For millions of people around the world dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, sleep brings no relief. The horrors of COVID-19, and the surreal and frightening ways it has upended daily life, are infecting dreams and exposing feelings of fear, loss, isolation and grief that transcend culture, language and national boundaries. Everyone from a college teacher in Pakistan to a mall cashier in Canada to an Episcopal priest in Florida is confronting the same daytime demon. Each is waking up in a sweat in the dead of night. Experts say humanity has rarely experienced “collective dreaming” on such a broad scale in recorded history — and certainly never while also being able to share those nightmares in real time. “It’s that alarming feeling of when you wake up and think, ‘Thank heavens I woke up,’” said Holly Smith, an elementary school librarian in Detroit. “Once it hits your dreams, you think, ‘Great, now I can’t even escape there.’” The psychological toll is staggering, particularly for health care workers whose dreams show similarities to those of combat veterans and 9/11 responders, said Deirdre Barrett, a Harvard University professor who is surveying COVID dreamers worldwide. She has collected 6,000 dream samples from about


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