Are You Having Weird Dreams During the Wait?
I have had talks with friends, questions from patients, and seen posts on media about people having weird or bad dreams during this time. I admit that I have experienced this, especially around the 2nd to 3rd week of the isolation.
Dreams, according to the scientific community, are very important to our mental health. At one time dreams were considered just a by-product of REM (rapid eye movement). But now through brain-mapping machines, we are learning that dreams are essential for the benefits of REM sleep to take place. If we don’t go into REM regularly, it can create waking psychosis!
There are four areas of the brain that light up on brain scans when dreaming occurs:
* Visual-spatial perception
We are trying to make sense of all the isolation info in the world while we sleep, and every part of our being is affected by it!
The funny thing is, the one area that doesn’t show activity during sleep is the Pre-Frontal Cortex (PFC). This area of the brain helps us make logical decisions and choices; so our dreams may not make any logical sense to us...but they still serve a purpose. Scientists are saying that dreams are not really replays of past experiences during awake times, but actually processing of emotional trauma within the brain. DREAMS HELP US TO MEND AND HEAL TRAUMATIC OR UNHAPPY EXPERIENCES. Our emotional states can predict our dreams.
According to Matthew Walker, who wrote “Why We Sleep”, REM sleep heals our “emotional wounds”. The more we sleep and are in a traumatic time of life (ISOLATION), the more you will heal your emotions. Sleep is nature’s natural emotional therapy.
The reason we heal so much during sleep, relates to the fact that our brains stop producing noradrenaline while we sleep. Noradrenaline is an excitatory neurotransmitter that can produce anxiety if there are high amounts in the blood. And since we are in a time of uncertainty and worry, the noradrenaline can be flowing all day in our brain. When we sleep, the flow of noradrenaline stops, and gives the brain a REST. As a result, we analyze our emotions and try to connect the dots without going into anxiety. This can allow emotional healing and processing to take place.
Our dreaming brain is attempting to detach unhealthy emotions from a traumatic memory. If the brain cannot heal the trauma in one night, it will revisit the memory night after night till the emotional trauma is healed. We can think of a bad memory, and if the emotions (anger, sadness, etc.) are healed and detached, the memory does not harm us.
Dreams help us to problem solve, connect the dots of our emotions, and learn new skills-even while sleeping. Don’t be alarmed if you are having crazy or unhappy dreams, you are healing yourself:).