The coronavirus pandemic has changed our lives. Social distancing, lockdowns, taking extra care to practice hand hygiene and the ever-present threat of a virus we have no vaccine for, has increased anxiety levels considerably. But what are the effects of coronavirus on sleep? Have our sleep patterns changed? And if so, how?
Sleep has changed
Several studies are currently investigating whether the coronavirus pandemic has impacted our sleep and unsurprisingly, it has.
It seems that being locked down and working from home has meant that people have saved time on commuting, which they have used to sleep a little longer. One study being conducted by the University of Basel in Switzerland has found that respondents are sleeping up to 50 minutes longer than they were before the lockdown.
Quality is worse
Unfortunately, extra time sleeping has not translated into better quality sleep. In fact, quality has worsened.
An international sleep study being conducted by the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Oxford is investigating the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on sleep and daily rhythms in adults. Initial results have found the effects of coronavirus on sleep are many. People are finding it difficult to get to sleep, finding it hard to stay asleep, and are experiencing vivid dreams and nightmares.
People who already had sleep problems have noticed they have got worse, and others who were good sleepers before have developed insomnia.
A Monash University study looking at how coronavirus is affecting sleep says that so far, 46% of respondents have experienced poor sleep quality — up from 25% of people just before the pandemic. Many of these respondents are also reporting vivid dreams, nightmares, elaborate storylines, and recurring dreams. They are also having trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.
Stress has an impact
Coronavirus has increased stress levels considerably for many people. Fear and anxiety around health, job security, financial security or worrying about loved ones can also increase stress. And during times of stress, it’s very normal for sleep habits to change and sleep quality to decrease.
The good news is that sleep habits often return to normal when stress levels decrease.
While we can’t eliminate the problem of coronavirus just yet, there is a lot we can do to reduce stress levels and improve our sleep.
Reduce stress to reduce the effects of coronavirus on sleep
One of the best things to do for stress is to look after yourself. Eat healthily (reducing alcohol consumption), and set aside time for exercise and doing the things that help you relax. Other things you can do include:
- Be strict about media exposure before bed
- Avoid long naps during the day to make up for lack of sleep
- Take a relaxing bath or hot shower just before bed
- Listen to relaxing music, or read a book
- Drink herbal tea to help you relax and avoid caffeine before bed
- Ensure you bedroom promotes good sleep.
One thing that can make difficult sleep worse is an uncomfortable mattress. At Bedguard, we have a range of mattresses to suit the whole family, including waterproof ones for the younger members of your family who may be wetting the bed more than usual as a result of their stress.
To ensure you’re sleeping on a mattress suited for your needs, browse online or visit us in store.