As we are hearing in the U.K. the COVID-19 “curve is flattening”, more and more people are saying they are having wilder, and more worrying dreams.
A radio presenter told me this week (on air during her show) that she’d had a dream where maggots were on her face. The following day, a journalist called me to say loads of people she’s speaking to are having dreams about creepy crawlies. So I thought I’d offer some thoughts below.
It’s important to say first, everyone is different – so if you go fishing and use maggots as bait for example, the interpretation for you might be completely different than for the radio presenter I’ve mentioned above.
Having said that, the first explanation might be the language we use around insects, ie bugs. When we talk of a virus, you might say you “have a bug”, and if you have a natural fear and anxiety of catching coronavirus, then it makes sense you’d have a dream where insects are a little too close for comfort.
In the same way, it could be that at the time of the dream, someone or something is “bugging” you. This is why keeping a dream diary can help you notice patterns in your dreaming, and whether there is any correlation between what you dreamt about at night, and what’s been happening during the day of late.
The type of insect can also matter. A lot of people don’t like maggots, and may even associate them with death. Whilst we are hearing so much about the impact of COVID-19 and daily death tolls around the world, it makes sense if the subject of our own mortality comes to the surface, alongside any worries about people we love , so it would be natural to dream about something which represents that.
On a lighter note, insects like bees and butterflies are often seen as positive (for example around leadership, or transformation respectively), so again it helps to take the content of your dream into context with what’s happening in your life at the time – I always ask the questions “why this, and why now?” Keeping a dream diary can help you notice if these types of insects appear regularly, which can help you explore the meaning if it’s a recurring dream.
How you feel about the insect is also key: eg., were you scared, or were you irritated in the dream? Do you like that type of insect, or do they make you anxious? All of this is worth considering when exploring your own dream. (If you’ve been stung by a bee or other insect in real life for example, how you feel about that will matter too).
According to Lyon Neuroscience Centre research, our dream recall is up 35% at the moment. This might be because we are sleeping longer in the mornings (and so more likely to remember the dream you have before you wake up), or because the nature of our dreams is more troubling.
Like any dream or nightmare, its worth talking about it with someone who will listen. Research from Swansea now supports that telling someone about the dream you have can help in many ways. It doesn’t have to be a professional exploration; a close friend or family member that you trust might help you make sense of it all.
If you are worried about your health and well-being, especially if it’s affecting your sleep, always speak to your doctor or healthcare team. Learning ways to manage anxiety, during the outbreak and beyond, can help too.
Keeping a dream diary can help understand common and recurring dreams. I talk about this and provide a template in my book, Answers in the Dark.
Copyright Delphi Ellis 202