How to Sleep With COVID

Picture this: you’re shuffling through your day, tired, with a relentless cough and a fever that won’t quit. You’ve tested positive for COVID-19 and are self-isolating, doing your best to rest and recover. But when night falls, the one thing that’s supposed to be your refuge – sleep – eludes you. Your body aches, your mind is racing, and your fevered dreams feel more like an action-packed blockbuster than a calming lullaby.

Welcome, my weary friend, to the unfortunate reality of trying to sleep with COVID-19. It’s a challenge that’s as grueling as it is expected. But fear not! You’re not alone in this battle; I’m here to help you navigate these choppy waters.

In this blog post, “How To Sleep With COVID,” we will dive into simple, science-backed strategies to help you get that much-needed rest. From making your bedroom a snooze sanctuary to understanding the role of nutrition, we’ll explore ways to combat insomnia and foster restful slumber. Let’s pause that action movie in your head and replace it with a peaceful night’s rest. Buckle up; it’s time to reclaim your sleep!

How Does COVID Affect Your Sleep Patterns?

COVID-19 can have various impacts on sleep patterns. Here are some ways in which COVID-19 may affect sleep:

  • Anxiety and stress: The pandemic has caused significant levels of anxiety and stress for many individuals. Anxiety and stress can interfere with sleep, making it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night. Worries about personal health, the health of loved ones, financial concerns, or the overall uncertainty of the situation can contribute to sleep disturbances.
  • Changes in routine: COVID-19 has disrupted daily routines for many people. With changes in work schedules, remote work setups, or unemployment, individuals may experience alterations in their sleep-wake schedules. Irregular sleep patterns, such as going to bed and waking up at different times, can negatively impact sleep quality.
  • Increased screen time: With lockdowns and social distancing measures, people have been spending more time at home and relying heavily on electronic devices for work, education, and entertainment. Excessive screen time, especially close to bedtime, can disrupt sleep due to the blue light emitted by screens, which can suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep.
  • Decreased physical activity: Restrictions on outdoor activities and closures of gyms and fitness centers during the pandemic have limited opportunities for physical exercise. Reduced physical activity can affect sleep patterns as exercise promotes better sleep quality. Lack of exercise may result in restlessness at night and difficulties falling asleep.
  • Changes in sleep environment: People spending more time at home may experience changes in their sleep environment. Factors such as increased noise levels, discomfort, or inadequate sleeping conditions can disrupt sleep. Additionally, sharing living spaces with family members with different sleep patterns or engaging in activities in the bedroom that are not conducive to sleep (e.g., working or studying) can also affect sleep quality.
  • COVID-19 symptoms and medications: For individuals who have contracted COVID-19, symptoms such as fever, cough, body aches, and difficulty breathing can directly impact sleep quality. Furthermore, certain medications used to treat COVID-19 symptoms may have side effects that interfere with sleep.

Remember, to prioritize good sleep hygiene during these challenging times. It includes maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, creating a relaxing sleep environment, limiting screen time before bed, engaging in regular exercise, managing stress through relaxation techniques, and seeking professional help if sleep disturbances persist. 

Can COVID-19 Cause Difficulty Falling Asleep?

COVID-19 itself is primarily a respiratory illness caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, and difficulty falling asleep is not a direct symptom of the virus. However, the pandemic and its associated factors can contribute to difficulty falling asleep. Here are a few reasons why COVID-19 can indirectly cause difficulties in falling asleep:

  • Anxiety and stress: The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant levels of anxiety and stress for many individuals. Heightened worries about personal health, the health of loved ones, financial concerns, or the overall uncertainty of the situation can make it difficult to relax and fall asleep. Anxiety and stress can activate the body’s stress response, leading to racing thoughts and a hyper-aroused state that interferes with falling asleep.
  • Disrupted routines: The pandemic has disrupted daily routines for many people. Changes in work schedules, remote work setups, or unemployment can lead to irregular sleep-wake schedules. Inconsistent sleep patterns, such as going to bed and waking up at different times each day, can make it harder to fall asleep when you want to.
  • Increased screen time: With lockdowns and social distancing measures, people have been spending more time at home and relying heavily on electronic devices for work, education, and entertainment. Excessive screen time, especially close to bedtime, can interfere with falling asleep. The blue light emitted by screens can suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep, making it more difficult to initiate sleep.
  • Physical discomfort: Some individuals infected with COVID-19 may experience physical discomfort that can make it challenging to fall asleep. Symptoms such as fever, cough, body aches, or difficulty breathing can cause discomfort and restlessness, making it harder to relax and drift off to sleep.
  • Medications and treatments: Certain medications used to treat COVID-19 symptoms may have side effects that can interfere with sleep. For example, medications that contain stimulant properties or those that cause gastrointestinal disturbances can disrupt sleep patterns and make it difficult to fall asleep.

The specific sleep difficulties experienced by individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic can vary. 

Are Sleep Disturbances Common Symptoms of COVID-19?

Sleep disturbances are not typically considered common symptoms of COVID-19. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, fatigue, body aches, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, and difficulty breathing.

However, it’s important to note that COVID-19 can affect individuals differently, and some people may experience a wide range of symptoms, including sleep-related issues. While not as prevalent as the primary symptoms, sleep disturbances have been reported in some individuals with COVID-19. These sleep-related issues can include:

  • Insomnia: Insomnia refers to difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing non-restorative sleep. Some individuals with COVID-19 have reported experiencing insomnia as a symptom of the illness. It can be associated with anxiety, discomfort, or other factors related to the virus.
  • Fragmented sleep: COVID-19 symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, or body aches can interrupt sleep and lead to fragmented or disrupted sleep. It can result in frequent awakenings throughout the night and difficulty maintaining a continuous sleep cycle.
  • Excessive sleepiness: While not as common as insomnia or fragmented sleep, some individuals with COVID-19 have reported feeling excessively sleepy during the day. It can be due to the overall fatigue and illness associated with the virus.

