The COVID-19 pandemic has caused millions of people to lose their jobs as well as loved ones. But according to multiple psychologists, people are now losing sleep over vivid dreams that exposes people’s fear of isolation, grief, and the possibility of becoming infected with the coronavirus.
Some experts say that the modern-day population has never experienced” collective dreaming” on such a broad scale before.
” As far as I know, no one has dream samples from the flu pandemic of 1918 – and that would probably be the most comparable thing,” Harvard University professor Deidre Barrett told the Associated Press on Tuesday.
” Now we just all have our smartphones by our bed, so you can just reach over and speak it or type it down. Recording our dreams has never been easier.”
Barrett, who is credited for studying the dreams of 9/11 survivors, has amassed a collection of 6,000 dream samples from 2,400 participants of her coronavirus dream study.
The samples were gathered from people from around the globe, with many exhibiting similar dreams, highlighting the psychological effects COVID-19 has on society.
Barrett claims that people who are having coronavirus related dreams find themselves dreaming that they are sick with the virus. One of Barrett’s participants dream they were being held down and coughed on by people who are infected with the virus.
According to Barrett, most reported dreams are low-level anxiety dreams and not brought on by trauma. However, for the frontline healthcare workers, it’s more of trauma-induced dreams.
” The health care providers are the ones who look like a trauma population. They are having flat-out nightmares that reenact the things they’re experiencing, and … they all have the theme that “I am responsible for saving this person’s life and I’m not succeeding, and this person is about to die,” she said.
” And when they dream about their child or parent getting it, for the care providers there’s always the next step in the dream where they realize…’ I gave it to them.”‘
Cathy Caruth, a professor at Cornell University, is also analyzing people who are experiencing nightmares due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Caruth says those suffering from coronavirus dreams are eerily similar to the Hiroshima survivors, who feared the possibility of being exposed to radiation.
” They seem to be in part about things that are hard to grasp, what it means that anybody can be a threat, and you can be a threat to everybody,” Caruth said.
A survey conducted by SleepStandards questioned 1,000 Americans about their current sleeping habits. 76.8% of those surveyed say of their sleep has been affected since the beginning of the pandemic.