The global pandemic that has emerged as a result of the spread of the coronavirus is leading, in many homes, to the emergence of psychological problems to which a large part of the population does not know how to react. Sleep disturbances are one of those common forms of discomfort during the pandemic which luckily can be managed if a number of steps are taken.
Therefore, throughout this article we will see what are the characteristics of the problems of sleeping well during the VOCID-19 crisis, and what we can do to return to a healthy physical and mental life, which is neither lacking in quality. nor amount of rest. .
How is the coronavirus pandemic affecting the quality of sleep?
This is a summary of common issues that arise in a context such as the global pandemic and the coronavirus home lockdown weeks.
1. A sudden change in habits
Just adopting new lifestyle habits can suddenly make our sleep schedule feel totally hectic.. For example, parents who have to look after their children throughout the day may find themselves missing out on free time for themselves and in some cases not being able to have them until 11 p.m. ; when they would normally go to sleep
The coronavirus crisis is a bombshell of anxiety for many people, both for its implications in terms of health risk, and for its impact on the economy, not to mention that it leads to the suspension of a number of freedoms fundamental to the contagion wave.
And let’s not forget that anxiety is, in short, excessive activation of the nervous system, Who becomes very sensitive to any environmental stimuli that may be associated with threats and risks, as well as a greater predisposition to focus attention on recurring and obsessive thoughts. All of this makes it more difficult to fall asleep and enjoy quality rest.
3. Exposure to abnormal light
Being in the sun is more important than it looks. Not only does this help us process vitamin D, but it also allows our “body clock” to adjust to the phase of the day we are in through the release of a substance that our body secretes and which depends on the light that reaches us. : melatonin.
That is why in some cases it is a problem that we have to stay much longer than normal at home: it involvesIn some houses, we will have less help from the Sun to regulate our state of activation. Since many people will be exposed to much more artificial light than sunlight, and this can be present at any time of the day, the body will lose references to rely on for when to start spending energy. energy, and it is more likely that at 12 o’clock in the evening he is still very active.
4. Alterations in sleep due to substance use
It will be very hard weeks for those who have dragged a predisposition to addictive substances, because several factors associated with the abuse of substances such as alcohol or cannabis come together: relative social isolation, sedentary lifestyle, change in lifestyle and exposure to sources of stress (News on the pandemic and its implications for health and the economy).
In addition, many people lose their jobs, as we have seen, and this kind of vulnerable situation opens the door for some people to develop very harmful coping strategies, such as the consumption of alcoholic beverages in the face of distress. psychological sent. . The entry of these chemicals into the nervous system is capable of dramatically altering sleep schedules and also makes you more sleepy, further degrading the physical and mental state of those who suffer from these problems.
Tips for sleeping well in the face of the COVID-19 crisis
Here are some basic tips for tackling the sleep disorders fostered by the coronavirus pandemic.
1. Exercise moderately
It is important that even if you cannot get out of the house, you exercise as much as your physical condition allows. You don’t even have to leave a room to do this: you can do aerobics, burpees, exercise bikes, and more. The important thing is that this exercise is not about performing a few movements with a lot of force, but which rather corresponds to an aerobic type exercise.
2. Take advantage of natural light
As we have seen, natural light is very important for our body to adapt to the phase of the day we are in. For that, stay near the sunniest windows and patios, and try not to expose yourself to too much strong artificial light as bedtime approaches..
3. Have a very precise schedule
It is not worth bearing in mind that at such a time you need to do this activity: create a clear program with all the necessary details and hang it in a visible place. This will help you resist the urge to postpone your responsibilities and make it easier to organize your day-to-day.
4. Eat well and avoid addictive substances
If your health is poor, the quality of your sleep will deteriorateAnd at the same time, it will be easier for you to fall into disorganized resting patterns, exposing yourself more to fatigue and feeling sleepy at times when you shouldn’t be here.
So make sure that you get all the vitamins and macronutrients you need, and avoid substances with addictive potential, because at the end of the day, the main feature of these is that they interact with your brain for it. operate abnormally.
5. Get professional help
We must not forget that psychologists continue to work even during the weeks of detention, as many of us offer support services online via video calls. In some cases it will be a necessary step both to be able to regain a good quality of sleep and to be able to manage the rest of the psychological and coexistence problems that can arise during a coronavirus crisis.
If you want to have my help or know more about the services I offer, go to this page, where you will find information about me and my contact details.
- Dew, MA et al. (2003). Sleep in healthy elderly predicts all-cause mortality after 4-19 years of follow-up. Psychosomatic medicine, 65: pages 63 to 73.
- Reis, BM; Velázquez-Panigua, M. and Prieto-Gómez, B. (2009). Melatonin and neuropathologies. Rev.Fac.Med. UNAM, 52 (3). Center for Genomic Sciences. Faculty of Medicine, UNAM.
- Subirana, SR and Adell, M. To. M. (2014). Treatment of nocturnal restlessness and insomnia in the elderly. CME-Continuing Medical Education in Primary Care, 21 (2): p. 104-112.