Why do people have nightmares after COVID-19?

May 11, 2022  10:42

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, people began to have more nightmares - in their dreams, people faced disease, operations, military action, and even the end of the world.

Nightmares were reported by both people who had been infected with the coronavirus and those who had not, and it was not entirely clear whether the disease itself had an effect on the dreams. To find out, psychologists from Rome's Sapienza University took up the case. About the results they reported in an article in the journal Nature and Science of Sleep, Gazeta.ru reported.

The scientists analyzed data on 1088 volunteers from 14 countries, the average age of the participants was 34-44 years. Half of volunteers had had COVID-19, including asymptomatically. During the study, participants completed questionnaires measuring anxiety and stress levels, symptoms of depression and PTSD, severity of insomnia, and overall quality of life and health status. Participants were also asked to recall how often they had nightmares before and during the pandemic.

Before the pandemic, there was no particular difference in the frequency of nightmares. During the pandemic, however, the frequency of nightmares increased significantly among COVID-19 survivors. In addition, symptoms of anxiety, depression, and PTSD were more pronounced in the over-infected. Nightmares recurred more frequently in the participants' memories than normal dreams. The higher frequency of nightmares was associated with increased symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, insomnia, and shorter sleep duration. Nightmares were more frequent in young people and those who have suffered the disease most severely.

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