Sleep disorders common during COVID-19 pandemic

trader32176
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:22 am

Sleep disorders common during COVID-19 pandemic

Post by trader32176 »

Sleep disorders common during COVID-19 pandemic

10/13/20


https://www.news-medical.net/news/20201 ... demic.aspx


A recent study published on the preprint server medRxiv* in October 2020 reveals the significant prevalence of sleep abnormalities among the population in areas affected by COVID-19. This is likely to cause a heavy toll on mental and physical health if sustained over the long run.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused millions of infections and hundreds of thousands of deaths worldwide within ten months of its onset. Public health authorities have focused on reducing the degree of spread of the virus via non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) such as lockdowns and social distancing.

Another significant consequence of this pandemic period is the emotional and mental stress caused by the continuing and high levels of anxiety, panic, depression, and sleeplessness, as in other situations characterized by quarantine. Fears about the future, economic hardship, lockdown fatigue, uncertainty about the real situation concerning the disease and the measures taken to control its spread, stigmatization of COVID-19 patients, as well as the steep drop in social interactions and loss of social support, may react with the altered lifestyle to trigger sleep disorders.

The Importance of Sleep


Sleep is established to be crucial to maintaining physical and mental health at a reasonable level of quality. Disruptions of the normal sleep cycle can cause the total amount of sleep to reduce, with sustained alertness. This, in turn, can precipitate sleepless episodes, mood instability in the daytime, bad dreams, and tiredness.

Some common triggers for lousy sleep habits include the overuse of technology, severe stress, anxiety, trauma, poverty, city life, and the increased use of social media. Poor sleep habits are, therefore, not only quite common, being found in up to 25% of the population, but also are linked to a range of poor health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, cancer, sepsis, and metabolic syndrome.

Risk Factors for Sleep Disorders During the Pandemic

The current study evaluates the presence and causes of sleep disorder and the current interventions intended to correct it. The researchers found 78 studies, mostly set in the US or China. The prevalence of sleep disorder varied from study to study, from as low as ~2% to ~77%. In many studies, younger people reported pandemic-related sleep disturbances, but there was a lack of contextual data that hindered the exploration of such associations.

Education at both higher and lower levels was found to have a significant impact on sleep. The former may be because of academic and professional stresses operating on the former, while the latter may be due to lack of financial stability. Other variables included living alone or in isolation and having poor family or social support.

The most specific factors for sleep disorder associated with the pandemic included fear of infection, anxiety about the illness itself, lack of trust in the countermeasures, and being unsure of the efficacy of both preventive and treatment measures in this condition.

Mental Ill-Health and Sleep Disorders

People who also had other physical or mental illnesses were at a higher risk of sleeping poorly during this period, as expected given the “bidirectional relationship between anxiety, depression and insomnia” already reported in other studies.

This was especially true of healthcare workers, and even more so among those working on the front line of the pandemic. The risk factors for sleep disorder in this group included a high workload, working in shifts, and fear of infection with SARS-CoV-2, all of which are linked to burnout due to high psychological and social stress. Such sleep disorders may even hinder their professional and social functioning, as seen in the earlier SARS and MERS outbreaks, and therefore warrant early recognition and intervention.

Other Risk Factors

Again, an enforced lack of physical activity, fear of losing income, and idleness for want of paid employment, were factors that tended to cause a higher incidence of sleep disorders. Females were at higher risk, as consistent with earlier studies showing their higher susceptibility to anxiety and depression.

Low Level of Intervention

The researchers found only two interventions directed at this specific area, one of which was a traditional Chinese mind-body exercise called Baduanjin, and the other progressive muscular reaction. Either seemed to be preferable to doing nothing in terms of improved sleep after the intervention, as assessed by the sleep score.

Compared with earlier reviews, the prevalence of insomnia and related symptoms were higher during the pandemic period, as has been earlier reported to occur after events like stroke and chronic injuries, that engender stress.

While older people are known to have more problems with insomnia, the current study showed that younger people also experience such sleep disorders, perhaps due to the pressure of higher academic and job-related stress and uncertainty during this period. Many students were faced with the difficulty of gaining access to online classes, poverty in the household, and even nutritional deprivation, after the pandemic-response lockdown.

Implications and Future Directions


Despite the limitations of the review, mainly in its failure to provide a pre-pandemic control group and the use of studies limited mostly to two countries, it demonstrated associations between numerous physical and mental risk factors and the occurrence of sleep disorder. It is possible that people in poorer settings may have an even higher prevalence of sleep disorder and mental abnormality, say the researchers.

The researchers say these findings may serve as the basis of future studies on sleep disorders, focusing on separate areas, and using appropriate methods. Longitudinal studies would be ideal to understand how these change over time.

Moreover, standardized scales must be developed to arrive at a uniform reporting of these conditions and their risk factors or correlates. This will in turn, require the analysis of numerous factors to identify the most relevant and valuable among them.

A better understanding of mental health and sleep disorders could help shape policies in this area, helping to intervene at the optimal time and avoid such outcomes in future pandemics.

The study also indicates the poor reach of pharmacological and psychosocial treatments for this disorder. It is notable that despite the high prevalence of sleep abnormalities, only two interventions were identified, both among hospitalized COVID-19 patients.

It is necessary that more studies be conducted to explore the efficacy of available therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I), dietary changes, and the incorporation of exercise into the daily routine. It is also essential to identify more interventions directed at the specific social and mental risk factors associated with sleep disorders.

The authors conclude, “The findings of this review emphasizes the need for early detection and effective treatment all the symptoms of insomnia, including the mild ones before they evolve to more complex and evokes enduring psychological responses.”

Some suggested measures include the screening of all patients at out-patient centers for insomnia and referral for further investigation and treatment if found necessary. Healthcare workers should be specifically targeted as they have a higher prevalence.

*Important Notice

medRxiv publishes preliminary scientific reports that are not peer-reviewed and, therefore, should not be regarded as conclusive, guide clinical practice/health-related behavior, or treated as established information.

Journal reference:

Tasnim, S. et al. (2020). Epidemiology of Sleep Disorders During COVID-19 Pandemic: A Systematic Scoping Review. medRxiv preprint. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.10.08.20209148. https://www.medrxiv.org/content/10.1101 ... 20209148v1
trader32176
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:22 am

Re: Sleep disorders common during COVID-19 pandemic

Post by trader32176 »

Better sleep improves next-day mindfulness, finds study

10/13/20


https://www.news-medical.net/news/20201 ... study.aspx


Sleeping an extra 29 minutes each night can be the key to improving mindfulness, a critical resource that has benefits for daily well-being and work performance. Mindfulness is achieved by purposefully bringing an individual's awareness and attention to experiences occurring in the present moment without forming an opinion. Unlike previous studies, new research published in Sleep Health looked at how multiple dimensions of nightly sleep impact daily mindfulness, rather than just focusing on sleep quality or duration.

