Doctors note increased reports of disturbing dreams during pandemic

WESTON, Fla. – If your dreams have changed during this pandemic, you’re not alone.

Many people around the world report having stranger, more unsettling and vivid dreams.

Dr. Samuel Gurevich, a sleep specialist with the Cleveland Clinic Weston, said stress is often the underlying cause of “bad dreams” or nightmares and during this pandemic, more people are under stress over jobs, finances and even worry about the virus itself.

“These dreams can be about anything from actually becoming sick themselves, but it can also be other things too, like violent nightmares that have nothing to do with what’s going on,” he said.

Along with vivid dreams, Gurevich said more people are struggling to fall asleep and stay asleep.

In the case of recurring nightmares, he said one trick is to act out the dream in your mind before you go to sleep and change the ending to something more pleasant.

“By practicing and rehearsing that, that could actually carry over to the dreams and nightmares themselves where the ending in the dream changes just as it did during the rehearsal,” he said.

Sleep apnea is another major factor in being unable to get a good nights rest, and it can affect both children and adults.

In adults, warning signs can include snoring, gasping for air while sleeping, dry mouth and headaches when waking, and daytime sleepiness.

In infants, sleep apnea involves breathing interruptions of even just a few seconds which can be accompanied by a slow heart rate, bluish or pale skin and muscle weakness.

There are a variety of apnea monitors for adults and children that can detect a problem but the best diagnostic is a medical sleep study.

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