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The COVID nightmare, literally


The deep-rooted anxiety being caused by the COVID pandemic and some argue fuelled by the mainstream media is showing up in people’s nightmares. According to researchers from University of Helsinki in Finland over half of people’s nightmares are COVID related.

The Daily Mail reports:

Cleared supermarket shelves, bans on visiting the pub and the construction of giant emergency hospitals may feel like something out of a horror movie.

But scientists have found Covid-19 really is the stuff of nightmares.

More than half of 800 volunteers quizzed about their dreams revealed they endured distressing images linked to the pandemic. 

And a quarter of participants — who were from Finland — told how they now suffer more frequent bad dreams than before the ‘apocalyptic ambience’ of lockdown set in. 

Images causing sufferers to toss and turn included accidentally giving someone a hug, being stuck in a crowd, enjoying a party and catching the virus itself. 

READ: How Covid has infected your SLEEP: Half of nightmares now revolve around the disease and scientists believe they may teach us how to behave in the pandemic

A psychology professor out of Harvard, Deirdre Barrett, is reporting the same thing. In an interview with the Harvard Gazette, Barrett said:

GAZETTE: Broadly, are you seeing patterns or themes in the dreams you’ve been collecting through your survey?

BARRETT: I’m noticing big clusters of dream content. One is very literally about getting the virus — that’s been a fairly common dream where the person is short of breath or spiking a fever. Or sometimes it’s a little more fantastic. One woman looked down and saw blue stripes on her stomach and remembered in the dream that was supposed to be the first sign of a COVID-19 infection. Then there are metaphors for the virus — there’s a big sub-cluster of bug dreams. After 9/11, I saw metaphors as well as literal dreams about those events. But I didn’t see bug dreams after 9/11. And I’ve just seen dozens and dozens and dozens of every kind of bug imaginable attacking the dreamer: There are swarms of every kind of flying insect you’ve ever heard of; there are armies of cockroaches racing at the dreamer; there are masses of wriggling worms; there were some grasshoppers with vampire fangs; there are bed bugs, stink bugs.

Barrett believes these bug dreams are associated to “catching a bug” a phrase we commonly use for being sick.

READ: What pandemic dreams may come: Harvard researcher says many having nights full of bugs, masks, and natural disasters

And on a related note. People are also having trouble falling to sleep because of worry about COVID. They even have a name for it, coronasomnia. READ: The pandemic is ruining our sleep. Experts say ‘coronasomnia’ could imperil public health.

I did a podcast along this theme a few weeks back, if you care to listen.

59 | Conquering exaggerated fear

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