Sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo delves into the science behind covidsomnia, and how you can kick it once and for all.
Anxiety. Uncertainty. Lockdowns. Loss of routine.
Welcome to COVID 2.0 – taking Australia by storm, especially those in NSW (myself included).
Collectively contributing to widespread sleep problems, covidsomnia – yes, it’s a clinical term – is rearing it’s ugly head again.
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Today’s article is going to share how covidsomnia is changing our sleeping patterns, and what to do about it if it’s affecting yours.
How is covid changing our sleep?
During the first outbreaks, one study found the rate of Australians with poor sleep almost doubled, rising from 25% to 46%. They also reported that 41% of Aussies are now waking frequently during the night.
Another academic paper noted similar results: 41% of Aussies are now sleeping worse, post covid vs pre covid.
So all in all – if you’ve noticed your sleep has become increasingly problematic since the return of COVID don’t be surprised – I suspect these findings would be mirrored, if we were to conduct parallel studies.
What can we do about it?
If you read last week’s article around the power of sleep psychology, you’re well across the principle: our belief system shapes our sleep.
So, with reference to COVID, admitting that it’s completely out of our control is a great place to start. Rather than rendering us powerless, this does the exact opposite: it empowers us more than we can know.
Essentially, if we believe we can control it, we subconsciously and consciously will take action to modify it. While this is not only senseless in itself, given the viral nature of the condition, it also draws energy away from what we can control – such as our bedtime routine.
How else can we manage covidsomnia?
Practicing anti-anxiety activities is a must: from calming meditation practices to stress relieving essential exercise, all the way through to calling your bestie on facetime for some wine time.
Another critical step in managing covidsomnia is seeking help: chronic sleep loss is not only a problem for your energy levels, but also your mental health too. You aren’t expected to be a sleep expert, so if you’re concerned about the quality of your sleep night after night, reach out.
Third, be gentle on yourself. If you aren’t as upbeat and perky as you usually are, be ok with it. No one’s expecting you to be 100% if you’re not sleeping properly, so you shouldn’t either. Be ok with not being ok, and allow others to do the same.
Remember – we’re all in this together.