Friday Open Thread ~ Quarantine Dreams

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Have you been having more vivid dreams lately? You’re not alone. EARSHOT delves into the collective unconscious to find out what’s behind these ‘quarantine dreams’.

During our dream states, stress sends the brain on a trip. The neurobiological signals and reactions that produce dreams are similar to those triggered by psychedelic drugs.

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Since the Covid-19 crisis began, people around the world have reported that their dreams are more vivid and bizarre than usual: from nightmares about overcrowded trains or Donald Trump sneezing on them, to wistful dreams about their favourite restaurant. What can we learn from this strange new phenomenon?

Guests: Dr Kelly Bulkeley, psychologist of religion specializing in dream research, and the director of the Sleep and Dream Database ~ Dr Deirdre Barrett, author of The Committee of Sleep as well as a Harvard dream researcher. Her new book is Pandemic Dreams ~ Zara Haghpanah-Shirwan is one of the founders of Lockdown Dreams ~ Dr Julia Lockheart, artist and Professor Mark Blagrove, sleep scientist set up and run Dreams ID. Through the lockdown they’ve run online dream groups. inviting frontline and key workers to discuss a recent or important dream, while Julia creates an artwork that captures the dream.

Quarantine Dreams

The pandemic is giving people vivid, unusual dreams. During our dream states, stress sends the brain on a trip. The neurobiological signals and reactions that produce dreams are similar to those triggered by psychedelic drugs, according to McNamara.

Ronald Reagan pulled up to the curb in a sleek black town car, rolled down his tinted window, and beckoned for Lance Weller, author of the novel Wilderness, to join him. The long-dead president escorted Weller to a comic book shop stocked with every title Weller had ever wanted, but before he could make a purchase, Reagan swiped his wallet and skipped out the door.

Of course, Weller was dreaming. He is one of many people around the world—including more than 600 featured in just one study—who say they are experiencing a new phenomenon: coronavirus pandemic dreams.

Science has long suggested that dream content and emotions are connected to wellbeing while we’re awake. Bizarre dreams laden with symbolism allow some dreamers to overcome intense memories or everyday psychological stressors within the safety of their subconscious. Nightmares, on the other hand, can be warning signs of anxieties that we might not otherwise perceive in our waking lives.

With hundreds of millions of people sheltering at home during the coronavirus pandemic, some dream experts believe that withdrawal from our usual environments and daily stimuli has left dreamers with a dearth of “inspiration,” forcing our subconscious minds to draw more heavily on themes from our past. In Weller’s case, his long-time obsession with comics came together with his constant scrolling through political posts on Twitter to concoct a surreal scene that he interpreted as a commentary on the world’s economic anxieties.

National Geographic's CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE

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QMS's picture

Interesting topic.
Early the other day while sipping coffee
It felt like I was dreaming myself awake.

Thanks for the OT philly

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Lookout's picture

They call themselves the elderly brothers when doing so...

I guess I'm not stressed out in that way, cause my dreams are the normal weird they've always been. Funny how dreams are so disconnected, jumping from one impossibility to another with no rational connection. Wild firing of neurons as our memories and thoughts become embedded.

Have a good one!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

is usually I'm somewhere in a city with a crowd around me, and I forgot my mask. Every one is giving me dirty looks, and kids yell at me. My daymares, after watching and reading the news are more like this.

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Granma's picture

Are we less stressed or entertaining ourselves enough during the day?

I think I finally got my computer un-frozen. Windows 10 decided to update itself while I was in the middle of something. It took two days and multiple re-boots to get it past that and seemingly pbehaving.

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At least it's great sex! Full color and sensory like my dreams have always been.

Better than real life. How can I tell the difference? Never any pain in dreams.

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

enhydra lutris's picture

us organize and store memories and another (or part of the same) that we ue them to work through problems and puzzles. One might suspect that for most, there is a bit less memory work to be done because activities and such are constrained and limited. Conversely that would free up time for more work on puzzles and problems, possibly including all of those we but poorly and seldom consciously formulate and maybe also some we normally wouldn't bother with.

I have not, myself, found myself aware of dreaming more than normal and of having wierder dreams than normal. Of course, wierdness is relative, so how whould I know if my "normal" dreams are wierd, wierder, wierdest or what. There was one with 14 cows along the banks of denial that was a bit strange, but I had overeaten that day, causing heartburn, so it ws probably that.

be well and have a good one

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

However, none of them this year seem to relate to the pandemic.
I dream of travel, getting lost. (It has happened.) Or kissing and hugging pets long gone. (It has happened in contemporary time.)
I have self-isolated from social gatherings for so many decades, (due to my occupation), this is just imposed upon me what I had already imposed upon my self.
The nightmares I am experiencing are on TV or Youtube.

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