Quarantine has not only ended our social life, but also our quality of sleep . Psychologists have reported from the start of confinement that many people have suffered insomnia and have been unable to follow their sleep routines. It is normal: it is an extraordinary situation with containment measures that, above all, nobody expected. The pandemic came almost without warning and that has caused numerous cases of stress , which has affected our hours of rest. However, the de-escalation has already begun and, although it will be a return to the progressive routine, as the weeks go by we will be able to return to recover certain habits that we had before the crisis of the coronavirus. Sleep can be one of these things.
The anxiety patterns that have been diagnosed began to increase as the alarm state was extended and, with this, the hope of returning to normal soon was fading. “This situation has created sleep problems such as insomnia and what has been seen the most is that people wake up during the night longer than usual. The presence of nightmares is described in many cases,” Milagros explained. Merino , member of the scientific committee of the Spanish Sleep Society.
It will not be an easy path despite the de-escalation
However, de-escalation may not be the solution to these problems because cases of post-traumatic stress are expected, which normally occurs after attacks, accidents or wars. Merino summarized in an interview with Hypertextual that insomnia speaks of the three P .
“There are people who have a predisposing personality, who are very obsessive and are always very concerned. Then there are precipitating and perpetuating factors. A person may have a personal problem, a divorce for example, and that causes the divorce to start and even if the situation improves some time later, he continues to sleep poorly. “
Following that example, a percentage of people will continue to have insomnia despite the end of the quarantine. In addition, when there has been a sleep disorder, there is a risk of a recurrence of another stressor. Normally, the expert continued, insomnia occurs from a specific event and does not last for a long time. In this case, however, it is different. “(Insomnia) can be repeated more easily in the future, especially if there are factors that do not help, such as age.”
But, while some people can continue with sleep problems during and after the de-escalation, many others will be able to readjust . In the same way that at first a two-week quarantine seemed like a nightmare to us, many have managed to get used to a new rhythm of life more than two months later.
Customs will change and at first it can be strange to be with friends on a terrace but respecting the safety distance. “But we also get used to this and we will adapt because we will see that we can lead normal lives,” said Merino.
Despite the de-escalation, bad sleep can have consequences
Everyone has to find the best way to cope with a global pandemic and it is very normal to have ups and downs. Although it is important to emphasize the quality of sleep for the effects it can have on our health .
If the disorder becomes chronic and is not due to a specific factor, cardiovascular problems can be diagnosed and that person may have a greater tendency to have a heart attack or arrhythmias. Milagros Merino warned that metabolic problems are also common, which causes a greater tendency to be overweight, as well as fatigue , irritability or problems with Attention. “In the long term there may be more serious problems because it can affect the immune system and if that person has a tumor, they can react worse if they have bad sleep,” he stressed.
But even in quarantine, measures can be taken to avoid insomnia. First of all, we recommend a regularity in hours and a well-insulated bedroom with the right temperature for each person. Also, it is advisable to avoid drinks such as coffee, tea and vigorous exercise late in the day. A hearty dinner is also not recommended.
Merino shared for Hypertextual other tricks that can give very good results. “If we expose ourselves during a lot of light during the day and we lower the intensity, which happens naturally, and then we sleep in the dark, that is beneficial for sleeping.” It is also to avoid using the computer or tablet for a long time in the last hours of the day.
Quarantine, an opportunity to do things better
The pandemic and confinement have changed our lives and our customs. We all want to recover habits that we had before quarantine, but many experts, including Merino, pointed out that confinement, as hard as it may be, can also be an opportunity .
In our old routine, many times the work took up most of the hours and that could make it difficult to have a regular schedule. But being at home it is easier to impose new customs and, in addition, to implement healthier habits such as a balanced diet.
For many people, the coronavirus has taken away their sleep . But in the same way that he left, he can come back as the de-escalation begins and we can go back out onto the streets, even if it is just a walk, and see our loved ones. Some people will have more problems sleeping several hours in a row but it is important to know that these disorders are normal and that there are many therapies to combat them .