In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Harvard dream researcher Deirdre Barrett began surveying people on their dreams, and noticed a few distinct patterns: people were not only dreaming of catching COVID-19; but also swarms of insects, invisible monsters, and being locked in solitary confinement — all metaphors for the pandemic.

But nearly three years into the pandemic, our dreams have changed alongside our COVID-19 responses, Barrett told Boston Public Radio on Monday.

“More recently, there were rounds of bad dreams about going back to work after working remotely, or about something being wrong with [your] kid’s school,” Barrett said. “You know, ‘the building’s decayed, and it’s gonna cave in on my child’s head if I let them go back to school.’”

Perhaps Barrett’s most interesting finding is related to what she calls “the evolution of mask dreams.” During the beginning of the pandemic, those participating in Barrett’s survey reported dreams in which they would show up to a public space either without a mask or with a damaged mask, fearful of catching the virus.

“In the last nine months or so, I’m seeing a lot more where the person realizes they don’t have a mask on or has holes in their mask, and they get very embarrassed and ashamed, and worry about what people may be thinking about them,” Barrett said.

“They used to … cover their face [in these dreams] as a sort of makeshift mask as they departed some crowded environment. But now if they cover up their face, it’s to hide that they’re not wearing a mask. It’s kind of become our new naked-in-public dream, in the way of being socially shamed.”

Barrett is a dream researcher at Harvard University and the author of “Pandemic Dreams” and “The Committee of Sleep,” among other books on dreaming.