The Prevalence of Parasomnia After The Pandemic


We’ve probably all had sleepless or restless nights of sleep, one time or another. Maybe something stressful happened during the day or a huge exam the following day caused us to study late into the night. In more extreme cases, some people will have a type of parasomnia, like insomnia, nightmares, or sleepwalking—we’ve heard it all. The fact is, these sleep disorders are very common in the US, though some more than others. Long-term insomnia alone is prevalent among 10 percent of American adults (T., 2020). However, after the pandemic, sleep disorders have been on the rise in households all over the country, not discriminating by age—coronasomnia, they call this whole ordeal (UC Davis Health, P., 2020). 

It shouldn’t be all that surprising that people’s snooze would be another consequence of the virus. With the start of lockdowns, everyone’s routines began to change. We could no longer roam in public as we used to, with no care of brushing past bodies or making any sort of physical contact. Businesses and jobs were either shut down or negatively affected, and kids’ schooling switched to remote online learning. Being confined to their house every day, everyone tried to adjust to these new changes and, though cheesy, could only wonder about what the future would bring. With that being said, it’s no wonder why stress came knocking on almost every household’s door. 

It goes without saying that no one wants to develop any sleep disorder, especially not insomnia. Who would want to go to bed at night and stare at their ceiling for hours or toss and turn till the sun rises? What person would be fine with dozing off into the dreamland in the middle of work or a class zoom meeting? Well, kids and adults don’t. And certainly not teachers and employers. Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that the constant stress and routine changes have messed with a lot of people’s sleep schedules and quality of rest. More and more people are becoming living day zombies—and we thought the virus only brought a deadly flu.

Quality of sleep can be everything in determining how a person gets through the day. It can affect their mood, work performance, alertness, and health (Rehman, A., 2020). I remember how before the pandemic, I used to stay up late at night either doing homework or some time-wasting activities on my laptop. The next morning I’d wake up in the foulest of moods because I felt so tired, like someone on the verge of getting a fever. My mood probably wouldn’t change till afternoon, when the sun was shining the brightest, but until then, everyone would be met with my scowling and sleepy expressions. Definitely not a great way to make people enjoy my company, let alone brighten their own moods. That’s not to even mention my attentiveness during morning classes; I’m sure those professors wouldn’t be too keen at the prospect of writing me letters of recommendation. 

Come pandemic, nothing changed… for me. I never had real insomnia; I just liked staying up till late, thus keeping my amount of sleep the same as before. But for the first time, the faces I saw during class zoom meetings would reflect my sleepy expression. Most people would keep their cameras off, mind you, but privately, they would confess that it was because they had just gotten out of bed, crusty-eyed and all, or wanted to continue sleeping while letting the class session continue and count them for the attendance. With everything online and class lectures being recorded, why bother with a routine when you can go at your own pace however you want?

This kind of thinking is precisely how many students ruined their own schedules and sleep cycles. The same can be said for adults. The pandemic is over and life from before is starting to somewhat resume, but it isn’t all quite the same. People are just finding it hard to adjust to changes again. Even though most are just sick of the confinement to their homes, the one perceived positive thing was being allowed to play by your own schedule. After months of this, having to follow the company or school’s routine again may be difficult to accept and get back into doing. The toll this plays on sleep is no better than during the pandemic itself. And thus, there is a rise of sleeping disorders among our masses, which has also inadvertently caused our public places to be filled with sleepy-faced zombies.

 

References

Rehman, A. (2020, October 16). Shift work disorder: Overview and complications. Retrieved March 08, 2021, from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/shift-work-disorder

T., (2020, January 27). Insomnia facts & statistics. Retrieved March 08, 2021, from https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/mental-health/insomnia/related/insomnia-statistics/

UC Davis Health, P. (n.d.). COVID-19 is wrecking our sleep with coronasomnia – tips to fight back. Retrieved March 08, 2021, from https://health.ucdavis.edu/health-news/newsroom/covid-19-is-wrecking-our-sleep-with-coronasomnia–tips-to-fight-back-/2020/09

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