Does Covid Cause Insomnia?
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted the world in ways we never even knew possible. Millions of people worldwide began working from home. Others lost jobs. Meanwhile, children and parents made the transition to remote schooling. Additional uncertainties about health and safety and when things may return to normal only added to the chaos. With that, it's no surprise that we also started to experience trouble falling asleep.
Can't Sleep? COVID-19 Could Be To Blame
In the summer of 2020, the term "COVID-somnia" was coined to characterize the impact of the global epidemic on people's sleep. Data from around the world indicated that a huge section of the population was having difficulty falling asleep, which was thought to be a consequence of the severe and long-term worries brought on by the pandemic, such as economic and health problems and psychological pressure of isolation.
Like food and oxygen, sleep is a basic human necessity, and most adults require around seven hours of sleep per night. Without it, we may feel like we are having trouble making decisions, feel lethargic and have our reaction times slowed down, and become less tolerant of social conflict. Sleep deprivation also makes it more difficult for us to operate around other people. If you're having difficulties sleeping or sleeping well during the pandemic, you're not alone.
Insomnia and Sleep Disorders After COVID-19
According to a recent study in the UK, the number of people who have chronic insomnia (a state of prolonged sleeplessness) has jumped from 16% to 25% since the pandemic began. Another report published in the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found there were around 3 million searches of the word "insomnia" in the United States during the first five months of 2020, up 58 percent from the same period just three years ago.
The rise in insomnia and other sleep problems can be attributed to increased stress worldwide. Uncertainties and the onslaught of information we experience only exacerbate the problem. Typical routines have been interrupted. The amount of activity we experience during the day varies. These changes have also introduced different sleeping habits, and they aren't exactly healthy.
The COVID Burnout
The pandemic is a major cause for concern and no one knows when, exactly, it's going to come to an end. As a result, we are now suffering from pandemic fatigue, also known as COVID burnout, and that has a huge impact on sleep. After all, being locked up in one place, switching to an online method of education, restrictions on large gatherings and public venues, and being unable to experience the "normal life" takes a toll.
The Curious Case of Coronasomnia
Coronasomnia is a portmanteau of the words corona and insomnia and refers to the persistent inability to sleep due to the stress or symptoms brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is defined by a rise in sleep problems as well as anxiety, depression, and stress symptoms during the pandemic. While insomnia is frequently associated with anxiety and despair, coronasomnia is distinct from ordinary insomnia in that it is linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the British Sleep Society, just under half of the adults in the UK obtain "refreshing sleep" in 2020. Many people's symptoms of coronasomnia began or worsened during the pandemic. There are several reasons for coronasomnia, including the lack of a daily routine.
Plus, being cooped up in our homes for such long periods can disrupt our sleeping patterns. Sunlight and light exposure aid in the regulation of your circadian rhythm. And, because many of us still work remotely, some folks may work odd hours and sleep in during the day.
Working from home also has the disadvantage of blurring previously defined limits, with many workers reporting working long hours or unusual hours. We also miss our daily routine activities and friends, which are important outlets for stress relief. Many of us are dealing with mental health issues, which can exacerbate sleep issues or vice versa. Insomnia and other sleep problems can be exacerbated by our general sense of insecurity and lack of control, as well as the pandemic's protracted duration; what began as a "lounging around" phase to play computer games and hoard toilet paper has evolved into a semi-permanent setting for life.
Symptoms of Coronasomnia
All of this stress and lack of sleep can have a significant detrimental influence on your general health. Chronically sleep-deprived people have a weakened immune system, making them more susceptible to illnesses. This means that a lack of sleep weakens the body's ability to recuperate, weakening the immune system and making the individual more susceptible to disease. The following are some of the signs and symptoms of coronasomnia:
- Symptoms of insomnia include difficulties falling and staying asleep.
- Stress levels have risen.
- Anxiety and depression symptoms, such as obsessive thoughts, have become more prominent.
- Sleep schedules that are a little later than usual
- Increased daytime tiredness, reduced concentration and focus, and a bad mood is all signs of sleep deprivation.
Various studies have revealed the elevated prevalence of sleeplessness and mental health disorders during the COVID-19 epidemic. Before the pandemic even started, there were around 24% of people experiencing sleep maintenance insomnia or trouble staying asleep. During the pandemic, the number jumped to 40%.
The prevalence of sleep-onset insomnia, or difficulty falling asleep in the first place, increased from 15% to 42% among those with the condition. Doctors believe that the number of persons suffering from sleeplessness has increased by 37% since the pandemic began.
During the pandemic, four out of ten people have experienced at least one mental health symptom. The number of people experiencing anxiety symptoms has risen since 2019. Levels of depression have quadrupled.
Medical professionals were concerned about the rising prevalence of sleeplessness and its impact on physical well-being even before COVID-19 and the extremely contagious Delta variation. Sleep scientists now consider levels of insomnia caused by COVID-19 a pandemic in and of itself.
