Consequence Of COVID-19 On Dreams

For many, COVID-19 has changed people’s lives in some way or another; one way that it has changed people’s lives is through dreams.


Brett Brose

After a vivid dream, one can often find themselves wacking up scared or confused. ACHS student Ashton Swanson replicates this experience in the photo.

According to The New York Times, since the beginning of COVID-19, there have been multiple reports of odd or repeatedly vivid dreams. Dreaming takes place during rapid eye movement sleep or REM. In this 90 minute time period, people have higher levels of brain activities, which is how people dream in REM sleep. Throughout the course of someone’s sleep, REM gradually gets longer and longer; therefore, someone who sleeps more tends to get more REM sleep. Skye Jackson, a senior at Antioch Community High School, says that she has had an increase of vivid dreams since the start of quarantine. With all the dreams she has been having she wanted to do her own research on the subject. 

“It’s because we have more time,” Jackson said. “We’re not stimulated as we normally would be because, with regular life, we’re always out doing things. At school, we have mental, visual, audio and social stimulations.”

Jackson also says that since COVID-19, activities that you would normally have were cancelled because of COVID-19. Some people go from doing everything to doing nothing; in order for the brain to maintain its typical level of stimulation, people may have more vivid or intense dreams. With the increase in reports of COVID dreams, researchers are starting to find common similarities between the dreams. 

“One metaphor that researchers have identified a lot in dreams are bugs and insects,” ACHS psychologist, Robin Vlosky said. “A lot of times you refer to a disease as a bug, like you caught the flu bug, so your unconscious is turning that into dreams about insects.”

In addition, Vlosky said that there have also been reported dreams about topics such as getting the virus, difficulty breathing, job loss, economic anxieties and even dreams about an apocalypse. These may be caused by an increase of stress that COVID-19 can put on someone. With all of these strange dreams being talked about, people have wondered if there is a need to be concerned. 

According to Yale Medicine, there is no need to raise alarm to these dreams. Having nightmares or strange dreams isn’t unhealthy; it is the process by which the brain sorts out information from that day. The brain is working through anxiety-ridden situations so it can better understand them. 

When people have dreams where family members or friends catch COVID-19 or are losing their jobs, it is just their brains turning COVID-19 related scenarios into dreams that fuel their stress. Someone might subconsciously be nervous when a family member goes out to a public place and therefore might dream about them contracting the virus. 

Dreams can play an important role on how the brain processes information from that day. Getting enough sleep so that a person’s brain is allowed to process information can be important, but at the same time, oversleeping can cause one’s sleep schedule to be thrown off for when they dream again. Having vivid or strange dreams about COVID-19 may give you insight on how you are subconsciously feeling, which can help improve your mental health in the long run.