Sleepless in the Stateline: how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting dreams

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) ----- The coronavirus pandemic stirs many emotions and concerns in people across the region and for some it's taking the biggest toll on their sleep cycle.

"When you have fear, that will translate into the quality of your dreams," said Dr. Yaser Zeater, SwedishAmerican Pulmonologist.

Getting a good night's sleep can be tough in any circumstance. But, with the world adjusting to new habits and behaviors in the wake of COVID-19, sweet dreams can be tough to find.

"Usually, when you change bed or change room or change schedule, that does negatively affect your sleep cycle and sleep stages subsequently," said Dr. Zeater.

As a snooze specialist, Dr. Yaser Zeater says the pandemic's impact on sleep is two-fold, with patients seeing a rise in rapid eye movement or REM cycles and in what he calls negative quality dreams.

"Negative means vivid dreams, bad, bad quality of dreams and recollection of a dream and that's because of the fear of the virus," said Dr. Zeater.

Plus, experts say adding a lack of structure to an already worry-prone mind can put a strain on mental health.

"Definitely things like depression and anxiety affect sleep, those are those are those are big ones. And I think for most people, even in the best of circumstances, this pandemic has been stressful. And for some people it's creating some depression as well,” said Dr. Eric Trautmann, SwedishAmerican family physician.

While sharing your dreams may be difficult, Dr. Eric Trautmann says it's nothing to be ashamed of.

"Dreams are a reflection of things happening in your life. Times are different and I think that's a reflection of what's going on," said Dr. Trautmann.

Both doctors recommend maintaining as close to a regular daily routine as possible, like going to bed at the same time every night, to give yourself the best chance at successful rest.