MONDAY, Jan. 3, 2022 (HealthDay News) — If the pandemic is causing you to lose sleep at night, you are not alone.
About 56% of Americans say they suffer from what experts are calling “COVID somnia,” an increase in sleep disorders.
57% of people who report these disorders report having trouble falling or staying asleep. About 46% sleep less; 45% sleep worse; and 36% have disturbing dreams, according to a survey commissioned by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).
“COVID somnia can be caused by multiple stressors: fears about the pandemic, concern for loved ones, financial worries and limited socialization,” said Jennifer Martin, a licensed clinical psychologist and president-elect of the AASM board.
In the survey, men were more likely to report trouble sleeping, and 35-44 year olds had the highest rates of COVID somnia at 70%. People aged 55 and over were most likely to report problems falling asleep or staying asleep.
Insomnia is often caused by stress or lifestyle factors, and of course these have changed a lot in these nearly two years of the pandemic. Some of these lifestyle changes include not waking up at the same time each day or spending more time watching TV or checking smartphones.
The Academy characterized insomnia as something different than occasional trouble falling asleep because it causes both sleep disruption and daytime issues like fatigue and irritability.
“The best way to get sound sleep during these unprecedented times is to be conscious about your sleep habits and routines,” Martin said in a press release from the AASM.
A consistent schedule can help. Aim for seven hours of sleep a night and make an effort to go to bed and wake up at the same time seven days a week.
Reduce your screen time and spend less time on the news and social media before bed, the Academy advises. Turn off all electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bed.
Create a peaceful sleeping environment and routine with a cool, quiet and dark room. Keep electronics out of reach and relax with a warm bath or shower, reading, or meditation 30 minutes before bed.
If your sleep problems persist, talk to your doctor. Most sleep problems respond well to treatment, such as B. Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia.
The American Psychological Association has more on pandemic-related sleep issues.
SOURCE: American Academy of Sleep Medicine, press release, December 28, 2021