The best books on the science of dreams

The Books I Picked & Why

Dreams And How To Guide Them: Practical Observations

By Léon d'Hervey de Saint-Denys

Dreams And How To Guide Them: Practical Observations

Why this book?

Have you ever wondered what happens to our mind as we fall asleep? Or whether we can experience things in dreams that we never experienced in waking life? Jean Marie Léon d’Hervey de Saint-Denys tackled these and other questions like them in his remarkable 1867 book, Dreams and How to Guide Them. Saint-Denys used his finely-honed skills as a lucid dreamer (knowing that you are dreaming while still in the dream) to investigate dreams from within, exploring their images, memory sources, and inner logic as they unfolded before (or, rather, behind) his eyes. More amazing still, some 150 years later, many of his Saint-Denys’s ideas can still be found in modern clinical and scientific theories of dreams. 


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The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious

By C. G. Jung, Gerhard Adler

The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious

Why this book?

Jung proposed many fascinating ideas about the inner workings of the mind. His concept of the archetypes and of the collective unconscious are two of his best-known contributions, and both are intimately tied to his conceptualization of dreams. The idea that dreams not only emanate from our personal unconscious, but also from our collective unconscious (a deep stratum of the unconscious common to all humankind) and contain universal patterns, images, and dispositions, has helped countless people develop a deeper understanding of their dreams.

What’s more, this book exposes Jung’s view of dreaming as a wholesome, natural process that can give rise to creative—even transcendent—experiences featuring personal challenges, unmapped potentials, and elements of one’s personality. Not always the easiest of reads, but highly rewarding. 


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Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming

By Stephen LaBerge, Howard Rheingold

Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming

Why this book?

Considered by many as a classic in the field, Exploring the World of Lucid Dreaming presents a practical and insightful approach to lucid dreaming (knowing that you are dreaming while still in the dream) and its applications. Blending dream science, personal experiences, and non-traditional approaches to dream exploration, Laberge, who earned his PhD studying the psychophysiology of lucid dreams while at Stanford University, weaves a broad and captivating account of how to train yourself to have lucid dreams, how to use dream lucidity to explore your dreams, and how these experiences can give rise to creative problem solving and personal growth. A must-read for anyone interested in lucid dreaming.


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The Psychology of Dreaming

By Josie Malinowski

The Psychology of Dreaming

Why this book?

This book, written by an actual dream researcher, presents a smart and easy-to-read introduction to the psychology of dreams. Covering topics like the history of dreaming, how dreams are scientifically studied, how to work with dreams for personal insight, the possible functions of dreams, lucid dreaming, nightmares, and what the future of dream research may hold, Malinowski does a commendable job of introducing the reader to a wealth of information about dreams. Complete with personal examples, eye-opening insights, and a thoughtful discussion of ethical questions surrounding emerging dream-related technologies, this delightful book is sure to please those looking for an engaging introduction to dreams.


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The Neuroscience of Sleep and Dreams

By Patrick McNamara

The Neuroscience of Sleep and Dreams

Why this book?

Written by a well-known sleep and dream scientist, this book provides a comprehensive introduction to the neuroscience of sleep and dreams. In addition to covering a wide range of neuroscientific ideas and discoveries, this well-organized and easy to follow book discusses many of these sleep and dream-related findings within larger social as well as evolutionary contexts. The end result is a stimulating and enriching take on our current understanding of the science of sleep and dreams.


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