The study led by the University of South Florida found better sleep improves next-day mindfulness, which in turn, reduces sleepiness during the day. The research focused on nurses, the largest group of healthcare professionals whose need for optimal sleep and mindful attention are particularly high. Sleep problems are common in this population due to long shifts, lack of situational control and close proximity to life-threatening health conditions. Their optimal sleep health and mindful attention are particularly important as they work the frontline of the COVID-19 pandemic.

" One can be awake and alert, but not necessarily mindful. Similarly, one can be tired or in low arousal but still can be mindful. Mindful attention is beyond being just being awake. It indicates attentional control and self-regulation that facilitates sensitivity and adaptive adjustment to environmental and internal cues, which are essential when providing mindful care to patients and effectively dealing with stressful situations."

-Soomi Lee, lead author, assistant professor of aging studies at USF

Lee and her colleagues from USF and Moffitt Cancer Center followed 61 nurses for two weeks and examined multiple characteristics of sleep health, They found that nurses' mindful attention was greater than their usual after nights with greater sleep sufficiency, better sleep quality, lower efficiency and longer sleep duration (an extra half-hour longer). Daily mindful attention contributed to less same-day sleepiness. Those with greater mindful attention were also 66% less likely to experience symptoms of insomnia during the two-week study period.

Researchers come to these conclusions by using a variety of tools to measure how much participants were mindful each daily moment and how their mental states were impacted by sleep. Participants were prompted to answer daily mindfulness and sleepiness questions three times a day for two weeks using the smartphone application, RealLife Exp. Daily mindfulness was measured by the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale, which asked questions such as, "I was doing something automatically, without being aware of what I was doing," and "I was finding it difficult to stay focused on what was happening." Participants also wore an Actiwatch Spectrum device for the same two weeks that measured wrist movement activity to quantify sleep and wake patterns.

Findings from this study provide insight into developing a behavioral health intervention strategy for a broader array of healthcare workers who need better sleep and mindful attention. Given the association between mindful attention and better patient care, improving sleep in this population may provide important benefits to patient health outcomes as well.

Source:


University of South Florida (USF Innovation)
trader32176
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:22 am

Re: Sleep disorders common during COVID-19 pandemic

Post by trader32176 »

Sleep disorders

The collective term sleep disorder refers to conditions that affect sleep quality, timing, or duration and impact a person’s ability to properly function while they are awake. These disorders can contribute to other medical problems, and some may also be symptoms for underlying mental health issues.

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders


In 1979, the American Sleep Disorders Association published the first classification system dedicated to sleep disorders. Our knowledge and understanding of sleep health has evolved over the past four decades. More than 100 specific sleep disorders have been identified and today’s classifications use complex methodologies to categorize these disorders based on causes, symptoms, physiological and psychological effects, and other criteria. However, most sleep disorders can be characterized by one or more of the following four signs:

You have trouble falling or remaining asleep
You find it difficult to stay awake during the day
There are imbalances in your circadian rhythm that interfere with a healthy sleep schedule
You are prone to unusual behaviors that disrupt your sleep

Any of these signs could indicate a sleep disorder. We encourage people who experience any of these issues to consult with their doctor.


Visit the pages below to learn more about different sleep disorders. Our list of sleep disorders is based on categories in the American Academy of Sleep Medicine’s International Classification of Sleep Disorders – Third Edition (ICSD-3).

Insomnia

According to general estimates, 10-30% of adults live with some form of insomnia. The condition is defined by a persistent difficulty falling or remaining asleep despite the opportunity and motivation to do so, as daytime impairments associated with lack of sleep. Chronic insomnia occurs when sleepers experience symptoms at least three times per week for at least three months. Insomnia lasting less than three months is known as short-term insomnia.

Sleep-onset insomnia: This type of insomnia makes falling asleep more difficult.
Sleep maintenance insomnia: People with sleep maintenance insomnia have a hard time remaining asleep without disruption during the night.
Mixed insomnia: This type of insomnia includes sleep-onset and sleep maintenance elements.

Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders

These disorders are characterized by abnormal breathing during sleep. For some, the individual will also experience abnormal breathing while they are awake. Some breathing disorders are highly disruptive for sleep and can lead to major daytime impairments. Sleep apnea, a common breathing disorder for children and adults, can also cause heavy snoring.

Obstructive sleep apnea: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is characterized by disordered breathing episodes, or apneas, during sleep. People with this condition will often wake up choking or gasping for air multiple times during the night, and report feelings of fatigue and non-restorative sleep during the day. OSA occurs when the airway is blocked due to certain physiological factors, such as a narrow throat, large tongue, smaller lower jaw, or obesity. Children may experience OSA if they have not had their tonsils or adenoids removed.
Central sleep apnea: Much like OSA, central sleep apnea, or CSA, causes apnea breathing episodes during the night. The key difference is root cause. CSA occurs when the brain stops sending signals to muscles that regulate breathing, rather than a physical obstruction blocking the airway. Strokes and other medical conditions that affect the brain stem can cause CSA, as can obesity, heart failure, and some medications.
Sleep-related hypoventilation disorders: These disorders occur when sleepers do not receive enough ventilation, causing the carbon dioxide levels in their blood to spike. Obesity, genetic abnormalities, certain drugs and medications, and underlying medical conditions can all lead to sleep-related hypoventilation.
Sleep-related hypoxemia disorder: Hypoxemia refers to below-normal blood oxygen levels. For people with this condition, their blood oxygen levels decrease primarily during sleep. Sleep-related hypoxemia may be a symptom of an underlying medical condition such as pulmonary hypertension, chest wall disorders, or neurologic and neuromuscular disorders.


Hypersomnolence Disorders


Hypersomnolence refers to feelings of sleepiness and fatigue during the day despite a healthy circadian rhythm and an adequate amount of sleep the previous night. These feelings may lead to involuntary lapses into drowsiness or sleep, which in turn puts people at risk for accidents. Some people with hypersomnolence disorders feel the effects of daytime sleepiness before nodding off, while others will unknowingly fall asleep.

