Quarantine produces weird, vivid dreams


Illustration by Sydney Territo

An illustration of an odd dream sophomore Lindsay Wells had during quarantine that involved her having no eyes and repeating the phrase “The Earth is mad at us.”

Whether it is a face with no eyes or someone with super powers, quarantine has inspired some interesting dreams. For sophomore Lindsay Wells, odd dreams have become a weekly occurrence since the start of quarantine. 

According to an article by Times Magazine, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is the stage in which we have the most vivid dreams. Changes in daily schedules, such as sleeping later in the day, increase the likelihood of getting deeper periods of REM, which produces more vivid dreams. 

“When I have strange dreams, it’s been harder for me to sleep because I’m scared to get them,” Wells said. “The dreams make me feel strange because I don’t understand what they mean.”

For those that wish to have some control over their dreams, Deirdre Barrett, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School, suggests trying to “program” dreams. This method involves repeating what the desired dream will be like when drifting off to sleep. 

For sophomore Kara Orander, these bizarre dreams occur about five days a week. She remembered having multiple dreams about members of the school band, while other dreams have been centered around her quarantine lifestyle. 

I honestly love the weird dreams,” Orander said. “They give me something to think about throughout the day, like what they meant or if it’s déjá vu.”

As a result of the coronavirus, there has been an uptick in stress and anxiety. According to an article on Vox’s website, scientists have found that the limbic system, which includes parts of the brain linked to emotional and behavioral responses, become activated when having odd dreams. 

While dreams are becoming more vivid, more of them are being remembered. An ongoing study by the Lyon Neuroscience Research Center in France showed a 35% increase in dream recall among participants.

“I find all my dreams funny,” Orander said. “I usually share them with my family, which brightens everyone’s mood every once in a while.”