The Weird Reason COVID-19 Is Making Your Dreams So Vivid And Crazy

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The Weird Reason COVID-19 Is Making Your Dreams So Vivid And Crazy

This phenomenon is happening to so many of us right now.

The last few weeks have definitely been unusual to say the least. Most of us have totally had our lives and routines upended for the sake of social distancing and isolating at home, and at this point, you might have noticed that your dreams are getting to be a bit ... much. 

If you're having more nightmares, more vivid dreams, or you're just straight up dreaming like you never have before, you're definitely not alone — and there's a scientific reason this is happening to so many of us.

Why is Coronavirus (COVID-19) making everyone's dream's so crazy?

Here's what's going on while you're asleep. 

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People are having more vivid dreams than ever before and remembering them much more clearly.

Of course, there are always people who tend to remember their dreams more than others but right now, if you're having very vivid quarantine dreams, so are a lot of other people. This can be a very stressful time in our lives, where we're dealing with a lot of unknowns, especially when it comes to the future — it makes total sense that this would affect the way we dream. After all, what we do and how we feel when we're awake has always had an impact on what our dreaming lives are like. 

The break in routine could be to blame.

According to psychologist Rubin Naiman, changes in routine cause more vivid dreams, because we're used to "digesting" what happens in our normal lives — not so much when everything has suddenly changed.

“When waking life is more vivid, so is dream life,” he said. “My patients routinely increase dreaming at times like this. . . At a time like this, we’re all directly or symbolically digesting information about the threat, about contagion."

Getting more sleep than usual may also be contributing to your crazy dreams.

With so many people being unemployed, spending more time at home, or working from home, a lot of us could be getting more sleep than usual, and that contributes to the dreams kicking up a notch, especially for those of us who don't normally get enough sleep in our regular lives, thanks to longer and more frequent REM cycles.

“Dream recall is very correlated with how many hours of sleep you get, and most of America runs around pretty sleep-deprived,” sleep expert Dr. Deidre Leigh Barrett said.

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Our brains are also trying to remember what life was like before.

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Our old lives that involved trips to Target, grabbing drinks with friends after work, and planning vacations are on hold right now. We might think we're processing that information, but what our brains are really doing while we're asleep is another story, as sleep expert Dr. Meir Kryger said.

"This [pandemic] is something that they've never experienced before," Kryger said. "And it's possible that their brains are trying to find a time when things weren't like that. It's like when sometimes people are trying to fall asleep and they can't turn their minds off. They will try to think about a time when things were better."

We're also spending more time thinking about our dreams when we're awake.

If we have a vivid dream and we happen to remember it, it's far more likely that we'll be thinking about it when we're awake, especially at a time like this when we might have more time on our hands than usual — like the practice of writing dreams down in a diary as soon as you wake up to remember them better. There's a chance that there's not a huge change from how you were dreaming before, but now, you have more time to think about what it all means.

Healthy sleep habits can help If you're struggling In this department.

Having intense, scary dreams and want it all to stop? In your waking life, there are a few things you can do through creating healthy sleep habits. Try to turn off screens a couple of hours before going to bed, and develop a routine that's the same every night, including the same bedtime. It's also a good idea to stop reading the news and scrolling through all the bad news on Twitter before you try to go to sleep, too.

There's a lot going on right now, but this will all pass — and hopefully, soon, we'll all be able to get better sleep. 

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Nicole Pomarico is an entertainment and lifestyle writer whose work has appeared in Cosmo, Us Weekly, Refinery29, and more.

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