Several people have been having vivid dreams during the pandemic season, especially after their respective countries announced lockdown measures. #pandemicdream has been trending on social media sites like Twitter for a couple of weeks and according to sleep experts, it is absolutely normal to have one.

Even if these dreams have rarely been had, prior to the pandemic, it is quite possible that the unavoidable sleep patterns might have caused it. Stress could also be influencing such strange or terrifying nightmares even if a person has been getting more sleep than earlier.

A recent survey conducted by the King’s College in London has found that a majority of individuals residing in the U.K. are getting as much or more sleep currently than they did prior to social distancing measures. But why do people still get such weird dreams?

“It probably has to do with the fact that most people are actually remembering their dreams now more than ever,” Prevention quoted Britney Blair, Psy.D., a San Francisco area-based licensed clinical psychologist, behavioral sleep medicine specialist, and adjunct faculty member at Stanford University's Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine.

Here are some reasons why people have vivid dreams lately, according to Blair:

  • Quite often during a rapid eye movement (REM) sleep cycle, the brain clears the daily log of stress. It helps alleviate stressful stimuli and sorts out long-term memory. But the pandemic situation has led to anticipatory stress which makes it difficult for the brain to process during one’s sleep cycle.
  • Another possibility is that people might be having less stimulation during the daytime. Most individuals remain indoors and their brains have less content to kind of form into their dreams. This can lead to funky, weird, or bizarre dream sequences.
  • Most of the stimulation one receives is from televisions, mobile phones, and online media. This might also be innocuously adding to people’s stress.
  • Also, stress might be causing restless or fitful sleep. People might wake up more frequently in the night and this could make them recall the dream they might have been experiencing moments before.

However, these dreams can easily be controlled via manipulating the type of stimulation one gets throughout the day and particularly during those moments before hitting the bed. Sleep experts recommend image rehearsal therapy for those who can no longer sleep throughout the night without encountering stressful nightmares.

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