Stay at Home Insomnia

By: Saskia Geneus

It seems like the coronavirus pandemic has upended every part of normal life; from what we’re eating to how we celebrate birthdays. There’s a sense of anxiety running through even the most normal basic actions and you know what happens when you worry or are anxious all day, every day? Your sleep suffers. 

Anxiety and insomnia go pretty much together, if you have one it’s likely you’ll suffer from the other. The real kicker is that now, in a time when we’re all doing our very best to stay healthy our poor sleep is wrecking our immune systems.  Sleeping is a part of being healthy!  Since school is closed and daily routines are out the window, not to mention a decrease in physical activity, kids are staying up later doing any and everything.  A student, Michael Angelo Toussaint, 17 years old, states 

“My friends are up around this time too (2 to 4AM and even later) [playing] games or [on] house party. But to be honest if I had [to go] school I would not be doing this because let’s say I have to be up for an exam I’d be tired.  Since I am staying up doing something fun, having quality times with my friend, spreading [good] energy, then I am going to stay up and not notice the time go by.  I end up sleeping in the morning.”

Older kids need more sleep than they think and with puberty and the biological changes, it is more difficult for teens to fall asleep even during normal routine (before quarantine). Now the stress of isolation and the anxiety of a global crisis can just force and make worse their inability to fall asleep at a decent hour. 

The most important thing we can do for our families right now is to take care of ourselves and that means prioritizing sleep, not only for them, but for us as well.   So, what can we do?  It’s not like the anxiety is going to let up any time soon, so how can we get better sleep when it feels like our world is crumbling around us?  According to Dr. Clark from Health.com, the trick to tricking your insomnia is to keep your brain occupied with a task but not so occupied that it keeps you up.