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Blog 1: Dreaming during Covid-19

12th April 2020

My first blog – coffee to get me going- what to write? Just….

Beginning with coffee

Today is Easter Sunday, a lovely sunny day but it doesn’t feel normal because of the virus. Internet posts suggest Covid-19 is making peoples’ dreams “less normal”, making them more vivid, with, possibly, more threatening content. As expected, people don’t dream of the virus per se but of things they associate with the virus- like insects or other natural disasters like tsunamis or earthquakes or terrorist acts like 9/11.

America’s day of terror

But, maybe, it’s not the virus with associated threats that is hyping up dreams but, simply, because people are getting more sleep.  Sleeping in means more early morning dreams which are often more intense and elaborate.  Yesterday, Dalena van Heugten, a Dutch friend and colleague of mine emailed me to see if I wanted to collaborate on a dream study during the Covid-19 lockdown. We’d hope to get some individuals who keep dream diaries to get “before and after” the virus comparisons. We’ve both noticed more intense dreaming ourselves. Some people are reporting looking forward to having these more adventurous dreams, during the day time boredom of the lockdown. Dreams reduce what’s called emotional reactivity- meaning dreaming about negative or positive events lessen their emotional impact- making negative experiences less upsetting and positive ones less elating. So dreaming about virus-associated threats would lessen our anxiety about the virus. Or maybe these exciting, intense thrill-seeking dreams are just compensation for our boredom during lockdown!

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