HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM) — Have you been having trouble sleeping since the start of the pandemic? You might be suffering from what experts are calling ‘coronasomnia.’
Coronasomnia is described as the interference of sleep due to the pandemic. Insomnia specialist Dr. Lisa Medalie says that things like stress from online work and school, along with decreased exercise and increased screen time, are just a few factors to coronasomnia.
Dr. Medalie stated that generally stress and anxiety circulates around the coronavirus pandemic. She explained that it is one of the leading factors that keep adults and even children awake at night, as children have noticed that their surroundings and general way of life is now very different.
Dr. Medalie went on to explain that more than half of the population in the United States are struggling from coronasomnia, or sleep problems. She stated that realizing that you might be struggling to sleep or your child is struggling to sleep is the first step towards beginning to treat coronasomnia.
Dr. Medalie has four tips that she recommends to prevent or combat coronasomnia.
First, she recommended parents must have their children sleep in their own beds.
“With everybody worried and wanting extra hugs and extra help with coping, kids are crawling into bed more than ever these days,” Dr. Medalie explained. “So, keeping them out of the [your] bed is a non-negotiable. It robs your little cutie of the time and effort to be able to work on their own coping skills.”
Second, Dr. Medalie said everyone needs to schedule one hour of “me time.” She explained that with increased time at home with working from home and virtual learning, families do not have time alone. She also highly recommended an hour of relaxing in the form of an at-home spa, stressing that the body must transition into a peaceful and relaxed state before sleeping.
“Schedule ‘me time.’ Everybody in the home needs one hour of me time before bed to get into a calm and relaxed space before sleep,” she said.
Third, Dr. Medalie said to shut off all screens and devices one hour before bedtime, explaining that the blue light emitted by the screen of a device prevents the brain from producing melatonin.
“So, we don’t want you glued to those bluelight devices before, and also, the content is way too engaging,” she explained. “What we recommend for families and for parents is to tie bedtime screen removal with earned screen time the next day.”
She added that parents should not wait until minutes before their child’s scheduled bedtime to take devices and expect their children to go right to sleep. Children should have one hour to wind down and potentially avoid the conflict that could come with handing over their device, she said.
She also stressed that people should turn to credible sources when researching information about coronasomnia and other insomnia-related subjects, pointing to research-backed behavioral interventions.
Meanwhile, Dr. Medalie is the founder of the ‘DrLullaby’ app, which is designed to help children of all ages and their parents by creating age-appropriate customized sleep plans relating to the type of sleep problem experienced. The app guides parents through a set of simple questions about their kids’ sleep habits and tracks progress through nightly sleep logs.
She recommended that people use online or telehealth options, even apps like DrLullaby, as in-person visits are unavailable to some people at this time.