As we know the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a multitude of added stressors into our daily lives. These stressors has the potential to negatively affect our mental and physical health. One such consequence is the increased prevalence of insomnia. Individuals who have suffered from insomnia before the pandemic report worsening symptoms, and new cases are rising. An article titled "Why Can't You Sleep During Quarantine? Here's How Coronavirus Anxiety Is Leading to Insomnia" states the following:
'According to a recent report from Express Scripts, a prescription benefit plan provider, the use of anti-insomnia, anti-anxiety, and antidepressant medications have spiked, with filled prescriptions increasing by 21% between February and March 2020.Those numbers peaked during the week of March 15—the same week the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic and the US declared a national emergency in response to the crisis, per the report."
"For those whose sleep habits are suffering, Dr. Jackson believes heightened anxiety associated with concern about our health and that of our loved ones, along with financial distress and job loss, may be major factors."
An article by The Harvard Gazette states the following:
"The implications are severe. In addition to the cognitive consequences — from inability to focus to general irritability — chronic insomnia is correlated with a spectrum of serious health problems, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension. Implicated in obesity, insomnia makes losing weight more difficult, and recent studies also link it to increased risk of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Mental health problems are complicated by a lack of sleep. Insomnia lasting two to four weeks increases the risk of depression, Posner said, while lack of sleep is also linked to a poorer response to treatment. “So it interferes with the ability to recover from depression as well,” he said.
Here are some suggestions from the same article on how to combat insomnia
"Posner noted that we do not have to maintain our former sleep and waking times, which may have been set by the necessities of a daily commute. “Keep a rhythm, even if it’s a different time of day than it used to be,” he said. Parents of adolescents in particular may want to let their children go to bed and rise later than usual, as their growing bodies are set differently than adults or young children’s. Once awake, however, try to get some sunlight, whether by taking a walk or sitting by a window. Keeping a regular schedule for meals and exercise helps, as does avoiding stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, and electronic devices for several hours before bed. Finally, if sleeps proves impossible, get out of bed. Do something relaxing — read or do a puzzle. Worrying about sleep exacerbates the problem, so try to distract yourself and keep your bed a place of sanctuary."