Dream Comparison of Before and During COVID

Aug 18, 2020
Dream Comparison of Before and During COVID

We wondered whether and to what extent the coronavirus affected what people dream about. This is important because our dream emotions affect our waking mood and our mood impacts our behavior. To answer this question, we analyzed over 3000 dream records in the uDreamed ( global dream database. We focus the analysis on key dream content categories: characters, emotions, social interactions and locations. Since dreams reflect the dreamer's conflicts and concerns, we also evaluated the resolutions made by the dreamers based on their dream experiences.

Our analysis identified several important differences between dreams occurring before and during the pandemic. Specifically, there are differences in dream characters, the type of interactions that occur in dreams, the role of the dreamer, the emotions felt by the dreamer, and importantly, the resolutions taken in response to the dream experience upon waking.


1.       Perhaps because we are around them more in quarantine,

a.       We dream about our family members, including pets, more now than before the pandemic

2.       Interestingly, people are dreaming more about sexual interactions and their partners

a.       And they are dreaming about romantic interest (not partner) less, and about partners more, perhaps because they are not at work around non-partner romantic interests

b.       There is some speculation that this increase may be associated with a baby boom later this year and early next year.

3.       Zoom effect

a.       We dream much more about bosses and colleagues than we used to. Perhaps this is due to seeing them on a screen more frequently.

b.       Not dreaming about friends as much, as social relationships have fallen to the periphery as remote work has demanded most of our conferencing time and energy to be devoted to work issues.

4.       Dreaming about non-human characters has increased, possibly due to increased video streaming. A similar cause may explain increased dreaming about:

a.       fictional characters 

b.       Fictional locations

c.       Celebrities 

5.       The current condition has created a pattern of negative themes in our dreams.

a.       Decrease in feeling love

b.       Increase in shame, anger, guilt, and aggression

6.       However, the dreamers have hope, as indicated by their self-improvement and social-improvement resolutions to 

a.       Quit bad habits

b.       Resolve conflicts

c.       Exercise

d.       Etc.


This analysis suggests important differences in dream experiences before and during the pandemic. What are we to make of these differences? From the perspective that dreams are a continuation of waking life, we might conjecture that the lived realities of dreamers during this coronavirus involve unresolved conflicts, negative concerns and experiences, threats and stresses which result in negative emotions they carry with them to sleep each night. However, people are optimistic, as indicated by their positive resolutions.

Key Takeaway

What we are learning is that dreams, far from being a meaningless experience, are especially informative about the emotional state of the dreamer. Since emotions shape behavior, to understand human behavior, broadly defined, we must understand dreams.

Download uDreamed app or register on the website to better understand what you and the world are dreaming about – and, consequently, what is subconsciously weighing on you and the global mind.