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If you’ve struggled to sleep during the pandemic, you’re not alone. Insomnia and other sleep problems have dramatically increased since lockdown began in March, new research suggests, with women with young children, key workers and BAME people most affected.
The research, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and conducted by the University of Southampton, found one in six people experienced sleep problems before the pandemic, compared to one in four after lockdown had been implemented.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, it found the first four weeks of lockdown led to the sharpest increase in sleepless nights – but insomnia still persists, even with lockdown restrictions easing. Financial worry, childcare stress, loneliness and health concerns are still preventing the nation from nodding off.
We can’t change the situation, but there are things we can all do to give ourselves a better chances of sleep. We asked people who’ve experienced insomnia during the pandemic to share what’s worked for them.
Meditation and a hot shower
Liana Fricker, 38, from Surrey, says she didn’t have sleeping problems before the pandemic, but running her own business (The Inspiration Space) alongside homeschooling two children led to stress and insomnia.
“The adrenaline pumping through me during the day as I tried to balance it all, not to mention hours and hours of Zoom meetings each day, meant my mind was in hyperdrive by the evening,” she says. “Bedtime was usually midnight or 1am and then, without skipping a beat, I would be wide awake at 3am.”
Fricker says this pattern was consistent until she discovered the Calm meditation sleep app in June. She...