When we go into lockdown, the change in routine, coupled with anxiety and uncertainty can wreak havoc on people’s sleep patterns.
As of the end of June 2021, more than 12 million Australians were in lockdown with the Delta variant spreading its tentacles around the country. Pandemic fatigue – being fed up with the constant state of confusion around the virus, vaccines and local rules and restrictions – is not the only affliction people are dealing with.
Medical experts coined the term ‘Coronasomnia’ (or ‘Covidsomnia’) in 2020, a phenomenon that has seen a sharp rise in the number of people experiencing insomnia. For instance, in Greece in 2020, almost 40 percent of participants in a May study reported frequent insomnia.
What is insomnia, really?
Insomnia is a sleep disorder in which sufferers have trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep. It can be acute, lasting only a few nights or a few weeks or it can be chronic, lasting months or years. For some people, it’s situational, that is, it comes and goes according to variables like stress levels, life stages or being away from home a lot.
Whether it happens during a pandemic or not, the long-term health impacts can include depression, anxiety, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It can be responsible for irritability, poor concentration, headaches, lack of energy and increased reaction times.
When we go into lockdown, several things happen. Our daily routines are out of whack, our environment is disrupted and our circadian rhythm is thrown into disarray. While we usually jump (or reluctantly slide) out of bed at the sound of the alarm clock, we’re more inclined to stay under the covers, especially during winter, and not bother with the alarm clock. We tend to snack more, eat at odd times, exercise less and spend more undisciplined time in our day.
Additionally, we miss out on important human interactions such as lunch time chats, car-pooling, catching up for coffee before work and talking with others at a meeting. If you have to work from home, the endless distractions can be incredibly frustrating and make you vastly less productive, which adds to the stress.
Lockdown comes with its own unavoidable upsets, but where possible, try to retain some kind of routine, not just for yourself but also for your partner, kids and pets. Stick to the same bedtime, eat when you normally would and avoid buying extra snacks and comfort foods. Keep work for work time and when you crave social interaction, get together as a family or video chat with a friend or loved one.
If your household is experiencing Covidsomnia, try our 100 percent natural sleep essential oils, give Progressive Muscle Relaxation a go or take a look at our Sleep Dos and Don’ts. And for little ones, think about introducing a special lockdown cuddle pillow that’s only brought out for ‘special occasions’ like lockdown. Try a range of suggestions and see what works best for you.