Did not you sleep well? Blame the pandemic for your high levels of stress Photo Credit: Pixabay
Toronto: A new study adds to the growing body of evidence that the Covid-19 pandemic is seriously affecting sleep habits, increasing stress and anxiety, and increasing reliance on sleep medication.
For the study published in the Journal of Sleep Research, the research team conducted an online survey of 5,525 Canadians in the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic. “The pandemic is affecting people’s sleep in a variety of ways, with clinically significant sleep disorders increasing dramatically. We found that half of our participants showed signs of serious sleep problems during the pandemic,” said study author Rebecca Robillard of the University of Ottawa in Canada . “In particular, we identified three different profiles of sleep changes: those who sleep more, those whose sleep schedule has been postponed to bed and wake-up times, and those who get less sleep than before the pandemic,” added Robillard.
According to the researchers, the active changes people made to sleep-related behaviors during the pandemic not only affect the quality and quantity of sleep, but also their psychological response to this unprecedented situation.
Compared to those who slept more, those who had later sleep schedules or shorter sleep cycles showed increased symptoms of insomnia and worsening symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. The results showed that new sleep disorders apparently disproportionately affect women, family members and family members, workers and people with chronic diseases.
It also affected people with earlier wake-up times, higher levels of stress, higher levels of alcohol consumption, and additional television exposure. “We saw an increase in the use of sleeping pills during the pandemic,” the authors wrote. “Given the known risks for developing tolerance with these drugs, this could predict an increase in more complex cases of chronic insomnia in the long term,” they added.
The large scale of sleep changes in response to the pandemic underscores the need for more accessible, yet tailored, measures to address sleep issues. “Sleep and mental health problems are to be expected in the current circumstances, but we never expected them to reach this level. It is important to step in to address the unique phenomenon we are currently facing,” noted the team.