Can COVID-19 Cause Insomnia And Other Sleep Disorders?

Are you suffering from insomnia? It could be COVID-19! Scientists studying the virus believe that the mutating virus may be presenting itself in other, previously unexplored symptoms.

This could be sleeplessness or cold sweats at night, in addition to the more well-known ones associated with a COVID-19 infection, such as fever, body aches, and loss of smell and taste.

The spread of COVID-19 has slowed in the last two years, and the virus’s symptoms have become more limited and relatively recognizable.

Some 36 percent of the population is thought to have had insomnia during the initial wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and 40 percent of those affected have reported getting trouble sleeping.

Up to 31% of patients with extended COVID had interrupted sleep, highlighting the need to address this condition over the long run.

This information suggests that poor sleep quality is a major contributor to the negative health outcomes associated with COVID-19. In addition, a lack of sleep has major consequences for overall health and the immune system’s ability to operate normally.

By recognizing the impact COVID-19 has on sleep, we can gain a deeper insight into this illness. Furthermore, it can facilitate efforts to improve sleep quality in spite of the pandemic’s disruptions.

Read on to learn more about COVID-19-induced insomnia (Coronasomnia) and how to prevent it.

Can COVID-19 Cause Insomnia?

Symptoms of COVID-19

An international study indicated that over 52% of persons with COVID-19 have sleep difficulties, even though this symptom is rarely recognized among the major symptoms.

Those who have the COVID-19 virus may exhibit a variety of symptoms. However, the most typical COVID-19 symptoms are as follows:

  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing, a cough, etc.
  • Nasal congestion or discharge
  • An ache in the throat
  • Backaches, headaches, or other aches and pains
  • Lack of taste or smell
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation, nausea, and other gastrointestinal problems

Even if the risk of severe illness is decreased by the COVID-19 vaccination, having COVID still causes notable physical symptoms, which might disrupt sleep. Getting a cough or respiratory problems, for instance, might make it difficult to sleep well.

According to studies, patients with COVID-19 who are not in hospitals also have sleep problems. In addition, some drugs used to relieve symptoms may cause sleep disturbances.

Insufficient sleep might make it harder for the body to recover from a coronavirus infection. Many physiological systems, including the immune system’s reaction and the body’s ability to recover and repair themselves, are thought to be aided by a good night’s sleep.

Coronasomnia

Coronasomnia

The term “coronasomnia,” a portmanteau of “coronavirus” and “insomnia,” was coined to reflect the widespread nature of sleep issues brought on by the COVID-19 epidemic.

Commonly known as COVID-somnia, the word “coronasomnia” is more of a colloquial phrase than a medical one. Nevertheless, it’s a reflection of the reality that several causes beyond SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection might lead to sleep disturbances during the pandemic.

Significant shifts have been observed in sleep behavior, with studies documenting earlier bedtimes, more trouble falling asleep, and poorer overall sleep quality. Daytime tiredness has been related to sleep disturbances throughout the epidemic, which is hardly a surprise.

The term “coronasomnia” refers to any of several sleep disturbances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. These elements often interact with one another and have fluctuating impacts on people’s ability to get to sleep.

1. Disrupted Routines

Disrupted Routines

Pandemic-driven activity limits and continuously changing plans due to viral exposures might make it difficult to maintain regular schedules. This might disrupt daily patterns and the circadian rhythm, the body’s internal clock.

2. Isolation

Isolation

The pandemic has caused many people to feel increasing social isolation, which has had detrimental impacts on their mental health and sleep quality.

3. Stress

Stress

Concerns about one’s own health, family, career, and financial stability are only some of the ways in which the pandemic has exacerbated stress. Various people react to stress in different ways, but for many, stress can cause insomnia or other sleep issues. Those who experience the most stress may have the toughest time falling asleep.

4. Pandemic Fatigue

Pandemic Fatigue

One effect of the ongoing waves of illnesses and viral varieties is exhaustion, which has been linked to a lack of sleep, known as “pandemic fatigue.” This may be worsened by a continual stream of negative stories that particularly damage the sleep of persons who closely monitor the news.

5. For a Caregiver

For a Caregiver

A lack of sleep may be a side effect of taking on a caregiving role, such as taking care of children who are home sick from school or a family member who has contracted COVID-19.

6. Nightmares

Nightmares

Studies suggest that people’s dreaming patterns are changing throughout the epidemic, with more vivid dreams and nightmares being reported. Having nightmares may cause you to wake up in the middle of the night, which might interfere with your ability to sleep.

7. Mental Health Issues

Mental Health Issues

Early on in the pandemic, Chinese researchers noted increased levels of anxiety and depression, both of which are connected to sleeplessness and other sleep disruptions. Subsequent research has confirmed the global rise in levels.

8. Lack of Diagnosis

Lack of Diagnosis

Especially for sleep disorders, including obstructive sleep apnea, is a consequence of the pandemic’s effect on the availability of healthcare services, particularly sleep laboratories (OSA). Sadly, this suggests that some patients might not have received CPAP therapy, which can save a patient’s life.

