Let’s be real, we’re all a bit on the edge about the pandemic situation around the globe currently, and with being under house arrest for more than month now is bound to have some effects on how our brains function. Many of us are also probably dealing with a messed up sleep schedule thanks to the lockdown coupled with uncertainty about the future.
That ought to be a heady mix for quite a ride while you sleep, isn’t it? And as it just so happens, many people around the globe are reporting especially vivid dreams while hunkering down during coronavirus. According to Vox, some sleep researchers think it is prime time to collect dream content for analysis. Others believe that this onset of vivid imagery is a result of changing sleep schedules, while some attribute such dreams to the emotional and physical chaos many of us are experiencing.
The continuity theory of dreams, which hypothesizes that people dream about the stuff they’re thinking about and doing while they’re awake, is one phenomenon that might be at large play right now.
“If we feel some degree of stress about the pandemic, or about work or family, then it is normal for those types of themes to appear in our dream content,” says Dylan Selterman, a social psychologist who runs the Dreams, Relationships, Emotions, Attraction, and Morality (DREAM) Lab at the University of Maryland.
Selterman also talks about how stressful situations themselves can induce dreams to ‘prepare us’. “Some researchers believe that dreams have a functional purpose to prepare us for difficult or challenging situations when we awake. Normally, what happens during a stress dream is that your mind appears to be working a problem out.”
“There are also researchers who believe the inverse of that; for example, if you’re experiencing difficulties in your current life and dream about them, that can predict your future mental health,” he states, adding how everyone’s trying to work through this situation emotionally, trying to prepare for the future and so, it’s not surprising to hear that some people are having dreams related to the pandemic.
He also attributes them to unprecedentedly changing sleep cycles. “The biggest variables that influence dream vividness have to do with your regular sleep habits,” he says.
“Another possibility is that people are thinking more about their dreams. Studies show that when you focus on your dreams more while you’re awake, you tend to remember them better,” he adds, which when you think of it, holds quite some weight. People tend to be talking more about their ‘vivid’ dreams, as evident on Twitter (many are relaying their dreams online), which may be leading to them remembering more than ever before.
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