The impact of the pandemic on our sleep

The impact of the pandemic on our sleep

The coronavirus pandemic has affected various aspects of people’s lives, including the deterioration of sleep quality. More and more people are changing their bedtime rhythm as a result of the restrictions introduced – working from home allows more freedom in this regard. Sleep problems also cause stress due to, among other things, loss of income flow. In addition, many COVID-19 patients complain of excessive sleepiness or outright insomnia.

According to a worldwide survey conducted by Philips, “In search of solutions: how COVID-19 has affected sleep quality,” about 70% of people have experienced sleep problems since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. These problems are primarily the result of stress – anxiety over the risk of losing jobs and income, the threat of infection, and fear of illness of loved ones. Respondents sought information on how to cope with sleep disorders. Some of them tried to help themselves by reading, meditating or listening to soothing music.

Read: Painful arm after COVID-19 vaccination

When can we talk about sleep disorders?

When difficulties falling asleep or awakenings occur frequently enough to affect daytime functioning. These disorders, if they occur over a long period of time, can even cause health problems, including decreased immunity, difficulty concentrating, chronic fatigue syndrome, increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic changes, depression and obesity.

Diurnal rhythm disorders and sleep

More and more people are complaining of sleep disorders as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. People who have had to stay in isolation or significantly modify their lifestyles – such as switching to remote work – have had their circadian rhythms altered. Now, instead of getting up at 7 a.m. and driving to the office, they don’t wake up until after 8, get up and still sit in front of the laptop in their pajamas.

Afternoon activities such as going to the gym, shopping or biking with friends have long been impossible due to restrictions put in place by design to prevent the spread of the pandemic. And lack of physical activity can have a negative impact on sleep quality. So, moreover, can prolonged sitting in front of computer, TV and cell phone screens. These devices emit blue light, which in many people causes sleep problems, among other things.

Treatment of sleep disorders

If sleep disturbances are long-lasting, it is worth consulting a doctor. Most often, specialists recommend using relaxation techniques, stimulus control or limiting sleep time. Taking melatonin tablets, drinking lemon balm tea or preparations containing valerian may also prove helpful. Less often, doctors choose to prescribe sleeping aids. In that case, it is either a short-term or emergency treatment.

Coronasomia or excessive sleepiness

Sleep problems in the context of the SARS-CoV-2 virus pandemic also affect people who have undergone coronavirus infection. Both excessive sleepiness caused by chronic fatigue syndrome or simply weakening of the body and so-called coronasomia, or insomnia, are observed in recovered patients. In the first case, patients feel the need for constant sleep – this complication of coronavirus occurs not only in people with severe symptoms, but also affects those whose COVID-19 infection had a mild course.

Coronasomia, on the other hand, from the combination of the words “coronavirus” and “insomnia” from the English word “insomnia,” so named by Christina Pierpaoli Parker, is diagnosed in recovering patients who have had great difficulty breathing. People experiencing dyspnea are afraid to fall asleep for fear of suffocation.

It is important to remember that man has had to be alert in the face of danger since prehistoric times. Today that threat is a pandemic, so some people may have trouble sleeping.


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