Sleep disturbances can also be caused by factors indirectly related to COVID-19, such as anxiety, stress, changes in routine, or other pandemic-related concerns. Additionally, the psychological impact of the pandemic and the associated stress and anxiety can affect sleep patterns for individuals, regardless of whether they have contracted COVID-19. So, should you sleep sitting up with covid?

Can COVID-19 Result in Excessive Daytime Sleepiness?

Yes, COVID-19 can result in excessive daytime sleepiness in some individuals. While excessive daytime sleepiness is not considered one of the most common symptoms of COVID-19, it has been reported by some people who have contracted the virus. Here are a few factors that can contribute to excessive daytime sleepiness in individuals with COVID-19:

  • Fatigue: COVID-19 can cause significant fatigue, which is a feeling of extreme tiredness or lack of energy. This fatigue can persist even after mild cases of illness and may contribute to excessive daytime sleepiness.
  • Illness-related effects: The body’s immune response to COVID-19 can be demanding and taxing on the system. This immune response, along with other physiological changes that occur during an illness, can result in increased sleep needs and a desire for more daytime sleep.
  • Disrupted sleep patterns: COVID-19 symptoms such as coughing, difficulty breathing, or body aches can disrupt sleep and lead to poor sleep quality. Fragmented or restless sleep during the night can contribute to daytime sleepiness.
  • Medications and treatments: Some medications used to manage COVID-19 symptoms, such as antipyretics (fever-reducing medications) or certain cough suppressants, may have sedating effects and can contribute to daytime sleepiness.

Excessive daytime sleepiness can also be caused by factors indirectly related to COVID-19, such as psychological stress, anxiety, or changes in routine. The overall impact of the pandemic on mental health and well-being can also influence sleep patterns and contribute to excessive daytime sleepiness. So, can I sleep on my back with covid?

Can COVID-19-Induced Respiratory Symptoms Disrupt Sleep?

Yes, COVID-19-induced respiratory symptoms can indeed disrupt sleep. The respiratory symptoms associated with COVID-19, such as coughing, shortness of breath, chest congestion, or difficulty breathing, can directly affect sleep quality and lead to sleep disruptions. Here’s how these respiratory symptoms can impact sleep:

  • Coughing: Persistent coughing, especially at night, can interrupt sleep and make it difficult to fall or stay asleep. Coughing can be triggered by irritation in the airways caused by the virus, leading to repeated awakenings throughout the night.
  • Shortness of breath: Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath can make it challenging to find a comfortable position while lying down, leading to restlessness and disruptions in sleep. Individuals with COVID-19 may experience increased effort to breathe, which can interfere with their ability to relax and sleep soundly.
  • Chest congestion: Chest congestion, characterized by a feeling of heaviness or tightness in the chest, can affect breathing patterns during sleep. It can lead to shallow breathing or increased effort to take deep breaths, potentially causing awakenings or lighter sleep.
  • Sleep-disordered breathing: In more severe cases, COVID-19 can cause respiratory complications that result in sleep-disordered breathing. It includes conditions such as sleep apnea, where breathing is interrupted during sleep, leading to recurrent awakenings and fragmented sleep.
  • Anxiety and stress: The presence of respiratory symptoms can increase anxiety and stress levels, which can further disrupt sleep. Concerns about breathing difficulties or the progression of the illness can lead to heightened arousal and difficulty falling asleep or maintaining sleep throughout the night.

Prioritize self-care and take measures to manage these symptoms during the recovery process. Following healthcare professionals’ guidance, utilizing prescribed medications, practicing good sleep hygiene, and maintaining an upright position or using additional pillows for support can help alleviate some of the sleep disruptions associated with COVID-19-induced respiratory symptoms. So, should you stay in bed with covid?

How to Sleep With COVID: Essential Sleep Suggestions

If you have COVID-19 and are experiencing sleep disturbances, here are some tips to help you sleep more comfortably:

  • Create a comfortable sleep environment: Ensure your bedroom is conducive to sleep. Keep the room cool, dark, and quiet. Use earplugs, eye masks, or white noise machines if needed. Consider using a humidifier if you have congestion or a dry throat.
  • Elevate your upper body: If you are experiencing respiratory symptoms, propping yourself with extra pillows or using an adjustable bed can help ease breathing difficulties and reduce coughing during sleep.
  • Practice good sleep hygiene: Establish a regular sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at consistent times. Avoid napping too close to bedtime, limit caffeine intake, and avoid stimulating activities or electronic devices before bed.
  • Manage anxiety and stress: Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or listening to calming music, to help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation before sleep.
  • Seek symptom relief: Follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations for managing your COVID-19 symptoms. It may include taking prescribed medications, using cough suppressants as directed, or using saline nasal sprays to alleviate congestion. By relieving discomfort, you may be able to sleep more comfortably.
  • Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day to stay hydrated. However, avoid excessive fluid intake close to bedtime to prevent frequent trips to the bathroom during the night.
  • Consult with a healthcare professional: If your sleep disturbances persist or worsen or you have any concerns about your symptoms, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider for guidance and appropriate medical care.

Give yourself permission to rest and recover during this time. Each individual’s experience with COVID-19 can vary, so it’s essential to adapt these recommendations based on your specific needs and the guidance of your healthcare provider.