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Stress from the coronavirus can lead to insomnia, expert says

Sleep hygiene is imperative to being productive.

WASHINGTON — Insomnia because of the coronavirus pandemic is having an impact on more and more people. The National Sleep Foundation said the disruption from our normal lives can lead to sleep problems.

When our morning alarm goes off, many of us are heading to our kitchen tables to begin our workday; some of us after having a poor night’s sleep.

“Sleep hygiene, it is again what I said, exercise, diet, 'what are you doing before you go to bed?'” Dr. Morel said.

Dr. Morel, a psychiatrist, said maintaining good sleeping habits during the stay-at-home orders are imperative to being productive each day. She said the stresses from the lack of sleep because of the global pandemic can have negative impacts.

“Sleep is so important to your mental health whether you have a mental health diagnosis, or if you don't have sleep, you can give yourself mental health symptoms such as anxiety and depression because your sleep is just not a good schedule.” Dr. Morel added.

Just a few bad nights of sleep can throw off your mood.

“You're exhausted and then you get short you, get a little agitated, and then you've got other people around you don't tolerate things as well,” Dr. Morel said.

Dr. Morel recommends pressing the "off" button on our devices. 

“Turn the screens off an hour before bed. That means a computer, phone, TV, anything with a blue screen is activating, and it will keep you awake,” she said.

You may be turning to sleep aids. 

“Melatonin takes a while to metabolize and get to those receptors in your brain. So, you need to take it at least two hours before you want to go to sleep.”

Dr. Morel said there can be side effects from other sleep aids. 

“As far as Zzzquil, things like that, that's essentially a medication with Benadryl in it. So, there's all kinds of side effects of Benadryl. One would be sedation. A lot of people don't respond really well to Benadryl; they get really tired, their focus gets off. Then their sinuses get really dry, you feel like you need to drink a lot. It can cause some urinary retention, especially in the older men. So maybe, if you're trying to reset your sleep cycle from a flight, and you're doing it for a couple of days, but to do it long term it can cause some downward affects medically.” 

Another suggestion Dr. Morel had was to back away from the fridge. Stress eating and an unbalanced diet can also throw off your sleep cycle.

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