Uncertain future, economic conditions, education, jobs, etc, are making our subconscious anxious and hence fearful
Uncertain future, economic conditions, education, jobs, etc, are making our subconscious anxious and hence fearful|Representational image
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Nightmares & bizarre dreams during lockdown? Experts explain why 

COVID-19 lockdown has brought with it a host of bizarre dreams, night terrors and nightmares despite having enough time to sleep; experts explain why

Amlan Jyoti Das

Amlan Jyoti Das

Guwahati: Struggling to sleep, tossing and turning around while you sleep at night, constantly waking up in a pool of sweat, thanks to the barrage of nightmares and weird dreams which make you function as a zombie the next day? You may not be alone.

Despite having more time to rest than before, most of us are unable to do so. The lockdown seemed like a perfect opportunity to get those seven hours of daily ZZZs right. But how one can sleep if one is always greeted with a bevy of nightmares, bizarre dreams, and night terrors?

“Why am I having weird dreams?” searches in Google have quadrupled in the United States lately. So why is it even happening?

Most of us are also able to remember the details of the bizarre dream and nightmares which is usually not possible. This is a clear indication that we are not sleeping enough, hence giving us the illusion of dreaming more during the lockdown. But in reality, we dream almost every day but due to a perfect sleep, we are unable to retain them in our memory. Weird, right?

So what is actually causing the loss of sleep? Nightmares are primarily because of stress, anxiety, unresolved emotional conflicts, or issues embedded deeply in the subconscious or unconscious parts of the human mind.

“The COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown was never anticipated, even in the wildest dreams. With it came issues of livelihood for many, increased stress due to boredom, lack of variety lack of mobility, fear of the unknown, new relationship issues, career issues, etc. In some, it has led to anxiety. Sleep disorders are on the rise because of disruption of a normal lifestyle,” said Dr Sangeeta Datta, a consultant neuro-psychologist.

This coping with the new normal has been quite unsettling for most people which has actually led to the lack of normal restful sleep and more of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and nightmares, she said.

In reality, we dream almost every day but due to a perfect sleep, we are unable to retain them in our memory
In reality, we dream almost every day but due to a perfect sleep, we are unable to retain them in our memory Representational image

Let us not forget the disturbed daily schedule overall. Lesser movement, sedentary work schedules, glued to laptop cell screens has also taken a toll in the conscious and the unconscious mind of us people said Anindita Nath, a senior consultant at ABACUS Management. “Also, work pressures are there in terms of working from home; so they have to doubly ‘prove’ to leaders that they are working and not dodging work. This is further leading to the nightmare scenario,” she added.

Add to it the fear of uncertainty: uncertain future, economic conditions, education, jobs, etc, its actually quite surprising that we are not having a complete meltdown altogether. However, our subconscious needs to find an outlet and this anxiety about what is to come is making our subconscious fearful and hence the nightmares and night terrors.

“So how do we even tackle something that is totally out of our conscious control?” is the obvious question. The answer is quite simple; keep ourselves occupied and busy in productive work without being idle’, said Dr Datta. Keeping our daily schedule packed with the right amount of work, physical exercise, family time, and also finding the ‘me’ time which allows us to venture to do things we love but never had time to do so before, gives us the control over our lives with perfect sleep and well without nightmares.

“Also, having those perfumes or scented candles or even essential perfumes, etc, in the room can help in getting a perfect sleep,” added Nath.

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