Insomnia is recognised by the NHS as one symptom of long Covid people can experience. There are many others, with there being no bearing on how ill a person was with coronavirus and the long-term after effects. There are 23 “common symptoms” of long Covid listed by the NHS, which may require medical assistance if they persist for more than four weeks.
Insomnia “means you regularly have problems sleeping”, which means you find it hard to fall asleep.
You might wake up several times during the night, or lie awake the whole time, wishing you were sleeping.
Maybe you get up much earlier than needed, and have a hard time falling back asleep?
Insomnia may also influence the way you feel in the morning, such as feeling tired instead of refreshed.
Even though you may feel exhausted, you’re unable to take a nap during the day.
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This means you’re more likely to feel irritable throughout the day; it could also affect your levels of concentration.
Do I get enough shuteye?
On average, adults “need” between seven to nine hours of sleep every night to function at their best.
“You probably do not get enough sleep if you’re constantly tired during the day,” said the NHS.
As well as long Covid, common triggers can include:
- Stress, anxiety or depression
- A room that’s too hot or cold
- Uncomfortable beds
- Alcohol, caffeine or nicotine
- Recreational drugs like cocaine or ecstasy
- Jet lag
- Shift work
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Tips to fall asleep
To help combat insomnia, and finally get a good night’s rest, you need to ensure you have a healthy sleep schedule.
This means you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, no matter the situation.
It’s advisable to relax one hour before bedtime, either by taking a bath or reading a book.
Creating a good sleeping environment is paramount – make sure the bedroom is dark and quiet, and the bedding is comfortable.
The NHS added that it could help to regularly exercise during the day to aid sleep.
What not to do
There are also some pointers on what not to do, which may make matters worse.
This includes smoking or drinking alcohol, tea, or coffee within six hours before going to bed.
You’ll also need to avoid a big meal late at night, and exercising four hours before bedtime.
The national health body also suggests not watching TV or using electronic devices right before bed, as the light emitted can make you feel more awake.
No matter how terrible you may have slept the night before, keep to a good sleep schedule and refrain from sleeping in the following morning.
If changing your sleeping habits haven’t worked, and you’ve had trouble sleeping for months, it’s best you speak to your GP.
Other signs of long Covid are:
- Extreme tiredness (fatigue)
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain or tightness
- Problems with memory and concentration (“brain fog”)
- Heart palpitations
- Pins and needles
- Joint pain
- Depression and anxiety
- Tinnitus, earaches
- Feeling sick, diarrhoea, stomach aches, loss of appetite
- A high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat, changes to sense of smell or taste
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