Covid-19 and Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation has become one of the casualties of Covid-19. When Covid-19 hit, rates of insomnia dramatically increased driven by the stress of us having to live and deal with a global health crisis.

Generally, most adults need around 7 hours sleep a night. If we miss out on it for a night or two, we may notice relatively minor problems, like difficulty making decisions, not feeling mentally sharp, and becoming impatient and irritable.

Those short-term effects are reversible once we get a good night’s sleep. But when people get less than seven hours of sleep on a regular basis, they face increased risk of problems like type 2 diabetes, as well as depression. When we continually go below six hours for a long period of time, we may suffer from cardiovascular problems and even an increased risk of mortality.

All of this is bad news for a population that, even before the pandemic, wasn’t getting enough sleep. Our sleep hours have been declining since the 1980s, with long work hours, stress and mental health issues being the likely culprits.

The pandemic has made matters significantly worse. In one study conducted across 49 countries in March and April 2020, 40 percent of people said their sleep was worse than before the pandemic. Participants,’ said their use of sleeping pills increased by 20 percent. Google searches for “insomnia” peaked in the US in April and May when many parts of the country were under stay-at-home orders.

It is now accepted that to help people sleep, we need to make their waking lives better. As individuals there are changes people can make that can help them sleep better. There are also changes employers can make, like allowing flexible work hours. Anything that enables employees to get the sleep they need as long as, they’re still doing their job, will improve morale and reduce stress, which can help with sleep. Shorter work hours can also help.

In one Swedish study reducing the working week from 39 hours to 30 hours led to a reduction in sleep problems, as well as a reduction in heart and respiratory issues. (Source: https://www.vox.com)

Conclusion:

Problems with sleep are a symptom. Unfortunately, the pandemic is not going away, so we need to tackle the growing problems with sleep, along with so many of the widespread issues the pandemic has raised as a matter of public health priority.

Having gone into lockdown three times in the UK and having had our lives disrupted through Covid-19, with many uncertainties, and continued uncertainties, it stands to reason that our sleeping would take a knock.

Employers can make a difference in the workplace. There is no getting away from how stressful Covid-19 has been. Employers need to be aware of their employee’s mental health issues. By taking the pressure off employees, they can help make a long-term difference, as their employees come to terms with pandemic life.

Lifestyle plays its part in keeping us healthy and fit and well. Eating well, reducing work hours so that you have more ‘me’ time all contribute to encouraging healthy patterns and sleep.


10 Oct, 2021

4 thoughts on “Covid-19 and Sleep Deprivation

  1. Sleep deprivation is something that I’m familiar with. It’s something I’ve always had troubles with. I don’t have the luxury of taking anything to help me sleep, as I often act out in my sleep so I need to be able to wake up quickly.

    I’m sure that is why I now have a lot of the health issues like high blood pressure. It would be great if I could enjoy a good night’s sleep like most people.

    1. Thanks Randy. Gosh, how do you manage your sleep?

      It has been well documented that sleep deprivation is a ‘thing’ and can contribute to health issues.

      But high blood pressure also runs in families, but even if it wasn’t that, not sleeping can lead on to other things.

      I’ve always been a light sleeper and never understood why. I can hear a pin drop, my sleep is that light, but only recently found out why.

      Autism is the reason. It’s not something I would have known, but through my autism diagnosis I have come to know.

  2. An evil to deal with, the reality of Covid, is certainly enough to keep us up at night. Living while wearing masks with a virus that spreads expeditiously, try to sleep peacefully with that.

    But The CP Diary delivers the right and proper message to survive these times, you must appreciate its beauty.

    1. Thanks for the shout-out Tim. Yes, whilst the world deals with Covid-19, it is important each of us continue to work together so that we can continue to help those who need help.

      I write about Covid-19 because without my understanding of what it means, I struggle more with my mental health. In the beginning months, through a lack of understanding and mixed messages from the UK government, I too lost sleep. I write about Covid-19, by putting my thoughts out to the universe, I am trying to sow a seed for change.

      The UK has the highest infection rate in Europe, by far, around 35,000 to 40,000 daily cases, simply because restrictions were lifted early and all at once. There is no doubt this will be proved to be the worse handling of any health issue in UK history.

      And whilst any politician would struggle to make decisions of this magnitude, caring is the first attribute and following your own scientific advice is another. In the UK and the official documents are clear, too many mistakes have been made by the UK government and as a result many lives have been lost.

      Lifting all restrictions as if the virus is gone is ridiculous, considering the virus is still out there. The independent scientists are clear. We still need to continue with the necessary precautions, because even with the vaccines, you can still catch Covid-19 and deal with long-covid.

      You may not die, but you can still catch Covid and live with long-covid even being double jabbed. It is important to use common sense, since the restrictions that were in place to protect us are no longer being enforced and haven’t been for some time.

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