//Dr. Nazia Nausheen//

The Coronavirus pandemic has changed everything, Year 2020 will be remembered as a transformative year of the 21st century. The world has stalled during this pandemic as it has compelled people to reduce their direct contact with each other and confined them in their homes, only to contact others maintaining a careful distance or through socializing digitally. This was a gross and unprecedented behavioral change. Additionally, the uncertainties of the future as well as our daily lives continue to weigh heavily and impact our minds and bodies. So, it is not surprising that it has affected the sleep pattern and sleep schedule worldwide.

What is COVID-Somnia?
Covid-Somnia- higher levels of sleep disturbances due to the COVID-19 pandemic. it can include everything from difficulty sleeping, disruptive sleep, waking up early, or not getting a good restorative sleep due to anxiety and stress.

Causes of COVID-Somnia:
Several factors may be triggering these unusual sleep patterns:

People are suffering from shifts in their sleep patterns due to their fears about getting the virus, concerns about loved ones, not being able to go to work, not having social contact with others, or fear of losing their jobs.
Disruption of daily schedule:
Essentially, COVID-Somnia results from interference with our daily patterns. People who once commuted to work may be working longer shifts (healthcare workers, for instance), working from home, or not working at all (due to unemployment or furlough). Children of all ages have replaced their brick-and-mortar schools with online learning. Stay-at-home orders, quarantine, and isolation have drastically disrupted everyday life.
Inadequate exposure to sunlight:
People are not leaving their homes because of fear of COVID-19 or due to lockdown, if they are not going to work as they once did, then they are not getting that daily exposure to sunlight in the morning. That can disrupt their internal clock.
Disturbed sleep patterns:
Daytime napping and excessive use of electronic media especially at bedtime are other possible causes.

What can you do about COVID-Somnia?
Focusing on your sleep habits can often help you improve the quality and quantity of sleep you are able to get. Such as:
Establish a sleep schedule. Set consistent times that you go to bed and wake up every day, even on weekends.
Close the blinds and turn down the thermostat. Focus on making your bedroom quiet, dark, and relaxing. Many experts recommend keeping the temperature in your room cooler, around 65°F, for optimal sleep.
Turn off electronics. If you can, remove the temptation to engage in screen time by making bedrooms a no-electronics zone – that includes TVs, computers, and yes, your smartphone. If the news on social media is causing emotional stress, consider limiting your time on apps that make you feel anxious or angry, also because blue light sends signals to the brain that you should be awake.
Be mindful of food and drink. Caffeine and large meals can disrupt sleep. Keep meals light before bed and consider snacks to promote sleep such as certain nuts, and herbal teas. Try to stop eating at least two hours before bedtime.
Exercise. Studies have shown doing regular exercise but not immediately before going to sleep, can help improve sleep patterns.

Ultimately, when the pandemic comes to an end and people can return to more normal routines, a good night’s sleep will be more than just a dream. When that happens, then perhaps we can put the term COVID-Somnia to rest, too.

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