Can dream science be used to elicit healthy behaviors?

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International Journal of Dream Research


The science of dreams and their interpretation may seem like a recent trend, justifying current research interests. Yet, for centuries, dream science, once called oneirology, has captivated dreamers in quest of meanings and motivated scientists in search of explanations. Due to the recent expansion of dream research this narrative review discusses and explores relationships between dreaming and health promoting behaviors. Perspectives from current evidence are classified according to the fundamentals of the Freudian dream theory. Selected investigations are reviewed according to specific elements of the psychoanalytic theory, suggesting new approaches including a possible explanation of the paradox of the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and new terms proposed, pre-REM and post-REM, to replace non-REM (NREM) sleep. This review draws parallels between selected studies and the possible health promotion benefits within a psychoanalytic perspective, proposing possible lines of research to improve physical and mental health and wellbeing within the context of dreaming. The potential of dreaming to elicit healthy behaviors may be possible if the dynamics of the psyche’s structure are consciously understood. Further examinations of dream science could lead to unexplored areas of public health, neuropsychoanalysis, and health promotion with an integrative and cross-disciplinary approach.

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