You’re Not Imagining It, We’re All Having Intense ‘Quarandreams’
Our lives may be slowing down, but our imaginations can’t keep the pace. More so than ever, a night’s rest is becoming a portal to ultra-vivid dreams and nightmares.
The past few weeks have seen a seismic shift to how society operates. In the UK, we’re only permitted to leave the house for one form of exercise each day, to go to the shops for essentials or if you’re a key worker.
One unexpected by-product of these measures is weird dreams. Social media has been laced with swathes of bizarre, upsetting, wacky trips inside sleepers’ heads. So if you thought it was just you, don’t worry.
Thanks to Twitter account @quarandreams, you can check out an archive of people’s recent dreams all around the world, from the mundane to the totally mental. One user wrote: ‘Had a dream I was in Russia at a penthouse looking down at a hologram of Jimmy Neutron that kept expanding.’
However, most dreams appear to be tied to current circumstances, with another user writing: ‘Last night I dreamt I had to go to the store and nobody there believed in social distancing and everyone kept getting real close and touching me and the only way out was punch people in the face and fight my way out.’
This is totally normal: enter Deirdre Leigh Barrett, an assistant professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School’s psychiatry department and author of The Committee of Sleep: How Artists, Scientists, and Athletes Use Their Dreams for Creative Problem Solving — and How You Can Too, currently conducting a dream survey.
Barrett noted to the Los Angeles Times she’s seen an uptake in virus-related imagery, such as ‘a lot of bug dreams’. Then, there’s doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals, who she believes to be ‘having more extreme nightmares’.
According to Robert Bosnak, a psychoanalyst and former president of the International Association for the Study of Dreams, it’s happening everywhere, he told InStyle: ‘I’m working currently in the US, Australia, India, China, and Japan. Story is the same everywhere. People are dreaming up a storm.’
In a 2010 study, published in Human Brain Mapping, he wrote that dreams that are both somehow memorable and have a surge of ’emotional load, bizarreness, and vividness’ are linked to the amygdala and hippocampus parts of the brain, described as ‘the limbic system governing dread and rage’. With these understandably stressful times, a connection immediately appears.
Changes to people’s sleeping patterns can also induce more vivid dreams – for example, last week, in a strange en masse bout of ‘insomnia’, folks all across the UK struggled with a restless night.
Online psychotherapist Martha Crawford began gathering reports of people’s dreams in connection to Donald Trump’s presidency. With confirmed cases of the virus continuing to rise, she’s amassing even more on her blog.
From her extensive intake of dreams, she explained:
We’re dealing with a very intense cluster of very primal, existential anxieties right now — fear of loss of loved ones, fear of our own potential death, fear of suffering, fear of watching other people suffer, loss of contact with people we love.
We’re trying to keep our lid on and contain ourselves during the day and so at night, [dreaming] is the way we release that repression mechanism and start processing how we are making sense of these things.
Here’s a tip: start logging your dreams. Whether it be writing them down in a notepad or jotting them on your phone, keep a record of any you remember as best you can. In the dead of sleep, your head isn’t in your control – with a catalogue, you may be able to learn a bit more about what’s going on in there.
It’s okay to not panic about everything going on in the world right now. LADbible and UNILAD’s aim with our campaign, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from the people who are either qualified to comment or have experienced first-hand the situation we’re facing. For more information from the World Health Organization, click here.
CreditsLos Angeles Times and 4 others
Los Angeles Times
Dreams of a New World
Human Brain Mapping