Sunrise through a thin mist at Council Crest Park, looking west. Sky overhead is clear

Covid-19 Diary: sleep and dreams

Published 2020-04-21

With hundreds of millions of people sheltering at home during the coronavirus pandemic, some dream experts believe that withdrawal from our usual environments and daily stimuli has left dreamers with a dearth of “inspiration,” forcing our subconscious minds to draw more heavily on themes from our past.

— From The pandemic is giving people vivid, unusual dreams. Here’s why.

…this explains why I’ve had so many dreams that I’m in college again, or moving into the dorms, or dating (or married to) some woman from twenty or thirty years in my past.

Of course, in dream fashion, these circumstances are stirred up with my current life. If I’m moving into the dorm with my college girlfriend, how will this affect my marriage and kids and mortgage? Which is the source of anxiety, to the extent these dreams provoke any strong emotion.

My dream life is extremely low on fantasy elements, obviously. Places figure prominently, in fact a recurring theme is that I’ll have a dream where I “remember” some house I used to live, except that of course I never actually lived there.

Anyway my sleep patterns and dream life are not massively altered these past six weeks. Except that I remember my dreams more clearly now. My sleep patterns are almost identical to previous: I am asleep by 10pm or so, awake for an hour or so around 1 to 3 am (a convenient time to open the dishwasher and let the dishes air-dry), then awaken on my own between 5:00 and 6:00 am. I have set an alarm for 5:00 am, to give myself enough time for my morning routine. But I beat it awake about half the time.

I have almost entirely quit drinking alcohol which I think has smoothed my sleep patterns somewhat. I also seldom take my phone to bed now, so when I read in bed it’s from a book not a screen, and I think that also helps smooth my sleep.