Encyclopedia of Sleep and Dreams

The Evolution, Function, Nature, and Mysteries of Slumber

by Deirdre Barrett and Patrick McNamara, Editors


A little known fact is that dreams change across a lifetime ... just one of the many curiosities concerning the state of sleep. Humankind has been fascinated with the mystery behind dreams since the beginning of time. Recent breakthroughs in sleep research and the study of dreams now reveal the scientific rationale for this previously unexplained phenomena.

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June 2012


Pages 904
Volumes 2
Size 7x10
Topics Psychology/General
  • Award Winner!




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This fascinating reference covers the major topics concerning dreaming and sleep, based on the latest empirical evidence from sleep research as well as drawn from a broad range of dream-related interdisciplinary contexts, including history and anthropology.

While many books have been written on the subject of sleep and dreams, no other resource has provided the depth of empirical evidence concerning sleep and dream phenomena nor revealed the latest scientific breakthroughs in the field.

Encyclopedia of Sleep and Dreams: The Evolution, Function, Nature, and Mysteries of Slumber explores the evolution, nature, and functions of sleep and dreams. The encyclopedia is divided into two volumes and is arranged alphabetically by entry. Topics include nightmares and their treatment, how sleep and dreams change across the lifetime, and the new field of evolution of sleep and dream. While this book includes ample material on the science of sleep and dreams, content is drawn from a broad range of disciplinary contexts, including history and anthropology.


  • 330 alphabetically arranged entries
  • An appendix provides resources for further reading, including online sources
  • A special index on dreams
  • Primary resources lists afer each entry for reference and review


  • Contains the very latest sleep research
  • Covers topics across a broad range of disciplinary contexts, including history and anthropology
  • Explores evolutionary approaches to sleep and dreams
  • Provides non-technical summaries of all major topics in the sleep and dreams field
Author Info

Deirdre Barrett, PhD, is assistant clinical professor of psychology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA. Her published works include Waistland: The R/evolutionary Science Behind Our Weight and Fitness Crisis; Supernormal Stimuli: How Primal Urges Overran Their Evolutionary Purpose; and Praeger's The New Science of Dreaming.

Patrick McNamara, PhD, is director of the Evolutionary Neurobehavior Laboratory at Boston University School of Medicine, MA. He has published numerous articles and is the author of The Evolutionary Psychology of Sleep and Dreams and coeditor of Praeger's The New Science of Dreaming.



"This two-volume set provides truly interdisciplinary coverage of sleep and dreams. . . . All entries are signed and feature references; the book includes a 36-page appendix of topically arranged additional resources and an excellent index. Summing Up: Highly recommended."Choice

"Gathering empirical knowledge from many different disciplines, the editors of this set delve into the history, science, and folklore surrounding sleep and dreams. . . . The editors—a psychologist and a neurologist, respectively—have brought together an impressive list of contributors from around the world. . . . There is much here that will not be found in other
reference sources."Booklist

"This is a great place to find a wide array of sleep topics and resources and will prove very helpful in understanding concepts and forming theses. A welcome update for library sleep and dream collections."Library Journal


Best Reference of 2012 — Library Journal

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