What you should know about coronasomnia in the UK
You have probably heard about it from 2020, and it’s definitely worth knowing about it if you haven’t. Coronasomnia is a portmanteau of ‘coronavirus’ and ‘insomnia’, a phenomenon that has become increasingly prevalent in the UK and around the world. More and more people are suffering as a result, particularly those who are trying to get the recommended hours of sleep – between 7-10 hours per night (depending on age).
According to a study from the University of Southampton in August 2020, the number of people experiencing insomnia had risen from one in six to one in four, with more sleep problems in communities including mothers, essential workers, BAME groups and many others across all ages. In the US alone, 40 million Americans have chronic insomnia, and this figure is set to grow in 2021. While in China, insomnia rates rose from 14.6 percent to 20 percent during the peak of its lockdown measures.
As the name suggests, the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis is the culprit in all of this, and the thought of getting a good night’s rest for millions and millions seems to be out of reach due to relentless stress, concerns, and exhaustion. In this article by Pacific Prime UK, we look at what coronasomnia is and provide some practical tips to help you get a good night’s rest.
What is Coronasomnia?
As hinted earlier, coronasomnia is essentially insomnia that links to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The effects of the pandemic are wide-ranging, but can include:
- Being separated from close family members such as elderly parents.
- Being made redundant from work or even working remotely without contact with colleagues for long periods of time.
- Working extensively or doing more than requested in fear of being made redundant.
- Not being able to return to full-time education.
- Not having the freedom to go about everyday activities without following preventative measures like wearing a face mask or socially distancing.
All of the aforementioned effects and many more have somewhat upended the normal routines people use to follow pre-COVID-19 and have also resulted in higher levels of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. These mental health issues have also contributed to insomnia. According to the NHS, this is when you have problems sleeping.
A general checklist for insomnia
People suffering from chronic insomnia tend to:
- Find it difficult to sleep at night.
- Wake up several times during the night.
- Lie awake for a period of time, without the urge to sleep.
- Wake up in the early hours and find it hard to return to sleep.
- Find it difficult to concentrate on work or the task at hand during the day.
- Not get enough sleep.
How to tackle bouts of coronasomnia
As we continue to overcome the effects of COVID-19, it is essential to find solutions or ways to help deal with coronasomnia. Below are a few practical tips to get sufferers better at managing their insomnia in 2021 and beyond:
Switch off, let go and move away
After a hard day at work or doing so from home, it’s time to switch off and make a move away from that space. Although it may be hard to do at first (as work may be a passion for many), it is essential that you are able to control the urge to work or do anything related to it once you finish. If you are at home, the best thing to do is to pack away your work stuff, whether that’s your laptop or work documents. If you have an office setup then clearing your station and leaving the area or room can help you disconnect fully.
Establish a routine and stick to it when working from home
When you have a routine, it means you have control over what you want to do, which is essential to maintaining mental and physical wellbeing. For those working from home, you are encouraged to apply the same routine as if you had to commute to the office or place of work and follow the same daily work routine. For instance, see below what you could do instead:
- Wake up at the same time and get ready by having a wash and dressing up. Avoid wearing your nightwear and get dressed into something casual, smart or if you prefer office attire entirely. Getting into a new change of clothes can get you thinking fresh, better, and get you geared to work for the day.
- Instead of spending the extra time in bed or in front of the television when you should be commuting to work, try exercising or anything that fits in and around your routine. Other options could be cleaning your home, making meals for your lunch and/or dinner, gardening, or anything else to make up the time instead of commuting.
- Take your breaks at the same time you would at work. If you normally have your lunch break at 12 noon, then continue the same practice. If you like to have a nice cup of tea or 5-minute break every hour, then stick to it. Avoid sitting in the same spot for hours on end. Add in a stretch or two from head to toe to prevent sores and pain later on in the day.
Create an ideal sleeping environment
Sleep is like an essential meal itself. It is a mix of 7 to 10 hours of sleep for children and adults and provides enough time for the body and mind to rest for the following day. Therefore, setting up an ideal sleeping environment means ensuring your room or bed space is free of external noise or disruption and can be made dark in an instant with enough ventilation to give you some proper good sleep.
Ban all electronics before you wind-down
With anything, preparation is key and preparing for sleep includes keeping your electronics away from you. Mindlessly looking at social media feeds in the seconds before you sleep isn’t the best way to get started. There’s evidence that blue light from electronics can impact your circadian rhythm and keep you wide awake when you’re supposed to be feeling tired.
Even staring at those emails from your tablet or laptop can also prevent you from sleeping. So the best thing here is to keep those devices out of the room, get a book or do something that doesn’t require a screen and slowly feel yourself tiring away. Before you know it, you will be snoozing away happily as you accrue those much needed hours of sleep.
Make an appointment to see your general practitioner (GP)
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has made the NHS and medical professionals more aware of the implications of coronasomnia on people’s mental health and physical wellbeing. If you have, even in the slightest, signs of this condition, you are encouraged to make an appointment to see your GP. The NHS Apps Library has sleep apps that can help you sleep better. If you have trouble with your mental health at home, our article on telemental health apps for getting therapy from home provides more guidance on the help available.
What can Pacific Prime UK do to help?
Better known as an insurance broker for health insurance solutions, Pacific Prime UK produces regular articles and resources that touch on mental wellbeing and physical health. We strive to educate our readers and support them with their health insurance inquiries. Learn more about the COVID-19 situation, trends in health insurance, and more from our blog.
Watch our Pacific Prime videos for mental health tips, health insurance-related topics, and more.
As an insurance brokerage, we offer health plans for expatriates, travellers, families, and small to large corporations that require group health insurance, as well as other business solutions. We also have options for international health insurance and pre-existing health conditions for those interested in coverage.
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- What you should know about coronasomnia in the UK - February 4, 2021