Why We Dream: The Transformative Power of Our Nightly Journey

Alice Robb. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27 (272p) ISBN 978-0-544-93121-3
In this intriguing and accessible pop science investigation, New York magazine science columnist Robb explores the significance of dreams for one’s health and well-being, the history and current state of research into the field, and possible avenues for future study. Robb considers early theories from the ancient Greeks, later ones from Freud and Jung, and the possible benefits of dreaming, from sparking creative inspiration to providing “threat-simulation”—allowing people to “work through our anxieties in a low-risk environment.” She recounts the fascinating career of sleep scientist Stephen LaBerge, who revolutionized the understanding of lucid dreaming, and, in the final, most illuminating chapter, attends LaBerge’s Hawaiian retreat for a crash course on the process. Robb also visits a scientist at MIT who is mapping out how dreams work to enhance problem-solving skills in rats and travels to the Netherlands to attend a meeting of the International Association for the Study of Dreams. She even has the fortitude to partake in “group analysis,” allowing six friends and a therapist to interpret a bizarre scenario featuring a line-dancing Hillary Clinton. Though Robb’s reiteration of certain points results in the occasional redundancy, she provides an engaging overview of sleep science and effectively argues for its significance. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 08/13/2018
Release date: 11/20/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 978-0-544-93210-4
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