Sleep Disorders & COVID-19: What You Need to Know
The coronavirus pandemic has ushered in a period of great uncertainty for most people. Here, at Sleep Health Solutions, we have heard from clients with a lot of concerns about insomnia, fatigue, sleep apnea, and other respiratory sleep disorders as they relate to COVID-19.
In order to be a point of reference in this difficult time, we have formulated the following page. Here we provide information about sleep disorders as a risk factor for contracting COVID-19, the link between the pandemic and symptoms like sleep deprivation, anxiety, and fatigue, and answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
Get more information about risk factors and symptoms related to sleep disorders, including sleep apnea, insomnia (or ‘coronasomnia’), and Post-COVID Fatigue Syndrome.
Concerns about CPAP Therapy
For those with obstructive sleep apnea, continuing with CPAP therapy while sleeping is important. However, some other factors should be considered during this time of pandemic in order to use it safely. You should pay special attention to cleaning and disinfecting the CPAP machine, replacing the filter as recommended, and using it away from others who may be at greater risk for contracting COVID-19.
Sleep Deprivation as a Possible Risk Factor for Coronavirus
Doctors have long known that sleep deprivation damages your health. Studies have shown a strong correlation between the amount of sleep that someone gets at night and their body’s ability to protect itself and recover from infections. In short, getting the recommended amount of sleep helps boost the immune system.
When we look at COVID-19, specialists believe that good quality sleep can reduce the risk. Being well-rested increases your body’s resistance to contracting the infection and helps your ability to fight it off.
Sleeplessness Due to the Pandemic
Healthcare professionals are seeing an increase in patients reporting anxiety, depression, and sleeplessness. The physical and psychological issues are often connected and, during the COVID-19 pandemic, they are exacerbated by multiple factors:
- High stress and general uncertainty,
- Social isolation and lack of support from others,
- Economic hardship,
- Concerns for one’s health and the health of loved ones,
- Fears about the future,
- Disruption or lack of daily routines,
- Lockdown fatigue,
- Increased screen time,
- Less time for relaxation and self-care.
Insomnia Is on the Rise Because of COVID-19
The explanation above applies here as well. More people are experiencing anxiety caused the pandemic itself and the measures put in place to prevent the spread of the virus and protect people’s health, including stay-at-home orders, lockdowns, travel bans, and social distancing. As a result, more are also suffering from sleeplessness.
When difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep become long-term, this is called insomnia. And recently a new term has been coined to describe insomnia during this period; it’s called COVID-Somnia.
Just like with other viral infections, those recovering from COVID-19 may feel tired and lack energy for a period of time. According to the CDC, about 35% of patients recovering from the coronavirus feel fatigued for longer than other post-viral syndromes. Symptoms can persist for weeks following clinical recovery and after testing negative.
Sleep Disorder Services at Sleep Health Solutions – COVID-19 Precautions
- Postponing laboratory sleep studies for all clients. We are evaluating potential urgent requests on a case-by-case basis.
- Providing HSAT services, using only disposable HSAT devices. We use disposable parts and thoroughly disinfect the fixed components.
- The Sleep Health Solutions clinic is open for phone calls, telemedicine visits, remote sleep coaching, and emergency in-person visits.
- We will work with clients if it’s necessary to extend scheduled sleep study evaluations and follow-up visits.
- Our staff is relaxing the requirements for face-to-face evaluations. To facilitate care and help protect the health of our clients, we are favoring telehealth as the safest option whenever in-person visits can be substituted.