Counting Sheep in Quarantine

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Mira Felczak, Staff Writer

Fear and illness are not the only things spreading along with this COVID-19 pandemic. Vivid, bizarre, and memorable dreams are circulating through the sleep of people of all ages, even students and staff here at Lake Shore. So, if you too are finding that odd dreams are inhabiting your time of shut-eye, you are not alone.  

It is not surprising that this is happening as experts say that vivid dreams are almost expected during times of widespread uncertainty and crisis, which we can all agree is consuming all of our lives right now. As stated by sleep expert and director of the University of Arizona’s sleep and health research program, Michael Grander, dreams are our ways of processing and making sense of things, which is precisely what we are all trying to do right now as that is pretty much all we can do during these times. 

These dreams can also be the result of the increased anxiety and stress that is accompanying this pandemic, which shown by research can cause more negative and vivid content in dreams. This can then cause us to remember them better, as they disrupt our sleep. 

Another possible reason for these vivid dreams is the changes in everyone’s routines and schedules, including their sleep schedules, that are resulting from the shelter-in-place order. Some people may be getting more sleep, which will increase the amount of dreams they have and in turn the amount they remember. On the other hand, some people may be getting less sleep than normal due to this pandemic, but may still be experiencing vivid and memorable dreams when they do sleep as a result of their brain slipping deeply into the “dream state” of sleep in order to catch up on what has been lost. 

It has been stated that people were reporting similar incidents relating to experiencing vivid and memorable dreams after the 9/11 attacks, World War II, earthquakes, and other events that resulted in fear and uncertainty; therefore, it truly is no surprise that it is happening once again during this pandemic.  

One student from Lake Shore, a sophomore named Madison Conner, stated that the amount of dreams she’s been having per night has increased since this quarantine began along with her ability to remember them. Conner used the phrase, “weird, but good.” She then went on to describe her dreams as “all over the place.” 

In one of the dreams that Conner described, she was graduated from college and was at the gym, where she met a man. Due to them both being single, they went on a date. She then mentioned that the dream jumped ahead to her wedding day with him and she was walking down the aisle just as she woke up. After describing this dream, Conner stated in regards to it that it was “freaky” and then went on to say, “I didn’t like that.” Conner also mentioned having several dreams involving her close friends and crazy situations herself and they were in.  

A senior at Lake Shore, Bella Papadhima, stated, “I feel like I’ve been having weird dreams ever since the ‘shelter at home’ order started.” She mentioned that the events in her dreams were not very memorable but that she was able to remember the faces more so. She stated that the best way she could describe her dreams in one word is “familiar.” Papadhima, continued, “I think I would describe them as stress dreams because I usually feel like there’s something that I have to complete in the dream.”

While Papadhima could not recall any dream specifically, she did mention that a lot of her dreams were involving things and people from TV shows she had been watching during this shelter-in-place time. She said in regards to her dreams, “They’re involving stuff I’ve seen from my shows, not my real life.” She also mentioned, “Ever since we stopped going to school, I’ve been having dreams with characters from the shows that I watch.” Papadhima said that at first she thought it was a one time thing, but now they are appearing in her dreams almost every night. 

Another senior at Lake Shore, Lindsey Yucha, stated that her dreams have been more frequent, vivid, and memorable since this quarantine has begun. In fact, when asked to describe her dreams that she has been having in one word, Yucha said, “vivid!” Yucha stated, “I’d say 50/50. I’ve been having some stressful dreams but at the same time I’ve been having weird dreams that make no sense at all.”

Yucha could not recall any of her dreams directly. She stated, “My dreams are all mashing together in my head right now but I’d just say they don’t make a whole ton of sense piecing them together.” She did mention though that she could recall that lots of her dreams contained characters from the TV shows she had been watching during this shelter in place time. She also said that a ton of her dreams have had appearances of her friends in them as well. 

Lake Shore Sophomore, Jayden Williams, stated that he too had been experiencing more frequent and memorable dreams since this pandemic began. When asked to describe his dreams using one word, he stated, “detailed.” 

Williams mentioned that most of his dreams involved elements of this quarantine and things that are occuring in his life right now because of this shelter in place. He said that his dreams never involved characters from TV shows or movies he is watching but rather all involved real people from his life. 

Williams went on to describe a dream about a friend that was moving away to Ohio. He said that he woke up in his dream, she came over to his house, and they hung out before she left for Ohio. He said in regards to when having the dream that he could physically remember how it felt to be in that situation. Williams described the dream as “a realistic dream.” He said that it felt so real that when he woke up, he thought that it actually happened. In another dream Williams described, people showed up to his house to make sure they “were quarantined properly” and the people “deep cleaned everybody’s houses” as he recalls. 

Lake Shore High School Math Teacher, Matt Coffey, stated that he has been having more frequent and weird dreams since this quarantine has started. He described his dreams as, “fast moving often” and said that they contained “unrelated people in odd settings.” When asked to describe his dreams in one word or phrase, Coffey stated, “oddly interesting.”

Coffey mentioned that he had a hard time remembering his dreams. He did propose hypotheses as to why he was experiencing the dreams he was though. He stated, “maybe due to the change in sleep schedule,” and “maybe due to more TV watching.”

The dreams of quarantine are not boring in the slightest and are common amongst all people during these crazy times of peeked uncertainty. Therefore, embrace your racing mind and its spectacular night-time creations. Do not be alarmed if your dreams are having a ball during this pandemic; it is normal and expected and you are not alone if you are experiencing them. Talk to friends and family members and share your night-time adventures through the dream world.