Going through the Coronavirus pandemic has been both difficult and stressful. Our day-to-day routines completely transformed seemingly overnight, directly affecting (and in many ways sacrificing) our nighttime habits. Many people saw dramatic changes to their sleep patterns brought on by:
- Fears of catching Covid.
- Concern for friends and loved ones.
- Drastic environmental changes in integrating the office and home.
- Social isolation.
- Stress-inducing news exposure via increased electronic screen usage.
The Rise In Sleep Challenges
Referred to as "COVID-somnia", many were plagued by fearful overthinking once head-hit-pillow, and this overthinking became 24/7 for those who unfortunately contracted COVID-19. Clinical observations show there has been a noticeable increase in queries around insomnia and trouble sleeping since the pandemic started. In addition, according to a Google Trends query for worldwide searches of "Insomnia", there was a significant spike in April 2020. Searches for "insomnia" was higher at the onset of the pandemic than it had ever been in the 16 years prior (when Google Trends started recording search trend data.)
Reduction in sleep health has been shown to be even more prominent once someone contracts Covid-19. According to the NHS, many of those who have had Covid noticed their sleep changed compared to pre-Covid. Contributions include environmental factors (lack of sunlight during self-isolation at home, busy environment in hospital) and overall anxiety and fear over long-COVID risks.
How It's Affected Our Health
We know that stress and anxiety can lead to sleep loss, promoting a lack of focus and concentration, mood swings, and daytime fatigue. Less obvious is the harmful effect lack of sleep has on us, including the reduced effectiveness of our immune system, gastrointestinal symptoms, headaches, and increased anxiety about sleeping. However, we have to recognise the effect COVID has had on our sleep cycles, given how drastically our ways of living and sleeping changed. We were used to waking up at similar times every day. We were always going outside without restriction to get sunlight, which develops into melatonin and helps us sleep later in the day. We stopped exercising, socialising, and overall exchanged the things that fatigue us little by little during the day for at-home work and round-the-clock worrying news cycles.
Creating Better Habits
Many medical professionals have offered advice centred around bettering habits during the day and right before sleep to help aid in reestablishing disturbed sleep patterns. While being told "you need more sleep" is a commonly heard piece of medical advice, it is easier said than done – albeit not impossible. We want to focus on what can be done before nighttime to help quickly improve your overall sleep hygiene:
- Get up at the same time every morning, including on weekends/holidays.
- Ensure exposure to bright sunlight in the morning to help anchor your circadian rhythm. Sunlight earlier in the day is more beneficial than just before the evening.
- Do your usual morning routine as if you were going to the office, including getting dressed and ready, having breakfast, and starting work at the same time you did pre-pandemic.
- Take regular breaks from your screens and Increase exposure to sunlight by going outside more, especially if you are working from home
- Reduce excessive napping during the day
- Reduce excessive use of electronic media (which emits blue light) hours before you go to sleep (specifically, resist the scroll in bed before slumber!)
- Reduce the amount of anxiety-provoking news you are exposed to, especially when getting close to bedtime.
Invest In Your Sleep Space
In addition, there is proven evidence that weighted blankets are beneficial in transforming your sleep – helping you get the rest and restoration you need. They are known to promote a deeper, longer and quicker sleep, reduce stress and anxiety, and offer a comforting, soothing condition similar to a full-body hug. In our independent Sleep Study: 83% felt they slept better, 90% felt less stress, and 75% fell asleep faster using a Remy weighted blanket.
Ready to start dreaming again but new to weighted blankets? We've got you covered! Take our Fit Quiz to see which blanket, cover, and weight we recommend for you.