With the growing number of cases every day and the death toll surpassing even that of last year, coronavirus has made a frightening comeback with renewed ferocity. Although we might have finally begun to understand it and come a long way since then, still the fear of getting infected and a lockdown yet again brings a sense of chaos and panic looming over everyone’s heads.
Well, there is no surprise, the continuous headlines about the spreading virus due to the second wave, have literally eroded work-life balances and constant uncertainty has led to fear, anxiety and even hopelessness about the future. This hopelessness has gradually seeped into the regular lives of people, making it difficult for them to function effectively, keeping their minds wired at night, or causing them to wake up in a panic at odd hours preventing a peaceful night's sleep and eventually leading to pandemic-induced insomnia known as Coronasomnia.
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What Is Coronasomnia?
Coronasomnia is the latest medical term given to high-end insomnia that chiefly stems from sleep deprivation due to stress and anxiety over the ongoing pandemic. Unlike other mild to moderate symptoms, this insomnia doesn’t occur due to the infectious virus but happens primarily due to social isolation, disrupted routines, job losses, and ongoing uncertainty.
In March last year, the International Institute of Sleep Sciences (IISS) in Mumbai conducted a randomized study of 150 people. The research chiefly reported that 25-30 per cent of the populace were suffering from non-restorative sleep patterns. Another study conducted in the month of May 2020 by top psychiatrists and neurologists in the country revealed that COVID-19 lockdown was associated with changes in sleep schedule and in the quantity and quality of night-time sleep.
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How Does Stress Impair Sleeping Patterns?
Whether it is combatting the virus at the front line, fear of getting infected, trying to withhold the job, managing home-life situations, constant worry of diminishing immunity and health or just surviving the global crisis, the pandemic has been extremely stressful and trying and taxing us all at the same time. Undoubtedly, stress is directly proportional to sleep deprivation and forms a vicious cycle.
Stress chiefly activates the autonomic nervous system, triggering the release of hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol which then causes the heart rate and blood pressure to elevate, putting the system into fight-or-flight mode. The excess cortisol, i.e., the stress hormone pumping through the body can make it extremely challenging to fall asleep. And when people lose sleep as a result of distress and anxiety, they’re more likely to experience difficulty in regulating thoughts and emotions the next day, contributing to further stress and impairing the ability to calm down.
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If you are going through the same dangerous cycle and experiencing bouts of insomnia every other night, worry not, we got your back! We bring you a list of expert tips to ease the mental stressors and combat coronasomnia in no time.
Effective Tips To Cope With Coronasomnia
Maintain A Proper Routine
It is extremely important to have a regular schedule for work, meals, exercise and sleep. Even if you are continuing to work from home, get showered and dressed at the usual time and avoid napping unnecessarily. Waking up at the same time every morning helps stabilize the circadian rhythm and correcting sleeplessness.
Schedule A Wind-Down Time
Allot half-an-hour before bed as wind-down time. Try calming down your mind by listening to some soft music, dimming the lights, engaging in a non-stimulating activity, like watching reruns of some old show, doing crossword puzzles, or even reading a magazine or book. Trying out some meditation or deep-breathing exercises also helps in falling asleep.
Steer Clear Of Electronics
Several researches and studies reveal that the blue light from electronic gadgets like mobiles, tabs can negatively impact your circadian rhythm, keeping you wide awake when you’re supposed to be feeling tired. So, try avoiding these electronic devices during the wind-down time.
Follow Proper Food Timings
An extremely pivotal step is to have a well-balanced meal divided into 5 to 6 smaller portions to avoid indigestion, heart burn which eventually disrupts sleep. Try to avoid heavy meals for dinner and keep a gap of about 1 to 1.5 hours to ensure a good night's sleep.
Limit Intake Of Caffeine And Alcoholic Beverages
Well, caffeine from tea or coffee does give a boost of energy to go through the day, but having it at night or before dinner can have a negative impact on the body. Since caffeine stays in the body for 7-8 hours, it can prevent you from falling asleep. Similarly, while alcoholic beverages can make you initially sleepy, it can wake you up at odd hours as it becomes metabolized in the middle of the night, so avoid it within 3 hours of bedtime.
Avoid Looking At The Clock
Set an alarm for your usual waking time and then turn the clock and try getting sleep. Watching the minutes pass by can become an additional stressor and further inhibit you from falling asleep.