Having weird dreams lately? You aren’t alone! Since the coronavirus
outbreak, we’re hearing about lots of sleep issues, including strange
dreams. So, what’s causing it and how can you finally get a good
Your dreams may be more vivid for different reasons, including lifestyle
changes like a disruption in normal daily activities, exercise routine,
eating habits and sleep pattern. Increased levels of stress or anxiety
– especially with the constant COVID-19 news cycle -- can cause
your brain to keep you alert, making it difficult to fall asleep or have
more intense dreams.
What’s the science behind dreams? They occur during REM cycles, and
the more REM sleep you get in a night, the more dreams you’ll typically
experience. As your night of sleep progresses, your REM cycles get longer,
which is why most of your dreams occur during the latter part of the night.
Most people dream for about 2 hours each night, but not everyone remembers
their dreams. And while we don’t know exactly what causes dreams,
we do know that the right amount of quality sleep is essential for the
body and affects everything from your brain and heart to your immune system
and mood. Research shows that once the main stressor is eliminated, most
people easily get back into a routine and sleep normally. In the meantime,
there are several things you can do to get a better night’s rest
and keep the vivid dreams away:
- Be mindful of what you're eating and drinking throughout the day. Eating
a big meal or having too much caffeine or alcohol in the hours before
bed may disrupt your sleep.
- Stick to a schedule.
- Avoid activities like working, watching TV or playing video games in bed
-- this will help your brain associate lying in bed with going to sleep.
- Establish a pre-bedtime routine to wind down and help your brain relax.
- Use calming fragrances, aromatherapy, soothing music, etc. to help you
- Try reading a book to help you fall asleep.
If you’re experiencing repeated stress or anxiety about sleeping
or recurring nightmares, there are treatments that can help. Contact your
healthcare provider to discuss your options.