By Lani Tunzi
Of the many unexpected side effects of quarantined living, one of the more delightful for me has been increasingly vivid dreams. Since I was little, my REM cycle has been a subject of personal bewilderment, but in the last few months, each night leaves me more excited – and sometimes fearful – of what my mind will make up next.
It has been long understood that our dreams are correlated to the emotions and circumstances we experience while awake. Dreams about losing teeth, for example, have been thought to signify a major life change or lowered self-security, while dreams about being in your birthday suit in public are thought to mean you’re feeling vulnerable. So, the stress of a global pandemic is bound to contribute to the subject-matter of dreams.
At the same time, the stay-at-home orders have led me and others to have drastically altered sleep patterns. Longer periods of sleep mean more dreams in general, while external anxieties that have been internalized mean these dreams are more memorable than they might have been previously.
It’s as if confinement is causing imaginations to run wilder than before. Even as some restrictions begin to be lifted, my dreams are increasingly centered on indulging in the outside world and all it has to offer.
Who knew live music venues or dine-in restaurants could feel so forbidden? I, for one, am grateful to have the opportunity to see glimpses of school in my dreams and “be” with my friends, even if we may be running from made-up monsters or navigating an Inception-esque dreamworld.
Every morning for me has begun with a moment of reflection right upon waking up to try to figure out what my subconscious configured while I was catching some shut eye.
In these times, I think we’re all trying to make sense of ourselves and the world around us and, for me, a great place to start has been to pay attention to how my subconscious is interpreting everything along the way.
Keeping a dream journal is a wonderful new hobby of mine and has been especially helpful in trying to remain optimistic and busy during this all. Drawing out some nightmares and analyzing them in conversations have been fun and thoughtful ways to spend some of this copious free time.
At least one bright side to staying inside all day is the escape you can find when your head hits the pillow.
Lani Tunzi, Class of 2020 at Eagle Rock High, will graduate this month.
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