LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — As we hopefully move closer to the end of the pandemic, it's time to start assessing ourselves. One thing you'll realize is, you're tired! All this stress takes a toll on your sleep.
In honor of National Sleep Awareness Week, 13 Action News anchor Tricia Kean spoke with a local expert about getting a good night's rest as part of our rebound coverage.
"I would doze off during the day at work," said John Courter, who suffers from sleep apnea.
He says the stress of the pandemic makes for a one-two exhaustive punch.
"It can play havoc with your sleep pattern," Courter said.
To provide Courter with the quality sleep he needs, doctors prescribed a CPAP machine.
"When I go to bed I can sleep almost right away and then get up when it's time to get up. So I feel rested," Courter said.
COMPLAINTS OF INSOMNIA
Plenty of people in the valley will tell you just the opposite.
"Complaints of insomnia or sleep disturbances or not enough sleep has been something that's gotten worse over the course of the pandemic," said Dr. Tara Rachakonda with The Sleep Center of Nevada.
She says a good night's rest is essential for our mental and physical health. While sleeping the body grows muscle, repairs tissue and helps us restore and rejuvenate. But more and more people are visiting The Sleep Center with clear signs of sleep deprivation.
"Definitely excessive daytime sleepiness, falling asleep at work, falling asleep while driving... Your memory, you have memory impairment with chronic sleep loss over time," Rachakonda said.
LOST SENSE OF ROUTINE
Studies suggest poor sleep may also contribute to heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer's. When we're tired, we're more likely to overeat and more susceptible to getting sick. Rachakonda says a major culprit for recent sleep loss is a lack of daily structure.
"One of the big things that has happened during the pandemic is, people have lost their sense of routine," Rachakonda said.
She says people also have some very bad habits.
"Electronics have kind of invaded our lives. Shutting down the phone about 30 to 60 minutes before wanting to go to sleep is a good idea... Maybe cutting down on alcohol, nicotine. That's really important. Reducing your caffeine intake, trying to make some lifestyle changes," Rachakonda said.
She says it's also a good idea to socialize with others, even if it's only virtually.
"Social isolation can be very devastating. It can make us depressed and we know there's sort of a reciprocal relationship between mood and sleep. So one definitely affects the other," Rachakonda said.
Courter agrees and says people need to work on getting proper sleep.
TAKE SLEEP SERIOUSLY
"If anybody feels like they need to take a drink or some kind of medication to help them sleep, they need to get help. Because you're only manipulating your rest," Courter said.
His message is pretty clear: "Take your sleep seriously."