Narcolepsy: Narcolepsy occurs when patients with normal sleep schedules either feel the irrepressible urge to sleep or involuntarily lapse into sleep on a daily basis for at least three months. This condition falls into two primary categories. Narcolepsy Type 1 includes cataplexy, a sudden muscle weakness or paralysis, whereas Narcolepsy Type 2 may include some muscle weakness but not to the same extent.
Idiopathic Hypersomnia: This condition, like narcolepsy, is characterized by the strong urge to fall asleep or lapses into sleep despite an otherwise healthy sleep schedule. However, idiopathic hypersomnia does not include cataplexy. To qualify for a diagnosis, patients cannot have any sleep disorders or preexisting conditions that explain the hypersomnia.
Kleine-Levin Syndrome: This rare disorder is defined by episodes of excessive sleep – up to 20 hours a day in some cases. The first episode often occurs in tandem with a bodily infection or excessive alcohol intake, and will usually occur every year or so. Episodes can persist for days, weeks, or even months. Common effects of Kleine-Levin Syndrome include cognitive dysfunction, altered perceptions, eating disorders, and disinhibited behaviors. Over the course of eight to 12 years, episodes of excessive sleepiness decrease in intensity and frequency.

Sleep-Wake Disorders

This category of circadian rhythm sleep disorders is tied to a person’s internal clock and the factors that regulate their 24-hour sleep cycle. Light plays a major role in the circadian rhythm. When our eyes are exposed to natural or artificial light, our body releases compounds that keep us awake and alert; when light disappears at night, the body produces different compounds to induce feelings of drowsiness and relaxation. Sleep-wake disorders occur in people whose circadian rhythms are misaligned, causing them to feel alert and tired at abnormal times of the day.

Sleep-wake phase disorder: This disorder is defined by the inability to fall asleep and wake up at the intended times, and falls into two subcategories. Delayed sleep-wake phase disorder occurs when the patient’s sleep-wake cycle is delayed by at least two hours. For advanced sleep-wake phase disorder, patients fall asleep and wake up at least two hours ahead of schedule. Symptoms must persist for at least three months to warrant a diagnosis.
Irregular rhythm sleep-wake disorder: This disorder is marked by irregular sleeping and waking episodes over a 24-hour period. Patients often experience insomnia symptoms when they are trying to sleep and excessive daytime sleepiness.
Non-24 sleep-wake disorder: People with this disorder have internal clocks that do not follow a 24-hour schedule. Their sleep-wake cycle may be shorter or longer than 24 hours, depending on how their circadian rhythm is synchronized. Most patients with non-24 sleep-wake disorder are totally blind.
Shift work sleep disorder: Most people with shift work sleep disorder have jobs that require shifts outside the typical 9-5 schedule, including evening and overnight shifts. They experience insomnia symptoms at night and excessive daytime sleepiness because their sleep schedule is not in sync with a normal 24-hour circadian rhythm, which is influenced by light and darkness. Shift work sleep disorder often deprives people of one to four hours of sleep every 24-hour period.
Jet lag disorder: This temporary disorder occurs when travelers pass through multiple time zones during a single flight or series of successive flights, leaving their circadian rhythm out of sync with local time at their final destination. The severity of jet lag depends on the length of travel, as well as the direction – eastbound travelers tend to experience stronger jet lag than those heading west.


Parasomnias


Parasomnia is a collective term for unusual behaviors that occur prior to sleep, while asleep, or during the transition period between sleep and waking. These behaviors can occur during different sleep cycle stages, as well. Parasomnias that are mostly isolated to the non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep stages include the following:

Confusional arousals: Those who experience confusional arousals will exhibit confused behavior in bed due to an incomplete arousal from deep sleep. They won’t react to other people who attempt to intervene, and they’ll have little to no memory of the event.
Sleepwalking: Also known as somnambulism, sleepwalking occurs when people get out of bed and move about while still asleep. Sleepwalkers may remain in their bedrooms, but some travel to other areas in or outside of their residence. Attempting to wake up a sleepwalker can result in aggressive behavior.
Night terrors: When someone experiences night terrors, they often cry or act out in their sleep but will have little to no memory of the incident after waking. Most night terror episodes are brief, but they can last for several minutes in some cases.
Sleep-related sexual abnormal behaviors: People with this condition will display aggressive or uncharacteristic sexual behavior while asleep. As with other parasomnias, those with this condition – also known as “sexsomnia” – will remember very little, if any, of their behavior when they wake up

Other parasomnias occur during the rapid-eye movement (REM) stage of the sleep cycle, when dreams are most likely to occur. These include:

REM sleep behavior disorder: Known as RSBD or RBD for short, REM sleep behavior disorder causes sleepers to physically or vocally act out on their dreams. The behaviors associated with this disorder can disrupt sleep for the individual and their partner, and also put people at higher risk of physical injury.
Sleep paralysis: Sleep paralysis causes people to feel completely paralyzed as soon as they wake up. This may also occur during sleep onset. Paralysis episodes usually don’t last for more than a few minutes, but this condition can trigger sleep anxiety for some people.
Nightmare disorder: While isolated nightmares are common for most people, nightmare disorder is defined by vivid, unpleasant dreams that disrupt sleep on a recurrent basis. For some, the nightmares become increasingly disturbing. People with nightmare disorder often experience anxiety about going to bed, as well as post-awakening anxiety when the dream ends.

Lastly, some parasomnias are not isolated to the NREM or REM stages. They may also occur during the transition between sleep and wakefulness

Exploding head syndrome: As the name implies, people with this condition will imagine loud explosions in their head when they are aroused from sleep. People may physically or vocally act out toward the explosion, but they will not actually feel any pain.
Sleep-related hallucinations: Some people experience hallucinations during sleep onset or the transition between sleep and waking. These hallucinations can be so vivid for sleepers that they will attempt to leave their bed, putting them at higher risk of injury. The hallucinations may persist for several minutes.
Sleep enuresis: Also known as bedwetting, sleep enuresis is involuntary urination during sleep. This condition is quite common in young children. However, enuresis is considered a parasomnia for children and adults over the age of five who experience episodes at least twice a week for at least three months.


Sleep-Related Movement Disorders


These disorders are characterized by abnormal movements during sleep that can be disruptive for the individual, as well as their sleep partner. They often cause excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue due to sleep loss.

