Pandemic insomnia is a real thing, and many of us don’t sleep

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Who else is tired of being FA tired for a year and a half? Even before the pandemic hit, insomnia was a problem for many people. But add the world that goes hell in a basket, and it cultivates the perfect storm for sleepless nights. I’m not talking about a few hectic nights here and there. Rather, it is a continuous and exhausting struggle. Spiraling out of control at 2:00 a.m. on assumptions that have become part of our routine. Night after night, being unable to fall asleep or waking up in the middle of the night has become the new normal. Except that there is nothing normal about it. Our bodies need sleep just as much as we need air to breathe.

I remember at the beginning of March 2020 suddenly all of the stores that I subscribed to the mailing list started sending messages about closing physical locations. Everything was only available for pickup only. While I’m sure this was meant to reassure us that everything was going as usual, it absolutely was not. I spent the next week consuming all I could about Covid and desperately scrolling for hours.

At the start of the pandemic, everyone (um, Republicans) assured us that the Covid was going to explode in a few months. I mean, who could forget this gem: “I really believe they’re going to be in control pretty soon. You know in April, supposedly, it dies with the warmer weather.

But we knew better. And so began the downward spiral in the quantity and quality of all our sleep. The people who said they were such an insomniac because they missed a restful night’s sleep, they were suddenly awakened to the reality of chronic insomnia. So why are we becoming a nation of insomniacs? More importantly, how do you fix it?

How is the pandemic encouraging insomnia?

It’s a vicious cycle, really. During the day, you are at work, worried and anxious about breathing in someone else’s Covid droplets. Or maybe you are at home, but your little ones are at school. You are worried that the children or adults they interact with will be asymptomatic when they are not old enough to be protected by the vaccine.

These worries and anxieties are legitimate. If those things don’t keep you awake at night, well, well done. For the rest of us, these worries are overwhelming and terrifying. Enough that they’re probably preventing us from getting a good night’s sleep. In fact, a UK study from the University of Southampton found the number of people with insomnia has increased one in six to one in four since living in the pandemic. It’s quite a jump, and one thing is for sure – wWe cannot continue on this path.

We weren’t asleep because of overwhelming worry, but there just weren’t any hours in the day. And before you say we all have the same 24 hours a day, don’t. Our kids were at home, online, so those extra minutes we had for ourselves went to the kids. Work hours started earlier or ran later to fit their schedule. Millions of people lost their jobs, so their concert work was worked out whenever they were not looking after their children. No wonder we continued to sleep less and less.

In addition to this behavior that can lead to insomnia, there is a concern that our lack of sleep increases our risk for secondary mental health issues like depression. The icing on the cake ? We are at risk of developing insomnia because we worry about Covid, but poor sleep can wear down our immune system, making us more likely to contract Covid. According to Vox.com, “Being chronically tired could put our health at risk, especially as Covid-19 continues to spread. ”

For the love of shit, talk about a vicious cycle. But don’t worry, all is not lost. Let’s talk about how we can sleep better and avoid developing insomnia.

What can we do to feel more rested?

It’s not that naps and bubble baths aren’t fabulous because they are, but things like that are not going to fix our insomnia. Yet taking care of yourself is absolutely an important part. That this means actually taking your sick time for a mental health day (because mental health is health), or something as small as taking over-the-counter sleeping pills to support your body’s natural sleep cycle. Fun fact, did you know that melatonin consumption jumped more than 40% in 2020? If that isn’t a loud and clear message, I don’t know what it is. But sometimes that is not enough.

If you regularly have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, contact your doctor. In addition to over-the-counter sleeping pills, your doctor may recommend prescription medications. And more often than not, they will also recommend therapy. In therapy, you will be able to talk about things that are worrying you, the worries that are really preventing you from sleeping at night.

Unfortunately, not everyone will have access to resources like therapy. In fact, even everyone who needs a supplier doesn’t. And those who are in pain may find it difficult to get an appointment. Time and time again, this pandemic has highlighted systematic issues of inequality for all when it comes to the economy and health care, as well as so much more.

Many employers have also taken notice, adding more flexibility to their employees’ schedules. Because all of you, we are all adults and certainly don’t need to be micromanaged. I mean, if we can get the job done, in less time, allowing us to take a nap, is there really any harm in that? Poor mental and physical health as well as problems like insomnia are symptoms of a bigger underlying problem in our society. It’s time to build the new normal from the bottom up. But please don’t bring all that don’t sleep stuff with us.


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