If movie directors adapted your pandemic dreams
To say that we’ve been living in strange times the last year is an understatement. Our waking lives have been weird, and things are getting even weirder while we’re sleeping.
They’re called pandemic dreams (or quarandreams), and the interesting thing is that even though the human race is living more separately than ever before, we’re sharing the same bizarre and vivid dream themes while we’re sleeping in different timezones all across the world.
Ever since lockdown began, we’ve been forced to spend way more time at home, with many of us sleeping more than we usually would, for longer periods. The more we sleep, the more REM time we’re getting, which is the last stage of sleep when we dream. What we dream about is linked to our mindset, and dreams are visual metaphors for our subconscious.
People from all walks of life are experiencing similar weird dreams, and it’s being caused by pandemic stress.
We take a look at 5 popular quarandream themes, what they mean, and what they would look like if they were adapted by some of our favourite Hollywood movie directors.
Attacked by swarms of giant insects, directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Swarms of bugs, insects, and critters of all shapes and sizes are attacking dreamers across the world, from flying cockroaches to grasshoppers with vampire fangs. This popular pandemic dream can be interpreted as a fear of contracting Covid-19, or “catching the bug.” The swarm represents the idea that lots of little things can cumulatively hurt or kill you and is a metaphor for virus particles.
We chose Alfred Hitchcock, the “Master of Suspense,” as the best director for this pandemic dream. Like a scene from The Birds, you should expect to be attacked by massive swarms of flying killer insects, see people getting annihilated all around you and do lots of screaming, running, and hiding. In true Hitchcock style, the end of this dream will almost certainly be horrifically ill-fated with no explanation as to why the insects started attacking you in the first place.
Being visited by a deceased loved one, directed by M. Night. Shyamalan
Many people have reported dreams about being visited by deceased loved ones (or have been dreaming about those they love dying or in danger). Pandemic stress and self-isolation have been causing havoc with our emotional lives and dreamscapes. This is because of our own underlying fears like the increase in Covid-deaths and losing those close to us, are resulting in dreams that are extremely lifelike and upsetting. Even more so for those of us who are grieving loved ones we’ve lost.
The reason these visitation dreams are so vivid is that your brain in full REM mode is sorting through and prioritising your thoughts and feelings. Vivid dreams feel so real that you don’t know you’re dreaming until the twist ending, which is why we’ve chosen M. Night. Shyamalan to take this dream to the silver screen. The Sixth Sense is undoubtedly one of his best and most popular films, with the twist ending hiding in plain sight the entire time.
It’s natural for grief and fear to negatively impact your sleep. But if your mental health and sleep are affected over a prolonged period, it may be time to talk with someone you trust about your stress and overwhelm.
Monster nightmares, directed by Tim Burton
Forget about the monsters under your bed, because the latest ones are in your dreams. Being chased by monsters and zombies is another popular pandemic dream caused by pandemic-related fear and anxiety in your life. Elevated levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) may also be playing a part in adding to the weird and wacky dreamlands we are imagining.
Tim Burton is a genius when it comes to creating metaphorical monsters and magical worlds. If he had to recreate this pandemic dream, you’d find yourself in a stop-motion animated dark musical fantasy. While singing and dancing through your dream, you’re bound to take delight in the sinister surprises lurking around every corner of this weird and wonderful world. This dreamlike reality is filled with lonely and rebellious monsters of all shapes and sizes that are misunderstood despite their good intentions and good ideas. Chances are you’ll end up becoming friends with your Burton monster because he is bound to learn from his mistakes.
Stuck in a maskless crowd, directed by Alfonso Cuarón
As Covid spread across the world, and new laws and regulations were put in place, more and more people started dreaming about our new normal. According to studies, it’s quite common to dream about new experiences we have in our lives, like having to wear personal protective gear in public.
Dreaming about being stuck in a crowd of people who aren’t wearing masks is a recurring dream for many people, and it underlines the mental stress that many of us are experiencing when we’re away from the safety of our homes and out in the real world, suddenly filled with new dangers. Whether we’re aware of it or not, many of us are constantly worried about other people not following the Covid safety regulations.
For this pandemic dream, we chose Harry Potter director, Alfonso Cuarón, who is famous for his ability to recreate the intensity of our most horrific life moments. Remember the terrifying dementors from Harry Potter, Prisoner of Azkaban? In this recreated nightmare you can expect to be haunted by soulless (and even worse – maskless!) dementors.
Just like Covid-19 is enveloping the world, these dark and evil dementors will circle you and feed off your happiness until you no longer have the will or ability to escape. All you will be left with are feelings of absolute despair.
The pandemic blockbuster, directed by Christopher Nolan
People aren’t just having one pandemic dream. They are having loads of different nightmares, so it makes sense for us to do a pandemic blockbuster, directed by the king of confusion, Christopher Nolan.
If all your pandemic dreams had to be squeezed into one terrifying and vivid nightmare, it would have to be based on the confusion everyone felt after watching Inception.
This blockbuster nightmare will be set in a world of dreams – your dreams – where you will lose track of what is real and what isn’t. You can expect mask-wearing cockroaches and cheerful singing dementors dancing in a room that’s in a house, in a building, in a city that starts folding and bending and breaking. You’ll toss and turn all night as you go through the terrifying and confusing world that is Christopher Nolan’s imagination.
With our stress levels at an all-time high and every morning’s news headlines chipping away at our emotional wellbeing, it’s no surprise that our sleep patterns and dream worlds are so strangely affected.
Even though this phenomenon is a little bizarre, it’s good to know that in times of isolation we’re still very much connected to others and their pandemic experiences – even if it is through our strange quarandreams.
Remember, if your pandemic dreams persist or if you have stress-related insomnia or other mental health and sleep issues, it may be time to chat with your doctor. In the meantime, we hope (sincerely, fingers crossed) that you have sweet dreams.