The historical impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is still yet to be fully understood. For most of us, we’re still dealing with the changes and consequences in our day to day lives. What’s interesting is the impact the pandemic has had on our overall wellness and our routines.
The stress of adapting to our new way of living such as working from home, home schooling has meant our bodies are experiencing a shake up due to extra screen time and a lack of sleep routine.
Without a doubt, sleep has been affected by the pandemic. Renowned journalists and medical professionals have begun to uncover the depth of this problem. Late last year an article published by Health Policy Editor, Denis Campbell, in The Guardian UK found that “the overall incidence of worry-related sleep loss rose from 15.7% to 24.7%” [Nationally in Briton]. This is a trend we’re seeing across the globe.
Lockdowns have been found to affect us in the same way as insomnia. An article from Sleep philosopher Patrick Levy highlighted that “the warped relationship with time and the type of discomfort involved makes the two experiences explicitly similar”.
How pandemic changed our lifestyle
Roy Morgan found that nearly 1/3 of Australians were Working-From-Home (WFH) last year, and this put pressure on their living situation, routines, and really just changed the way in which they lived. Screen time and internet usage went up by 70-80% according to research from Monash University last year, and with that our exposure to blue light. We essentially have become an “always on” economy!
Research into sleep / melatonin as a potential treatment
A biological study (Zhou Y, Hou Y, Shen J, Mehra R, Kallianpur A, et al. (2020)) looked into using the sleep hormone, Melatonin, as part of a prevention or even a treatment for those with coronavirus. And this curiosity is turning scientific – there are currently 8 Clinical Trials for Melatonin and COVID-19 in the U.S. as well as a number of scientists delving deeper into the efficacy of it. Whilst the benefits of Melatonin are widely known to the general public: regulating Circadian Rhythm and inducing sleep, the verdict is still yet to come out but so far, it’s looking positive.
It’s pretty clear that a lot of us aren’t getting enough sleep at the time when we actually need it most.
Let’s reclaim our right to a full night of sleep.
Article Source: A network medicine approach to investigation and population-based validation of disease manifestations and drug repurposing for COVID-19
Zhou Y, Hou Y, Shen J, Mehra R, Kallianpur A, et al. (2020) A network medicine approach to investigation and population-based validation of disease manifestations and drug repurposing for COVID-19. PLOS Biology 18(11): e3000970. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3000970