In a July survey of 2,000 adults, Released on September 13 By the Harris Poll on behalf of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, about 18% of respondents said they are now sleeping less than they did before the pandemic, while 19% said they struggle to sleep because they are anxious or stressed (about) COVID-19 or politics or other factors). At the university, at least, this increased the demand for help; In 2021, Ohio Medical Center received 29% more referrals for insomnia treatment than in 2018, says Dr. Anisa Das, a sleep specialist and professor of internal medicine there.
Das says stress can disrupt sleep, as it can increase heart rate and blood pressure, upset stomachs, and lead to muscle tension. However, the survey also points to another issue: poor sleep habits, including using phones before bed, sleeping at irregular hours, and spending too much time in the bedroom. The challenge, Das says, is that these habits pose a significant threat healthy sleep motivation Including exposure to light at the correct times and maintaining a regular sleep schedule.
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Das says some of this is because too many people do wrong things to help relax them to sleep. In the survey, 47% of respondents said they use their phone before bed, and 37% fell asleep while the TV was on. “They are both things that people often do to try to distract themselves,” Das says. “But Bright light is actually a stimulus It reduces the bedroom’s association with sleep.”
Das says the pandemic’s disruption to people’s daily schedules may have had an indirect effect on sleep. COVID-19 has forced many people to quit work or work from home, giving them more control over when they go to bed or get out of bed. Das says that not sleeping at the same hours each night can make it more difficult to fall asleep. During the pandemic, people may also have started to spend a lot of time indoors without adequate exposure to sunlight (although the survey did not measure this). This becomes a problem, especially if they spend more time in their bedrooms, Das says. “Getting up and putting your laptop to bed and working from home are probably the worst things we can do to cause insomnia.”
Das suggests if you struggle to sleep Rethink your sleeping habits. Your bedroom should be cool (ideally the temperature in the upper 60s), dark and quiet, and should only be used for sleep and intimacy. Your daily schedule can also have a big impact on your sleep: Exercising, spending time in the sun during the day, stopping caffeine consumption after 2 p.m., and maintaining regular sleep-wake schedules can help, Das says. To help her sleep, Das says she likes to create a to-do list so she feels ready for the next day, walking two miles daily.
While it can be difficult to change habits (or give up an afternoon latte), improving your sleep can have major benefits for your life. Physical and mental health. Lack of sleep has been linked to a set of conditionsFrom a higher risk of stroke and heart disease, to an increased vulnerability to obesity and depression.
And while the pandemic has disrupted sleep schedules, quality sleep can help people become more resilient to its effects. After a bad night’s sleep, Studies have shown Das says people have a poor immune response to vaccines. While this has not been studied using omicron booster, Das notes, “I can assure you I tell my children, ‘Before you get what you want Vaccine boosterWe want to make sure you get a good night’s sleep. ”
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