How Covid crisis is causing bizarre dreams and night terrors – and tips to sleep better – The Sun

PEOPLE are dealing with the coronavirus pandemic in a myriad of ways and the change in routine is impacting us all.

As our day to day lives have changed so have our sleeping patterns, while some people have relished the extra time in bed where they would usually be commuting, others have experienced a lack of sleep and strange dreams.

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Experts at the University of Boston have now revealed how to prevent intense dreams disturbing our sleep schedule during these unsettling times.

Dr Patrick McNamara said the reason many of us are having intense dreams or nightmares during this time is due to the way we process emotions.

The reporting of daily death tolls from across the globe has made us fear the next announcement and Dr Patrick said we are able to integrate intense fear when memories associated with fear are symbolised in dreams.

At the moment the threat is unknown and unusual and Dr Patrick said this means it is taking longer for these feelings to be integrated into long term memories. 

How to fall asleep during lockdown

Many people are struggling to get to sleep during the coronavirus lockdown. But there are things you can do to make sure to get all the sleep you need.

  1. Keep a sleep diary: Dr Patrick says adressing bad dreams can help you understand what they mean, meaning you won't feel aprehensive about hitting the pillow.
  2. Have a routine: NHS England says sticking to a routine, getting up and going to bed at similar times each day can help improve your quality of sleep.
  3. Wind down: Try and step away drom the screens before you go to bed and try to relax your mind, the NHS recommends a warm bath, and relaxation exercises.
  4. Be sleep friendly: All of us are spending a lot of time at home at the moment but it's important to try and keep your bed just for sleeping. Making your bedroom sleep friendly is a great way to get to sleep. Keep it dark, quiet and tidy.

These memories are then in a limbo state as they wait to be transferred into long term memories.

At present many people are working from home and have no idea as to when they will return to work. This is while many others have been furloughed and are unaware of how their financial situation will pan out.

This is while others are struggling without a varied social life.

These issues make us more prone to strange dreams due to the stress we are under.

There are different types of dreams and the most common will usually include a few people you know in real life and then a couple of strangers.

Other dreams though can be more intense and in some cases debilitating to those who have them.

Nightmares can be treated with simple cognitive restructuring techniques, Dr Patrick says.

“You simply take the scariest image in the nightmare, say the monster chasing me, and then turn that image/monster into something less threatening, like my friend is chasing me. 

“Then, construct and write out a story around that image. For example, my friend is chasing me to give me some important news. Do this simple exercise everyday for a week and you should feel a bit better.”

Speaking to Medium he encouraged people to track their dreams over this time, especially if they have become more intense.

He said dreams can sometimes carry emotional meanings that needed to be reflected on.

Dr Patrick also claimed that some dreams carry images that can signal impending or oncoming illnesses and we should therefore pay attention to our dreams.

This is while sleep expert James Wilson also told The Sun that sleep is fundamental as it is the foundation that the rest of our health is built on.

“It helps us to physically recover and repair from illness and injury and builds our immune system. Sleep also helps to clean the brain of neurotoxins that can contribute to Alzheimer’s and Dementia. 

“Moreover, it makes It easier to stick to healthy eating. Ultimately our emotional and cognitive health starts with getting the right kind of sleep for us”.

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