Dreams are very unique journeys, merely fabrications within the human mind in the midst of a time when the brain is in one of its most relaxed states. All kinds of people experience them, yet not everyone is able to recall what they saw, felt, touched, or heard while their eyes were shut through the dark hours of the night. When you think of a dream, it is usually something out of the normal or something that cannot or does not occur in everyday life. They are full of people we know, have known, and have yet to meet. They can be haunting, exciting, exhausting, depressing, or full of the happiest moments that we may never get to experience. Dreams are truly some of the most intricate, bizarre encounters that humans undergo and very little is known in the way of the proven science behind their intricacies.
Riding the wave of the Coronavirus pandemic, many people have come forward about the new, wild, vivid dreams that they have been experiencing ever since the world was put in quarantine. Not much research has been done in regard to this situation, but there is no doubt something odd about the fact that so many individuals have reported these dreams within the past month. A survey done by Deirdre Leigh Barrett, assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School, brought forward information showing that the increase in vivid dreaming around the world has been paralleling the Coronavirus spread. Even looking into the past, with events like that of 9/11 as well as many natural disasters that have occured within the United States, studies have shown the impact they have had on the human sleep pattern.
“When we observe something normal, our brains don’t need to “digest” it, he says. However, when something out of the ordinary happens — like a pandemic — our brains may process the experience through dreaming,” explains Rubin Naiman, Ph.D, a psychologist at the University Arizona. The vivid dreams that everyone is experiencing could also be stemming from an increase in the amount of hours that we are sleeping. Especially for high school students at LHS, instead of waking up and being in school for 7:25, they now do not have to worry about being to their first class until 9:30. Sometimes, depending on if their teacher schedules a Zoom call, many sleep even later into the day.
Edward Foster, junior at LHS, recalls his dreams as being a mix of both nightmares and positives, feelings that they are more weird than either of these narratives can explain. “I have been having more dreams with people I know, before this I would just have random dreams with strangers,” Foster says. He also remembers one dream in particular where he stole a gun and was chased through an antique store as a result. “...then my aunt (who wasn’t my aunt) almost hit me with an older car then she gave me a ride with her. She started speeding and I woke up,” he explains further.
Another LHS junior, Ezria Williams, describes her quarantine dreams as being on the more nightmarish spectrum of things. “The scariest thing I dreamt about was probably losing everyone that I loved such as family and friends, and finding out my friends were doing things behind my back that I wouldn’t even see them doing,” she explained.
Coming in from a senior at LHS who wished to remain anonymous are even more nightmare filled dreams. “Ummmm the most bizarre One I had would definitely be my little sister falling into a river and I had to go save her,” this source explained. Yet another anonymous source, this time a junior at LHS, explained that multiple times he has dreamt of “pulling shards of glass out of my mouth and then waking up in a cold sweat.”
Sarah Brouillard, a freshman at Boston College and LHS alumni, has been experiencing what she explains as “neutral yet strange” dreams that are very weird and out of the usual for her. She recalls one where the only way she can explain it is a mix between something from the story of Noah’s Ark and a Stephen King novel. “It was me and my dad and there was this massive flood warning so I let a shit ton of wild animals into my house and then the whole outside flooded so I was stuck with all these animals and then some of them kept trying to eat each other.”
Juniors Hailey Gagnon and Julianna Rocha both agree that their dreams have been much more nightmarish than anything else. “The dream itself is more gruesome. [One included] When I got into a fight with someone but then other people stepped in and it got bad,” explains Rocha. Both girls do not feel as if the dreams are scary enough for them to wake up in the middle of the night, but they can definitely describe them as unsettling and odd.
Lastly, junior Aliana Winn lets off an air of confusion as she explains that before quarantine, she never used to “have” or remember any of her dreams. She recalls that after the second week of being home, she began to experience more and more nightly occurrences in her mind. Winn does not feel that they are scary, but they are not happy either. “Last night I dreamt I got a spray tan and it turned out bad,” she says.
If you find yourself puzzled over the fact that your dreams are more frequent or much more eerie than usual, you are not alone. Whether it is from lack of human contact, extended sleeping periods, or the completely unexpected and overwhelming events associated with the Coronavirus, there is no doubt a second pandemic of sorts spreading in the way of a sharp increase in nightly brain activity across the United States.