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Is COVID-19 affecting our dreams?

Tuesday, April 28th 2020, 12:35 pm - How the fear and anxiety of a pandemic has found its way into your dreams and how to tackle it.

When the topic of dreams and COVID-19 crossed The Weather Network’s newsroom, it seemed like everyone had something to say.

“Yes! I’ve had a weird dream,” our morning anchor Chris Murphy told me over live television. “I was at a beach. Then all of a sudden I realized I needed to be social distancing. So I dropped my hotdog and ran towards a bath of sanitizer.”

I created a quick poll on my instagram account to see if my friends and followers were also having vivid dreams. Over 100 people responded and more than half said yes.

Covid sleep 1 Covid sleep 2

People on Twitter also reached to share what they've been experiencing.

Over the past week, the Google query “Why am I having weird dreams lately?” has quadrupled in the United States.

As I researched why this may be happening, I came in contact with Christina Becker. She is a Jungian Psychoanalyst who specialises in dream interpretation.

We sat down for a video chat.

"It is possible that this pandemic is affecting our dreams because we are so much a part of our environment, we cannot really separate ourselves from actually what is happening," she explained. "There are alot of people who are anxious about this - they tend to be anxious because they are watching a lot of news - or they are taking in a lot of information that is creating a tremendous amount of anxiety and fear and that is actually showing up in their dreams.”

Becker continued, "People may experience a nightmare and that could actually reflect the truth of their innerworld in terms of how we are experiencing this. Anything that we have pushed away or are not properly acknowledging will come to us in the form of a dream. I call it 'the dream maker' it says, 'Hey! You gotta pay attention to this!'”

She added that we should not be afraid of our dreams.

“Think of them as an energy within you that really has your best interest at heart,” she said.

She added that it’s also a good practice to write your dreams down, and tell them to people as these messages could represent our inner psychological well being.

Becker follows the theories of Carl Jung who was known for his work about the collective unconscious.

I also reached out to Ursula Carsen, a Registered Psychotherapist specializing in dream therapy, and she emailed me her thoughts on why dreaming during a pandemic may be so vivid for some.

“I believe that the current lack of external distraction has turned up the volume on our internal 'news channels'," she wrote. "Dreaming has become both: compensation for upsetting television news, and a call from the soul to inside vision. To what we need and can pay attention to while - by necessity - inside. Like an intimate guest, the psyche, with gifts of dreams, shows up to us as a source of hope, survival, comfort and even entertainment. I believe that when the psyche has a chance, it makes itself known to us.”

The increased consumption of negative media has been a constant theme as I research poor sleep and continuous dreams.

SEE ALSO: Allergies or COVID? How to spot the difference

Heather Young, who is a sleep consultant in Waterloo Ontario also agreed that media and technology do not contribute to a restful slumber.

“One way to calm down those crazy dreams you might be having is to shut down technology at least one hour before bed," she recommended. "So really watch how much exposure you have to news, articles, everyone else's opinion as to what is happening. This will help your mind settle down and calm down and have a more restful sleep."

As the pandemic continues, many of our schedules have changed. And for some, this means they have the opportunity to sleep more -- and therefore, dream more.

"Sleep is so critical to our relationship to our dreams because it's through REM sleep that we actually dream," explained Becker. "When we don't have to wake up immediately and get out the door, we actually have a little bit more time to spend remembering our dreams and writing them down or thinking about them.”

As I spoke with more people about their dreams and read other reports online, it seems like food and bugs are recurring images people have in their dreams.

I personally have not had any dreams lately, but If I do, I’ll be sure to tweet about it on my account @RachelSchoutsen.

Be sure to watch the video that leads this article for more information on COVID and its impact on your dreams.

Go here for our complete coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic



Thumbnail image courtesy of Getty Images

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