpose is, what our brains are doing when we dream. I remember a lot of my dreams (like every day), so was curious to know what scientists thought about them. Turns out a lot of my intuited ideas about dreams coincide with what science says currently - namely, that occasionally something momentous happens in dreams, but often its just our brains tuning up, running through the previous day, spinning stories. I did find ...more
An interesting read. If you know about this field of research you are not likely to find it as interesting, it is after all a pop science book. However, what is remarkable in this book is how nearly every neuroscientist interviewed had the need out point that, my God, "Freud was wrong". This need to insult psychoanalysis at every chance possible is downright hilarious, because sometimes they come up with explanations "it's not unconscious in the way Freud believed, but it is unconscious because ...more
Maddy Maxey
An enjoyable exploration of consciousness.
Daniel R.
This book provides an excellent history and discussion of current research around dreaming. It is by the far the most approachable book on the topic I've read. Each chapter explores a different aspect of the mind at mind and calls out specific researchers leading the exploration of that area. The books builds upon itself such that the later topics, while dealing with more current and technical material, are digestible as previous chapters laid the groundwork for understanding them.
Some of the other reviews criticize the lack of depth, but honestly, how much can you pack into 200ish pages? Given the brevity of the book, the author paints a fine picture of what we currently know about dreaming and where the field might be headed next. She weaves in background history and personal stories so that it isn't just another dry science textbook. This is a good, compact, and highly readable introduction to the science of dreaming.
The Mind at Night is an interesting and accessible overview of research and why we dream, just as the title says. I am particularly curious about the finding that too much REM sleep (the kind we need to organize our brains and function well) can contribute to depression. Unfortunately, the book doesn't go into what might be the cause of excessive REM. So....I'm writing to the researcher mentioned in the book. Why not?
I really liked the beginning of this book. All the information on why we need to sleep and dream was extremely interesting. However I was also very glad to have finished it. More than halfway through the book got a little tedious. I found the information on lucid dreaming and even how you can get a creative edge while dreaming to be dull and perhaps dry (I'm not sure if that's quite the right word).
Charles Martin
A fascinating book (well, obviously) that is felled by the author's jarring brevity with the actual importance of the experiments and discoveries of the aggregate of scientists profiled within. It is no surprise then that the book itself is a light read, coming in at just around 200 pages. Recommended, but, only as a introductory supplement to other texts with more breadth.
Interesting book, interesting chapter titles, full of research anecdotes. It presents the biological functions of sleep, namely rewiring, re-enforcing, integrating, filtering and pruning neural networks. I found it particularly interesting that depression could be alleviated by repeatedly waking people in REM sleep. Also, rewiring your motor cortex takes 3 days.
Neuroscience and cognition are big draws for me anyway, but this book was quite impressive. The author chronicles the history of research on dreaming. She writes in a highly accessible manner, making the research results understandable, yet accurate. I couldn't put down the book, and have read portions of it numerous times since.
Andrij Zip
A good overview of dreaming, the mind at night and how these relate to consciousness. Rock is wise enough to not offer a definitive answer to the big questions posed ie. why do we dream? what is consciousness? but instead offers a sampling of different theories. A bit didactic at times but overall a fascinating read.
Sam Funderburk
An interesting read. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but there was quite a bit of useless information stuffed in the short 200 pages. If all you are interested in is knowing what the authors and other scientists actual opinion about the meanings of dreams is, all you have to do is read the epilogue.
I wish I had thought of keeping a highlighter handy while reading this.

It took me forever to read this! It's not long or boring, but I read two or three pages at a time. Honestly, it was my bathroom book.

Maybe I'll come back later with some of what I learned.
A well-written book. It answered many of my questions with regards to dreaming and the neuroscience behind it. This is a great introductory book to all those who are interested in the "dreaming mechanism".
And now I am ready to go for more.
This book discusses current theories about dreams and how they arise in the brain. The author goes over the research done by the main scientists in the field. An interesting book, and understandable to the layperson. (At least to me.)
All sorts of interesting stuff on a more scientific level about dreaming. I often go back and re-read sections of this book. Too bad there isn't more research approved for this kind of thing. I'd love to know more.
Good synthesis of (relatively) recent work in cognitive science on dreaming. Especially liked her accounts of lucid dreaming and of the links between dreaming and consciousness.
Adrian Ng
This book allows you to understand the mind of sleeping.
But, if you what to understand what your dream is truly represted. This book is not suitable.
Kate Yoo
This book is about the sleep. It tells story about the scientist who found things about sleeping. There are lots of interesting facts that I didn't know.
Fascinating and readable nonfiction about what our brains do while we sleep. Totally entertaining and informative.
Good overview of the whole thing. Oppossums, seven hours of REM sleep average ! Awesome oppossum !
Robespierre Cat
It's not a good sign that I can't remember, much like 99% of my dreams.
Very informative and up to date.
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“During dreaming, we’re tuned inward, we experience vivid visual imagery, our conventional logic system is turned down, and social norms are loosened, all of which can lead to making more creative associations than we make when we’re awake and our brain is censoring the illogical,” she says.” 0 likes
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