Getting sleep under stressful conditions is quite challenging, but sleeping during an ongoing pandemic seems impossible for some nights. If you really think you are the only one going through sleeplessness, you are wrong. Stress-related insomnia due to the pandemic is definitely a thing and even has the name Coronasomnia.
As you might expect, it is a more complicated phenomenon than typical stress-related sleeplessness because it is not about the virus; it is about the drastic change in the lifestyle.
This article will talk about the issues surrounding COVID insomnia and its effects on your health, and what you or your close one can do to combat the problem. It can increase the necessary hours of sleep.
What do we mean by Coronasomnia?
Coronasomnia or Covidsomnia is the term used to describe sleep problems concerning the pandemic. The coronavirus goes hand in hand with insomnia; stress and sleep do not mix up. Any stress type is often the main trigger for insomnia, difficulty falling asleep at first, and inability to return back to sleep after waking up.
Stress impacts every sphere of our life, so it is apparent that it will affect our sleep. This condition has worsened further due to the ongoing pandemic that has consumed people’s lives for much of the last few years.
Indeed, stress levels have reached their highest during the pandemic for many reasons, such as economic hardships, loneliness, navigating parenting challenges, and juggling work with the school.
What is the reason for Coronasomnia?
An increase in sleep disorders, primarily insomnia, exists all over the world. According to a report studying the people who have insomnia, the number of people experiencing insomnia in the United States has increased from one to six to one to four. In contrast, the insomnia rate rose from 14.6 percent to 20 percent during the peak lockdown period.
The increase in sleep disturbances results from increased stress and anxiety that the pandemic has brought on, including the impact of the uncertainty of life and the constant barrage of information we are receiving at this time. Our regular routines are daily activity levels have been disrupted somewhere, and it has more likely impacted the sleep cycle of many people negatively.
The pandemic has not only been a giant stressor for many people, but it has also created new levels of uncertainty since there is no ending on the horizon. The loss of life of the loved ones also compounded the sleep disruptions we experienced last year.
We are currently experiencing COVID burnout or pandemic fatigue that can add to the already existing sleep deprivation. Homeschooling, sheltering in places, avoiding social gatherings and public meetings, wearing a mask continuously, and inability to perform regular activities have added more to this experience.
Being stuck in the houses most of the time can also cause complications in the sleeping patterns. Getting limited sunlight exposure helps attain a better sleep, but the pandemic made us all locked within the four walls causing sleep deprivation.
And with many of us still stuck in work-from-home situations, some people might face differences in the regular sleep cycle. Disturbances in the usual sleeping time for a specific period can make it more difficult to fall asleep in the following time and contribute to insomnia’s vicious cycle.
The anxiety accompanied by the pandemic, quarantining, and social distancing can result in more isolation and depression, causing significant sleep issues.
Is insomnia a symptom of COVID-19? The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) does not enlist insomnia or other such sleep disorder as a common COVID-19 symptom. In various people, pandemic-related stress is more likely to cause insomnia.
How the Corona and insomnia impact your health?
However, all stress and sleep deprivation can have significant and negative impacts on your overall health and worsen the preexisting health conditions. The most drastic effect due to this pandemic is on our immune system. As we all know, when someone is sleep deprived, they tend to have lowered immunity, making them more susceptible to the risks of viruses.
Lack of sleep can also negatively impact our mood and emotional regulation. If we are already feeling stressed about the virus, lack of sleep will undoubtedly drive that up. Getting an appropriate amount of good sleep can help you achieve better cognitive functions, and things like memory and decision-making capability can be impacted by poor sleep.
Your body can suffer from chronic sleep loss together with worsening cardiovascular and metabolic issues, resulting in an increased risk of diabetes, weight gain, and high blood pressure. It can reduce the capability of the body to exercise and make a person less likely to do any other physical activities resulting in more anxiety and stress with the risk of obesity and health condition concerning obesity.
Overall, one thing leads to another, and increased rates of depression, anxiety, and substance use disorder related to pandemic stress have also become a reason for increased rates of sleep disturbance.
Some tips to combat COVID-related insomnia
There are various ways of tackling the sleep deprivation situation and improving our sleep experience. The most common and easy techniques can be cutting down the screen time before bed, a healthy diet, and a practical exercise regime. Few tricks to tackle the COVID-19 related insomnia are:
Take a break from the news
One can say the news of virus outspread is on prime time update of every channel. No one can deny that staying informed is good, but involving oneself in the information is not good in the present situation. We should avoid oversaturation of news and other habits such as scrolling the newsfeed on Facebook and other social media apps.
Nowadays, people are very connected to the news as it seems the only way to stay connected with the world. People prefer watching the information in the evening while at dinner or before going to sleep. But this setting does not seem to work quite right as it adds to stress and obstacles to your sleep. We should avoid stressful news before it can help ease anxiety at least a little bit.
Stay on schedule
Studies show that a lot of stress comes from procrastinating daily routine activities. To avoid this situation and get some relief, try creating a daily schedule and stick to it. Moreover, keep a consistent bedtime and waketime no matter whatever the day of the week.
With flexible working hours in a work-from-home schedule, you might decide to push your bedtime and waketime with ease and stay consistent.
Shine a light
Ensure you get enough exposure to the sunlight as it is an underrated part of our circadian rhythm, and various people are missing it in their morning work routines. Many of us do not go out and skip the healthy morning routine. Not forming any effective morning routine, getting that light exposure, can impact sleep negatively.
Get up and distract yourself.
One problem that might come up, specifically during times of stress, is waking up in the middle of sleep time and not falling back asleep. It does not only mean less sleep but also more frustration.
If you cannot fall asleep after 20 minutes of lying down, consider getting up and moving to a more comfortable environment for sleep. You may also distract yourself in the form of reading, writing, or performing yoga stretches that help you get calm.
Avoid excessive stimulation, especially from your tablet, phone, or computer. The emission of blue light with continuous scrolling from these devices can cause more sleeplessness.