Are you having strange dreams? If you are, you’re not alone. In my first story for National Geographic, I wrote about the neuroscience and psychology of pandemic dreams.
I talked to researchers from around the world who are studying quarantined dreamers. Their research shows that the pandemic is causing an increase in vivid dreams, and dreamers closer to disease epicenters are experiencing more nightmares.
The pandemic is giving people vivid, unusual dreams. Here’s why.
Ronald Reagan pulled up to the curb in a sleek black town car, rolled down his tinted window, and beckoned for Lance Weller, author of the novel Wilderness, to join him. The long-dead president escorted Weller to a comic book shop stocked with every title Weller had ever wanted, but before he could make a purchase, Reagan swiped his wallet and skipped out the door.
Of course, Weller was dreaming. He is one of many people around the world—including more than 600 featured in just one study—who say they are experiencing a new phenomenon: coronavirus pandemic dreams.
Science has long suggested that dream content and emotions are connected to wellbeing while we’re awake. Bizarre dreams laden with symbolism allow some dreamers to overcome intense memories or everyday psychological stressors within the safety of their subconscious. Nightmares, on the other hand, can be warning signs of anxieties that we might not otherwise perceive in our waking lives.
Read the rest in National Geographic.
Read more of my science writing here.