Apr 28, 2020 - Science

Coronavirus invades our dreams

A couple sleeping

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

People around the world are having their dreams invaded — and sleep sabotaged — as the coronavirus pandemic upends our daily lives.

What's happening: "Waking life itself for many has taken on an odd, dreamlike air. For populations unexpectedly and indefinitely confined to their homes, timekeeping no longer seems staked to the orderly movements of the sun, but tied to a cloud selected at random," writes the N.Y. Times' Caity Weaver.

The big picture: Harvard professor Deirdre Barrett tells the AP that most of us are having anxiety dreams, perhaps overwhelmed by "stand-ins for the virus: swarms of bugs, slithering worms, witches, grasshoppers with fangs."

  • Or one's subconscious frets about the pitfalls of our new normal, like "being in crowded public places without a mask or proper social distancing."
  • But front-line health workers "are the ones who look like a trauma population. They are having flat-out nightmares that reenact the things they’re experiencing," Barrett says.

Talking about your dreams, given the emotional vulnerability attached, can help jump-start your connections with others during this isolating period of history, Swansea University professor Mark Blagrove told Vice.

  • One way to do so? Anonymously, via an Instagram account like "QuaranDreamin," which has popped up to share our collective "dreams from self-isolation."
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