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Disrupted sleep due to the Pandemic?

Insomnia and circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorders, delayed-type, are the two disorders most likely to be impacted by the pandemic. Insomnia is characterized by difficulties falling or staying asleep that occur despite having the adequate opportunity for sleep, and it is not better explained by other medical or psychiatric disorders or by the use of substances. Circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorder, delayed-type, is experienced as difficulty waking up in the morning and falling asleep at a societal normative time, but when going to bed and waking up later, sleep is not an issue.

Many physical and mental health conditions may have disturbed sleep as one of its symptoms. Examples include:


Post-traumatic stress disorder.

  • Night-time panic attacks.

  • Physical conditions that cause acute or chronic pain.

Sometimes medications used to treat physical conditions have insomnia symptoms as side effects.

People of all ages need to take time to recline. During the unwinding period, do things that you enjoy effortlessly; but make sure they are not too activating. This is a personal choice. If someone tells you to read a book or listen to calming music that has helped them but you find boring, recognize that this is not the right thing for you.

If you are awake in the middle of the night and are having difficulty falling back asleep, take a break from trying to sleep. If you keep trying you will get frustrated or upset, making it more difficult to sleep. Instead, focus on resting. During this break from trying to sleep, do something restful, such as reading or listening to content that you enjoy, which is not too activating. Getting oriented to what you need to do the next day is rarely very restful. Hopping on exercise equipment is too activating. These are obvious things you should not do. Again what is comfy for you might be unique to you; the vital thing to do is stop trying to sleep.

Create a structure for your day. The pandemic may have disrupted the format you used to have but you can still create a new design. This begins with starting the day at roughly the same time every morning and ideally having some social interaction early in the day. This interaction does not need to be elaborate; a short phone call will do.

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