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Why do we have bad dreams?

Why do we have bad dreams?

Hello, hello, hello, everyone!!!! I hope you and your family are all well!!

A few months ago, I spoke about “Dreams”, what they are and why we dream. Today I wanted to speak about the dreams we are having right now due to lockdown. After speaking to a variety of people, I realised that everyone was having bad dreams at night. And this made me ask myself why are we all having them? Does the current situation have a part to play?

When I was searching for dreams, I came across a recent study by Deirdre Barrett (2020), an author and a psychologist who teaches at Harvard Medical School, about the dreams we are having due to the current situation.

She explains that due to the current situation that we are living in now, people are having more weird and strange dreams and they are often remembering them when usually they don’t. She states that dreams and emotions are linked to wellbeing while we are awake.

Furthermore, she describes that bad dreams are appearing due to a lack of “inspiration”. This occurs because we are experiencing the same day repeatedly due to the situation. Every day seems pretty much the same, causing our subconscious to run out of ideas to project while we sleep. This, therefore, causes our subconscious to bring memories and mixes them with current emotions, making them appear terrifying and strange, to be able to explain what is happening in real life with the virus.

As a solution to these bad dreams, she discusses that it is good to script the dreams and to try and decide how would you like your bad dreams to change. Once you have decided how you would like to change your dreams, she suggested to write them down and read them before going to bed. This will result in helping the subconscious avoid bad dreams.

For ways to prevent bad dreams and encourage a better sleep, Barrett suggests to “wake up and go to bed at the same time” every day. “Avoid screens at night”, as they prevent you becoming naturally sleepy due to the light which makes your brain think that it is daytime. “Avoid hot baths and showers at night”, as they increase body temperature and when our body prepares us to sleep, it decreases the temperature therefore it won’t help with us going to sleep. Finally, “do not work in bed”, for example, doing assignments in bed or even reading during the day, leave the bed purely for sleeping at night so that the brain can relax and it can divide the daily activities that you are doing at home from sleeping.

Here you have an interview of Deirdre Barrett, where she explains the dreams further:

If you would like to read more on this topic, here you have a link to an article written by National Geographic: “The pandemic is giving people vivid, unusual dreams”.

Thank you for reading. Please keep healthy.

“If there ever comes a day, when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever.” – Winnie the Pooh, Walt Disney.