People are having weird dreams during the coronavirus pandemic

If you’ve been having strange dreams during the coronavirus pandemic, you’re not alone.

Unfortunately, there’s no spooky reason behind it – that’s if you want to believe science, of course – but the widespread phenomenon comes down to a universal rise in stress levels, loss of routine, and increased drinking habits.

dreams, coronavirus, pandemic

Pandemic dreams are officially a thing and people experiencing the phenomenon are having dreams more vivid, strange, and nightmarish than normal.

Experts have labelled the phenomenon of vivid, weird, and sometimes nightmarish dreams, “pandemic dreams.” People who have been experiencing them have even been taking to Twitter to share them under the hashtag, #pandemicdreams.

Sarah Schachner, a prominent video game composer, shared her dream of an Uber-hearse:

Another user shared a supermarket-themed nightmare which wasn’t too far from the reality:

Whilst another felt the need to give away his puppy:

Luckily, some people’s pandemic dreams haven’t been too nightmarish:

Speaking on the phenomenon, Roxanne J Prichard, Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of St Thomas, Minnesota and scientific director for the Center for College Sleep, described to IFLScience:

“Stress can make it harder to get enough good quality sleep, and not getting enough good quality sleep in makes you experience stress more intensely.”

“It’s actually an evolutionary adaptation – you wouldn’t want to be completely out of it snoozing for 10 hours if you were in a war zone or area with a large number of nocturnal predators,” she continued.

Stress can have a double-whammy effect on sleep, firstly making it difficult to get to sleep, but also increasing the frequency of nightmares, causing us to wake up more in the middle of the night. In turn, this leads to increased dream recall, resulting in the pandemic dream phenomenon.

The increase of people losing sleep is actually worrying for experts because lack of sleep makes you more susceptible to getting sick, putting more people at risk of coronavirus. On top of that, nightmares which hang around in our mind the following day can have a negative impact on people’s mental health.

The Sleep Foundation have posted some guidelines for helping people sleep during the pandemic, including setting a specific sleep and wake time and taking time to wind-down before bed. This can include “light reading, stretching, and meditating along with preparations for bed like putting on pajamas and brushing your teeth.”

If you find you can’t sleep, get up and do something calming in low-light for a while before trying again. Also using electronic devices before bed is a no-no due to the blue light which interferes with “the body’s natural sleep-promoting processes.”

The foundation also suggests instituting routines throughout the day, including showering and dressing, even if you’re not going out. Even if you haven’t got much to do in a day, be sure to get out of bed and reserve it only for sleeping.