9. Reduced Medical Care

Reduced Medical Care

There has been a decrease in medical attention since many individuals only visit doctors when they really need to.

Who is Likely to Experience Coronasomnia?

Who is Likely to Experience Coronasomnia

Although everyone can have sleep disruption due to COVID, certain persons are at a larger risk than others.

Multiple studies have found that those who get COVID-19 are disproportionately prone to experience sleep disruptions.

Healthcare providers are experiencing severe sleep disorders as a result of the stress and strain of working long hours during the epidemic. Early studies on the pandemic indicated that more than 70% of medical staff experienced serious sleep issues. Later studies revealed that more than 30% of the healthcare workforce suffers from sleep disorders.

Nearly half of all kids have had trouble sleeping because of the pandemic. Causes may include school schedule changes, less play and social engagement time, and more screen time.

Preventing Insomnia During The COVID-19 Pandemic

Don’t stress out if you’re having coronasomnia. There are several methods that may be employed to lessen its effects and promote sound nighttime sleep. The best way to ensure a restful night’s sleep is to reduce stress, maintain a regular day and nighttime routine, and practice good sleep hygiene.

1. Good Sleep Hygiene

Good Sleep Hygiene

Hygiene refers to a person’s routine of cleaning and grooming themselves. Hygienic practices that promote peaceful sleep are called “sleep hygiene,” and they are just as important as “dental hygiene” practices like brushing and flossing. You may enhance your sleeping habits by implementing the following steps:

  • Maintain a consistent sleep routine of at least 7-9 hours every night. Establish a regular sleep/wake schedule within these hours and stick to it religiously, weekdays and weekends included.
  • Only nap for 20 or 30 minutes at a time; you will awake feeling refreshed and revitalized. However, if you sleep longer during the day, especially if it’s late in the day and the nap lasts more than an hour, it could be more difficult to fall asleep at night.
  • Light has the most significant effect on our circadian rhythms and should be consumed every day. Mornings are the best time to accomplish this, so spend some time near a window or outside.
  • Moderation is crucial while consuming caffeine since too much might interfere with sleep. Caffeine should not be used after lunch in order to allow for enough elimination from the body before bedtime, although it can be consumed in moderation if necessary.
  • Though it may put you to sleep at first, alcohol has long-term harmful effects on your sleep architecture and should be avoided, especially in the hours leading up to bedtime.
  • Since nicotine is a stimulant, it’s best to avoid using it after dark.
  • Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, and cool by getting rid of any stress-inducing items like your computer or work documents. Reduce the amount of light coming in from windows and other sources to encourage sleep and discourage the use of electronic devices like televisions.
  • Eating too late at night is not good since it might irritate your stomach and make it hard to go to sleep. Foods that aid in sleep, such as milk and almonds, are ideal for the last meal before turning in.

2. Create a Schedule You Can Stick to Every Day

Create a Schedule You Can Stick to Every Day

Consistent behavior trains our brains to respond to certain cues, such as when it’s time to work, eat, and be attentive or sleepy. Maintaining a regular schedule might help you feel more at ease in your everyday life. Schedule frequent pauses in which you may get some fresh air, concentrate on a task at hand, eat, and start and stop working at certain times.

Morning walks, for instance, are energizing and can help reinforce your normal sleep patterns. Consistently follow a set routine before bedtime. They’ll tell your brain it’s time to shut down for the night. To unwind, pick up a book or put on some soothing music.

3. Stress Management

Stress Management

Stress makes it hard to sleep, regardless of the situation. You may minimize stress and improve your sleep with practice like journaling or regular exercise. Remove the worrying thoughts about the epidemic from your head.

Putting your worries on paper might be a relief. You may find mental clarity and a more optimistic perspective after writing out your emotions and thoughts. In addition, it’s been shown that getting the COVID-19 vaccine can make people feel more secure, which can have a calming effect.

4. Avoid The News

Avoid The News

If you can, wait until the morning to process any new, potentially upsetting information. Refrain from spending the last few minutes before bedtime checking social media or watching the news.

Reading or hearing about disturbing or dramatic news articles might trigger anxiety at inopportune times. Know that things are difficult now, but they will improve.

Final Thoughts

Coronasomnia is a frustrating condition that has the ability to diminish one’s quality of life. Yet, despite how unpleasant it makes them feel, most individuals do not believe it to be an illness that warrants the attention of a medical professional.

You may benefit from therapy if you have gone several weeks without falling or staying asleep. Have a conversation about it with your healthcare professional, and follow their advice regarding the most effective treatment alternatives.

References

Sarah Wagner

I'm Sarah Wagner, and I founded Sweet Island Dreams in 2022. It's a blog dedicated to helping people mental vacation virtually anytime they want. By providing information about the best sleep of your life, I help people drift away to paradise without ever having to leave their bed!