Mental Health

Sleep and How the Pandemic Affects It

For a few decades in the past, researchers were completely confused about what happens to one’s 3 lb universe, or the brain, when one sleeps. For the past five years, scientists have only started to begin to understand the chemical reactions that happen in the brain. 

One major reason why people need sleep is because it prevents many brain diseases, like Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

Alzheimer’s is a very common disease; it is the sixth leading cause for death with more than 3 million cases per year. This disease usually leads to dementia, another type of brain disease. Those who have Alzheimer’s are usually 65 years or older, but it is very possible to get the disease under 65 years. Individuals who are diagnosed with this deadly disease usually have about four to eight years, but in some special cases, up to 20 years left. Symptoms for Alzheimer’s include memory loss, and the ability to learn something easily. Although a patient can go through therapy, there is no cure for this disease yet. 

Due to COVID-19, many things have changed, including sleeping schedules. According to Current Biology, 8% more Americans are getting 7+ hours of sleep thanks to COVID-19. The average difference in bedtime on weeks days is over 50 minutes. Jeffrey Kluger states that “Americans are staying up later and sleeping longer under COVID-19 lockdown conditions.” This means that many Americans are finally getting the right amount of sleep. 

Sources:

https://nypost.com/2017/11/18/this-is-how-many-spiders-we-actually-swallow-in-our-sleep/

Time Magazine

https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-alzheimers

Categories: Mental Health