I have had extremely vivid dreams my entire life, so, the fact that I'm having them now, isn't a surprise at all. The content of my dreams recently, however, has been somewhat darker and scarier than usual.

Two nights ago, I was starring in what I can only describe as some sort of monster movie, while I slept. My family and I were being pursued by a mostly unseen, ravenous creature of some sort. It gave off a blue glow everywhere it went, which was really the only clue to its location.

Within the dream, the goal was not to be killed by this monster, of course, but I also spent the whole dream being ferociously angry at one of my siblings about something. What, I don't remember, but I do recall the absolute heat of my anger through most of the dream.

If you're experiencing similar, disturbing, nighttime adventures, you're not alone. No less than five teams at prestigious institutions across the globe are already studying why and what we are dreaming about during this pandemic. And, for the most part, I don't think their findings will truly surprise anyone.

Trauma which produces anxiety seeps into your dreams, and apparently the closer you are to the current threat (like doctors, nurses, and first responders are) the more likely that your dreams will contain elements referring to the COVID-19 outbreak.

For most people, the elements of current dreams have more to do with the fact that we are isolated, have reduced activity levels and heightened anxiety. Due to those factors, we are reaching deeper into our subconscious minds for the "stuff our dreams are made of."

Deirdre Barrett, who is an assistant professor of psychology at Harvard University, began a pandemic dream study in early March. Some of the participants dreamed they contracted the virus and were dying from it. Others "replaced the fear of the virus with a metaphoric element, such as bugs, zombies, natural disasters, shadowy figures, monsters, or mass shooters."

So, in analyzing my own strange nightmare, it is plain to me that the blue glow of the monster was a symbol of something ever-present in my daily life and also of an institution currently fighting the coronavirus. It's the neon blue glow from Sanford Hospital, across the street from my house.

If you would like to share your strange or disturbing pandemic dreams, you can participate in Dr. Barrett's survey here.

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