Ways To Improve Sleep During the COVID-19 Pandemic
1. Establish a Daily Routine
As a result of the pandemic, many people's lives have been completely turned upside down. Some employees have been let go. Some people are getting used to working from home. Others balance work and family obligations while caring for children who are no longer in school for the rest of the year.
It's critical to maintain a regular sleeping pattern, no matter how your life has been altered. Get up and get dressed instead of sitting with your laptop on your bed when working remotely. You may only be heading into the next room, but you will feel less disturbed if you maintain that sense of regularity and normality.
2. Get Plenty of Exercises
Exercise habits have taken a hit with gyms closing down. Now that they're back open, people are still reluctant to head into crowded and confined spaces. However, it is critical to make an effort to get moving. Your sleep can be affected if you don't receive enough exercise and activity throughout the day. Regular exercise is also a great stress reducer.
Remember, sunlight signals to your brain that it is time to wake up, get out of bed, and exercise outside. If you exercise later in the day or the evening, you risk stimulating and waking up your body, making it more difficult to drift off to sleep later.
3. Turn Off Your Devices
We may not regulate our screen usage during the day, but we can take steps to limit it at night. Remember, the blue light from our smartphones, computers, and televisions is similar to that of the sun, and that will keep us up. It's best to turn off all displays at least half an hour before bedtime, if possible.
Instead, read a book or journal, listen to a podcast, or do some mild stretching instead of listening to the late-night round of news. Starting and finishing your day with the headlines can exacerbate anxiety and worry, robbing you of sleep. Also, try to stay away from the news before bed.
4. Don't Turn Your Bedroom Into An Office
Experts in the field of sleep medicine stress the necessity of mentally associating your bed with sleep. As such, they recommend we only get into bed for sleep and sex. That doesn't just mean avoiding working from bed. It also includes watching a movie or show on a laptop in bed. Replacing your sheets, scrunching your pillows, and remaking your bed regularly will also help keep it clean, making it a pleasant and inviting place to sleep.
5. Look to Other Sleep Solutions
You can also look for other sleep-aid solutions before taking any sleep medicine that can promise you a full night of peaceful sleep without any side effects.
Sandland Sleep, for example, offers two CBN-derived solutions that naturally induce sleep and relaxation. Remember, CBN does not provide a euphoric high, is non-intoxicating, and will not appear on a narcotic test. Our products are a great option for anyone above the age of 18 in need of a little support when it comes to hammering out a sleep routine.
The consequences of COVID-19, and its effects on sleep, are likely to last for some time. Prioritizing sleep and your well-being, as well as appropriate nutrition, physical exercise, going to bed on time, and mental health care, will be critical in preventing burnout and weariness, as well as the risk of the virus's more severe side effects leading to poor sleep.
We're also are more likely to get sick when we are sleep-deprived. Getting enough sleep helps maintain inflammatory homeostasis and overall health. Chronic sleep deprivation lowers the body's defense system, making you more susceptible to viruses and other diseases. It can also lead to pandemic-related stress, after which you may experience insomnia.
Mindfulness and self-compassion have been shown to help with insomnia, possibly because these techniques focus on overcoming negative thoughts. Getting enough sleep can help you live a healthier, more stress-free life.
70% of post-COVID patients have complaints about their sleep-wake cycle, temperament, and behavior. That goes for all age groups. Post-COVID stress and, in some cases, inappropriate usage of steroids during therapy are thought to be behind it. Unfortunately, inadequate sleep causes fatigue throughout the day, a lack of energy, waking up too early, waking up frequently throughout the night, sadness, anxiety, loss of focus, irritability, moodiness, and trouble remembering or recalling things.
COVID-19 symptoms can last for weeks or months in older persons and people with various serious medical issues, but even young, generally healthy people can feel ill for weeks or months after infection. The following are some of the most common long-term indications and symptoms:
- Breathing Problems Or Difficulty Breathing
- Joint Discomfort
- Pain In The Chest
- Problems With Memory, Attention, Or Sleep
- Pain In The Muscles Or A Headache
- Rapid Heartbeat
- Loss Of Olfactory Or Gustatory Perception
- Anxiety Or Depression
- Symptoms That Worsen After Engaging In Physical Or Mental Activities
COVID-19 symptoms and side effects differ from person to person. Some symptoms, such as chest aches and coughing, are present in almost all patients primarily because COVID-19 is a respiratory virus. Other symptoms, such as mental fog, are more perplexing. Many people who have recovered from COVID-19 claim they don't feel like themselves, even after getting better. They experience short-term memory problems, disorientation, as well as an inability to concentrate.
Fever, dry cough, exhaustion, loss of appetite, absence of smell, and body ache are common COVID-19 symptoms. COVID-19 causes more serious symptoms in certain people, such as a high temperature, a violent cough, and breathlessness, all of which are signs of pneumonia.
For a week, a person's COVID-19 symptoms may be moderate and can then rapidly worsen. If your symptoms deteriorate quickly over a short period, inform your doctor immediately.
Also, if you or a loved one with COVID-19 experiences any of the following emergency symptoms: difficulty breathing, prolonged pain or pressure in the chest, disorientation or inability to awaken the person, or bluish lips or face, call your doctor straight away.