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COVID pandemic brings an ‘epidemic of sleep deprivation’

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Have trouble sleeping? You’re not alone. Sleep disorders have grown so prevalent since the start of the pandemic, there’s a name for it — “coronasomnia. That got me wondering, as I yet again tossed and turned for much of the night, if this would have long-term consequences for society.

Simply put, is this the new normal? Are we now, thanks to the pandemic, a nation of lousy sleepers?

“I don’t think we’re forever doomed,” said Dr. Ronald Chervin, director of the Sleep Disorders Centers at the University of Michigan. “But I’d say we’re now in an epidemic of sleep deprivation.”

Every sleep expert I spoke with said things probably would get better when the COVID-19 pandemic finally eased. (Coronavirus cases have surged in recent days in Los Angeles County and throughout California.)

But each also acknowledged that, although many people may be sleeping just fine, millions of others, like me, can’t remember the last time they got a decent night’s shut-eye.

“We need to think about the epidemic of chronic insomnia that will follow the pandemic,” said Donn Posner, an adjunct clinical associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University and head of the firm Sleepwell Consultants.

“Clearly, this has been a stressful couple of years for several reasons — COVID, politics,” he told me. “Stress can lead to chronic insomnia, and chronic insomnia can take on a life of its own.”

A recent study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found that more than half of all Americans have had problems sleeping since the start of the pandemic. The academy’s survey of about 2,000 U.S. adults determined that 56% had trouble falling or staying asleep. Respondents also said that they tended to have “more disturbing” dreams when they did manage to nod off.

These issues were most pronounced among people in the prime of life. Nearly three-quarters of respondents ages 35 to 44 reported suffering from coronasomnia.

Michael Perlis, director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program at the University of Pennsylvania, said it was natural for people to sleep poorly amid heightened stress and anxiety.

“Evolution of God programmed us not to sleep when there’s a perceived threat,” he said. “If you have a lion looking at you and licking its lips, you shouldn’t go to sleep.”

Molly Aronson

Molly Aronson is a 26-year-old government politician who enjoys bowling, running and jigsaw puzzles. She is creative and exciting, but can also be very greedy and a bit greedy.She is an australian Christian who defines herself as straight. She has a post-graduate degree in philosophy, politics and economics. She is allergic to grasshoppers.

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