By Lauren Pastrana

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Having very vivid dreams lately?

Maybe you’re being chased by a bad guy or you’re taking a final exam for a class you never even attended.

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If that sounds familiar, you’re not alone.

Turns out those common stress-related dreams and others like them may be even more common during our pandemic.

“It’s a way for the brain to process certain information and when it’s unpleasant, whether you’re emotionally and/or physically going through some unpleasant time it can influence what the brain makes out of whatever information it’s trying to process,” said University of Miami neurologist and sleep specialist Dr. Salim Dib.

Dr. Dib said stress and anxiety over COVID-19 could be the cause.

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“I think this is a very stressful period for most if not all. Especially when it’s life-threatening, it can result in a natural physiological response, a fight or flight type response to help us survive,” he said.

Dr. Dib said self-isolation and quarantine could also be a catalyst for intense dreams because, with not much else to do, our minds can start to wander.

“We start having racing thoughts, intrusive thoughts, and all that can influence our sleep quality, ability, and our dreams. It’s really important in those cases to dedicate time in the early evening away from the bedroom for stress reduction, problem-solving, to write down your worries and maybe even plan your days,” he said.

Dr. Dib said it could be really helpful during times like these to maintain some sort of routine, keep your sleep and wake times regular and consistent if you can. Some experts suggest journaling about your dreams or sharing details of them with a trusted loved one.

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Lauren Pastrana