Johanna Rumphorst  

The virus is not only dominating the news and our daily conversations, but it’s also dominating our dreams. If you’re currently experiencing nightmares about bad haircuts, naked Zoom meetings or missed flights, you’re not the only one! The COVID-19 pandemic is causing many people to experience more vivid dreams than usual due to lockdown stress and fluctuating sleeping patterns.

The twitter trend @IDreamofCovid19 is collating experiences from people with ‘Coronavirus dreams’, and they are often weird! One person dreamed that an empty pickle jar was going around the neighbourhood and everyone had to put something inside that contributes to find a cure for COVID19, another one had a dream about a swarm of coronavirus shaped wasps. Other more common dreams are the ones about falling, being chased or sinking. Whatever it is, heightened dreaming seems to be linked to the current pandemic, and even more to lockdown and the isolation measures.

Why are we dreaming more?

The current lockdown is altering usual sleeping patterns as many people have more time in the morning now to sleep in. Deirdre Barrett, who’s an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School, told Wired “a lot of it is just watching slightly sleep deprived people catching up on sleep, and that people who are letting themselves sleep a natural amount at night are getting more and more dreams.” But it’s not only the longer and complete sleep cycles that are influencing our dreams – the stress and fear of potentially losing loved ones or financial uncertainty and work-related stress are contributing to higher emotions and are consequently affecting our consciousness, resulting in strong and vivid dreams.

Tips for better sleep

Although we can’t control the Coronavirus and the dreams that come with it, there are some things that will help you get better quality sleep during lockdown. Maintaining a routine for your sleeping hours can be beneficial – the recommended length is 8 hours. Try to avoid naps during the day too as that will help you to get better sleep at night. If you have trouble falling asleep, try to work out in the evening and avoid your phone or laptop at least 2 hours before bedtime. A warm shower or bath can also help to reduce stress and make you tired. The Coronavirus dreams can be scary, but at least we’re now paying more attention to our sleep patterns and dreams, something we should continue with or without pandemic.