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Trouble sleeping and weird dreams common amid pandemic

Many of us are having a hard time falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night, and dreaming about really strange stuff.

SAN DIEGO — Online searches about sleep deprivation and weird dreams during quarantine were up more than 200% in the last few weeks. Many of us are having a hard time falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night, and dreaming about really strange stuff.

News 8 Editor Mike Lamar said his strange dreams started about two weeks ago, about the same time he started working from home due to the coronavirus pandemic. He said one the other night centered around rain. 

“I had holes in my roof and it was like - not dripping - it was pouring like a hose. It was just shooting water down and I couldn't get enough buckets,” Mike said. 

He went on to say that in his dream, he started dragging a bathtub around his house to catch the water. 

“That's clearly not rational," he added with a laugh. 

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A quick check of social media showed Mike is definitely not alone. People posted about dreams that ranged from a girl raised by geese to sourdough banana bread, to another speaking with dead musicians.

Dr. Victoria Sharma with Sharp Grossmont Hospital says you shouldn't lose sleep over having weird dreams. 

“When everything around us is so different now, I think our minds just react by creating some weird dreams as a way to process all this strangeness that happens during the day," she said. 

Sharma is a board-certified sleep medicine physician. She said people's sleep habits are all over the place right now, and a lot of it has to do with our changing schedules. 

“When you stop following a strict schedule, you are going to start having more trouble sleeping,” she said. “You're going to allow yourself to stay up, watch Netflix, and sleep in and that's going to lead to more problems with sleep.”

Doctors say a good night’s sleep is extremely important these days because a lack of sleep can be detrimental to your body’s immune system. So Dr. Sharma offers some tips: Keep a regular schedule and try to stay calm around bedtime. 

“No watching TV in bed, no playing on your phone in bed, stop caffeine six hours prior to bedtime, stop alcohol close to bedtime and just try to relax," she said. "This too will pass at some point.”

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