Covid-19 Dreams

Hello! We're Amelia and Cecilia and we host the podcast 1-800-Dreamzz! Dreams are hilarious and we thought it would be fun to read listeners’ dreams and interpret them. We are currently living and recording in quarantine life during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are both vivid dreamers and noticed a trend talking with people about their dreams during quarantine, like that their dream recall is much better, or the dreams or more vivid or more specific. We also noticed how much these dreams varied from person to person. This got us talking about other common dreams and how similar but also how different they were!

Something else we really, really need to talk about with regards to life right now and the direction of this podcast: we are living in an extremely revolutionary and crucial time in our country’s history regarding civil rights. We’ve been working on this podcast since April, but for the last two months, we’ve been personally refocusing our attention on combating the systemic inequities in our country. I would like to be very clear that Cecilia and Amelia believe that Black Lives Matter. We’ve been protesting, donating, reading, watching and having crucial conversations with friends and family.

We had to take some time to reflect on this podcast as well. We weren’t sure that this was the right time to start because we weren’t sure that two white cis-gender ladies with a microphone was the right answer with the state of the world. Ultimately, the reason we have decided to stick with our schedule is because we believe that mental health is incredibly important for every human being, and we think that listening to your dreams is a therapeutic tool to better understand yourself. Dreams are so specific to the experience of the dreamer. While we can’t ever know everything about each other or speak to your specific experience, our goal is to help you, our listeners, bridge that gap between your subconscious mind and conscious mind.

We will be going over a ton of common dream topics that are fairly universal (like teeth falling out, the Egyptians even had this dream), and are always taking suggestions! We will be looking at dream interpretation throughout history and in different cultures and religions. It is very important to us that we use a variety of sources that give us a more well rounded look at the topics. We love you, our listeners, and hope you will correct us when we make mistakes and hold us accountable.

So as we alluded to earlier in the introduction, COVID-19 dreams have pervaded the collective human psyche. Without a doubt, COVID-19 has fundamentally changed our lives in such a short period of time. There have been a lot of reports of people recalling their dreams more and having incredibly vivid dreams. According to an article from WIRED, these COVID-19 dreams (particularly of healthcare workers and those with the virus) are similar to dreams of those experienced during other collectively stressful times in history. This includes:

  1. WWII

  2. Gulf War

  3. 9/11

Now we are going to talk about stress and dreams! So in our waking lives, we are working through feelings of fear, isolation, and sadness. Additionally, stress can lead to poor sleep, which means we may be entering and re-entering REM sleep more often and therefore remembering these dreams better. Higher levels of stress hormones in our systems contribute to these dreams

On the converse, some people are getting more sleep than ever - they’re not having to get ready in the morning, drop kids off, take the long commute to work, etc, which could also lead to more REM sleep and better dream retention!!

According to that same WIRED article, “Another factor that might contribute to the exceptional weirdness of quarantine dreams is that they’re experienced while part of your brain called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, aka ‘the rational center,’ is deactivated. ‘We have these unprecedented levels of arousal [due to the stress of the pandemic] operating in a system where your brain isn’t telling you things are crazy,’ Payne says. It makes no sense, you’re experiencing more fragmentation but continue on making the dream.’ Not only is your brain trying to synthesize all of the bizarre inputs of Covid life, it’s doing so without a rational captain at the helm.” This captain is saying “Nothing’s wrong” - it’s like that meme of the dog sitting at a table inside a burning building with a cup of, presumably, coffee saying “This is fine”

Have you heard of Deirdre Leigh Barrett? I don’t think this is the last time we’re going to talk about her. Deirdre Leigh Barrett, dream researcher at Harvard Medical School, spoke with the Boston Globe and said that big life changes affect your dreams, and obviously the stay at home order is a big life change. Stressors associated with these dreams include the actual threat of the virus, but also economic hardships, loneliness, if you’re stuck at home with a family member who drives you over the edge, even missing your favorite foods!!

Barrett is conducting a study on dreams and here is what she said about what she is hoping to uncover: “Looking at a collection like this can tell us a lot about the world’s unconscious emotional reactions and may even give us new approaches to it. Dreams are just our brain thinking in a very different biochemical state, and that mode can be a useful complement to our usual waking linear one.”

Some people are having very literal dreams, like getting the virus and dying, but some are more metaphorical, like getting attacked by bugs! People are also having dreams about curing the virus.

For us, it sometimes manifests situationally. So sometimes my dreams take place in a world that has not been affected by COVID-19, and sometimes it takes place in the world we’re currently in, i.e. we can’t go to a restaurant. Last week I dreamt I was in a crowded space where I wasn’t wearing a mask and neither was anyone else and I was very worried.

What should people do to not have these dreams?!

Easier said than done, but setting an intention about what you’d like to dream about before you go to bed can be helpful. Maybe not like, I want to dream of ice cream, but I would like to dream of pleasant things or of a peaceful world.

You can also submit your dreams to us or to take part in the shared processing of what they refer to as collective trauma.

You can send your dreams to us at (with two zz’s!) You can also check us out on Instagram and Facebook. Sleep tight! And remember, don’t let the metaphorical bugs from your quarantine dreams bite! Night night!

Amelia & Cecilia


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