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COVID-19 and Sleep
By Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurist
Friday, 14th May 2021
 

Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurist at 4Hoteliers.comIf you've had trouble sleeping over the last year, you're not alone, as reported in a new national sleep survey from 23andMe.

According to their report, new data suggest that another side-effect of the pandemic is that many of us are having more difficulty falling asleep.

Plus, when we finally do fall asleep, we're waking up more at night and/or having COVID-related or health-related dreams.

COVID Insomnia, COVID Dreams

The results of this sleep survey reflect how much the pandemic has disrupted our lives. More than 25 percent of those surveyed reported having difficulty getting to sleep. Simultaneously, almost as many people (about 23 percent) surveyed said they were waking up more than usual.

Another almost 20 percent of respondents reported being restless throughout the night. One tenth of those surveyed said they either dreamed about COVID-19 or had other health-related dreams. I would add that the lack of exercise can lead to insomnia and during these challenging times, . . many of us have not prioritized exercise.

Life Disruptions have had an Impact

Disruptions in work, school, and social interactions have inflicted devastating impacts. Of the participants surveyed, 55 percent, were either furloughed, laid off, or working from home. Almost two-thirds of these respondents said they were waking up later than they did before the pandemic.

This shift could be attributed to a disruption in their daily routines, added stress from job loss, or uncertainty about the future. Moreover, the effect on healthcare workers has been even more insidious because it has led to higher risk of infections and more severe symptoms from COVID-19.

Waking Later Because They Could

Given that they no longer had to commute to work, it is not surprising that the survey found that people slept later. While this could have been a tremendous advantage, other concerns prevented the uninterrupted REM sleep that is so rejuvenating.

In fact, another recently released 25-year longitudinal study from Europe found that people who do not sleep enough in their 50s and 60s are more likely to develop dementia with most having been diagnosed in their 70s.

The study defined "enough" as a minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night. These results are bad news for folks like me who have not prioritized sleep.

© Copyright 1998-2021 by The Herman Group of Companies, Inc., all rights reserved. From 'The Herman Trend Alert,' by Joyce Gioia, Strategic Business Futurist. (800) 227-3566 or www.hermangroup.com

The Herman Trend Alert is a trademark of The Herman Group of Companies, Inc. Reprinted with permission.

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