Restless legs syndrome: Also known as Willis-Ekbom disease or simply RLS, this causes people to experience unpleasant or painful sensations in their legs. These sensations are usually more pronounced at night when the individual sits or lies down for prolonged periods. RLS creates strong urges to move the legs in order to alleviate the discomfort.
Periodic limb movements disorder: People with this disorder – PLMS for short – will experience periodic bodily movements during the night that coincide with arousal and sleep disruptions. In most cases, movements are isolated to the lower limbs. Patients are often unaware of the movements or the sleep arousal.
Sleep-related bruxism: Sleep-related bruxism causes people to grind their teeth during sleep. Over time, this can cause excessive jaw pain, abnormal tooth wear, and other side effects. Many people with bruxism treat their condition with an anti-snoring mouthpiece or mouthguard, such as a mandibular advancement device that physically moves the jaw forward or a tongue retaining device that holds the tongue in place.
trader32176
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:22 am

Re: Sleep disorders common during COVID-19 pandemic

Post by trader32176 »

Wearing blue-light glasses before sleeping can improve sleep quantity and quality

10/14/20


https://www.news-medical.net/news/20201 ... ality.aspx


During the pandemic, the amount of screen time for many people working and learning from home as well as binge-watching TV has sharply increased. New research finds that wearing blue-light glasses just before sleeping can lead to a better night's sleep and contribute to a better day's work to follow.

" We found that wearing blue-light-filtering glasses is an effective intervention to improve sleep, work engagement, task performance and organizational citizenship behavior, and reduced counterproductive work behavior. Wearing blue-light-filtering glasses creates a form of physiologic darkness, thus improving both sleep quantity and quality."

- Cristiano L. Guarana, Assistant Professor, Department of Management and Entrepreneurship, Indiana University Kelley School of Business

Most of the technology we commonly use -- such as computer screens, smartphones and tablets -- emits blue light, which past research has found can disrupt sleep. Workers have become more dependent on these devices, especially as we navigate remote work and school during the coronavirus pandemic.

The media have recently reported on the benefits of blue-light glasses for those spending a lot of time in front of a computer screen. This new research extends understanding of the circadian rhythm, a natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle and repeats roughly every 24 hours.

"In general, the effects of wearing blue-light-filtering glasses were stronger for 'night owls' than for 'morning larks,' said Guarana, who previously has studied how lack of sleep affects business decisions, relationships and other behaviors in organizations. "Owls tend to have sleep periods later in the day, whereas larks tend to have sleep periods early in the day.

"Although most of us can benefit from reducing our exposure to blue light, owl employees seem to benefit more because they encounter greater misalignments between their internal clock and the externally controlled work time. Our model highlights how and when wearing blue-light-filtering glasses can help employees to live and work better."

The findings appear in the paper, "The Effects of Blue-Light Filtration on Sleep and Work Outcomes," published online by the Journal of Applied Psychology. Guarana is the corresponding author; his co-authors are Christopher Barnes and Wei Jee Ong of the University of Washington.

The research found that daily engagement and performance of tasks may be related to more underlying biological processes such as the circadian process.

"Our research pushes the chronotype literature to consider the relationship between the timing of circadian processes and employees' performance," the researchers wrote.

A good night's sleep not only benefits workers; it also helps their employers' bottom lines.

"This study provides evidence of a very cost-effective means of improving employee sleep and work outcomes, and the implied return on investment is gigantic," said Barnes, professor of management and the Evert McCabe Endowed Fellow at the University of Washington's Foster School of Business. "I personally do not know of any other interventions that would be that powerful at that low of a cost."

Across two studies, researcher collected data from 63 company managers and 67 call center representatives at Brazil-based offices for a U.S. multinational financial firm and measured task performance from clients. Participants were randomly chosen to test glasses that filtered blue light or those that were placebo glasses.

"Employees are often required to work early mornings, which may lead to a misalignment between their internal clock and the externally controlled work time," the researchers said, adding that their analyses showed a general pattern that blue-light filtration can have a cumulative effect on key performance variables, at least in the short term.

"Blue-light exposure should also be of concern to organizations," Guarana said. "The ubiquity of the phenomenon suggests that control of blue-light exposure may be a viable first step for organizations to protect the circadian cycles of their employees from disruption."

Researchers received no financial support or compensation for this research. The glasses were donated by the Austin, Texas-based company Swanwick.

Source:


Indiana University

Journal reference:


Guarana, C. L., et al. (2020) The effects of blue-light filtration on sleep and work outcomes. Journal of Applied Psychology. doi.apa.org/doi/10.1037/apl0000806.
trader32176
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:22 am

Re: Sleep disorders common during COVID-19 pandemic

Post by trader32176 »

Study assesses mental health, sleep quality among physically active adults during lockdown

10/28/20


https://www.news-medical.net/news/20201 ... kdown.aspx


In the middle of the pandemic this spring, researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) conducted a survey among members of Kondis, a Norwegian fitness training organization.

Since this survey was sent out in the middle of the lockdown in Norway, participants were asked whether they had changed their exercise habits as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The aim of these initial analyses was to map mental health and sleep problems, and to investigate whether changes in exercise habits had consequences for sleep.

" Not surprisingly, we found that the incidence of anxiety and depression was significantly lower in this relatively fit sample than among other people. And this was the case despite the fact that we conducted the survey in the middle of the toughest part of the COVID time."

- Linda Ernstsen, Associate Professor, NTNU's Department of Public Health and Nursing

These findings come as little surprise to the researchers. The connection between physical and mental health has been known for a long time, not least through the 240 000 people who have participated in a series of health studies starting in 1984 called the HUNT Surveys.

But the new study still offers some surprises, especially related to the fact that a lot of people changed their exercise habits this spring.

Ernstsen carried out the study together with project manager and associate professor Audun Havnen from NTNU's Department of Psychology.

"It was surprising that so many people increased their amount of exercise during the coronavirus pandemic. Since people were encouraged to avoid public spaces and stay home, the fact that so many used the extra time they had to move more was a positive effect," says Havnen.

This survey is the first of three to be conducted among Kondis members. The overall goal of the questionnaires is to study the relationship between different aspects of physical activity, mental health and quality of life in a sample assumed to be fit, and how this changes over time.

Although active people generally suffer less depression and anxiety than others, some of them still do get depressed and anxious.

When COVID-19 struck this spring, many Kondis members modified their training habits, regardless of whether they were struggling with mental health problems or not. You would think that this change would affect their quality of sleep as well. But that didn't happen.

"We thought the connection between mental health and sleep problems would be more pronounced in people who changed how much they exercised. But we found no differences," says Ernstsen.

