AUSTIN (KXAN) — COVID-19 cases may be declining, but another health problem is increasing as more people are reaching out to figure out why they can’t sleep.
Depression and anxiety are just two of the problems people have reported during the pandemic and sleep experts say its keeping people up at night.
“During the pandemic we had a surge in anecdotal reports of an increase in insomnia,” said Dr. Stanley Wang, medical director at the Sleep Disorder Center at the Heart Hospital of Austin.
Dr. Wang says as the pandemic continues on he has seen more people stopping by to figure out what is going on.
“We actually started using a term called “Coronasomnia” to describe the phenomena,” said Wang.
Dr. Wang says some of it can be blamed on stress and anxiety, but also a change in schedules or daily routines.
“Routines are really important for trying to maintain your sleep hygiene and telling your brain when to feel sleepy and when not to,” said Wang.
At Texas State’s Round Rock campus the Ascension Seton Williamson Sleep Center is the first step in finding out what’s wrong. .
“We have the cameras there to watch the patients at night,” said Texas State Professor Chris Russian. “As the patient sleeps the sleep specialist is scrolling through and looking at the data.”
Russian says everything from movement and breathing patterns to snoring and heart rate are monitored.
A sleep study can help pinpoint issues, but there are a few things you can do now to possibly help yourself sleep better.
“Sleep at the same time, wake up at the same time and even if possible eat your meals at the same time,” said Wang.
You should also avoid looking at your phone or other bright screens right before getting in bed.
Even with COVID-19 cases slowing down Wang says they are now seeing more people.
“People who haven’t re-established their sleep hygiene are coming in with lingering sleep problems even though the pandemic is cooling off.”
If you have trouble sleeping experts suggest meeting with your doctor.