Here’s how to sleep better when COVID-19 disturbs our sleep

BILLIONhe Pandemic caused by covid-19 still disrupting an essential component of a healthy life: a good night’s sleep.

In a survey conducted in July of 2,000 adults, Released September 13 by the Harris Poll on behalf of the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, about 18% of respondents said they slept less than they did before the pandemic, while 19% said they had trouble sleeping because of anxiety. or stress (about COVID-19, politics or other factors). At the university, at least, this has led to an increase in the need for help; Aneesa Das, a sleep specialist and professor of internal medicine there, said that in 2021, the Ohio State medical center received about 29% more referrals to insomnia treatment than it did. with 2018.

According to Das, stress can disrupt sleep because it can raise your heart rate and blood pressure, upset your stomach, and stress your muscles. However, the survey also pointed to another problem: poor sleep habits, including using phones before bed, sleeping at the wrong time and spending too much time in the bedroom. According to Das, the challenge is that these habits threaten to controls of healthy sleep, including exposure to light at appropriate times and maintaining a regular sleep schedule.

Read more: Why not everyone needs 8 hours of sleep

According to Das, some of these are because many people are doing things wrong to help them sleep. In the survey, 47% of respondents said that they use their phones before going to bed and 37% overslept with the TV on. “Both of these are things that people often do to try to distract their minds,” says Das. “But The bright light is really stimulating and reduce the bedroom’s association with sleep. “

Das says that the pandemic disrupting people’s daily schedules can also affect sleep. COVID-19 forces many people to stay off work or work from home, giving them more control when going to bed or getting out of bed. But not sleeping at the same time every night can make it harder for you to fall asleep, says Das. During the pandemic, people may also have started spending too much time indoors without getting enough sunlight (although the survey didn’t measure this). This becomes especially problematic if they spend more time in the bedroom, says Das. “Waking up, putting your laptop in bed and working from home are probably the worst things we can do for causing insomnia.”

If you’re having trouble sleeping, Das suggests rethink your sleeping habits. Your bedroom should be cool (ideally with a temperature above 60), dark and quiet, and should only be used for sleep and intimacy. Your daily schedule can also have a big impact on your sleep: exercise, spend time in the sun during the day, stop consuming caffeine after 2 p.m., and maintain a sleep-and-wake schedule Regularity can be helpful, says Das. To help get a good night’s sleep, Das says she likes to create a to-do list so she can prepare for the next day, and she walks two miles every day.

While it can be difficult to change the habit (or give up your afternoon cup of coffee), improving your sleep can have major benefits for your health. mental and physical health. Poor sleep is linked to a condition rangefrom a higher risk of stroke and heart disease, to an increased risk of obesity and depression.

And while the pandemic has disrupted sleep schedules, a good night’s sleep can help people become more resilient to its effects. After a good night’s sleep, Studies have shown Das says people have even worse immune responses to vaccines. While this has not been studied with Enhanced Omicron, Das notes, “I can assure you that I say to my children, ‘Before you get booster vaccineWe want to make sure you’re sleeping well. ‘”

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