What Are the Challenges to Sleep During a Pandemic?
The global pandemic, brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak, has confined the U.S. population to their homes and subjected them to unforeseen stressful conditions for an unknown duration. The present situation will likely to negatively influence sleep quality among the population because of unexpected changes in daily routines, anxieties about health, and insecurities about the pandemic and its duration. Some of the factors that may influence sleep, during the pandemic, are as follows:
Disruption to Daily Life
The social distance orders implemented in California have closed public spaces and halted activities that elementary children enjoy. Children, as well as women, are at a greater risk of developing sleep problems because of the pandemic. Children are greatly impacted by environmental change because children tend to find it difficult to adjust to change and may not fully understand why they cannot go to places and do activities they love.
Anxieties and Worry
Children who understand the slightest information about COVID-19 and/or feel the insecurities their parent(s) or guardian(s) are facing are subjected to anxieties and worries. Children may feel concerned about the health and wellbeing of their family members and friends. Children of families that are actively working during the pandemic to financially support themselves may feel more anxious. In addition, the financial concerns of the parent(s) or guardian(s) can also burden and worry children. These anxieties and worries can lead to stress-related fatigue where children continue to feel tired when receiving the recommended hours of sleep.
Depression and Isolation
Children may feel depressed or isolated during the pandemic. Children may experience the death of a loved one or experience a loved one fall sick with COVID-19. They may also experience a disconnect with their friends while they spend their time at home with no outside social contact. Depression and isolation have been scientifically proven to derail one’s sleep hygiene.
Extra Screen Time
Children will be engaging in remote learning across the education system. Most children will attend their classes through Zoom. However, children may also spend their free time on electronics to pass the time, as a result, social distancing orders will increase their screen time activity. The blue light radiating from the electronic screens can block the natural production of melatonin, a hormone that helps the body fall asleep.
Why is Sleep Important During a Pandemic?
Sleep disturbance or sleep deficiency can have adverse consequences on emotion and cognitive functioning as well as the immune system. The management of sleep hygiene during home confinement can prevent sleep disruptions and address a few of the consequences listed above. Proper sleep hygiene can maintain a healthy immune system, sharpen brain function, and enhance mood; when all three systems are healthy because of sleep, children are able to dedicate more of themselves to their academic work.
The immune system is effective and strengthened by sleep. Children should acquire the recommended hours of sleep for their age group to fully recharge their body’s defenses. Children should have a concrete sleep schedule and proper sleep hygiene during the pandemic because sleep deficiency has been connected to making some vaccines less effective.
Brain function (complex thinking, learning, memory, and decision-making skills) improves when children receive the recommended hours of sleep. For more information, check out the “Clinical Research” and “PALS Partnership Schools.”
The overwhelming amount of stress and anxiety brought on from COVID-19 is undeniable. Stress and anxiety may cause sleep loss, but it is important to remember the irritability, energy decrease, and feelings of depression that come along with a lack of sleep. Therefore, it is important to alleviate stress and anxieties during the pandemic to fulfill the recommended hour of sleep.
Guidelines to Sleeping Well During the COVID-19 Outbreak