The two groups were thus affected in exactly the same way, regardless of changes in their exercise habits.

This doesn't mean that there is no connection between mental health and sleep, even in this active group.

"We found a connection between anxiety symptoms and sleep problems and a connection between depressive symptoms and sleep problems," Ernstsen says.

People with depression and anxiety consistently sleep less well than others. This is true for the most physically fit among us as well.

"Since all the participants answered the questions at the same time this spring, so far we only know that there's a connection between physical activity, mental health and sleep. To investigate what leads to what, we've invited the participants to take the survey again after six and twelve months to study changes over time," says Havnen.

Source:

Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Journal reference:

Ernstsen, L & Havnen, A (2020) Mental health and sleep disturbances in physically active adults during the COVID-19 lockdown in Norway: does change in physical activity level matter?. Sleep Medicine. doi.org/10.1016/j.sleep.2020.08.030.
trader32176
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:22 am

Re: Sleep disorders common during COVID-19 pandemic

Post by trader32176 »

Research examines changes in physical activity, sitting and sleep during Scotland's COVID lockdown

11/10/20


https://www.news-medical.net/news/20201 ... kdown.aspx


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has brought the world to a standstill on many levels. Researchers from the University of Strathclyde have studied the lasting impact of behavioral outcomes changes during lockdown measures enforced to mitigate the COVID-19 infection. While there are reports of the changes in 24-hour movement behaviors at the start of Scotland's national lockdowns, little is known about these behaviors throughout the lockdown period and when restrictions initially started to ease.

A new study by researchers at the University of Strathclyde, published as a preprint on the medRxiv* server, examined changes in 24-hour movement behaviors across three designated period blocks: from 1) pre-lockdown (T1) to the 1st UK national lockdown (T2); and 2) first UK national lockdown to initial easing of lockdown (T3).

Understanding these 24-hour movement behaviors during lockdown gleaned from this study will help people maintain or return to healthy lifestyles post COVID-19, the authors write. The determinants of these positive changes, once identified, can be used to inform intervention development.

Several studies have looked at the immediate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on 24-hour movement behaviors (i.e., physical activity, sitting, and sleeping). Evidence shows that COVID-19 changed behavioral patterns. Many people reported a decline in physical activity, increased sedentary behavior, and poor sleep. Changes in 24-hour movement behaviors may further compound the negative changes reported in mental and physical health during the pandemic. Before the COVID-19 epidemic, it was common knowledge that 24-hour movement behaviors are associated with physiological and mental health. Since then, it has been suggested that physical activity changes due to COVID-19 increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Also, studies have reported that those who engaged in more physical activity, less sedentary behavior, and adequate sleep reported better mental health outcomes at the start of the covid-19 pandemic.

In this research, the study cohort comprised participants primarily recruited through social media advertisements on Facebook and Twitter, with a sample size of 2,458. On average, the age of participants in this study was 46.2 years of age, most of whom were females (about 80.4%). The participants gave inputs on the frequency and duration of moderate and vigorous physical activities, including walking, during the specific period. Sedentary behavior was measured hours spent sitting during a typical week pre-lockdown (T1), during the first UK lockdown (T2), and as restrictions initially started to ease (T3). Likewise, sleep measurements were done based on the number of hours the participants slept every night during the study period. Despite the study being longitudinal with a large sample size, its limitations are self-report bias, predominantly female individuals, and under-representation of important socio-demographic groups.

With the change in the period blocks set out in the study - from T1 to T2 to T3 – changes in the 24-hour movement behaviors were observed. Due to lockdown restrictions, people reduced walking. However, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), sleep, and sitting from pre-lockdown to lockdown increased. And when the restrictions were eased (the T3 period), the walking, sleep and sitting returned to pre-lockdown levels.

"Understanding the barriers and facilitators of positive change during lockdown enables researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to provide opportunities for healthy behavior change for those most at risk in the post-COVID era," said the researchers.

Also, when examining shifts within each individual's behaviors, 20-30% of the participants recorded positive or negative change for each behavior. People who, at T1, did 30-60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity or walked per week, sat for 6 to 8 hours and reported either insufficient sleep or too much sleep showed the highest proportion of positive changers by T2. The pattern of results repeated during the ease of lockdown measures.

The study noted any evidence of clustering in these movement behavior changes – in walking, sitting, and sleeping. They also found that one positive behavior influenced at least another positive one. Because the accumulative influence of lifestyle changes on health is greater than just the sum of the two behaviors, this was said to be a very encouraging observation.

Interestingly, from this study, the researchers found that lockdown measures had improved the behavioral change positively in individuals displaying poor levels of each behavior.

This calls for future qualitative studies to better understand what enabled those displaying poor behavior levels positively during the lockdown.
trader32176
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:22 am

Re: Sleep disorders common during COVID-19 pandemic

Post by trader32176 »

Chronic sleep disruption can lead to depression in adolescents, study shows

12/7/20


https://www.news-medical.net/news/20201 ... shows.aspx


Chronic sleep disruption during adolescence can lead to depression in both males and females and alters stress reactivity in females, according to a new study led by University of Ottawa researchers. Their findings, published in the journal Behavioral Brain Research, are particularly relevant in the context of a pandemic, when adolescents' mental health is already under strain.

We talked to senior author Nafissa Ismail, Associate Professor at the uOttawa School of Psychology and University Research Chair in Stress and Mental Health, to learn more about the findings.

Why did you and your team decide to investigate sleep and depression in adolescents?

"More than 264 million people around the world suffer from depression. It is a prevalent mood disorder that reduces our quality of life. Individuals diagnosed with depression experience several symptoms including general malaise, reduced libido, sleep disruptions and suicidal tendencies in severe cases.

Twice as many females as males are currently diagnosed with depression. Preliminary evidence suggests that Canadians are experiencing greater depressive symptoms this year, likely as a result of lifestyle changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Adults with depression often first experience depressive symptoms in early adolescence. However, the causes underlying adolescent depression and its sex-specific prevalence rates remain unclear. A popular theory suggests that depression originates in adolescents overexposed to stress, and that differences between male and female depression rates are attributed to an increased female vulnerability to chronic stress.

Sleep disruption is a common stressor during adolescent development. Its repeated exposure could partially be responsible for adolescent female susceptibility to depression.

Using a mouse model, we investigated whether repeated sleep delays differentially affected male and female adolescent mice and examined how their response to stress changed."

How was the research conducted?

