DETROIT – Is the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic affecting your dreams? Researchers said many people have reported bizarre, vivid dreams involving swarms of flying insects, grasshoppers with vampire fangs and fighting off giant bug-like creatures.
Harvard researchers are tracking the trends and what they say about our subconscious. Experts said they represent fears about the coronavirus.
“I’ve just seen dozens and dozens and dozens of every kind of bug in the world attacking the dreamers,” Harvard psychologist Deirdre Barrett said.
Bugs are one metaphor for the virus. Others report dreaming about more familiar disasters, such as tornadoes, tsunamis and earthquakes.
Lately, many people’s dreams have been shifting to the secondary effects of the pandemic, Barrett said. In her online survey, dreamers reported symbols of financial stress, going back to work and homeschool.
“The school messaged her and told her they were sending the entire class to her home and that she had to homeschool the whole class,” Barrett said.
With many Americans getting more sleep than before the pandemic, they’re also dreaming more. Another common dream theme is what life will be like after the pandemic.
Some dreams are apocalyptic. Others are euphoric. Dolphins and whales are often involved, which can symbolize encouragement.
“The whales had learned to fly,” Barrett said. “They were swooping through the sky like gigantic, fast, graceful blimps in the air.”
Barrett said people can try to reprogram their dreams by thinking of something they want to dream about as they’re drifting off to sleep.
Researchers said some people have also had dreams about being out in public and realizing they had forgotten their mask or gotten too close to other people. Experts said as we learn a new skill, it’s common to dream about that skill.