Amid the coronavirus outbreak, some of us feel like we are living in a nightmare. Between the virus itself, stay-at-home orders, and falling economy, it’s easy to see why many people are having a hard time right now.
A new dreams report, conducted by Dr. Kelly Bulkeley and commissioned from YouGov, found that 7% of the adult American population are experiencing changes in their dreams due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Slightly more people ages 18 to 34 reported having pandemic related dreams than those aged 35 to 54, 9% in the 18 to 34 category compared to the 35 to 54 category. People ages 55 and over had the least amount of dreams related to coronavirus, with 5% reporting they had pandemic-related dreams.
Are you part of the group that is experiencing pandemic-related dreams? Check out the themes below to see if your recent dreams fall into any of the coronavirus dream categories.
1. Fear of catching the disease
Many dreams include fears of catching coronavirus. These dreams also include worries about being tested, social distancing, isolation, and infecting others.
- A 59-year-old female dreamed about contracting the virus, dying alone, and the pandemic never coming to an end.
- A 52-year-old female wakes up anxious about contracting coronavirus.
- A 21-year-old female dreamt that she contracted coronavirus and had to isolate herself from others.
- A 31-year-old female dreamt that someone came closer than 6 feet to her without permission and she freaked out at the person.
2. Fear of family and friends catching it
Instead of themselves catching coronavirus, some people have fears that their family or friends will catch it. Dreams in this category express the frustration many feel about being separated from loved ones.
- An 18-year-old female dreamt that her best friend passed the virus to her. While she survived, her friend died from complications from the virus.
- A 56-year-old female dreamt that a loved one had coronavirus so she went to visit the person through a window and the person died.
3. Difficulty breathing
Other respondents reported having dreams in which they experience difficulty breathing, most likely because this is one of the most frightening symptoms of the virus.
- A 36-year-old female had a dream that she woke up from sleep and couldn’t breathe.
- A 22-year-old male had a dream that he was in a hospital bed in an empty white room and was coughing, and then stopped breathing.
- A 63-year-old male was dreaming that he could not get enough air to breathe.
4. Threats to work
As the coronavirus pandemic has caused difficult financial times for many people, another common dream theme is a threat to someone’s work or employment status.
- A 53-year-old male dreamt that he lost his job.
- A 55-year
- Losing my job. (M, 53)
Because of job loss I cannot afford to live. (M, 55)
I dreamed about coworkers and the virtual meetings we have had and their difficulty with caring for their kids in the meetings. I felt sad and overwhelmed. (F, 55)
Dreams are very sensitive to feelings that the world is ending or turning chaotic, which is why many people a=may be experiencing apocalypse dreams.
- A 28-year-old male dreamt that the world was crumbling. The dream featured people and economies suffering greatly.
- A 37-year-old female dreamt that the virus spread uncontrollably and bodies piled up. As companies closed down, people became desperate and violence increased.
- A 50-year-old female dreamed that the world was ending. People began to go crazy as she tried to get her older children home safely, but was unsuccessful.
- An 18-year-old male dreamed he was homeless, hungry and scared. Everyone in the world was sick, it was coronavirus mutated and turned everyone into zombies. They were trying to kill him by touching him, bit he had no way to survive even if he avoided being touched. He woke up just before he died of hunger.
6. Social distancing is the norm
While we lead lives that are completely abnormal, it can be hard for some to imagine a time when life will feel calm and normal again. Some people are experiencing dreams in which social distancing is the norm, but they feel happy about it.
- A 41-year-old woman dreamt that she was attending a part for a friend’s baby. Instead of attending the party in person, the group all had computers set up with some kind of FaceTime app. They celebrated the birthday this way online instead of in person because of the outbreak.
- A 61-year-old woman dreamt that she opened a drawer and found a bunch of face masks and was very happy about it.