We Can Also Thank Covid-19 For Our Insomnia and Anxiety
Financial instability isn’t the only way that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the lives of many people across the globe. Insomnia. Emotional and physical health has also taken a drastic turn for the worse ever since the virus broke out and isolation, social distancing, and quarantining have become necessary precautions to keep ourselves and the ones around us safe.
According to research on Google searches in the last few months, many people have started experiencing insomnia during the pandemic. Terms such as “chest pain” and “anxiety” have spiked in their frequency, indicating that people have been having troubles with sleeping and maintaining their mental health.
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The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine recently conducted a study on 54, 231 participants from more than 10 countries, where the study found that sleep problems in COVID-19 patients seem to the most affected by sleep problems, with a percentage of 74.8%.
Overall, the study found that around 40% of the general population and those from the healthcare sector have been hit by sleep-related issues because of the pandemic.
There’s no question that having to stay at home, work from home, think about financial, health-related, and personal problems and more has added to the general sense of uncertainty and anxiety that we feel on a daily basis.
The changes in our lifestyles that we’ve had to undergo because of the pandemic have no doubt affected people’s ability to sleep well and get the rest they need to adapt to these changes, leading to insomnia.
We’re all dealing with depleted mental and emotional well-being
These changes aren’t just observations made by inexperienced individuals—there have been several findings that indicate that there has been a drastic change in Google searches in the past few years. One group of researchers found that since March 2020, the term insomnia had been googled 58% more than it had in the past 3 years in the United States alone.
These searches are popping up at around 3 in the morning and have been an ongoing trend, while they initially peaked in the first 5 months of the COVID-19 pandemic. This trend was
Will this problem have lasting consequences?
Researchers strongly believe that further studies will need to be put into action once the pandemic has ended in order to determine the lasting consequences it has had on people’s mental well-being. Because the rise in insomnia and insomnia-related searches surged when people were asked to stay at home, one of the reasons for insomnia can be traced to the loss of social connection to friends and family, which made anxieties rise and the support system that people relied on was diminished. It is possible that those who suffered from insomnia for these reasons may feel a sense of improvement through connecting with people through other means, such as social networks or through the socially-distanced gathering. It is also possible for them to see a full recovery from their sleep-related issues once they are able to be in frequent contact with their close friends and family once again.
However, the ones who’ve developed sleep-related problems from issues such as unemployment, death of loved ones, loss of their home, or the complications that come with the contracting the coronavirus may not be able to cure their insomnia as easily or as quickly.
Insomnia has two main elements: the inability to sleep despite the resources for a good night’s rest being available, and the inability to sleep because of the events that occur during the day, which make it difficult to enjoy quality sleep for an adequate amount of time. The events of the coronavirus make both of these elements a part of many people’s lives.
Long-term effects of coronavirus are going to remain a part of people’s lives long after the vaccine is out and the virus is no more. Chronic insomnia, which is a likely probability for those who initially started off with acute insomnia but have not found any solutions to it, could become a major issue for healthcare workers and therapists to deal with.
Insomnia is more than just a sleep-related problem
Those who develop chronic insomnia, which happens when you have difficulty sleeping at least three times a week for a period of longer than three months, can suffer from other consequences as well. The two kinds of insomnia, which can either be the difficulty of sleeping at all or the difficulty of staying asleep can adversely affect your health in more ways than just making you feel tired.
In fact, it can lead to hypertension, other mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, premature death, and various heart problems. Those who are not well rested have difficulty performing their usual tasks in both their work and personal lives, maintaining relationships, or having the energy to pursue leisurely and enjoyable activities—all reasons why insomnia can further be exacerbated.
Several studies have shown that sleeping for less than 5 hours a night led to a 5 times higher chance of developing hypertension. People who are insomniacs have a depleted capacity to pay attention, perform tasks that challenge cognition, and are slower in their body movements and alertness than those who regularly get more than 6 hours of sleep at night.
The CDC is already working on understanding the long-term effects of the coronavirus. As cases begin to rise once again and isolation and quarantining orders are potentially being reinforced, the link between COVID-19 and insomnia continues to negatively affect people’s lives.
Along with the impacts of COVID-19 that have been uncovered as well as those that are yet to be fully understood and studied, will the implications of insomnia be studied in as much detail as they should be?
Healthcare workers, COVID-19 patients, and survivors, as well as anyone who has had to deal with the impact of the pandemic, are all in increasingly vulnerable states when it comes to their mental well-being.
However, since we do not thoroughly understand the kinds of measures and treatments that will need to be put into place to deal with the virus’s impact, the most we can do for now is take the necessary steps to deal with factors that are contributing to our insomnia and are within our control, such as limiting screen time before bed and trying to stay connected with those who bring us comfort and joy.