While the world is still battling the COVID-19 pandemic, as people stay at home and away from each other - many are suffering from what can be termed as 'Quarandreams.
In the midst of this pandemic the reports of those experiencing 'super-vivid dreams' has surged dramatically. People are also claiming that they are now recalling their dreams in detail and that the effects of these dreams have taken a toll on their mental health.
Clinically, this mental state is common in humans in the backdrop of catastrophic situations which have impacted them socio-economically and psychologically across geographies in the world. Many doctors have deemed the dreams prevailing during the earlier pandemics as well, like the one we are currently faced with.
From apocalyptic to mundane, since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, reportedly many adults and children are suffering from intense dreams, nightmares and hallucinations. The common symptoms of this is waking up in a pool of sweat, fear and anxious feeling - often triggered by nightmares. These dreams include themes of being hospitalised with poor healthcare services, loss of job, loss of family members, caught amid natural disasters, etc.
'Quarandreams' are widely described, through social media channels as super-vivid dreams which have caught the attention of psychiatrists as scores of individuals seek help.
Why are we collectively as a human being going through it?
There is still inconclusive data about what is the purpose of dreams in human biology, but it's linked with memory processing and consolidation. It also reflects one's predominant mood, thoughts and stress of course. Several people wake up and have no idea what they had dreamed, while other times, they can closely recall the dreams because they were too intense. These are known as vivid dreams.
What are super-vivid dreams?
As previously stated, stress and anxiety during this pandemic has increased the cases of hallucinations during sleep, people are increasingly consulting doctors to explain 'weird' or 'bizarre' dreams that they are facing these days. It can range different from person to person wherein a non-healthcare professional could be dreaming of being held hostage in a closed dark room by an invisible enemy (in this case the coronavirus) which could be triggered due to the fact that they are staying at home to keep themselves at bay from contracting the virus or from spreading it further on.
In the case of healthcare workers, they might be dreaming of prolonged hours spent at the hospitals treating the patients, to those of unable to contain the virus from spreading to other people within the premises, which could be triggered by the stress of dealing with scores of patients with varying complications due to the contraction of the virus.
Given the symptoms of quarandreams, let's understand the possible reasons why you may be experiencing such dreams:
Change in the sleeping pattern - For many people, sleep pattern has changed drastically - they are sleeping at irregular times; binge-watching web series late in the night; continuing office work till late night; waking up late; snoozing alarms as there's no rush to reach offices, and sleeping for longer hours than usual. It affects the balance of NREM and REM sleep pattern, which in turn increases the time spent of sleep during REM phase of sleep - increasing dreams and more remembered dreams.
How to overcome it?
Pivoting onto an exact cause of vivid dreams is however difficult and hence it is assumed that the dreams will go away with the time. However, seeking medical treatment and lifestyle modifications are suggested if dreams are causing emotional distress or physical problems.
One can follow some common treatments for vivid dreams like:
Try to maintain the same sleep routine. Get up at the same time and sleep at the same time every day. Practice bathing with warm water before going to bed. Avoid tea, caffeine during late evenings. Use the bed only for sleeping and not for any other purpose such as watching movies; working on a laptop, eating snacks, etc. (IANS)