KOCHI: Dileep Kumar, who works with a popular advertisement company in Kochi, realised recently that he was slowly missing his sleep hygiene. He takes longer time to sleep at night and wakes up very late. He shared his concerns with his colleagues and found that most of them too have been experiencing a similar change in their sleep pattern. They attribute it to lesser workload during lockdown and flexibility of duty timings. “When we had a lot of assignments to complete within a deadline, things were different. The amount of work has come down now. People turn to gadgets nowadays and sometimes watch movies online. The web series is also popular these days. They find them so interesting and often end up binge-watching them,” said Dileep
A Kochi-based journalist, who does not wish to be named, said he is tempted to take a nap in the afternoon and it has become compulsive. “I go to bed very late these days, still I get up early in the morning. One of the reasons may be that I get time to sleep in the afternoon. If I miss the afternoon nap, I run out of energy in the evening,” he said.
Jibin P, an MPEd student at SAI, Thiruvananthapuram, said, when he was in the hostel, he used to get up at 5.30am and follow the timetable and sleep at around 12.30am. But his sleeping pattern was disturbed once he returned to his house during the first wave of Covid.
“I started watching web series. I started to sleep around 2am and get up at noon. During the second wave, the foreign football matches started. Now I sleep at 5am and wake up at 2pm. We’ll shift to the earlier schedule without any complications when we get back to college campus,” Jibin said.Experts are not taking things that lightly. According to Dr C J John, senior consultant psychiatrist at Medical Trust Hospital, most of the activities have turned online, that too at night.
“Clubhouse has become popular among Keralites and the discussions there last for five hours or more. So, imagine the plight of a participant who joins a discussion at 9pm. Generally there is an economic crisis attached to the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown. So people are worried about finances, loans and even the daily expenses. This leads to stress and insomnia. In order to kill time, they resort to gadgets, which again adds to the issue,” he said. John said students do not have a daily routine these days and they have the luxury of getting up late.
Post lockdown, the cases of insomnia have increased due to various health and socio-economic factors, says Dr Dinesh N, professor and head of psychiatry, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences. Many people lose their sleep discipline due to overuse of social media, he added.“When a working community sits idle for a long time at home, their level of boredom increases. Apart from that, their regular activities are also stopped. In an isolated state, people fail to recognise between days and their sleep will reduce. The number of patients seeking medication for insomnia increased during the lockdown,” said Dr Dinesh.
Dr Sandhya Cherkil, neuropsychologist at Aster Medcity, Kochi, said screen addiction was a major cause of insomnia. She added sometimes people have to undergo certain therapies to overcome the situation. “Reading, exercise and sleep hygiene can help them regain sleep within a considerable period,” she said.
Do some exercise everyday
Eat an early dinner and avoid heavy meal
Fix your time to go to bed and get up, including on weekends
Make reading a daily habit or listen to music for at least a few minutes
Avoid screen time (electronic devices such as TVs, computers and smartphones) for at least one-and-a-half hours before you go to bed