字幕列表 影片播放 列印英文字幕 Have you been having weird, vivid dreams lately? Well, if in recent weeks, you've found yourself waking up and remembering really strange dreams, you can take comfort in the fact that you're not the only one. People all over the world are having weird dreams during the coronavirus pandemic. - One of the phenomena about this crisis is it's just more universal than anything that's happened since maybe the 1918 flu. Dr. Dierdre Barrett is conducting a dream survey about the coronavirus pandemic, and in just over a month has collected roughly 6,000 dreams from nearly 2,500 dreamers in an effort to better understand how the current crisis is affecting our dreaming. I knew this was the kind of crisis that was going to produce a lot of anxiety dreams in the general public who are not as directly experiencing it but are certainly anxious about it. And then, full on trauma dreams from the first responder health care providers. Okay, let's take this opportunity to define anxiety, which is characterized by feelings of tension and worry; versus trauma, an emotional response to a terrible event, often characterized by initial shock and denial, and may result in unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, and physical symptoms like nausea and headaches. I collected dreams from 9/11 and that was a very similar situation in many ways. People were very upset about this event. They were watching depictions of it on television. They were afraid it might happen again and affect them. And then, there was a smaller group of people who had been the first responders… and those people tended to have the very literal PTSD nightmares that cut across all stages of sleep and just replay and replay. Luckily, most of the dreams collected through Barrett's ongoing survey haven't been trauma dreams, but instead reflect dreamers' anxieties. And although these dreams have been varied and wide ranging, Dr. Barrett has noticed recurring themes. Well, the biggest cluster is about getting the virus… people notice that they are having trouble breathing, they're spiking a fever. Lots of dreams that are anxious about whether one's got one's mask and gloves, and is practicing social distancing. A lot of people are dreaming about their leaders and their government in general. This tracks with the long-accepted theory that our dreams are influenced by "day residue," fragments of recent events and experiences that often make their way into our dreams. But our conscious thoughts and experiences are frequently represented by symbols and metaphors in our unconscious dreams. There's a big cluster of metaphors for the virus of which by far the largest subgroup are bug dreams. I've just seen dozens and dozens of dreams where every kind of insect you can imagine is coming at the dreamer. There are cockroaches running toward the dreamer. There are masses of wriggling worms. And I think that's because of the slang term we say "I've got a bug" when we've got a virus. So, our anxieties about the coronavirus pandemic are being expressed in our dreams directly, or as metaphorical symbols. But there's another way the pandemic is affecting our dreaming. One aspect that I didn't really realize ahead of time that's certainly happening is that people are just recalling more dreams through this time. And that's not directly because of the pandemic. It's because of the lockdown, stay at home, quarantine, whatever you want to call it. And fewer people setting an alarm and getting up to go to work and not sleeping as long as their bodies naturally would, are suddenly catching up on sleep. That's right: the fact that many of us are sleeping more is allowing us to reconnect with our natural cycles, resulting in more REM sleep, and in the end, more vivid dreams. We go into REM 90 minutes into our sleep and then, every 90 minutes we go into another REM period. And if our sleep is disrupted in the deepest part of the REM cycle, we're even more likely to remember those dreams. But if your dreams are getting a little too weird, Dr. Barrett has some expert advice. The best method for that is to think of what you would like to be dreaming about. Just tell yourself that's what you want to dream about, sort of play through a pretend dream of that as you're falling asleep. And both that will make going to sleep easier but it also often gets through to our dreaming mind, and it increases the odds that we'll have the content we want. And decreases the odds of the anxiety dreams. If you've had strange, coronavirus pandemic dreams, consider taking Dr. Barrett's dream survey. Check out the link in the comments below. And if you want to learn more about COVID-19, check out our playlist here. And make sure to subscribe to Seeker for all your viral news. Thanks for watching, and I'll see you next time.