"80 adolescent and adult mice (40 males and 40 females) were manually sleep disrupted for the first four hours of each rest cycle or allowed normal rest for eight consecutive days. They were then exposed to a stressor to assess depression-like behavior."

What did you find?

"Our results showed that adolescent male and female mice both displayed significantly greater depressive behavior after only 7 days of sleep delays while adult male and female mice did not show depressive behavior under similar conditions.

When exposed to a new stressor following 7 days of repeat sleep delay, only adolescent male and female mice showed increased activity in the prelimbic cortex of the brain - not the adults. The prelimbic cortex is associated with stress coping strategies and can be damaged from overactivation following sleep deprivation.

Adolescent females also showed greater stress hormone release and activation of stress-sensitive brain cells than adolescent males following repeat sleep delay."

Why is it important?

"Our findings suggest that significant sleep delays during adolescence may increase the likelihood of depression onset in both males and females.

Additionally, sleep delay may sensitize adolescent females to other stressors and increase the likelihood of mood disorder development.

As COVID-19 quarantine requirements - such as remote learning, limited in-person social interactions and increased screen time - have removed some pressure to adhere to regular sleep schedules, adolescents could be at a higher risk than ever before for developing depression and other mood disorders."

Source:

University of Ottawa

Journal reference:


Murack, M., et al. (2020) Chronic sleep disruption induces depression-like behavior in adolescent male and female mice and sensitization of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in adolescent female mice. Behavioural Brain Research. doi.org/10.1016/j.bbr.2020.113001.
trader32176
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:22 am

Re: Sleep disorders common during COVID-19 pandemic

Post by trader32176 »

COVID-19 pandemic affects sleep habits, leads to further stress and anxiety

12/17/20


https://www.news-medical.net/news/20201 ... xiety.aspx


The COVID-19 pandemic is seriously affecting the sleep habits of half of those surveyed in a new study from The Royal and the University of Ottawa, leading to further stress and anxiety plus further dependence on sleep medication.

The global pandemic's impact on daily routines extends to the bed, according to 'Profiles of sleep changes during the COVID?19 pandemic: Demographic, behavioral and psychological factors'. The study was led by Principal Investigator Rébecca Robillard, an Assistant Professor and co-director of the Sleep Laboratory of the School of Psychology at the University of Ottawa, and Head Scientist in the Sleep Research Unit at The Royal Institute of Mental Health Research and published in the Journal of Sleep Research.

Dr. Robillard and her team, which was comprised of nearly two dozen scientists from across North America, conducted an online survey of 5,525 Canadian during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. She walked us through some of the study's most important findings.

How has the pandemic affected our sleep?



" The pandemic is having a diverse impact on people's sleep, with clinically meaningful sleep difficulties having undergone a sharp increase. We found that half of our participants showed signs of serious sleep problems during the pandemic. Specifically, we identified three different profiles of sleep changes: those who sleep more; those whose sleep schedule was pushed to later bed and wake-up times; and those who are getting less sleep than they did before the pandemic."

- Rébecca Robillard, Principal Investigator, Assistant Professor and Co-Director, Sleep Laboratory of the School of Psychology, University of Ottawa

How is this significant change in sleep pattern affecting people's daily lives?

"Active changes people made on sleep-related behaviors during the pandemic not only affected sleep quality and quantity, but it also affected their psychological response to this unprecedented situation. Compared to those who are sleeping more, those who have later sleep schedules or shorter sleep cycles showed increased symptoms of insomnia and worsening symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression."

Were you able to identify any factors associated with this disruption of sleep patterns?

"Yes. New sleep difficulties seem to be disproportionately affecting women, those with families and family responsibilities, the employed, and individuals with chronic illnesses. It also impacted individuals with earlier wake-up times, higher stress levels, heavier alcohol use, and extra television exposure."

How have people coped?


"We have seen an increase in the use of sleeping medications during the pandemic. Considering the known risks for the development of tolerance with these medications, this may forecast a surge in more complex chronic insomnia cases in the long run."

Overall, what can be read into people's sleep patterns during the pandemic?

"The large scale of sleep changes in response to the pandemic highlights the need for more accessible, yet tailored interventions to address sleep problems. Sleep and mental health issues are something to be expected with the current circumstances, but we never expected to see it hit this level. It is important to intervene to address the unique phenomenon that we are facing right now."

What are some ways people can improve their sleep, even during the pandemic?

"Some simple habits can help you to get a good night sleep. They include:

Getting up at the same time each morning (even on weekends). Even if you fall asleep very late, you should still get up at the same time each morning;

Develop relaxing pre-sleep rituals such as reading;
Avoid caffeine and alcohol within six hours of bedtime, and don't smoke at bedtime;
Exercise regularly. Get vigorous exercise such as jogging either in the morning or afternoon. Get mild exercise, such as walking, two to three hours before bedtime.

Source:


University of Ottawa

Journal reference:

Robillard, R., et al. (2020) Profiles of sleep changes during the COVID‐19 pandemic: Demographic, behavioural and psychological factors. Journal of Sleep Research. doi.org/10.1111/jsr.13231.
trader32176
Posts: 1754
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 5:22 am

Re: Sleep disorders common during COVID-19 pandemic

Post by trader32176 »

The Mysterious Link Between COVID-19 and Sleep

The coronavirus can cause insomnia and long-term changes in our nervous systems. But sleep could also be a key to ending the pandemic.

12/21/20


https://www.theatlantic.com/health/arch ... zz/617454/


The newly discovered coronavirus had killed only a few dozen people when Feixiong Cheng started looking for a treatment. He knew time was of the essence: Cheng, a data analyst at the Cleveland Clinic, had seen similar coronaviruses tear through China and Saudi Arabia before, sickening thousands and shaking the global economy. So, in January, his lab used artificial intelligence to search for hidden clues in the structure of the virus to predict how it invaded human cells, and what might stop it. One observation stood out: The virus could potentially be blocked by melatonin.

Melatonin, best known as the sleep hormone, wasn’t an obvious factor in halting a pandemic. Its most familiar role is in the regulation of our circadian rhythms. Each night, as darkness falls, it shoots out of our brain’s pineal glands and into our blood, inducing sleep. Cheng took the finding as a curiosity. “It was very preliminary,” he told me recently—a small study in the early days before COVID-19 even had a name, when anything that might help was deemed worth sharing.

After he published his research, though, Cheng heard from scientists around the world who thought there might be something to it. They noted that, in addition to melatonin’s well-known effects on sleep, it plays a part in calibrating the immune system. Essentially, it acts as a moderator to help keep our self-protective responses from going haywire—which happens to be the basic problem that can quickly turn a mild case of COVID-19 into a life-threatening scenario.

