Did you experience any troubles sleeping lately? If yes, find out that you’re not the only one. Many Brits report insomnia caused by lockdown and the pandemic. As Coronasomnia phenomenon continues to affect Brits’ sleep quality, the National Health Service shares advice on falling asleep faster and getting better sleep.
Life in lockdown has changed a lot of things in our lives- our jobs, relationships, social lives, and for many Brits, it has also changed how they are sleeping.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown restrictions have triggered a major increase in anxiety-related sleeping problems among Brits. Data have shown that the number of UK residents struggling with sleep loss caused by worrying increased from one in six to one in four as a direct result of huge changes brought to people’s lives after the restrictions began in the UK in March.
Google data also shows that there was an increase in search interest for terms like “sleep” and “insomnia” over the last few months, and the term “data” was also at an all-time high in the UK as well. This data suggests that the impact of Coronavirus has directly affected the patterns and the quality of sleep of Brits, causing what experts now call the phenomenon of “coronasomnia”.
Now, not getting enough zzzs can have some serious potential health risks, including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure, stroke. Other less serious consequences of sleep deprivation that affect people’s day-to-day lives are the inability to focus, difficulty remembering stuff, mood changes, and, obviously, fatigue.
With this in mind, we’re going to share the advice National Health Service provides to help Brits deal with insomnia and bad dreams. But first, let’s learn more about the coronasomnia phenomenon.
It’s still early to blame the pandemic entirely for Brits’ insomnia. Especially since sleep disorders were a problem in the country long before the pandemic started. According to 2017 data, as many as 16 million UK adults were suffering from sleep problems. Plus, 48% of UK adults also admit that they don’t get the right amount of sleep, women being more likely to agree to this than men.
Yet, since the pandemic arrived in the UK, and the government has imposed lockdown and social distancing restrictions, the number of people who experience sleep problems increased significantly. More precisely, a study from Southampton University discovered that the incidence of worry-related sleep problems increased from 15.7% to 24.7%.
Now, Coronasomnia, as some researchers are now calling sleep troubles caused by the pandemic, is a phenomenon that arrived in the UK together with the COVID-19 public health. As the pandemic spread among Brits, they started to experience many negative things, including anxiety, fear, uncertainty, money problems, health worries, and lack of socialization. And that’s exactly how the pandemic triggered the “coronasomnia” phenomenon.
Yet, if you’re one of the Brits who can’t sleep well since the Coronavirus spread to the UK, you’re likely very aware of what is keeping you awake at night, be it money worries or uncertainty about when it will all be over. So, the real question is: how do you manage to get the right amount of zzzs despite what’s going on with the pandemic.
NHS advice on nightmares and insomnia
The NHS website recognizes insomnia like one of the country’s biggest public health problems and offers a number of tips for coping with sleep problems and nightmares caused by the public health crisis.
We’ve all had at least one night in our life when we simply couldn’t fall asleep. Well, insomnia is a lot more nights like this caused by stress, worries or poor health.
When it comes to coping with insomnia, NHS shares a number of tips for reducing difficulties to fall asleep. For example, specialists there suggest having a bedtime routine.
Another piece of advice shared is to keep a sleep diary in which you should record the habits or activities that are influencing your sleeplessness. Try to think of those things that you can deal with directly, not the things that are simply out of your control.
Besides that, specialists from the NHS also advise on setting up the perfect sleep environment that encourages quality rest. For example, you should keep the room temperature to 18.3 degrees Celsius, which is the best temperature for sleep. Another tip is to keep light and noise distractions out of the bedroom. Plus, you should also avoid using digital devices an hour before sleep to prevent your sleep from being influenced by the blue light emitted by these devices.
NHS also suggests avoiding excessive exercising too close to bedtime because it can boost your energy levels and keep you awake. Instead, it recommends spending the hours before bed relaxing “your mind and body” with activities like listening to relaxing music or taking a warm bath.
You know that feeling when you finally fall asleep after several hours of staring at the ceiling only to wake up frightened after a few seconds because of a nightmare? Probably yes.
Well, a combination of insomnia and nightmares can have some serious health consequences on your body and mind.
For this reason, NHS recently published advice on how to deal with nightmares, particularly for those who are recovering from Coronavirus itself.
One piece of advice is using the technique of Dream Completion, a technique that requires you to remember your most recent experience of a nightmare, with a focus on the moment where you woke up. Next, you need to imagine what you would want to happen next in your dream that would make you feel better and positive instead of scared. It’s all about finding a new and more positive direction for the dreams that might keep you awake at night.