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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

COVID-19 fears may explain sleepless nights, weird dreams

Experts blame anxiety and stress on the strange dreams people are having.

BARTLETT, Tenn. — In this era of "social distancing" so much has changed. 

Work, school, even how we sleep at night has been impacted by the pandemic. 

In a social media poll, Local 24 News Reporter Kelsie Cairns asked followers if they noticed any change in sleep schedules. 

As a result, 72% of voters said yes. This was a non-scientific poll. 

So, why is this happening?

Bill Fish, managing editor at the the National Sleep Foundation says interrupted sleep is a direct result of a lack of consistency in our schedules.

He said, "Each of us is equipped with a 24-hour internal body clock known as our circadian rhythm. It tells us when to rest and when to be alert. When we are shifting from our normal sleep schedule, our bodies and minds can get confused."

Mix that with the onslaught of a pandemic, the economic fallout, and being stuck at home, its a recipe for disaster."

President-elect for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine Dr. Kannan Ramar says a continuous seven to eight hours minimum is vital to our health.

He said, "It helps to build our immune system. The more strong our immune system is, than the more likely we are to fight diseases such as COVID-19."

On top of disrupted sleep cycles, we noticed a lot of you have had some weird dreams lately.

Fish says  "Our brains never shut down per se. When we are sleeping, they are flushing our thoughts and experiences through our dreams.  If we happen to be going through a stressful time, we are more apt to have those negative experiences come out in our dreams." 

To curb the dreams and sleepless nights, Dr. Ramar says write down negative feelings or stresses. Turn off the phone. Turn off the TV. Take a warm shower or bath and designate a new routine with sleep and wake up time.

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