Have you been having really vivid and strange dreams since lockdown? You’re not the only one. In recent weeks people have been taking to social media to share the same sentiment: why are my dreams stressing me out so much rn?!
has anyone else been having way more vivid dreams since lockdown?? pls tell me i’m not the only one
— sydney lynn (@sydneyLcarlson) April 5, 2020
Most of us experience nightmares or anxious dreaming the night before a big exam or while dealing with something tough. Right now the entire world is in a state of anxiety so it makes sense that our subconscious is freaking out a bit after dark.
This phenomenon is so real it’s currently being studied by multiple psychologists. If you’re someone who loves to relive your weird dreams in detail you can contribute by filling in surveys and describing your dreams. There is even a whole Twitter account dedicated to collecting dreams in the time of corona: Dreams of a New World.
There are a few different factors that might be causing a sudden increase in dreaming about being chased by snakes or being robbed by Lindsay Lohan. The threat simulation theory suggests that having bad dreams is nature’s way of preparing you for the worst. Like, if you dream vividly about being coughed on in Pick n Pay your brain is better equipped to deal with something similar if it happens IRL.
Dr Rubin Naiman, a psychologist and sleep and dream specialist, explained to Los Angeles Times that your brain is like a digestive system for information. When life is predictable and ‘normal’ there is not much to digest or process. When something stressful or unusual is going on (like a global pandemic) your brain uses sleep time to try and process it. This period of time is like eating too much deep-fried food in one go; difficult to digest.
Dierdre Barrett, a psychologist and author of The Committee of Sleep, is one of the psychologists conducting research into dreams during a period of global anxiety. She told The Cut that one of the factors could be simply that everyone is sleeping more. We are all catching up on lost sleep, which causes something called ‘REM rebound’. The REM (Rapid Eye Movement) phase of sleep is the one where we dream the most.
Dream experts encourage keeping dream journals, taking note of patterns and making links to your waking life where you can. Your dream journal can be your Notes app, a beautiful Moleskine, or tweets beginning with ‘lmaoooo just had the craziest dream’; you do you.
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