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Clinical insomnia up 37% during pandemic and it’s expected to get worse

Updated: Nov. 23, 2020 at 4:09 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -Having trouble getting a good night’s sleep lately? You aren’t alone.

Sleeplessness is getting worse during this pandemic and it’s leading to a dangerous trend.

Just like we’re experiencing a second surge COVID cases, sleep clinics are “swimming in insomnia cases” right now and they expect it to get worse.

Prior to COVID only about 54% of Americans were getting seven to eight hours of sleep, according to the Better Sleep Council.

But Americans are getting even less sleep now during the pandemic, with 52% qualifying their sleep as poor or fair.

A recent study cited by the Better Sleep Council found that clinical insomnia is up 37% this year.

And according to Express Scripts, prescriptions for sleep medications is up 14%.

“That is significant because that’s been trending down over the past few years, because we’re finding out how risky these medications are and that any potential benefit does not outweigh those risks,” said Better Sleep Council Nurse Practitioner, Ellen Wermter.

Wermter, says control what you can, have a regular bed time and wake time, keep meal times routine, and make sure to get exercise and light exposure daily.

She also suggests avoiding quick fixes like alcohol, overeating or doom scrolling, and staying away social media or news for about an hour before bed.

“Some people who were initially struggling have sort of gotten over that bump in the road and what we are seeing now are the people who have the fatigue that’s setting in over time and they’re not able to cope with it as well. And now they’re starting to shift that anxiety from ‘I’m just anxious over health problems and finances,’ to now “I’m also anxious because I can’t sleep,” Wermter said.

This is important, she said, because sleep does affect your immunity, as we endure this pandemic and avoid getting sick, and you won’t have as robust an immune response if you’re not getting enough sleep.

Wertmer said it’s time to see a doctor or go to a sleep clinic when it’s starting to affect your mood and your ability to function normally.

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