Sleep during COVID

The importance and benefits of sleep during COVID
(read time: 1min 40 sec)

Is COVID-19 keeping you up at night? You’re not alone. According to a new survey from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, a third of Americans are sleeping worse than they did before the pandemic. About 30 percent say they have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, while 19 percent of respondents say they get less nightly sleep than before the pandemic. One in five also say they’ve experienced more disturbing dreams during the pandemic. This so-called “COVID-somnia” can be brought on by fears about the coronavirus, concern for our loved ones, economic worries, and limited social contact.

“Factors such as increased stress and anxiety, an uptick in screen time and a lack of exercise can significantly affect the amount and quality of sleep we get,” said AASM President Dr Kannan Ramar.

Why is Sleep Important During a Pandemic?

Sleep is a critical biological process, and as we juggle the mental, physical, and emotional demands of the pandemic, it’s arguably more important than ever. For instance:

•Sleep empowers an effective immune system. Solid nightly rest strengthens our body’s defenses, and studies have even found that lack of sleep can make some vaccines less effective.4

•Sleep heightens our brain functions, and our mind works better when we get good sleep. A solid night’s rest contributes to complex thinking, learning, memory, and decision-making. For adults and children adapting to work and school at home, good sleep can help them stay sharp.

•Sleep enhances moods. Lack of sleep can make a person irritable, drag down their energy level, and cause or worsen feelings of depression.

•Sleep improves mental health. Besides depression, studies have found that a lack of sleep is linked with mental health conditions like anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Experts agree that getting consistent, high-quality sleep improves virtually all aspects of health, which is why it is worthy of our attention during the coronavirus pandemic.

Top 5 Tips to get a better night’s sleep

  1. Maintain a regular sleep schedule – Even if your schedule has changed because work or school is remote, or you aren’t working, you should aim to get at least seven hours of sleep a night and go to bed and get up about the same time every day, including weekends.
  2. Turn off electronics – Limiting your screen time helps your body prepare for sleep, while avoiding news and social media before bed can reduce stress. Turn off your electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
  3. Follow a relaxing nightly routine – Start unwinding at least 30 minutes before your bedtime with quiet activities like reading or meditating, or take a warm bath or shower to help you relax.
  4. Create a peaceful sleeping environment – A cool, dark room is best for sleeping. Keep TVs off and store smartphones and other electronics outside your room.
  5. Invest in the right bed – Give your body the best opportunity to have a good night’s rest by purchasing a high-quality bed which offers both support and comfort to aid uninterrupted sleep.

Good sleep habits will help restore the quality of sleep that many of us have been missing out on this year. And that’s better for our overall physical and mental health – and just what the doctor ordered.