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Is insomnia a Covid symptom? What experts say about connection between lack of sleep and coronavirus

Covid-19 rates are high once again, and many will be dealing with the symptoms that come with that.

More than 360,000 people have tested positive in the past seven days, and almost 16,500 were admitted to hospital.

Here’s everything you need to know about if sleep is affected by Covid-19.

Is insomnia connected to Covid?

The NHS currently lists insomnia as one of the symptoms of long Covid-19, but a study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has suggested that disrupted sleep and burnout can be associated with a “heightened risk of not only becoming infected with coronavirus, but also having more severe disease and a longer recovery period”.

the BMJ writes: “Every 1-hour increase in the amount of time spent asleep at night was associated with 12 per cent lower odds of becoming infected with Covid-19, the findings indicate.”

The peer-reviewed study surveyed 2,884 healthcare workers across France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK, and the USA.

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It asked about lifestyle factors, including how much sleep they got. Out of the total, 568 caught Covid-19.

the BMJ added: “Around 1 in 4 of those with Covid-19 reported difficulties sleeping at night compared with around 1 in 5 (21%; 495) of those without the infection.”

And one in 20 of those with Covid-19 said they had three or more sleep problems, including difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep, or needing to use sleeping pills on three or more nights of the week, compared with 65 of those without the infection .

Compared with those who had no sleep problems, those with three had 88% greater odds of Covid-19 infection.

“Proportionally, more of those with Covid-19 reported daily burnout than did those without the infection: 31 (5.5 per cent) compared with 71 (3 per cent),” the study added.

The researchers, who were from several hospitals and institutions, said: “The mechanism underlying these associations remains unclear, but it has been hypothesized that lack of sleep and sleep disorders may adversely influence the immune system by increasing proinflammatory cytokines and histamines.”

What about long Covid?

Experts also believe there is a connection between long Covid and insomnia.

sleep station says: “The first study exclusively looking at people with long Covid showed that they had a significantly higher rate of insomnia than subjects who never had Covid-19.

“The survey also showed that higher levels of pain and discomfort, anxiety or depression were observed in people with long Covid than in those who were never infected.

“In another study, a thorough review of the published literature, somewhere between 21.7%-53% of people with long Covid complain of sleep disorders or insomnia.

“So why is Covid-19 infection leading to increased rates of insomnia? It’s not clear cut but it appears to be down to several reasons:

  • The physical symptoms of long Covid can disturb sleep;
  • Mental health symptoms, such as depression, anxiety and stress can interfere with sleep;
  • Residual inflammation throughout the body may have a role to play.”

What are the symptoms of long Covid?

Common long-term Covid symptoms include:

  • extreme tiredness (fatigue)
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain or tightness
  • problems with memory and concentration (“brain fog”)
  • difficulty sleeping (insomnia)
  • heart palpitations
  • dizziness
  • pins and needles
  • joint pain
  • depression and anxiety
  • tinnitus, earaches
  • feeling sick, diarrhea, stomach aches, loss of appetite
  • a high temperature, cough, headaches, sore throat, changes to sense of smell or taste
  • rashes

What are the symptoms of Covid?

The NHS recently updated its recognized Covid-19 symptoms beyond the three it originally said.

It stated: “Symptoms of coronavirus (Covid-19) in adults can include:

  • a high temperature or shivering (chills) – a high temperature means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
  • shortness of breath
  • feeling tired or exhausted
  • an aching body
  • a headache
  • a sore throat
  • a blocked or runny nose
  • loss of appetite
  • diarrhea
  • feeling sick or being sick”

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