Canadian dream researchers have confirmed a link between babies” personalities and their nightmare frequency later in childhood, as reported in the January 1, 2008 issue of the journal Sleep. In general, anxious babies are more likely to continue having bad dreams and nightmares as they reach preschool age.
This study backs up Ernest Hartmann‘s research with nightmares; over twenty years ago Hartmann catagorized nightmare sufferers not as neurotic people, but people with “thinner boundaries.” Interestingly, Hartmann has also suggested that nightmare sufferers are more likely to be creative and artistic people as well. The Canadian research, led by Dr. Tore Nielsen, combined with Hartmann’s widely approved findings, basically pushes the inception of anxiety and thinner boundaries (and possibly creativity along with it) back into early infancy.
Nielsen gave some helpful hints for parents who want to lessen the likelihood that their colicky baby will be plagued by bad dreams throughout their childhood. From the Reuters Health article by Amy Norton, Nielsen suggests:
“A good starting point would be to improve children’s early bonding, or “secure attachment,” with their parents. For older children who are having distressing dreams, Nielsen said he and his colleagues have found that having the children “draw the dream” and share it with their parents can be helpful.”
By the way, Nielsen is the keynote speaker this summer at the annual conference for the International Study of Dreams in Montreal.