There is a new special place in bed for the insomniacs, the chronic worriers, and the overthinkers – the coronasomnia zone (where all your COVID worries are magically intensified, and everything looks darker, bleaker, and just all-round horrible). Now, if you definitely have been consistent with your skincare routine, then you can bet your bottom dollar that your resemblance to a panda has more to do with your sleep (or lack of it). Got a tendency to take on worldly worries, especially in the dead of night? Honestly, no judgment here. It has been a rough couple of years. Well, here is the thing – this too shall pass. What shall not pass are the effects of all those late nights spent worrying about things you cannot control. And so, details…
1. Keeping Up With the Terminology
The number of new terms that have cropped up with COVID alone is pretty alarming. Coronasomnia is a simple enough term to understand, though. You cannot sleep because of COVID. Not necessarily because you or a family member has it, but because it worries you. You worry about whether you will get it, you are concerned about how it has impacted your life, job, and relationships, you hate going out, you despise staying in, you have financial worries, you are lonely, the virtual world is not your friend and so on. There are just about any number of reasons why COVID has you tossing and turning all night.
2. The Symptoms
If you find yourself struggling with any of these issues, you could reasonably assume that coronasomnia has got you in its grips – difficulty falling or staying asleep, disrupted sleep schedules, stress, anxiety, depression, poor concentration, mood swings, weight gain, increased susceptibility to infections (less sleep equals poor immunity), and possibly the development of diabetes or hypertension. These are effects that arise from the lack of sleep. So if you have struggled to put a name to your sudden surge of illnesses and exhaustion corresponding to your unending COVID worries, you now know.
3. Who To Blame?
So who is to blame for all this? The truth is, it could be more a combination of multiple factors than any one factor. To start with, there is cortisol. Cortisol and adrenaline are released when you are stressed, meaning that your heart rate increases, and your body is now all fired up and definitely not ready to wind down. Then there are the subtle changes in your lifestyle that add up and become the worst sort of shock when you finally wake up and see- you lose sight of your health and sleep schedules.
4. Where Do We Go From Here?
Solutions and solutions! You need them; we provide. Start by working on the things you can control. You may not be able to fix COVID, but you can avoid addictively watching triggering content. You can nix the ‘screens before bed’ idea (just read a book, meditate, or listen to calming music instead). No to caffeine, alcohol, heavy foods, or saturated fats. Yes, to magnesium-rich foods. Keep your room cool. You do not need sweltering heat to sleep, but you could use a weighted blanket to keep warm and achieve better sleep. If you need more specific interventions, you could consider taking sleeping pills, melatonin, or getting therapy.
The takeaway? You cannot compromise on your zzz’s. Get your priorities right and start taking your sleep schedule seriously. COVID can party elsewhere because your head is now roped off and out of bounds. So, say your goodbyes; we are going on a sleepventure!