Michaela Da Silva / Staff reporter
Surveyed Gleneagle students are having dreams they describe as “psychedelic” and “strange” at more frequent occurrences. The dreams, from many around the world, prompt scientists to look further into the cause and effects of these odd neurological behaviours, and why it is so important to be mindful of in our everyday lives.
Globally, hundreds of millions are sheltering from the pandemic and confined to the walls of their homes, withdrawn from the everyday motion of life. After public outreach regarding strange and absurd dreams, scientific teams around the world have taken action to try and describe them.
“We normally use REM sleep and dreams to handle intense emotions, particularly negative emotions,” said Patrick Namara, an associate professor of neurology at Boston University School of Medicine. The pandemic is not only a whirlwind of negative emotions and confusion, but the added isolation and decline in everyday activities is compelling for many to spend most of the time in bed.
Erynn Donahue, a psychology major at the University of Victoria, was asked if she had any experience with this and what her opinions on it were.
“It’s funny you bring this up, actually. Just last night I had a dream I was in a karate battle with someone for my car keys,” said Donahue.
“I agree with what experts are saying about the cause and effect of the pandemic and dreams. Global change and interruption equals a global reaction, and if we realize it or not, equals a change in our subconscious.”
Students at Gleneagle are experiencing similar nightly occurrences. After surveying ten students, eight out of ten of them said they had been experiencing weirder dreams in the past six months than usual. They described their dreams ranging from weird conversations with friends to psychedelic-like thoughts and intense nightmares.
“My latest dream was on a school outdoor trip, where we carried everything in our pockets and flew on brooms, and there were no teachers except my mom. We went to a gallery sort of thing, but there was a climbing wall, and then we all turned into cats. And then we flew home,” says Kathryn Matheson, grade 11, who wrote down the dream when she woke up to remember it.
Why does this all matter to students and the community? It is important to understand that having weird dreams is an effect from a drastic change and an interruption from our routines, which are very crucial to our mental wellbeing and everyday function. Our brains often use these dreams to escape the day-to-day conventions and provide a space for ourselves that provides higher mental stimuli and exploration. This has become especially apparent during times of quarantine because we have been taken out of our regular, fast-paced habits.
Activities and procedures have been moving at a fast paced rate around the Gleneagle community during the pandemic adjustments. It is very important we remain positive and healthy to continue towards an optimistic future. If you are experiencing dips in your mental health and emotional wellbeing, it is important to reach out and seek the help needed. These dreams may be stimulating and exciting, but they do not always reflect healthy habits in our heads.