The lockdowns imposed to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus but it gave birth to a several other problems related to mental and physical health. COVID-19 has led to significant behavioral changes in people including poor sleep or lack of sleep during lockdown and work-from-home period. The improper sleep has not just affected people’s productivity but also their physiological processes related to health. Take a look at the types of sleeping disorders faced by people during lockdown.
Circadian rhythm disturbances
Eight hours of sleep is considered the average requirement for most individuals, and the presence of cues such as external light and temperature influence such cycles. In the pre-COVID era, the timing, duration and regularity of sleep in most individuals was determined by rigid schedules related to work or study. Post the lockdown, this has now been left to the vagaries of the demands of the new normal, and this has caused circadian disturbances.
Work/study from home is relatively unstructured, and the increased digital media/backlit device exposure leads to the biological clock getting mixed signals about day-night transition, often leading to delays in sleep onset.
A survey conducted among 1511 participants in India revealed that younger individuals and women were more susceptible to these changes, causing a state of "social jetlag".
When conventional gender roles are in play, working women now have to multitask between household and work responsibilities, in addition to assisting younger kids with online school, and this possibly explains why their sleep schedules have been most disrupted.
What has also been reported in studies is that despite sleeping for longer hours, individuals often report a poorer quality of sleep, resulting in feeling less rested.
Social isolation, financial/job insecurity, stigmatization of individuals with COVID-19, the constant media exposure to reports of rising infections and deaths, and stories of near and dear ones succumbing to the disease all lead to a sense of helplessness, anxiety and depression. Insomnia is a common manifestation of depression, and as treating physicians, we have experienced a significant proportion of individuals report the symptom during the lockdown.
In addition, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression, which were reported in up to half of all individuals who suffered from SARS infection in 2003 are likely to affect an equally high percentage of individuals who have had COVID-19, and insomnia is being recognized as a frequent symptom of what is now being called "long COVID". A psychological evaluation should be considered in all individuals who are experiencing insomnia, and the temptation to consume sedatives in a knee-jerk manner must be avoided.
The elderly are especially vulnerable, and careful attention must be paid to any elderly person who has had new-onset insomnia during the lockdown.
Sleep apnea is one of the commonest sleep disorders in the population, affecting up to 10 per cent adults. Inactivity, weight gain, alcohol consumption are all risk factors for obstructive sleep apnea, and lockdowns, by limiting one's activity outside the home along with binge eating/snacking and drinking might worsen pre-existing sleep apnea, or cause it in individuals who have significantly gained weight during the lockdown.
Individuals who snore loudly, especially if they have high blood pressure or other cardiovascular disease must be assessed for sleep apnea.
Therefore, in order for you to get better snooze time here we are with a few lifestyle tips. Take a look
No caffeine after noon
It is funny how caffeine consumed during the day may effect you at night. But it is true to some extent, if you consume coffee or tea after 2 pm it will definitely charge you up and will have its effect on you for longer period of time than you thought.
Keep devices away
Gone are the days when people used to have books in their hands at night. Now a lot of us wait for sleep while scrolling down the social media feeds on our smartphones. This mobile addiction can not just harm your sleeping pattern but may also be very unhealthy for your eyesight.
Avoid or reduce mid-day snooze
Napping during afternoon helps in getting your productivity and creativity better but if you sleep more than required in the day time then it may affect your night's sleep. Therefore, try to limit and strategize your nap time.
The smell of essential oils can change your mood and can be very effective in getting you a good night's sleep. As per studies Aromatherapy does not only helps you sleep better but also reduces stress and anxiety.
Chamomile tea is a type of herbal tea which is deal for you to drink before bed in order to get a healthy sleep. It contains a chemical compound called, apigenin, which helps you sleep better.
With inputs from IANS.