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Covid-19 severely affects sleep and increases stress; Here's how to snooze better

The global pandemic has led to sleep disruption and increased stress levels.

The global pandemic has led to sleep disruption and increased stress levels. Read on to know how to snooze better amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Written by Arushi Bidhuri |Updated : December 17, 2020 4:21 PM IST

A global pandemic brings with a number of physical and emotional problems. This remains true for Covid-19 pandemic as well. As the infection continues to spread, and vaccines become available to fight coronavirus, the long-term effects of the disease are still unknown. The natural outcome of a frightening time like this is disrupted sleep patterns, immense stress and depression.

Covid And Sleep Patterns: Parameters Of The Study

2020 came as a nightmare that shook the world and sent a wave of fear across countries. The result people were overwhelmed to the point that they couldn't rest at night due to the stress. To add to the growing evidence that Covid-19 pandemic can impact sleep habits, increase stress and anxiety, new research has surfaced confirming the same.

The study published in the Journal of Sleep Research conducted an online survey of 5,525 Canadian during the early phase of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Study author Rebecca Robillard along with researchers from the University of Ottawa in Canada found that the participants showed signs of serious sleep problems during the pandemic.

For the study, they examined three different profiles of sleep changes, which included those "whose sleep schedule was pushed to later bed and wake-up times; and those who are getting less sleep than they did before the pandemic."

Result: COVID Severely Disrupts Sleep, Ups Stress

After a thorough analysis, researchers found that the active changes people made on sleep-related behaviours during the pandemic affected sleep quantity and quality as well. It also affected the psychological response to this unprecedented situation.

They also compared those who were sleeping more to those who have later schedules or shorter sleep cycles. They found that the latter group showed increased symptoms of insomnia and worsening symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression.

The findings showed that disrupted sleep can also affect women, those with families and family responsibilities, the employed, and individuals with chronic illnesses.

It also impacted individuals who woke up early, had high-stress levels, drank too much alcohol and watched too much television. There was "an increase in the use of sleeping medication during the pandemic", authors wrote in the report.

"Considering the known risks for the development of tolerance with these medications, this may forecast a surge in more complex chronic insomnia cases in the long run," they added.

Researchers exclaimed that the surge in the cases of mental health during the pandemic hit a level they never expected.

Here's How You Can Snooze Better

  • Set a proper nighttime schedule that will give you a sense of normalcy, even in uncertain times like these. Avoid any major variations in your sleep cycle
  • Stay active throughout the day by including daily exercises and doing household chores
  • Get enough exposure to natural light to set your circadian rhythm right
  • Don't make you bed your workstation. Set up a separate space when you are working from home to avoid back pain and other problems
  • Take a nap in the afternoon if it doesn't affect your sleep at night
  • Try meditation or other relaxing techniques to ward off stress

(with inputs from IANS)

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