Pandemic Insomnia: What It Is and What You Can Do To Fix It

It isn’t a stretch to say that COVID-19 plunged the world into chaos. Life as we knew it changed and soon we were all adapting to the virus. This change occurred in workplaces, schools and even homes.

The pandemic had changed our lives fundamentally. One of these changes was the appearance of Pandemic Insomnia.

What Is Pandemic Insomnia?

As we adapted to our new way of life, our sleep was affected.

A UK study in 2020 reported that the number of people experiencing a lack of sleep in China rose from 14.6% to 20%. This increase occurred during the peak lockdown period.

Another American study stated that there were 2.77 million Google searches for insomnia during the first 5 months of 2020. This is what pandemic insomnia is; the inability to sleep during this time of crisis.

But what is making it so difficult for people to sleep?

What Causes Pandemic Insomnia?

There is a range of reasons as to why some of us now find it difficult to sleep. Because this crisis hit us all in different ways, it is impossible to list all the causes of this phenomenon in one article. However, here are some of the most common causes of pandemic insomnia.

Pandemic-Related Stress

In a survey from June 2020, 13% of adults reported new or increased substances to use that was linked to pandemic-related stress. Many were finding it difficult to cope with the number of changes that occurred so quickly.

Others found it difficult to watch the deteriorating state of the world that was battling the crisis. It’s no secret that stress affects sleep. You can find yourself unable to put your thoughts to rest and doze. Or you can find yourself dreading the next day which makes you too anxious to sleep.

It is understandable why the pandemic had caused a rampant increase in stress that then affected sleep patterns.

Disrupted Routines

To adapt to the virus, lockdowns and movement control orders had to be implemented. This made it difficult for people to go to work, school and carry out their once-daily activities. Gone were the days when people could move freely about at their convenience.

Even though changes to your routine may seem small but they can still affect your sleep. For many, a daily routine helps keep them motivated and moving. Without one some may find themselves prone to sleeping in and taking naps.

These siestas can decrease the hours you sleep at night and the quality of that sleep. Furthermore, the comfort of staying at home makes it easy to be swayed by distractions.

Attention diverted away from your priorities means that you will attend to them later. The later you attend to your work, the later you finish it and the later you sleep which leads to a disrupted sleep pattern.

Pandemic Related Mental Exhaustion

COVID-19 had been a lot to deal with for many, physically and emotionally. As reported, there seemed to be an increase in depression rates throughout the pandemic. These statistics are understandable.

Being unable to go outside and socialise, many had felt isolated and depressed. While others may have felt suffocated, unable to leave their homes freely. Isolation and depression are known to disrupt sleeping patterns.

What You Can Do To Promote Better Sleep During the Pandemic

Eat Better, Sleep Better

To get good rest you need to take better care of yourself and that starts with what you eat.

It has long since been discovered that diet can affect your sleep. Foods like acidic foods, alcohol, caffeine, spicy foods and high-fat meals are all tasty delights that can mess with your sleep.

You might be wondering, “How has the pandemic affected my diet?” Well, it was found that because of the pandemic many started making poor dietary decisions. There was an increase in convenient food over homecooked meals and unhealthy comfort food. There was even an increase in unhealthy snacking and alcohol consumption.

These decisions coupled with lack of physical activity had impacted the health of those who were studied. So one of the best ways to ensure a night of good sleep is to take care of yourself.

Fixing Your Internal Body Clock With Natural Light

With lockdowns having many of us stuck at home, we were exposed to less and less natural light. Natural light helps your body’s internal clock know when it is time to go to bed and when it is time to be awake.

Your sleep pattern (circadian rhythm) is what makes you feel sleepy at night and to keep it in check you have to expose yourself to the light.

Create a Routine For Yourself

As mentioned earlier in this article, one of the biggest consequences of the pandemic was a disrupted routine. Routines may seem boring and monotonous but following a schedule will help you feel a sense of order which can promote sleep.

As you follow your schedule you may once again feel a sense of normalcy and you will be able to ensure plenty of downtime in the night for you to rest.

Talk to Someone

Mental health is as important as physical health. Although we may sometimes neglect it. During this trying time, it is important to talk to someone. It can be a counsellor you find online or even a friend.

It is important to communicate your feelings and relieve some of the conflicts inside of you. There is nothing wrong with needing a little TLC for your mind.

Here is just a little bit of how the pandemic has caused many of us restless nights. The important thing is to remember to take care of ourselves amidst the chaos.

For more tips on how to get a goodnight’s rest, you may want to check out this article!


Judith Louis is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
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Judith Louis
Author: Judith Louis

A movie enthusiast with a passion for writing