Reasons Your Sleep Might Be Suffering
This March happens to be the second anniversary of when COVID-19 was officially declared to be a pandemic. The amount of huge, impactful changes to our daily lives and society as a whole have been impossible to miss, and one of the consequences of it all has been a drastically increased rate of people reporting sleep problems, especially for those of us in the senior citizen demographic. While there are myriad reasons one may be suffering from a lack of quality, restful sleep, here are some possible culprits.
- You’ve experienced loss: There are very few among us who have not had at least some aspects of our lives turned upside down by the pandemic. Jobs, social lives, and our families have all been impacted, and it’s hard to find someone who hasn’t lost a friend or other loved one to COVID-19. It’s no wonder to imagine how all this sudden, unexpected change can affect our sleep. And while it is of course stressful to lose a loved one, what compounds the issue is that sleep disorders can make it harder to process grief, leaving you stuck with that feeling of loss for longer.
- You contracted COVID: While the initial effects of COVID were certainly a cause for alarm, experts are learning more and more about the long term effects of the virus, known as “long COVID”. It turns out that some patients can deal with symptoms that persist for months, possibly even years. A certain number of these patients have been experiencing sleep disorders, such as insomnia, restless leg syndrome, and pain related sleeplessness. While research is underway to determine the connection, and also distinguish it from sleep disorders related to anxiety, it still stands that a prior diagnosis could be affecting your sleep.
- Anxiety: You may be experiencing falling asleep normally, only to wake up in the middle of the night thinking about your troubles. And even if you’re not particularly worried about a specific issue, you may find your brain rummaging around in the night until it finds something to wake you up and cause you to fret over.
- Increased drinking: Just a few weeks into the pandemic, in March of 2020, it was reported that sales of beer, wine, and other alcoholic drinks jumped by an astonishing 55%. Many people have begun consuming more alcohol than they had previously, a statistic that includes older adults. While a nightcap may seem like it helps you drift off to sleep, the fact is that alcohol actually interferes with good quality sleep, making it more likely you’ll wake in the middle of the night.
- Revenge procrastination: You may find yourself in the position that you spent your day attending to necessary tasks, and by the time you’re done with chores and errands and you sit down, suddenly it’s long past the evening and midnight is rapidly approaching. In these instances, it’s only natural to want to put off bedtime, so that you can read, watch TV, or anything else to regain control of the day. But consider that doing so at the expense of sleep is just going to rob your tomorrow of feeling alert and rested.