Is your sleep not what it used to be? Does your mind race when your head hits the pillow? Do you wake up at 4am and struggle to fall back asleep? Are you feeling drowsy and sleep-deprived no matter how many hours you spend in bed?
For many people, sleeping poorly was the norm before the pandemic. Then the stress, anxiety and disruptions made our nightly slumber worse, giving rise to terms like “coronasomnia” to describe the surge in sleep disturbances last year. But recently, sleep experts noticed something that astonished them: More than a year into the pandemic, our collective sleep only continued to deteriorate.
In a survey of thousands of adults last summer, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that 20 per cent of Americans said they had trouble sleeping because of the pandemic. But when the academy repeated its survey 10 months later, in March, those numbers rose dramatically. Roughly 60 per cent of people said they struggled with pandemic-related insomnia, and nearly half reported that the quality of their sleep had diminished – even though infection rates have fallen and the country is opening back up.
“A lot of people thought that our sleep should be getting better because we can see the light at the end of the tunnel – but it’s worse now than it was last year,” said Dr Fariha Abbasi-Feinberg, a sleep medicine specialist and spokeswoman for the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. “People are still really struggling.”