April 25th: The Crucified Christ walks among us
April 20, 2020
Remembering Fr Reginald Hezekiah
April 21, 2020

COVID-19 worries keeping you up?

By Kaelanne Jordan
Email: mediarelations.camsel@catholictt.org
Twitter: @kaelanne1

Sleep is the most overlooked need for overall good health and quality of life. “And it is time to make a change because how you sleep is how you live,” says licensed Respiratory Therapist and Founder/CEO of iSD Health Solutions-Gregory Arneaud.

According to Arneaud, anxieties from COVID-19 has detrimental effects on the quantity and quality of sleep, one’s immune function and vulnerability to infectious diseases like COVID-19.

Adequate sleep, not pills, he stated, is the most holistic way to boost one’s immune system.

Information from iSD Health Solutions states that insomnia is the most common sleep complaint. Insomnia occurs when you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep or do not feel refreshed in the morning even though you had the opportunity to get a full night of sleep.

iSD Health Solutions has the expertise of Board-Certified Sleep Physicians and Certified Respiratory Therapists to educate and treat sufferers of Sleep Apnea and other Sleep Disorders within the Caribbean region.

The causes, symptoms and severity of insomnia vary from person to person. Insomnia may include:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Difficulty staying asleep throughout the night
  • Waking up too early in the morning
  • Poor quality of sleep, or feeling tired in the morning

The effects of insomnia can impact nearly every aspect of your life.

Studies show that insomnia negatively affects work performance, impairs decision-making and can damage relationships. In most cases, people with insomnia report a worse overall quality of life.

“Everyone has the occasional night of poor sleep. In many cases this is due to staying up too late or waking up too early. This does not mean you have insomnia; it means you didn’t get enough sleep,” according to iSD Health Solutions website.

Anyone may have insomnia. As many as 30 per cent of adults complain of insomnia. It is more common in groups such as older adults, women, people under stress and people with certain medical and mental health problems such as depression.

There are two types of insomnia based on duration. Acute insomnia is more common than chronic insomnia:

  • Acute insomnia: This type of insomnia lasts for a short time—from several nights up to three weeks—and goes away on its on without treatment.
  • Chronic insomnia: Insomnia that lasts more than three weeks is classified as chronic insomnia. Nearly 1 in 10 people have chronic insomnia, which often requires some form of treatment to go away.

While there may be “80 plus” different types of sleeping disorders, another potentially serious sleep disorder Arneaud mentioned is sleep apnea. While insomnia affects the quantity of sleep, sleep apnea affects the quality of sleep, compromising one’s airway, breathing and circulation.

“And why it is most dangerous because it affects the body’s ability to get oxygen to the brain, heart and vital organs during sleep….Unfortunately, people live with this condition undiagnosed and/or untreated for many years, simply because it is seldom identified in routine physical examinations with a physician while awake”.

This issue only occurs while asleep during a non-recall state of mind, meaning you have no clue it’s even happening.  Most often a bedside partner would be the first to recognise the symptoms and also be one to lose countless nights of good rest because of it.

While sleep apnea is most recognised in persons who snore, snoring is not a sole indicator of sleep apnea.

Why sleep is important during COVID-19

Not getting enough sleep also weakens one’s immune system.

“We have a need to address monitoring our oxygen levels more than before because of the COVID-19. It’s a flu that affects your ability to oxygenate your brain and body,” Arneaud said.

Arneaud spoke of technology available that monitors one’s oxygen levels while they are awake or asleep. It’s called a pulse oximeter, iSD plans to soon offer a pulse oximeter device next month that is easy to wear on your wrist like a watch with an attachment to the finger, similar to a wedding ring.  If at any time you are monitoring your oxygen with this device and an event occurs where there is a drastic drop in your oxygen level, the device will notify you immediately by vibrating on your finger and recording that event to be reviewed on a app on your smartphone and can be used to send this information of your status to your doctor for his review. Once the oxygen has dropped to a low setting it will arouse you to possibly awaken and allow you to readjust your sleeping position to end the apneic episode. This in some cases will help someone that suffers from sleep apnea or hypoxemia better understand the seriousness of their condition and possibly convince them to seek medical attention.

Smokers and persons with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), bronchitis, asthma, and emphysema are those who are at greater risk of mortality and usually don’t survive COVID-19. “Primarily because their lungs have been compromised prior to the infection,” Arneaud said.

Research studies have indicated that during sleep, your body produces and releases cytokines, a protein that targets infection and creates an immune response. Without sleep, you produce fewer of these proteins and you don’t give your body enough time to utilise any cytokines once an infection is present, essentially hindering your own body’s ability to fight infection.

While sleep alone cannot prevent you from getting sick, a sleep-deprived person is more likely to struggle with illness and experience harsher symptoms and longer recovery time. Getting high quality sleep each night will help ensure you are better prepared to fight off infection and bounce back quicker from any illness that does arise.

Here are 4 tips to help you avoid insomnia during quarantine:

  1. Try to maintain a regular bedtime routine. Arneaud advises if you go to bed at a fixed time, go to bed that time consistently. “This is important to keep that cycle of your biological clock working,” he said.
  2. Relax. In preparing the body for sleep, Arneaud suggests meditation exercises before bed time, dimming lights in the room, deep breathing exercises and even listening to calming music.
  3. Avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol. Avoid coffee, sodas or food and drinks high in sugar before bedtime.
  4. Stay physically active. When you’re stuck at home, it’s important to find ways to be physically active. Get creative.

Visit FreeiSDSleepTest.com for your free sleep consultation.