2 nights ago: Dreamt my patient had ebola Last night: dreamt they tried to take my nursing license away Help.— Alexa (@alexaishungry) October 15, 2014
I need to stop reading about Ebola. Dreamt I had it last night & was kept in a safe house..— Becki Tomlinson (@BeckiTomlinson) October 14, 2014
I dreamt I went to a makeout party & started freaking out about getting ebola. That says so much about my subconscious, it's not even funny.— Count Joshula (@joshuamneff) October 14, 2014
It doesn’t take a huge stretch of the imagination to understand why Ebola is infecting everyone('s dreams). When you spend nearly every waking moment of your day staring at screens that fill your brain with horrible news, sometimes, fragments of those real-life nightmares start to leak into your dreams. And while scientists aren’t sure exactly why we dream (or sleep, for that matter), it seems clear that the things that concern us most while we’re awake continue to disturb us as we sleep. As the American Psychological Association once phrased it:
Dreams, say modern dream theorists, are extensions of our waking lives that tend to explore the emotional and practical issues and problems that concern us the most.
Sleep in general—and perhaps dreams in particular—helps your brain process what you learned during the day; your subconscious is making connections your awake-self couldn’t quite make, according to the APA. And this seems to be vital in helping us deal with strong emotions—particularly negative ones, like anxiety—because dreams help us diffuse some of the intensity of those anxious feelings. Scientific American explained this in a 2011 article:
Dreams seem to help us process emotions by encoding and constructing memories of them. What we see and experience in our dreams might not necessarily be real, but the emotions attached to these experiences certainly are. Our dream stories essentially try to strip the emotion out of a certain experience by creating a memory of it.
This way, the emotion itself is no longer active. This mechanism fulfils an important role because when we don’t process our emotions, especially negative ones, this increases personal worry and anxiety.
In fact, severe REM sleep-deprivation is increasingly correlated to the development of mental disorders. In short, dreams help regulate traffic on that fragile bridge which connects our experiences with our emotions and memories.
In other words, without the Ebola dreams, you'd likely be a lot more freaked out by the virus than you already are. Sweet Ebola dreams, everyone!
I had a dream that Ebola was an epidemic in America and I had to hide in my house and never leave. It was like I am Legend.— sydnae (@sydneylholcomb) October 15, 2014
I had a dream I was in a room full of cool celebrities but PLOT TWIST they all had ebola and then it turned into a nightmare— david rivera (@_davidblues) October 15, 2014
I dream about ebola literally every night now. #why— Hannah Chappell-Dick (@HannahBrookeXD) October 15, 2014
Had a dream about a family running from Ebola .... My dreams are so surreal— jean (@electriicjean) October 15, 2014
In my dream last night I was the last survivor of Ebola and I had a dog and lived in New York, I Am Legend or what?— Soph (@sophiecann) October 15, 2014
DREAMED I COULD CURE EBOLA. All you had to do was hold an iguana to your chest until it split into three tiny iguanas and BAM cured.— Mason Johnson (@MasonJohnson14) October 15, 2014
dreamed I got diagnosed with Ebola and woke up still thinking I had it— Brandon (@brandonquincy) October 15, 2014
Just woke up from a migraine nap, during which I dreamed the guy I was crushing on in high school contracted Ebola.— Lucy Van Pelt (@TheMojoMissy) October 14, 2014
Had a crazy Ebola zombie war breakout dream last night. I wish I never woke up.— Ricky Ricco (@RickR415) October 15, 2014
Fell asleep and had a dream I got Ebola and then I woke up and found out Ebola has spread to Ohio....— ya boi JAKE (@thaREALjakeg) October 15, 2014
I had a dream Ebola came here and it was like world war z/ hunger games lol— Candii_Babii (@CandaceStarks) October 15, 2014
I had a dream I had Ebola and it was just awful, my eye was bleeding— help me (@skipsdigbick) October 15, 2014
All I dream about is catching Ebola or being beheaded by Islamic terrorists— Holly (@Hollybarnes_X) October 15, 2014
I had a dream about Ebola... Apparently they found the cure and if you survive you become super powerful— MorrisseY (@MakeezH) October 15, 2014