The COVID-19 pandemic changing day-to-day life can also bring new stress and anxiety, leading to insomnia.
Mayo Clinic Health System says insomnia is not only common, but also your body and brain’s way of protecting you.
“If you think back to caveman days and you had a saber-toothed tiger that was hunting you, [it] probably wasn’t the best time to get your most restful, restorative sleep,” said Ashley Sammann, a Mayo Integrative Behavioral Health clinical therapist. “So, our modern day saber-toothed tigers are things like stressers, illnesses, or maybe a global pandemic.”
According to the clinical therapist, the best thing to do for a new sleep disturbance is not trying to fix it at all.
Instead she recommends focusing on self-care and creating structure.
“Maintain the same wake time every day. It’s really important to provide that structure and consistency for your brain,” Sammann said. “It allows your circadian rhythm a certain amount of light each day and then promotes more activity.”
While working from home in bed may seem like a fun idea, Mayo recommends limiting exposure to your bedroom and bed during the day.
“You might be tempted to kind of indulge in a so-called perk of safer at home right now and linger in bed a little bit longer or get in a little bit sooner, but all that’s doing is training your brain and teaching your brain that you can do other things in bed other than sleep,” said Sammann.
Mayo says when suffering from insomnia the brain’s frontal lobe, which is responsible for rational thinking and decision making, essentially turns off.
As a result, anxiety and insomnia feed off each other well.
“If you’re not sleeping very well, you’re probably not copying as effectively as you could be,” Sammann said.
The health system recommends consulting with your primary doctor if insomnia lasts more than a couple weeks.