Cheng decided to dig deeper. For months, he and colleagues pieced together the data from thousands of patients who were seen at his medical center. In results published last month, melatonin continued to stand out. People taking it had significantly lower odds of developing COVID-19, much less dying of it. Other researchers noticed similar patterns. In October, a study at Columbia University found that intubated patients had better rates of survival if they received melatonin. When President Donald Trump was flown to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for COVID-19 treatment, his doctors prescribed—in addition to a plethora of other experimental therapies—melatonin.

Eight clinical trials are currently ongoing, around the world, to see if these melatonin correlations bear out. Few other treatments are receiving so much research attention. If melatonin actually proves to help people, it would be the cheapest and most readily accessible medicine to counter COVID-19. Unlike experimental drugs such as remdesivir and antibody cocktails, melatonin is widely available in the United States as an over-the-counter dietary supplement. People could start taking it immediately.

Yet Cheng emphasizes that he’s not recommending that. Like any substance capable of slowing the central nervous system, melatonin is not a trifling addition to the body’s chemistry. Its apparent benefit to COVID-19 patients could simply be a spurious correlation—or, perhaps, a signal alerting us to something else that is actually improving people’s outcomes. Cheng thinks that might be the case. He and others suggest that the real issue at play may not be melatonin at all, but the function it most famously controls: sleep.

In fact, several mysteries of how COVID-19 works converge on the question of how the disease affects our sleep, and how our sleep affects the disease. The virus is capable of altering the delicate processes within our nervous system, in many cases in unpredictable ways, sometimes creating long-term symptoms. Better appreciating the ties between immunity and the nervous system could be central to understanding COVID-19—and to preventing it.

Throughout the pandemic, the department of neurology at Johns Hopkins University has been flooded with consultation requests for people suffering from insomnia. Rachel Salas, one of the team’s neurologists, says she initially thought this surge in sleep disorders was merely the result of all the anxieties that come with a devastating global crisis: worries about health, the economic impact, and isolation. Indeed, patterns of sleep disruption have played out around the world. Roughly three-quarters of people in the United Kingdom have had a change in their sleep during the pandemic, according to the British Sleep Society, and less than half are getting refreshing sleep. “In the summer, we were calling it ‘COVID-somnia,’” Salas says.

In recent months, however, Salas has watched a more curious pattern emerge. Many people’s sleep continues to be disrupted by predictable pandemic anxieties. But more perplexing symptoms have been arising specifically among people who have recovered from COVID-19. “We’re seeing referrals from doctors because the disease itself affects the nervous system,” she says. After recovering, people report changes in attention, debilitating headaches, brain fog, muscular weakness, and, perhaps most commonly, insomnia. Many don’t seem anxious or preoccupied with pandemic-related concerns—at least not to a degree that could itself explain their newfound inability to sleep. Rather it is sometimes part of what the medical community has begun to refer to as “long COVID,” where symptoms persist indefinitely after the virus has left a person. When it comes to sleep disturbances, Salas worries, “I expect this is just the beginning of long-term effects we’re going to see for years to come.”

Her colleague Arun Venkatesan has been trying to get to the bottom of how a virus could cause insomnia. He focuses specifically on autoimmune and inflammatory diseases that affect the nervous system. Initially, Venkatesan says, the common assumption among doctors was that many post-COVID-19 symptoms were due to an autoimmune reaction—a misguided, targeted attack on cells of one’s own body. This can happen in the nervous system after infections by various viruses, in predictable patterns, such as that of Guillain-Barré syndrome. In the days after an infection, as new antibodies mistakenly attack nerves, weakness and numbness spread from the tips of the extremities inward. Disconcerting as it can be, this type of pattern is at least identifiable and predictable; doctors can tell patients what they’re dealing with and what to expect.

By contrast, the post-COVID-19 patterns are sporadic, not clearly autoimmune in nature, says Venkatesan. The symptoms can appear even after a mild case of COVID-19, and timescales vary. “We’ve seen a number of patients who were not even hospitalized, and felt much better for weeks, before worsening,” Venkatesan says. And the findings aren’t limited to the brain. At Northwestern University, the radiologist Swati Deshmukh has been fielding a steady stream of cases in which people experience nerve damage throughout the body. She has been looking for evidence that the virus itself might be killing nerve cells. Hepatitis C and herpes viruses are known to do so, and autopsies have found SARS-CoV-2 inside nerves in the brain.

Still, she believes, symptoms are most likely due to inflammation. Indeed, the leading theory to explain how a virus can cause such a wide variety of neurologic symptoms over a variety of timescales comes down to haphazard inflammation—less a targeted attack than an indiscriminate brawl. This effect is seen in a condition known as myalgic encephalomyelitis, sometimes called chronic fatigue syndrome. The diagnosis encompasses myriad potential symptoms, and likely involves multiple types of cellular injury or miscommunication. In some cases, damage comes from prolonged, low-level oxygen deprivation (as after severe pneumonia). In others, the damage to nerve-cell communication could come by way of inflammatory processes that directly tweak the functioning of our neural grids.

The unpredictability of this disease process—how, and how widely, it will play out in the longer term, and what to do about it—poses unique challenges in this already-uncertain pandemic. Myalgic encephalomyelitis is poorly understood, stigmatized, and widely misrepresented. Medical treatments and diagnostic approaches are unreliable. General inflammatory states rarely respond to a single prescription or procedure, but demand more holistic, ongoing interventions to bring the immune system back to equilibrium and keep it there. The medical system is not geared toward such approaches.

But this understanding of what is happening may also offer some hope. Although the technical details are clearly thorny, there is some reassurance in what the doctors are not seeing. When nerves are invaded and killed, the damage can be permanent. When nerves are miscommunicating—in ways that come and go—that process can be treated, modulated, prevented, and quite possibly cured. Although sleep cycles can be disturbed and damaged by the post-infectious inflammatory process, radiologists and neurologists aren’t seeing evidence that this is irreversible. And among the arsenal of ways to attempt to reverse it are basic measures such as sleep itself. Adequate sleep also plays a part in minimizing the likelihood of ever entering into this whole nasty, uncertain process.

