A lot of things are different and a bit strange now that we’re dealing with a pandemic— you know, washing our hands till they hurt, wearing masks, and having weird dreams. We all can agree on that right? Especially weird dreams. I mean, there are even memes about it and Twitter has exploded with users sharing stories about their dreams and how they’ve changed since being quarantined. Lately I’ve been having pretty vivid and out-there dreams, and I’m not alone. But what’s up with it? I mean, is it stress? Is it cabin fever? Let’s dive into it.
With a quick Google search, dozens of articles pop up about weird dreams during Coronavirus. In a nutshell, most of the blame for weird dreams during this time is blamed on stress, anxiety and fear. Not what you were expecting? Too predictable? I know, but it’s true. We’re all feeling a lot at once. Essential workers are overwhelmed and scared. Those that are working from home are trying to adjust to this new normal. Many have lost their jobs. Parents are learning to homeschool their children. We’re all on edge whenever someone coughs. Is it allergies? Is it Covid19? It’s rough. And I don’t know about you guys, but these past few weeks have been up and down. Some times I’m happy and feel lucky (in many ways I am) but some times I feel overwhelmed and terrified.
However, stress and anxiety might not be the only reasons we’re experiencing weird dreams during all of this. According to a recent article posted on Time Magazine, “An increase in vivid dreams could also be explained by the changes that the pandemic has forced on people’s lifestyles, explains Courtney Bolstad, a graduate student at Mississippi State who works as Nadorff’s research assistant. “Social rhythm theory says that the rhythms we have during the day, what time we get up, whether we see our friends, can influence our circadian rhythm,” Bolstad says. “If you aren’t doing the things you typically do during the day, that could mess with your circadian rhythm which could mess with your sleep.”
In other words, our schedules have changed drastically. We’re all feeling out of sync and it’s no surprise that such drastic changes trickle down and affect our sleep. I mean, just two weeks into quarantine, I was eating differently and didn’t even know what day or time it was. It was like I lost focus. I felt tired and awake at very different times than I was used to.
I know you were probably expecting a more controversial explanation, but times are rough and it’s inevitable that all that is going on would start to shift things in our lives and even in our dreams. Just know, you’re not alone. Although it’s easier said than done, trying to cling to some sort of schedule can help. As hard as it is, I’ve come up with a schedule that I try to stick to. Every day my husband and I discuss what we need or want to get done the next day. We write it out. This schedule includes: getting fresh air by trying to go outside whenever possible in our yard, exercising, cleaning, cooking, working on projects, family activities etc.
Although a routine won’t solve everything, we need as much “normalcy” as we can get and part of that starts with routine.