Why Our Dreams Have Been so Strange During Quarantine

Over the past few weeks, my best friend and I have woken up to these strange, vivid, and horrifying dreams that we have both been having. My personal favorite dream began with meeting the man himself, Michael B. Jordan for a luxurious dinner as my mom sat across the restaurant feeling the need to chaperone. The date overall went pretty well, so you can imagine my disappointment when I woke up. I’ve always been a vivid dreamer but for once I realized that other people were shifting into this pattern as well. I received an article published by National Geographic the other day that was titled “The pandemic is giving people vivid, unusual dreams. Here’s why.” So, here is a lovely summary of why our dreams have been so strange over the past month! 

National Geographic explains a study involving 600 people during the pandemic who have also experienced vivid dreams referred to as “coronavirus pandemic dreams”. As we know, our dreams are connected to our waking self, and when we are asleep the logical part of our brain is turned off formally known as the prefrontal cortex. This gives our imagination the ability to roam freely without processing normal logic and judgment. However, our dreams are comprised of familiar scenarios and memories we experience in our everyday life. Researchers in this study believe that considering millions of people are sheltering in place, our imaginations and subconscious are drawing on past memories and heightened feelings of isolation, stress, and anxiety. 

During the study, National Geographic explains that most people don’t remember their dreams. However, during the pandemic due to the increased isolation and stress which influences the content of dreams, these anxieties decrease sleep quality. This ultimately causes individuals to wake up more frequently throughout the night and have the ability to recall their dreams. A neuroscience research center study in France also reported that 35% of people had an increase in dream recall and 15% of them reported they had more negative dreams than usual. Sleep disorders have been heavily linked to trauma in the past and considering the times we are in now; it makes sense why there is an increase in abnormal sleep patterns and vivid or negative dreams. While all of us are in strict isolation and withdrawn from everyday experiences, it is suggested that the lack of new content every day can cause the mind to pull from deeper memories.

If you want to read more about this, the National Geographic article is posted below!