A central function of sleep is maintaining proper channels of cellular communication in the brain. Sleep is sometimes likened to a sort of anti-inflammatory cleansing process; it removes waste products that accumulate during a day of firing. Without sleep, those by-products accumulate and impair communication (just as seems to be happening in some people with post-COVID-19 encephalomyelitis). “In the early stages of COVID-19, you feel extremely tired,” says Michelle Miller, a sleep-medicine professor at the University of Warwick in the U.K. Essentially, your body is telling you it needs sleep. But as the infection goes on, Miller explains, people find that they often can’t sleep, and the problems with communication compound one another.


The goal, then, is breaking out of this cycle, or preventing it altogether. Here the benefits of sleep extend throughout the body. “Sleep is important for effective immune function, and it also helps to regulate metabolism, including glucose and mechanisms controlling appetite and weight gain,” Miller says. All of these bear directly on COVID-19, as risk factors for severe cases include diabetes, obesity, and sleep apnea. Even in the short term, getting enough deep, slow-wave sleep will optimize your metabolism and make you maximally prepared should you fall ill. These effects may even bear on vaccination. Flu shots appear to be more effective among people who have slept well in the days preceding getting one.

All of this leads back to the basic question: Is one of the most glaring omissions in public-health guidelines right now simply to tell people to get more sleep?

The only health advice more banal than being told to wash your hands is being told to sleep more. But it’s a cliché for a reason. Sleep fortifies and prepares us for any given crisis, but especially when the days are short and cold, and people have little else they might do to empower and protect themselves. Monotonous days can slip people into depression, alcohol abuse, and all manner of suboptimal health. It may well turn out that standard pandemic advice should be to wear a mask, keep distances, and get sleep.

That’s easier said than done. Asim Shah, a psychiatry and behavioral-sciences professor at Baylor College of Medicine, believes sleep is at the core of many of the mental-health issues that have spiked over the course of the year. “There’s a complete lack of structure. That has caused a huge disturbance in the sleep cycles,” he says. “Usually everyone has a schedule. They get sunlight and they generate melatonin and it puts them to sleep. Right now we’re seeing people losing interest in things, isolating, not exercising, and then not getting sleep.” Depression and anxiety make insomnia worse, and the cycle degenerates.

This may be where melatonin—or other approaches to enhancing the potent effects of sleep—could be consequential. Russel Reiter, a cell-biology professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio, is convinced that widespread treatment of COVID-19 with melatonin should already be standard practice. In May, Reiter and colleagues published a plea for melatonin to be immediately given to everyone with COVID-19.

If the world of melatonin research had a molten core, it would be Reiter. He has been studying the hormone’s potential health benefits since the 1960s, and tells me he takes 70 milligrams daily. (Most bottles at the pharmacy recommend from 1 to 10 milligrams.) After we spoke, he sent me some of the many journal articles he has published on melatonin and COVID-19, at least four of which appeared in Melatonin Research. He blithely referred to them as “propaganda” and noted that he has been studying melatonin since before I was born (without asking when that was). “I know melatonin sideways and backwards,” Reiter said, “and I’m very confident recommending it.”

The majority of sleep scientists, though, seem to agree that the most crucial interventions that facilitate sleep will not be medicinal, or even supplemental. The general recommendation is that getting your body’s melatonin cycles to work regularly is preferable to simply taking a supplement and continuing to binge Netflix and stare at your phone in bed. Now that so many people’s days lack structure, Shah believes a key to healthy pandemic sleep is to deliberately build routines. On weekends, wake up and go to bed at the same time as you do other days. Take scheduled walks. Get sunlight early in the day. Reduce blue light for an hour before bed. Stay connected with other people in meaningful ways, despite being physically distant.

Even small daily rituals can help, says Tricia Hersey, the founder of a nap-advocacy organization called the Nap Ministry. Light a candle. Have a cup of tea in a specific place at a certain time. “Repetitive rituals are part of what makes us human and ground ourselves,” she told me. They’re also perhaps the most attainable intervention there is. Wherever you are, Hersey says, “you can daydream. You can slow down. You can find small ways to stop and remember who you are.”

To her, feeling in control over sleep is important precisely because order is lacking in so many other parts of life for so many people. Year over year, there are significant sleep disparities across the U.S. population. The amount and quality of sleep we get depend on our environment as much as, if not more than, our personal behavior. Socioeconomic status and quality sleep chart on parallel lines. The most effective way to improve sleep is to ensure that people have a calm and quiet place to rest each night, free of concerns about basic needs such as food security. The pandemic has brought the opposite assurances, exacerbating the uncertainties at the root of already-stark disparities.

As the quest for sleep falls only more to individuals, many are left to think outside the box. That has included, for some, dabbling in hypnosis. Not the kind of hypnosis where you’re onstage and told to act like a chicken, but a process slightly more refined. Christopher Fitton is one of a number of hypnotherapists who have spent the pandemic creating YouTube videos and podcasts meant to help put people to sleep. Fitton’s sessions involve 30 minutes of him saying empowering things to listeners in his pleasant, semi-whispered voice. He tells me he is now getting more than 1 million listens a month.

Hypnotherapy is meant to slow down the rapid firing of our nerves. Similar to guided meditation or deep breathing, the intent is to stop people from overthinking and allow sleep to happen naturally. As you listen to Fitton saying banal things about the muscles in your back or asking you to envision a specific tree in a specific place, “the aim is to get into a relaxed, trancelike state, where your subconscious is open to more suggestion,” he says. Then, when he tells you to sleep, your brain is less likely to argue with him about how you’re too busy, or how you need to worry more about why someone read your text message but didn’t reply.

Hypnotherapists such as Fitton provide tools to ground yourself, ultimately in pursuit of being able to do it unassisted, sans the internet. (It’s better not to bring your phone into your bedroom anyway.) Focusing involves practice; the trancelike state rarely happens easily, and no single way works for everyone. Some experimentation is usually needed. Apparently it still is for me. While listening to one of Fitton’s recordings, I couldn’t fully escape the image of him in his home office speaking softly into his microphone, reading an ad for Spotify, just as alone as everyone else.

But regardless of whom you trust to help relieve you of consciousness, now seems like an ideal time to get serious about the practice. Draw boundaries for yourself, and sleep like your life depends on it. Hopefully it won’t.
User avatar
TimGDixon
Posts: 714
Joined: Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:36 am

Re: Sleep disorders common during COVID-19 pandemic

Post by TimGDixon »

really good stuff trader.. i try and read it all but you are prolific in quantity lol... i read an awful lot - sometimes 3 or 4 hours a day - i think last year i read close to 30,000 pages of scientific papers... but keep it up - i'll get it all read eventually :-)
Post Reply