Stress from pandemic, election taking toll on sleep, experts say

A person sleeping in a bed. (FOX 9)

For too many people, that good night of sleep quickly disappeared with the start of the pandemic.

“So we, because of COVID are even more stressed to fit everything in and the temptation can be to sacrifice sleep,” said Dr. Lois Krahn, a Mayo Clinic psychiatrist and sleep specialist.

Dr. Krahn says people are not only sacrificing sleep, but losing sleep to the stress.

“This is a time of tremendous uncertainty,” she said. “People don’t know whether they are adequately following the recommendations to reduce the spread of COVID, whether their social distancing is sufficient. They don’t know the virus status of the people around them. They don’t know the prospects of their employer. And so there is a great deal of stress and worry.”
One of the ways to help reduce stress is by keeping a routine.

“Keeping that schedule is very important,” said Dr. Muhammad Rishi, a Mayo Clinic pulmonologist. “For example, making sure that you are at getting to bed at the right time and making sure you’re waking up a that the right time, and exercise, for example, those routines throughout the day, the structures throughout the day should not fall off.”  

The election and the constant access to news and information is also taking its toll.

“And I think we all have to be careful about what we’re watching and thinking about as we go to bed,” said Dr. Krahn. “And to ease up a bit at looking a social media, looking at conventional media. Because if you then come across a troubling, upsetting, thought provoking idea, that’s going to make it very difficult to relax and drift off to sleep.”