Covid19 Sleep Patterns

Covid19 Sleep Patterns

During this quarantine period, some people are struggling to get a good sleep pattern. Of course, they are people going to bed late, but they can get more sleep during this period. Now for some the quality of sleep has drastically improved and even they have been able to spend more time in deep and REM sleep.

Going to bed late and even getting up late might make sense now, you would still need to make or keep up consistency as and when your schedule changes.

Challenges You Might Face in Sleeping During the Pandemic

Many people are suffering from insomnia and that too before the beginning of the coronavirus. But unluckily this pandemic can lead to new challenges for individuals even for those that had no kind of sleeping issues. One thing you need to keep in mind is that coronavirus pandemic will not affect everyone in the same manner.

No doubt, front-line medical workers and patients will face the brunt of the direct impact of such diseases. However, as seen throughout the world, the consequences have spread a lot wider and this has led to a huge hindrance while sleeping.

Incomplete Sleep Lead to Disruption in Our Day-To-Day Life

Quarantines, social distancing, working-from-home, school closure, etc all such bring about a huge amount of changes in the normal routines of individuals of all ages as well as the walk of life. Here, it can be tough for adjusting to the latest daily schedules and even the lack of schedules too. Not only of keeping track of the time and even of the days would be hard without the presence of the typical time anchors like coming to the office, dropping kids at school, attending the gym or social events, etc.

Sometimes being stuck at home even if there are low levels of natural light, it can lower the light related cues for sleep and wakefulness, which are called zeitgebers. This is important for the circadian rhythm.

In case you are right not working, or your weekly hours might have been reduced because of the COVD-19, there might be a temptation for oversleeping every morning. Also, if you are sleeping for more than seven to eight hours each night, it might make it difficult for you to get up early in the morning, even if there is an alarm to wake you up. In addition, people who oversleep will feel irritable, groggy, and lose concentration all around the world.

Worrying and Anxiety

It might not be surprising to know that worries are bound to occur during the coronavirus pandemic. Also, it is natural for people to feel scared if they catch the coronavirus as they would not like to get sick and infect other people. Many individuals have close family and friends who are older and sometimes in the high-risk groups due to the pre-existing conditions that might bring about worries regarding safety and health.

All kinds of economic concerns are drastically affecting all people. The stalling of the economic activity and increasing job losses would lead to worrying about savings, income, and making ends meet. Frankly, there are various things still unknown about this pandemic, like how the disease is spreading, can hospitals be able to manage the crises, how long will the lockdown last, will the economy recover, etc.

Such things will bring about uncertainty as well as anxiety, thereby disrupting sleep. A racing mind is bound to make the body toss as well as turn.

Isolation and Depression

Well, you know that the crises can bring about depression as well as isolation. Plus, it would be a lot worse for individuals having loved ones that are sick or might have passed away due to the COVID-19. The chances of the depression and grief being exacerbated would be more when one is isolated at home. Both have the greatest potential of leading to a huge amount of sleep issues.

Work and Family Stress

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, various families are under extreme stress. Isolated from friends, cancelled trips, and a huge amount of time cooped up at home will put a deep strain on any person. At times, keeping up with the work-from-home obligations and even managing the house that is now filled up with kids who were supposed to be at school will be a real issue. This can lead to stress and even disorder that leads to a barrier for proper sleep.

Excessive Screen Time

Irrespective of whether you are checking out the news on your phone or joining your family on Zoom, binge-watching the latest Netflix, or you might be putting some extra hours being on the system doing work-from-home, social distancing can lead to an increase in the screen time.

Do you know that the excessive screen time and that too in the evening will really have a detrimental impact on your sleep? Besides that, it will even stimulate your brain in many ways, making it quite hard to wind down. However, the blue light coming from the screens will reduce the natural production of melatonin, the hormone that the body makes for sleeping.

Fatigue Due to Stress

Now the basic stress of living through a pandemic will lead to various physical symptoms like memory lapses, persistent headaches, as well as digestive issues. If you check stress-related fatigue is one of the major side effects. Sometimes you might get a good amount of sleep at night, still, the fatigue will really make you feel tired and even unmonitored in the morning.

