Lockdown Nightmares: How Home Working Has Affected Our Dreams


What did you dream about last night? It seems that since lockdown nightmares was enforced and life became more, well, banal, our night-time dreaming has become all the more vivid.

With big changes over the past year and huge physical restrictions, it’s no surprise our minds are a hive of activity and our dreams have been affected. One such huge change is the move from working in the office every day, gossiping with colleagues and popping to the local café for lunch, to working at home, alone, at a makeshift desk on a rock hard chair

Workplace Dreaming?

In the last year, four out of five of us have visited our work in our sleep. This was just one of the findings from online sign printing company instantprint’s research into the link between home working and dreaming about your job. They surveyed 1000 office workers who have made the transition to their sofa/study/bed/kitchen table to delve into the fascinating facts around our sleep and lockdown nightmares.

Over 50% of us have been dreaming more about work since last March and 75% have even had workplace nightmares. 

Our most common nightmare is being unprepared for a task (17%). Others involve getting trapped at work (11%) and even being unfairly fired (10%). Gulp. 

But how do these bad dreams affect real life? Fortunately, for most of us, they don’t. But one in five of us are actually considering quitting our job because of these nightmares.

Fortunately, some of us are having positive work dreams, too. Receiving a huge pay rise or bonus has featured in 6% of our dreams, while 11% of us report nothing more exciting than enjoying a regular day at work as we sleep.

What Do Our Dreams Mean?

Dreams aren’t random – they’re often your subconscious trying to tell you something.  

Psychologist Michael Lennox can decipher what your dreams – or nightmares – mean. If you dream about losing your job, Lennox says you’re subconsciously practicing dealing with the anxiety of actually being fired.

If your slumber brings you scenarios of being unprepared for a test or task, Lennox says this is often triggered by pressure and performance anxiety at work.

Why Now?

It makes total sense that we’re dreaming more than ever. Thanks to the lack of needing such early starts, we’re sleeping better than ever. And with that, comes more dreaming. Furthermore, the pandemic has made many of us question our job security, so it’s no surprise those dreams are often focused on work. 

Dr Sarah Jane Daly says: “Anxieties and concerns about potentially losing jobs and being unable to pay the rent/mortgage or put food on the table trouble many on an almost daily basis. Dreaming provides us with the space and time to process and playout our subconscious fears, to problem-solve and work through our subconscious issues.”

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