Trouble Sleeping during COVID-19


Millions of people suffered from insomnia before the COVID-19 pandemic, and unfortunately, the outbreak creates new challenges even for people who previously had no sleeping problems. Dr. Lisa Marie Barber, a pediatric pulmonologist and sleep medicine specialist at Dell Children’s was recently featured on Spectrum News with important sleep information.

In her work, Barber says she’s observed adolescents and teens experiencing “a shift in the natural sleep-wake rhythm toward being a night owl” thanks to the disrupted routines caused by quarantining.  Dr. Barber recommends having a reliable structure in place to help children “feel more secure.” Having a “meaningful conversation” with children who are anxious or worried about the coronavirus news coverage they’re seeing can also be reassuring. According to Dr. Barber, an ample amount of sleep can support the immune system. Therefore, a good night’s sleep puts us in the best position to protect from and fight off viruses like COVID-19.

Anyone can experience insomnia, and here are a few things to try to remedy the situation:

  • If you’re home all day, you may be tempted to take more naps. While a short power nap early in the afternoon can be useful to some people, it’s best to avoid long naps or naps later in the day.
  • Some people oversleep each morning. Sleeping more than seven to eight hours per night can make waking up on time much more difficult. Oversleepers may also feel groggy, irritable and unfocused during the day.
  • Grief and depression can be worsened by isolation at home, and both are known to have the potential to cause significant sleeping problems.

Good sleep habits can help you get a good night’s sleep and your health:

  • Be consistent. Go to bed at the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning, including on the weekends.
  • Make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature.
  • Remove electronic devices, such as TVs, computers, and smartphones, from the bedroom.
  • Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime.
  • Get some exercise. Being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night.