Trouble sleeping during COVID-19? You're not alone

Posted at 1:41 AM, Apr 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-15 07:53:08-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Maybe you experienced your friends or family members complaining about trouble sleeping during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have, too. Some of us are even having trouble falling or staying asleep as the shutdown continues.

We reached out to USF Health Professor and Director of Sleep Medicine Dr. William Anderson for some information.

Much to our surprise, sleeping troubles are really not that uncommon.

"It seems as though the social isolation is feeding some degrees of anxiety which can be crossed over into a sleep problem, whether you have anxiety as a disorder or not," explains Dr. Anderson.

So what can you do?

"Keeping a regular bed time and wake up time. So you're trying to work from home your tendency is to stay up later and wake up later," says Dr. Anderson.

And avoid those caffeinated products later in the day.

Dr. Anderson also says don't "try" to fall asleep. If takes you longer than 15 to 20 minutes to fall asleep, do something different.

"Whenever you try and do something you're concentrating. When you concentrate on something it wakes the brain up. You have to do things to calm the brain down," explains Dr. Anderson.

He suggests going into another room and doing something more relaxing for you. But, don't turn on the TV and listen to information on the Coronavirus. When your eyes get heavy again, go back into the bedroom and sleep.

Also, Dr. Anderson says, "get up every morning and don't try to sleep in."

We know, that's a bummer.

But also, check in on your loved ones.

"An elderly person in total lockdown is more likely to develop trouble sleeping at night and anxiety," says Dr. Anderson. "That's someone during the day needs social support."

How about the kids?

He says make sure they are on their same schedule, down to the 30-minute interval.

Remember, if you sleep better, your immune system is likely to be better, too.