Why We Dream
The Transformative Power of Our Nightly Journey
While on a research trip in Peru, science journalist Alice Robb became hooked on lucid dreaming—the uncanny phenomenon in which a sleeping person can realize that they’re dreaming and even control the dreamed experience. Finding these forays both puzzling and exhilarating, Robb dug deeper into the science of dreams at an extremely opportune moment: just as researchers began to understand why dreams exist. They aren’t just random events; they have clear purposes. They help us learn and even overcome psychic trauma.
Robb draws on fresh and forgotten research, as well as her experience and that of other dream experts, to show why dreams are vital to our emotional and physical health. She explains how we can remember our dreams better—and why we should. She traces the intricate links between dreaming and creativity, and even offers advice on how we can relish the intense adventure of lucid dreaming for ourselves.
Why We Dream is a clear-eyed, cutting-edge examination of the meaning and purpose of our nightly visions and a guide to changing our dream lives—and making our waking lives richer, healthier, and happier.
Praise For Why We Dream: The Transformative Power of Our Nightly Journey…
Named a “Must-Read Book of the Fall” by Vogue, Elle, Literary Hub, TIME, New York Magazine, and The London Evening Standard A Top 10 book about insomnia (The Guardian) A Best Health and Science book of 2018 (The Cut) “In a book that looks at the historical and social importance of dreams, and analyzes the latest science, Robb attempts to correct our misguided forsaking of this feature of our unconscious. Dreams don’t make for boring conversation, Robb argues in this persuasive, personable book.”—Vogue “Why We Dream is a spirited rebuke to the idea of sleep as a mere parting with consciousness. In exploring the pleasures and uses of dreams, [Alice Robb] seeks to persuade us that sleep is not just the “off” to waking’s “on” but another realm of being, a second consciousness, rich in adventure and wisdom... In celebrating dreams as poetic artifacts, Robb offers a welcome antidote to the medicine administered by most sleep gurus."—New Yorker "Why We Dream is a spirited, cogent defense of dreams and dream-telling...We may not know why dreams 'traffic in garbled metaphor and disjointed imagery,' but by learning to decode them, we can learn to decode ourselves... All we need to do, Robb wants us to know, is pay attention."—NPR.org "A convincing case for cherishing our dream worlds."—New York Post “For anyone who's ever kept a dream journal or fixated on the idea of lucid dreaming, a thorough exploration of the mysterious nightly phenomenon from a scientific point of view.”—Elle "[Robb] takes readers down a nightly rabbit hole to meet lucid dreamers, dream experts, and academic researchers, proving that her inquiry into dreams can be just as bizarre and fascinating as dreams themselves...Reading this book is a submersion in the land of dreams, one that may prompt readers to record their nightly journeys each morning. The process just may transform their waking life."—Spirituality+Health "Robb, a science journalist, presents a comprehensive and compelling account of theories of and research on dreaming from ancient times through the present day. Throughout, she displays an intense respect for what our minds do while we’re sleeping, and the findings she presents — that dreaming is essential for sanity, that analyzing our dreams can be revelatory, that dreams can be used as diagnostic tools and even manipulated for our own mental health—corroborate her conviction that, as a culture, we would benefit from paying more careful attention."—Longreads "Alice Robb’s Why We Dream: The Transformative Power of Our Nightly Journey was for me a gentle and affecting invitation to reconsider a seemingly boring daily routine. ....the “nightly journey” idea makes getting into bed feel like preparing for an adventure. Robb’s encouragement to think of dreams as rehearsals for waking hopes and fears has also been especially eye-opening."—The Cut “After reading this gripping and deeply researched book, you’ll never again be tempted to dismiss the surreal narratives of our nighttime lives as trivial or meaningless. Blending centuries of cultural history with cutting-edge science, Alice Robb makes a compelling case for dreams—as sources of wisdom and creativity, as a vital ingredient in psychological health, and as —
Mariner Books, 9780544931213, 272pp.
Publication Date: November 20, 2018
About the Author
ALICE ROBB is a journalist who has written for The New Republic (as a staff writer), New York, The New Statesman, The Atlantic, Elle, Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, Vice, The BBC and British Vogue, among others. Her first book, Why We Dream, has been recommended by places like Vogue, Elle, TIME, New York and The Guardian. It was translated into seventeen foreign languages and The New Yorker called it “a spirited rebuke to the idea of sleep as a mere parting with consciousness… [Robb] is able to tread a careful and persuasive line between robust skepticism and open-mindedness." She graduated from Oxford with a BA in Archaeology and Anthropology, and currently lives in New York City.