‘COVID dreams’ can be vivid for some, Yale sleep specialists says

Coronavirus

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– Yale sleep experts say we all dream three to five times a night, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, some are experiencing unusual dreams which can be vivid.

Dr. Meir Kryger is a Yale Medicine sleep specialist and author of several sleep books. He is seeing patients experiencing this very phenomenon.

“We’re seeing or hearing about a lot of people that are having nightmares, and they’re having very vivid dreams that they never had before,” says Dr. Kryger.

He says that anxiety in these uncertain times is making sleep unstable for some.

“If it’s unstable and you wake up during or after a dream you’re going to remember it and it’s going to have an element of vividness that normally you don’t have and that’s what people are noticing.”

His fellow Yale sleep specialist and researcher Dr. Christine Won is the director of women’s sleep health program at Yale Medicine. She is seeing similar cases.

“Seem to have a lot of people who have distressing dreams about being isolated, not being able to escape, feeling trapped and I think it does revolve around this pandemic that we’re going through,” says Dr. Won.

She says if these dreams are just “occasional” they are not harmful to mental health.

“For some people, it’s a way of sort of managing their stress, it’s a way of working out their dilemmas during their sleep.”

Dr. Won recommends a healthy exercise and bedtime routine for patients and says that dream content can actually be manipulated in a positive way.

“I tell my patients that before they go to bed to do some relaxation exercises try to pick up a book or think about something that is unrelated to whatever is provoking anxiety at the time.”

Doctors say if you are experiencing vivid dreams repeatedly talk with your doctor because it could be a sign of post traumatic stress disorder.

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