Over the past several months, many people have been plagued by sleepless nights.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created a perfect storm for sleep problems, including difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep and waking earlier than desired. This has largely been due to feelings of uncertainty, fear and apprehension, as well as anxiety and stress related to this crisis.
Many remain concerned about isolation, their health and the health of family members, lost jobs and sources of livelihood, and disruption to their education and professional lives, all of which can keep our minds occupied at night.
Furthermore, stay-at-home restrictions caused changes to our daily habits, social cues and rituals, which can also be disruptive to our sleep. With more time spent at home, many turn to technology and screens, which emit light that can suppress melatonin, a natural hormone that helps us fall asleep. Loss of sleep can also disrupt brain functions such as decision making, learning and memory and the ability to regulate emotions.
Sleep health in a pandemic is more important than ever, as adequate sleep is key to a balanced and healthy immune system. Eating right, regular exercise and consistent high-quality sleep build the immune system and help defend the body against disease. Meanwhile, poor sleep can make it difficult to recover from an illness.
Click tallahassee.com to read about eight important tips to promote better sleep and overall health as we navigate the uncharted waters of this pandemic.
By: Amara Emenike, MD – Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare