Sleep in the Time of Corona
COVID-19 has drastically disrupted our daily lives
We’re (mostly) staying inside our homes, (mostly) wearing masks outside of our homes, maintaining social distancing, washing our hands every 8 minutes for roughly 8 minutes at a time, and wiping down every grocery item in the garage before carrying it–with rubber gloves and tongs–into the house.
What might be less obvious, but no less disruptive, is how COVID is affecting our nights.
Elusive Sleep is Pervasive
According to a survey done by Pillow Insider, 91% of nearly 1,400 participants said that COVID-19 has affected their sleep, while 43% reported that their sleep schedule is “disturbed.”
According to the participants, the two major causes of their sleep disruption are anxiety (57.8%) and increased screen time (54.3%).
Why these factors? Join us in the next paragraph for a closer look.
In March, an American Psychiatric Association poll found that Americans are extremely anxious about how the coronavirus might affect their mental well-being, their family's health, their quality of life, and the economy. No surprise there. COVID-19 is basically anxiety fuel.
As many sleep-challenged people know, anxiety and sleep don’t really get along. When we’re worried about fundamental things like our family and our jobs, we tend to toss and turn, ruminate, wake up more frequently, and grind our teeth right down to the gumline.
And the less sleep we get the more anxious we become. And the more anxious we become the less sleep we get. It’s a classic vicious cycle scenario.
The second most common factor attributed to sleep disruption is screen time, according to the Pillow Insider survey.
We’re spending more time at home which means more time in front of glowing rectangles: smartphones, TVs, tablets, graphing calculators, baby monitors, microwaves, etc.
This goes for our kids, too. Because school is on hiatus, learning has shifted online, which means virtual classrooms and lots of (mostly) educational videos.
The big downsides to all this screen time are sleep-deprivation and insomnia. Why? Because the light emitted from screens, affects melatonin production and fools the brain into thinking it’s time to rise and shine. This is why you find yourself wide awake after watching J-horror right before bed.
Well, one of the reasons.
How to Achieve Your Dreams
Can all of this sleep disruption be attributed to COVID? Not exactly. Americans, in particular, have always had difficulty sleeping, but COVID certainly hasn’t helped matters.
So what can we do?
Pillow Insider respondents listed exercise (46.9%) and avoiding the news (41.3%) as the primary sources of relief for their sleep challenges. (Using the elliptical while watching CNN probably cancels out the sleep benefits, BTW.)
Additionally, you could try the following sleep expert-approved tips:
- Maintain a consistent bedtime
- Limit caffeine and alcohol intake
- Remove visible alarm clocks (invisible ones are probably fine)
- Get at least some exposure to daylight each day
- Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet (blackout curtains rock)
- Turn off all screens for at least one to two hours before bed
- Use Sheets & Giggles™ brand Eucalyptus sheets (okay, that’s not on the list, but they are famously sleep-inducing)
What are some tips and tricks that help you fall asleep? Share them in the comments and we promise we’ll try every single one.
And check out the Pillow Insider’s beautiful infographic and read the results of the entire survey here.