Your Intense Pandemic Dreams Might Be Helping You – Here's Why - Rugby and Daventry Radio Station Midlands UK            

Your Intense Pandemic Dreams Might Be Helping You – Here’s Why

Written by on October 1, 2020

Article Published on Thursday October 1, 2020 11:00 AM by

Your Intense Pandemic Dreams Might Be Helping You – Here’s Why

If people have been wearing face masks in your dreams, you’re not alone. Research has shown our dreams now regularly represent a Covid-19 world – and it could be our brain’s way of learning new rules or behaviour. 

Researchers in Finland have analysed the dream content of almost one  thousand people and found we’re regularly dreaming about the virus and social distancing. 

Over the course of a week, 811 people agreed to share the content of their dreams. The research team then used artificial intelligence software to identify common themes in their reports, which they termed “dream clusters”. 

Twenty of the dream clusters were classified as bad dreams, and 55% of those had pandemic-specific content. 

The results showed that we’re dreaming about failures in social distancing, coronavirus contagion and personal protective equipment, such as face masks. 

Other themes that emerged were dreams featuring hugs, handshakes and crowds – but these were often associated with negativity or words such as “restriction” or “mistake”. 

“We were thrilled to observe repeating dream content associations across individuals that reflected the apocalyptic ambience of Covid-19 lockdown,” said lead author Dr Anu-Katriina Pesonen, head of the Sleep & Mind Research Group at the University of Helsinki.

“The results allowed us to speculate that dreaming in extreme circumstances reveal shared visual imagery and memory traces, and in this way, dreams can indicate some form of shared mindscape across individuals.”

More than half of those who participated in the study also reported an increase in stress during the pandemic and these people were also found to have higher  incidences of bad dreams. 

But speaking to The Times about the research, Dr Pesonen said these dreams may actually serve a purpose as they suggest our subconscious is trying to learn the new rules of living.  

“We measured the dreams in a period where people were forced to learn a new code of conduct,” she said. “People were dreaming about not being able to touch, or about making mistakes in distancing — this suggests it’s about learning. Dreaming helps us to consolidate changing our behaviour.”

If you’ve been struggling to sleep during the pandemic or have been plagued by Covid-19 nightmares, sleep consultant Maryanne Taylor previously told HuffPost UK you should take some proactive steps to regain control over your dreams.  

She advised spending 10-15 minutes in the early evening writing your worries and thoughts down on paper, exercising during the day to prepare your body for good sleep and keeping a basic sleep routine, such as a consistent bed time. 

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