Importance of Sleep During the Pandemic

Sleep is important for the following reasons –

  • Like most of the critical biological processes, sleep is also an important one too. When you are confronting the COVID-19 pandemic, sleep is very much important as it provides a wide range of benefits including mental and physical health.
  • Sleep helps in empowering the best immune system. With a solid night rest, the body’s defence system will become strong. Studies show that lack of sleep will make most of the vaccines less effective.
  • Your brain functions get heighten due to sleep. No doubt, our mind works better and faster when it gets good sleep, thereby leading to complex thinking, memory, learning, and even decision making. For kids and adults who are adapting work and school at home, a good amount of sleep will help them to remain sharp.
  • Studies show that sleep helps in enhancing one’s mood. Often lack of sleep will make a person irritated, lower down one’s energy and will lead to the feeling of depression.
  • Sleep can help in improving one’s mental health. Besides depression, various studies prove that lack of sleep will even lead to mental health conditions like bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Various health experts state that constant and high-quality sleep can improve all the aspects of one’s health. Therefore, it is important during the coronavirus pandemic.

Major Guidelines to Follow During Coronavirus Outbreak

Irrespective of the daunting challenges present in your hands, there are multiple steps you can take for getting a good sleep during the COVID pandemic. Sometimes these efforts might not provide the results immediately but still do not give up. It will take some time for you to stabilize your sleep and sometimes you might have to adapt to these suggestions for remaining fit during this situation.

1) Create Your Schedule and Routine

Creating a routine will easily lead to a sense of normalcy during abnormal times. Here it would be easier for your body and mind to acclimate the consistent pattern in sleeping. Therefore, health experts often recommend avoiding making various variations in one’s sleep pattern or times.

Some of the major sleep specific pattern or aspects regarding the daily schedule consist of –

  • Wake Up Time – Here set your alarm and try to bypass the snooze button. Get the fixed time to wake up every day.
  • Wind Down Time – This is a significant time for relaxation and one that you need to get ready for bed. Here this consists of stretching, reading, and meditating and this is along with preparation for bed like brushing your teeth, putting on your pyjamas, etc. With the presence of coronavirus stress, it is better if you provide yourself with some extra time for winding up every night.
  • Bedtime – Here you must pick the consistent time for turning out the lights and for falling asleep. Also, along with the time spent on sleeping and being ready for bed, it is great if you can incorporate steady routine for getting time cues all around the day like –
  • Eating meals at the same time each day
  • Showering and getting dress even though you are not leaving the home
  • Blocking off the time period related to exercise and stress.

2) Make Sure to Reserve Your Bed For Sleep

Sleep experts often emphasize the necessity of creating an association in your mind and that too among your bed and sleep. This is the major reason why they recommend that sex and sleep are the only basic activities that take place in your bed.

Here, it also means that work from home must not be just working from bed. Basically, it even means not bringing your laptop to your bed and watch any series or movies. At times, certain nights, you might have a tough time sleeping. In such a case, just avoid more than twenty minutes turning and tossing. Rather than that, get out of your bed and try to do something that is relaxing especially in low light and then go back to your bed and fall asleep.

Besides, often changing your sheet, making your bed, fluffing your pillow will make your bed feel fresh and provide a comfortable and inviting setting for sleeping.

3) Viewing the Light

Exposure to light will play a great role in assisting your body in regulating the sleep and that too in a healthy way. Since you are dealing with disruptions in your day-to-day life, there might be certain steps you would have to take, to make sure that the light-based cues have a positive effect on the circadian rhythm.

Keep in mind that if you spend some time outside in the natural light, it would be great. Irrespective of whether the sun is not shining brightly, natural light would have a positive effect on the circadian rhythm. Various people would find the outdoor time most beneficial right in the morning and the bonus is that it provides the opportunity to get some fresh air.

Also, just make sure that as much as possible, you keep your windows open and allow the blinds to let the light into your home during the day. Furthermore, you need to be careful about the screen time. Certain studies show that the blue light that is produced by most of the electronic devices like tablets, mobile phones and computers would interfere with the body’s natural sleep leading processes. Hence, as much as possible try to avoid such devices for an hour just before going to bed. At times, most of the devices would have the option to set the light or filter or lower the blue light.

4) Be Careful Regarding Naps

During the quarantine period, you are always at your home, so there would be a temptation for taking naps. A short power nap during the afternoon would be great for certain people. Do make sure that you avoid taking longer naps or naps later in the day as this might hinder your night-time sleep pattern.

Lastly Contacting Your Doctor

Ultimately, if you are having severe or worse sleep or any other health issues, it is better if you get in touch with your doctor. You can contact various doctors through email, telephone, etc. Even though during the COVID period, you should not meet other individuals, still going to a doctor for consultation will not do any harm. Sleep is recovery and do take this time to go back to the basics of life.


Saravavan Nadarajan (Vanan)

Vanan, fitness expert and leader at EzFit Singapore, specializes in holistic training—home-based, boot camps, and corporate fitness—with over a decade of industry experience.

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