Pandemic causing people to have bizarre, vivid dreams, researchers say

All around the world, researchers are finding that people are experiencing very intense and bizarre dreams -- and they're remembering them better than before the crisis.

NatGeo contributing writer, Rebecca Renner, has been looking into this.

"One of the big reasons is that we are stuck inside because of the pandemic so we're not going about our days as we usually would and so we don't have all these new stories in our heads. We don't have all these new stimuli so our brain is reaching back into the old files to get interesting stuff to play with while we're dreaming," she said.

Renner said the stress of the pandemic is also getting to people.

FULL INTERVIEW: NatGeo contributing writer, Rebecca Renner, discusses COVID-19 link to bizarre, vivid dreams
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FULL INTERVIEW: All around the world, researchers are finding that people are experiencing very intense and bizarre dreams -- and they're remembering them better than before the crisis. NatGeo contributing writer, Rebecca Renner, has been looking into this.



"So, the closer you are to an epicenter or people who have contracted the illness, the more likely you are to have very intense dreams because your brain is trying to deal with those stressors," she said.

Renner said part of what makes this crisis so different is that the danger, the virus is invisible.

"Scientists believe that that is the reason why we are creating these very interesting, often strange or vivid images to give the virus something physical, tangible, visual so that we can process it. So that we can deal with it," she said.
So, people are having dreams about bug infestations and the zombie apocalypse to take the place of the virus.

She said researchers told her there is something you can do something called dream scripting. Decide a different outcome for a recurring nightmare, write it down before bed, and then keep reading it.

For example, if you have a recurring nightmare about a monster, write a story about shrinking that monster and put him in a shoebox. Then, read that story right before bed.

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