People know the benefits of sleeping well at night for their bodies and mind. Sound sleep allows the brain and body to heal and rest. Usually, eight hours of sleep a day can be adequate. If you get enough sleep, you can also be more alert and attentive. It will come in handy in stress, overall mood, and health improvement. But, despite every effort, some people fail to sleep properly. The problem is more common in patients with sleep apnea, insomnia, a condition of restless legs, and narcolepsy. A sleep apnea patient suffers from disturbed sleep due to breathing troubles. At the same time, someone with insomnia can fail to sleep or remain asleep because of trauma, stress, medical condition, or medicine.
Furthermore, the state of narcolepsy refers to getting plenty of sleep in the daytime due to a neurological ailment. On the contrary, restlessness in the legs can make a person uncomfortable in the evening, making them shake their legs. It tends to interrupt their sleep. According to MyBioSource, millions of Americans (about 70 million) suffer from sleep issues. The country has introduced sleep aids, like Melatonin, Benzodiazepines, Antidepressants, etc. Some can cause side effects, while others pose fewer risks. That's why one should consult their primary care providers to know the best course of treatment for their health.
Anyway, disturbed sleep and long COVID-19 seem to be a growing concern. The Associated Professional Sleep Societies’ 2022 sleep conference revealed that over 40% of long COVID patients suffer from mild to severe sleep issues. Nearly 7% of the participants in a poll talked about the severity of sleep issues. Some also complained about insomnia. Cleveland Clinic’s Cinthya Pena Orbea, also one of the study's authors, said that most long COVID cases experienced moderate and severe problems with their sleep apart from fatigue. Nearly 682 adults participated in the poll.
Things to do if you suffer from sleep problems after the virus infection
Soak in the sunlight or the morning
New York City’s Weill Cornell Center’s Daniel Barone informs that one needs to regulate their circadian rhythm by spending time outside in the morning. Those weak or who don't want to step out can choose a comfortable window seat during the sunlight. It will help familiarize your body with morning and bring it back on track. At the same time, it is best to avoid daytime napping habits to prevent disruption to one's sleep-wake clock.
Your body produces melatonin hormone that manages your sleep-wake cycle. During the darkness, more melatonin production happens, making you feel sleepy. When it is bright outdoors, you get a short supply of it, keeping you awake. Hence, melatonin supplements can allow you to handle your sleeping issues. University of Arizona’s Sleep and Health Research Program’s Michael Grandner says that a brief introduction of the hormone melatonin to your routine can be helpful. When consumed in an average amount, it can be safe also. You can expect your primary care advisor to recommend a dose of 0.5mg to 5 mg. If someone takes 0.5-mg of this hormone about 3-5 hours before night, their sleep cycle can improve. Or a 5-mg dose can also be helpful. Few individuals can face side effects like stomach upset and headaches, but these are rare.
Reduce bedtime when not sleeping
You cannot force yourself into sleeping. If you don't get it after 20 minutes, you should get up and try to calm down. One can do this whether they face this situation after going to bed or waking up at night. Some activities that can help you minimize stress include meditation, deep breathing, and reading. You can try other techniques also that enable you to sleep. Due to COVID-19 or fatigue caused by the long coronavirus symptoms, some people tend to spend more time in bed. It will be better to minimize this time. For example, someone staying 12 hours a day on the mattress can lower it by one or two hours for positive outcomes.
The research team at Penn Medicine shows a deep connection between exposure to coronavirus, COVID-induced tension, and lack of sleep. According to them, people with elevated insomnia tend to suffer more from worries about COVID-19 severity than exposure to COVID-19 conditions. Lily Brown of Penn Medicine informed that COVID concerns intensify insomnia more than the actual infection. These revelations are critical for figuring out the treatment for these patients. Because one cannot do much about the risk of exposure, one can learn ways to manage their stress. One of them can be mindfulness strategies that help you live in the moment.
If you are facing recurring worrying thoughts, you must understand how much the actual problem is and how much it is a potential challenge. After trying everything, if you still aren't satisfied, you must visit a therapist for proper guidance.