Insomnia and night-time awakening, the sleep disorders that have increased the most during confinement
- Insomnia can significantly alter an individual’s metabolic health and predispose them to diabetes.
- Quirónsalud specialists offer their advice on how to ensure a healthy sleep in the new normal.
Job instability, problems arising out of living together with the partner, lack of exercise outdoors and exposure to the sun have exacerbated sleep disorders during confinement, mainly insomnia and night-time awakening, as stated by Dr. Esteban de Vicente, Sleep Unit specialist at Quirónsalud Alicante and Torrevieja. These disorders are clearly affecting people’s health.
Sleep has a toxin-purifying effect. During the day we accumulate substances from our own metabolic activity such as adenosine or from cellular activity such as glutamate or beta-amyloid which are eliminated during sleep. This accumulation of substances is produced in the brain as a result of lack of sleep, preventing its normal functioning, making it difficult to have clear ideas, altering moods, causing irritability, etc. (Dr. Teresa Lluch, Sleep Unit specialist at Quirónsalud Murcia hospital)
Besides, insomnia can significantly alter an individual’s metabolic health and predispose them to diabetes “by up to 40% if it becomes chronic,” says Dr. de Vicente, “and cause memory loss, speech disorders, learning difficulties, and loss of creative and problem-solving abilities.”
Tips for a healthy sleep in the new normal
For Dr. Lluch, sleep is a reflection of our daytime activity, so leading a healthy life with regard to food and exercise will help us.
In general,” she points out, “it is very important to remember that sleep depends on an organised life, with regular schedules for sleeping and above all avoiding anything that can activate us before bedtime, such as physical exercise, getting upset, excessive worry or taking any kind of stimulant such as coffee or smoking.
As for sleeping pills, the doctor reminds us that they are unhealthy and have contraindications, so we must learn to sleep on our own and enhance behaviours that help us.
To once again ensure good sleep hygiene, the sleep specialist at Quirónsalud Torrevieja and Alicante, Dr. De Vicente, advises to follow these simple tips:
- Set up regular schedules and routines including sleep schedules for the entire population and especially for those who suffer from sleep disorders.
- As a general rule, naps should only be taken by those who do not suffer from insomnia and must keep it to less than 30 minutes.
- Get adequate exposure to sunlight during the day, especially in the early hours of the day during the walk or if it is not possible in the balcony to synchronize our biological clock.
- Do not sleep during daytime except for naps and do not use the bedroom during the day.
- Exercise daily in the early hours of the day, never just before going to bed.
- Limit or avoid the use of mobile devices, especially before bedtime as these alert us, stimulate us and make our rest periods worse.
- Avoid worrying thoughts or news about the current situation before sleeping at least 2 hours before going to bed.
- Have a relaxing bedtime ritual, like a warm bath before going to sleep in order to help you reconcile with your body and get a good night’s sleep.