Sleep problems were already widespread before the Corona pandemic. In the current crisis, which poses great challenges and brings with it fears – whether health-related or existential – it is reasonable to assume that many more people around the world are experiencing sleep problems. This also increases their susceptibility to infections. To prevent diseases it is important to ensure good sleep hygiene.
The corona pandemic also poses a great challenge for the psyche. The enormous restrictions and loss of control is a problem for people and causes sleep problems for some. This brings further disadvantages, because lack of sleep increases susceptibility to infections. Experts explain why good sleep hygiene is also a prevention against COVID-19.
” Lack of sleep increases the susceptibility to infections. We know this from other viral diseases. Possibly it is also a risk factor for more serious disease courses”, explains Prof. Dr. Georg Nilius, Director of the Clinic for Pneumology of the Protestant Clinics Essen-Mitte, in a statement of the German Society for Sleep Research and Sleep Medicine (DGSM).
Higher risk of severe disease progression
Of course this plays a role in the current coronavirus pandemic. After all, there are occupational groups, such as shift workers and those working in the medical sector, who suffer more frequently from lack of sleep and are therefore more susceptible. And it’s not just because of their jobs that many people get too little sleep. “Those who can, should sleep a lot”, according to the general advice of Professor Dr. Nilius, “Especially in the present time, it pays off to pay special attention to good sleep hygiene and sleep quality. This is also a kind of prevention”.
According to international studies, there are indications that patients with certain sleep medical disorders, especially those with sleep apnoea, are exposed to a higher risk of falling ill or developing severe disease progression in the context of the corona pandemic. Further scientific studies on this topic are necessary. The DGSM is involved in a study of the effects of COVID-19 and the lockdown on sleep in the general population. The “International COVID Sleep Study” is being conducted jointly with several countries. For this purpose, a questionnaire is offered on the homepage and we kindly ask for participation.
Recent studies on sleep behavior during the Corona Pandemic and the lockdown have found, among other things, that the discrepancy between social jetlag and our biological sleep-wake rhythm has decreased; in other words, simplified, that people have slept more in accordance with their genetic (natural) need for sleep. In addition, it was found that the quality of sleep has deteriorated, possibly in connection with the expression of anxiety, depressive moods and lack of physical activity. Women reported suffering from mental disorders more often than men; professionals were the most likely to report sleeping more than before the pandemic, citing more flexible working models as the main reason.
Working people were confronted with new challenges, such as more home offices, as a result of COVID-19. Christina Saalwirth, psychologist at the University of the Federal Armed Forces Munich, examined in a study, which influence work stress, home office, a variable start of work and the well-being have on the sleep in Corona times and whether this has changed in comparison to the time before the Corona pandemic. All data were collected using an online questionnaire completed by 320 working participants who did not work shifts (51.9 percent men, 48.1 percent women; 19-68 years).
Good sleep hygiene is a corona prevention
“Sleep is an important, but often underestimated health factor, which is influenced by COVID-19-related changes in everyday life and working life. Straight Home Office, which used nevertheless more than half of the participants, holds chances in addition, risks for our sleep behavior, which must be further investigated , summarizes Mrs. Saalwirth first conclusions. (ad)
20 and 13.7 percent of the participants stated that they had slept worse or shorter since COVID-19, while 11 and 24.7 percent respectively said they slept better or longer. The longer sleep duration of almost a quarter of the respondents is probably partly due to increased home office use. Compared to the time before COVID-19, employees in the home office sleep longer, but also have more variable working hours, which in turn are associated with poorer sleep quality. The changes through COVID-19 show both positive and negative developments with regard to sleep.
WashingtonNewsday Health and Wellness.