March is Sleep Awareness Month! We’ve covered sleep topics on the blog in the past such as why sleep is important, tips for a better night’s sleep, and common misconceptions about sleep. Now that we’re 2+ years into the COVID pandemic, we’re going to look at how the pandemic is affecting our sleep.
Why is Covid affecting our sleep?
- Increased stress surrounding the pandemic affects our mental health and can also affect sleep
- The lack of a set schedule
- Staying at home, especially now during winter, can negatively affect our circadian rhythms due to lack of sunlight.
- Disruption of sleep schedules– if you’re still working from home or are unemployed you may oversleep, which can negatively affect your sleep cycle.
How is Covid affecting our sleep?
- Stress-related insomnia has increased due to Covid. Some have started calling it “coronasomnia.”
- Lack of sleep can lead to a weakened immune system.
- Having intense or stressful dreams.
What can we do?
- Set a schedule– try to go to sleep and wake up at around the same time every day (yes, even weekends)
- Create a routine– figure out what calms you and set aside time before bed to wind down.
- Get outside– try to spend some time outside each day so you can get your Vitamin D from sunlight (talk to your doctor about whether it makes sense to take a Vitamin D supplement)
- Limit screen time
- Avoid naps if possible
- Take short breaks from the news for mental health
- Practice relaxation and mindfulness (e.g., deep breathing, etc.)
- Talk to your doctor about whether a melatonin could help