Sleep, COVID, health, organic

How has COVID-19 affected our sleep?

by Mike Schaefer March 15, 2021

Written by guest author: Charles Vallena

Covid-19 has taken the world in different tides and has taken its toll on everyone. From medical professionals, to businesses, students and employees –even when you aren’t infected with the virus, the pandemic has affected everyone’s daily lives. This global medical concern has changed a lot of our basic necessities including going out, eating, and sleeping.

Even as we rest, the ongoing anxiety of getting the virus cannot be denied. Has the thought of Covid-19 affected you even as you hit the sack? You are not alone in feeling anxious even when you are about to sleep. Find out how Covid-19 has affected our ability to sleep here.

Depression and Anxiety

The sudden changes in the community because of Covid-19 has a severe impact in our daily lives. It has limited our outdoor experiences and has even changed the way we step out of the house. The limitations, work layoffs, furloughs, and the postponed plans are only among the reasons why people feel depressed. With these changes, there has been a sharp rise of people having depression by up to three times compared to pre-pandemic states.

The stress of the uncertain times is unparalleled. Other than that, people have been stressed about finances, work, loved ones, and overall health. The piling up of stress makes one more anxious every single day. As stress levels shoot up, it also syncs with the rise of the stress hormone cortisol.

The more anxious and stressed you are, the majority of the cortisol produced in your body keeps you awake. This cycle repeats until you find something that makes you feel better in the middle of the pandemic.

Insomnia and Sleep Disturbances

Because of the increasing burden and stress of Covid-19, sleep is easily affected. You may find yourself tossing and turning a couple of times in bed because major stressful events have been noted to cause a variety of sleep disturbances. A study has shown that insomnia is a predominant sleep disorder noted during calamities, earthquakes, wildfires, and pandemics.

While sleep disturbances are expected in major shifts and environment changes brought about by health issues, the prolonged isolation of can cause an increase of incidence of clinically diagnosed sleep disorders. Aside from that, insomnia and other sleep disturbances may even persist even after the pandemic.

Screen Time over Sleep Time

Because countries have imposed lockdowns in major cities and areas affected by Covid-19, people have shifted gatherings and communication through technology. Screen time has significantly increased over the pandemic to compensate for the lack of physical interaction. 

Most jobs have been assigned as work from home, and the academic life in schools have shifted in front of screens. Spending more time at home also prompted people to be more active in social media and to stream more shows. 

Screens from gadgets like mobile phones, tablets and laptops emit blue light. The blue light emitted usually disrupts your sleeping pattern because it tricks your body into thinking that it is still daytime. In turn, it produces less of the sleep hormone called melatonin.

Alcohol Consumption

Stress relief and boredom have been triggers of some people why they have been drinking more alcohol over the course of Covid-19. During quarantine, people are more isolated, and drinking wine or beer gives you a sense of relief over uncontrolled times.

Although the alcohol content usually promotes sleep, it also disrupts the quality of sleep you’ll have. It causes changes in your sleep cycle, like waking up at night more often than usual. It also drains your body out, leaving you tired and unrefreshed even with the right amount of sleep.

Melatonin

A surge of people complaining of insomnia is a result of a multitude of factors related to Covid-19. A study even claimed that less than half of British people are getting good sleep. Insomnia being a common sleep disorder since the spread of the virus has spiked melatonin prescription over the past months.

Melatonin has outdone itself for being a much needed pill when one can’t normally produce it anymore. Aside from its benefits on sleep, it has also claimed to play a part in keeping the immune system up. Although studies are still ongoing to prove how melatonin can help halt the pandemic, it is obvious that a good night’s sleep can help people stay healthy over these trying times.

Sleeping during a Pandemic

Getting the right amount and quality of sleep during this pandemic can be tough. But there are ways to make sure your body is in the right rhythm with its waking and sleeping hours. Here are tips to have optimal sleep, even in these unprecedented times:

  • Get some sunlight! Exposing yourself under the sun can help your body get back on circadian rhythm. This in turn will let itself produce melatonin at night.
  • Avoid screen time before bed. This tip will help your body stray away from blue light that decreases melatonin production.
  • Exercising during the day can promote having the best sleep this pandemic. You don’t need plenty of gym equipment as there are exercises that can be done even with limited space and no equipment at all.
  • Don’t drink caffeinated and alcoholic drinks before bedtime. Sleep disruptions occur more often when one consumes caffeine or alcohol before shut eye.
  • Cut back on social media and news. If the news and social media trends stress you out, you can take a step back and limit yourself with this kind of exposure. This will also help you focus more on yourself, and be more mindful with every positive thing at home.

Sleeping is your body’s way of recharging, and in turn is also a way of giving gratitude to how your body is able to manage all the stress it has been through the day. Stress and anxiety have been major factors of how one has changed their sleeping patterns. This has led to sleeping disorders that in turn can affect our overall health.

Although the pandemic is currently taking its toll on our mental health, getting the right amount of excellent sleep is just one of the simplest and free ways to keep your immune system up and your body healthy. 


About the Author

Charles Vallena is the editor-in-chief at TheSleepMatters.com. He manages a team of sleep experts who provide researched insights, guides, and reviews on different types of mattresses online. Follow SleepMatters on Facebook here.




Mike Schaefer
Mike Schaefer

Author



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