It is a new scenario for everyone. A pandemic more than 100 years ago did not affect the world this way. Modern times, globalized and networked, naturally make them omnipresent. In one way or another, it affects us all. Whether we are awake or sleeping. A study of more than 600 people analyzed the sleep disorders that this strange reality we live in is due to the pandemic's effects on sleep.
At least five research teams from institutions in different countries collect examples. One of her findings is that pandemic dreams are affected by stress, isolation, and changes in sleep patterns. It is a whirlwind of negative emotions that separated them from normal dreams. “We usually use the REM phase of dreams to deal with intense emotions. Especially negative emotions, "says Patrick McNamara. He is an associate professor of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine." Obviously, this pandemic is causing a lot of stress and anxiety. "
The dream trip
During sleep, stress causes something in the brain like a "trip". According to McNamara, the neurobiological signals and reactions generated by dreams are similar to those caused by psychedelics. Psychedelics activate nerve receptors called serotonin 5-HT2A. These turn off a part of the brain called the dorsal prefrontal cortex. The result is known as "emotional disinhibition". It is a state in which emotions flood consciousness, especially during the REM phase of sleep. Although these processes take place every night, most people generally don't remember these “trips”.
The pandemic affects the content of dreams. Anxiety and lack of activity affect sleep quality. Frequent awakening, also called Parasomniaare associated with a greater memory of dreams. In addition, latent emotions and memories from the previous day can also influence the content of dreams and the emotional reaction of a person in the dream itself.
We do less … we remember more
There is an ongoing study by Lyon Neuroscience Research Center. It started in March. According to the coronavirus pandemic, participants' dream memories have increased by 35%. Respondents said 15 percent more negative dreams than usual. A study funded by the Italian Sleep Medicine Association analyzes dreams imprisoned by Italians during the outbreak. Many of the subjects experience nightmares and parasomnias in accordance with the symptoms of PTSD.
People closest to the pandemic threat (e.g. health workers) are more likely to experience dreams affected by an outbreak.
Emotions carried through the day can affect what we dream of. Caught in this quarantine, we reduce, limit or limit the sources of everyday memories, thus limiting the content of dreams.
Yes, there are many examples of how the pandemic affects sleep by causing disorders. Whenever possible, experts recommend performing various activities at home, not (virtually) isolating yourself from friends and doing sports. We may not be able to prevent it from affecting us while we are awake. Let's try not to let it happen while we sleep.