Over the past year and a half, the coronavirus epidemic has significantly altered both our lives and our daily routines. In addition to the physical effects of the virus itself, the difficulties involved have also led to mental strain, leading to a rise in the number of people with sleep problems. For this, experts have coined a new term: coronasomnia. How is the pandemic related to sleep? What does a sleep expert advise if you want to get a more relaxing night's sleep?
Why has the quality of our sleep deteriorated in the last few months?
The coronavirus epidemic has influenced our rest time in several ways:
Being infected with the coronavirus can impair sleep by exercising a direct effect on the central nervous system. Dr Zsuzsanna Vida, our sleep specialist, has had several patients who have been struggling with sleep disorders after being infected. A study by Canadian researchers this year also confirmed that about 20% of patients who have had the coronavirus experience problems with their sleep. The most common sleep related to a Covid infection is insomnia, where the patient has trouble falling asleep and staying asleep.
People currently suffering from a coronavirus infection may also see that their nighttime rest is disturbed by general symptoms of the disease such as aching limbs, respiratory failure, coughing and headaches. If these symptoms persist for a longer period, sleep issues can easily become more permanent.
Forced lifestyle changes caused by the pandemic (home office, distrubances to your daily rhythm, stress, anxiety, less exercise, restriction of leisure activities, social isolation) are also significantly conducive to the development of sleep disorders.
Rest is essential during a pandemic
These sleep difficulties arrive at the worst time, as it is crucial to have the right amount and quality of sleep in such a challenging period. Good sleep strengthens the body's defenses, while a lack of sleep has numerous negative consequences even in the short term: it impairs your mental abilities, weakens your ability to learn and make decisions, and also affects your memory. Prolonged lack of sleep weakens the immune system, making your body more susceptible to disease, and increases the risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, circulatory disorders and obesity.
Seek the help of a specialist!
"This means that a long-term sleep disorder can cause anxiety, mood disorders, loss of ability to work and irreversible somatic illnesses, which is why you definitely need to look for a solution and see a specialist about any issues," says our sleep expert.
There are many tips on the internet for things like relaxation, more exercise, and the benefits of device-free evenings, but Dr Vida reminds us that the most effective treatment is always achieved through a personal consultation. If you start the right sleep therapy in time, not only your nights but also your days can once again regain their balance.