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Weird Dreams? Blame Them On The Pandemic

If you're experiencing weird dreams, you're not alone

NBCUniversal, Inc.

If you're experiencing, bizarre and vivid dreams, you can blame the COVID-19 pandemic, but luckily, researchers say there is a way to reprogram your dreams.

Maybe your dreams have thrown you into wildly impossible scenarios or tangible moments of fear while fighting off giant bug-like creatures or imaginary villains.

The dreams seem inexplicable, but they're not, according to Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry and Dream Researcher at Harvard, Dr. Dierdre Barrett.

"Any crisis tends to stir up our dream life for psychological reasons," said Dr. Barrett.

Barrett is conducting a COVID-19 dream survey, asking dreamers to write in descriptions of their wild and vivid coronavirus-related dreams.

2700 people have responded so far and revealed an interesting dream theme: bugs.

"I've just seen dozens and dozens and dozens of every kind of bug in the world attacking the dreamers," said Barrett.

She said bugs and the close second dream theme of invisible monsters are metaphors for the anxiety we've all felt during coronavirus pandemic.

Other common dreams right now include those of tidal waves, tornadoes, hurricanes and fires.

Barrett adds the anxiety dreams feel more frequent because more Americans are getting more sleep under shelter at home orders.

"We dream about every 90 minutes through the night, but each dream period gets longer and more intense," said Barrett.

However, there is a way to control your dreams!

As you close your eyes, Barrett said to think of something you want to dream about.

"In this case, you should make it a happy and relaxing thought, a person you'd like to visit in your dream or a place you'd like to go, or some people like dreams about flying," said Barrett. 

"It greatly increases the odds that you'll dream on that and decreases the odds that you'll have anxiety dreams."

She also recommends keeping a sleep diary to help analyze your dreams, but most importantly, she said, remember that your anxiety dreams are completely normal.

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