Since March 2020, our lives have never been the same. Countries are in lockdown, uncertainty looms, and the persistent pandemic is affecting our mental health. Unsurprisingly, that has a negative impact on our dreams!

Deirdre Barrett, the Assistant Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School, collected 2,500 responses from individuals on how the pandemic is affecting the quality and content of their dreams. 

Pandemic Dreams: Fears & Trauma

Many people have reported that the pandemic has affected their mental health and well-being. They say that their dreams have become more vivid and bizarre. 

This phenomenon is getting so common such that it has earned a moniker – “corona dreams”.   

According to Barret, common themes found in “corona dreams” are: 

  1. Fears and anxieties 
  2. Trauma 
  3. Solution-seeking
  4. Post-apocalyptic scenes

Due to the stressful nature of the pandemic and the uncertainties surrounding our everyday lives, intense emotions have naturally seeped into our subconscious and affected our dreams! 

The Pandemic Dream is affecting your child too

Pandemic dreams often stem from emotions we experience in our waking life, which eventually manifests itself in vivid nightmares. This can take the form of dreams of dirt and ants crawling all over his or her body, or other similarly frightening events.

3 Tips for parents to manage pandemic dreams

  • Exercising helps

To improve your little one’s sleep quality, try getting them into an exercise routine. However, do ensure that your little one is exercising safely (whether indoors or outdoors). Try to maintain adequate sunlight indoors because it helps regulate your child’s circadian rhythm – the signals in our brain that inform the body when it is time to sleep or wake. 

  • Create calming bedtime routines

This calming bedtime routine can include stretching, reading a book or having a nice warm bath before sleeping, so as to help your little one sleep better at night. (Read more about 3 Bedtime Routine Ideas for Kids)

  •  Limit your kid’s exposure to news

Limiting your child’s exposure to news that can upset them via television or smartphones will help to ease their anxiety. As an alternative, you could try engaging your child in fun activities such as reading a book or playing board games. 

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The pandemic has brought many of us undue stress, but let’s not forget that our little ones are going through the same experience as well.


  1. Cohut, M. (2020, August 7). Dreams in the time of the coronavirus: How have they changed, and why? Medical News Today.
  2. Renner, R. (2020, May 11). Kids are having pandemic dreams too. National Geographic.
  3. Renner, R. (2020, April 15). The pandemic is giving people vivid, unusual dreams. Here’s why. National Geographic.
  4. Walsh, C. (2020, May 14). Harvard researcher says dreams indicative of virus fears. Harvard Gazette.