Tags: Coronavirus | George Floyd Protests | Health Topics | Anxiety | Cold/Flu | Depression | sleep

Weird Dreams a Result of COVID-19: Here's What You Can Do

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By    |   Monday, 08 June 2020 04:08 PM

Anxiety and stress rampant are running in our society. Between the rising numbers of coronavirus infections and deaths and the demonstrations across the country, people are experiencing disturbed sleep and even more disturbing dreams.

Rachel O'Neill, PhD., a clinical psychologist and director of Talkspace, an online mental therapy app, told Real Simple "our brains don't necessarily have the downtime they used to have."

She said, before the pandemic, we had a sense of routine with activities outside the home and space away from our thoughts and feelings.

She added, "We're also consuming more media, which means our brain is being asked to process content moment-to-moment but without the ability to be really present with what we are experiencing."

The many unknowns and uncertainties surrounding COVID-19 have prompted other experts to examine what they call "pandemic dreams."

Dr. Jeffrey Durmer, a leader in sleep healthcare and the chief medical officer of Nox Health, told Fox News the trauma of COVID-19 activates "the sleep-related memory system."

"Nightmares are one of the potential results of this activity. This is also one of the principle features of PTSD," he says, referring to post traumatic stress disorder.

Now it the time to practice good health hygiene Dr. Wayne Pernell, PhD, a psychologist and sleep expert, told Real Simple. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers tips for better sleep that include going to bed at the same time, avoiding electronics or alcohol before bedtime.

But perhaps the most important things you can do to help get a good night’s sleep and banish weird dreams is realize what is causing them, Dr. Pavan Madan, M.D., a leading psychiatrist, told Real Simple.

"We must acknowledge that these are the result of the stressful times we are in," he said. "Take good care of yourself and try to lower your stress level. Try to talk through about your thoughts with a loved one or therapist. The more we process these thoughts consciously, the less they might bother us at night."

If you do wake up in the middle of the night with a pandemic nightmare, experts told Real Simple that taking deep, calming breaths and reminding yourself that you are OK, can help. Counting back from 1,000 or listening to a sleep-focused meditation are two other ways to fall back into a more peaceful sleep.

With everything that is going on, getting a good night's sleep is more important than ever, according to Real Simple.

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Anxiety and stress rampant are running in our society. Between the rising numbers of coronavirus infections and deaths and the demonstrations across the country, people are experiencing disturbed sleep and even more disturbing dreams.
sleep, nightmares, pandemic, rioting, civil unrest
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2020-08-08
Monday, 08 June 2020 04:08 PM
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