Year two of the COVID-19 Pandemic Brings Increased Sleep Debt for Many.
As the world continues to struggle through the pandemic, many are finding themselves on edge, burnt out, and suffering disrupted sleep patterns. The sustained stress the pandemic brings can also lead to the accumulation of sleep debt.
William D. Killgore, Ph.D., director of the Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience (SCAN) Lab at the University of Arizona, said in an interview, "Sleep disruption due to anxiety, long hours, and stress can lead to a vicious circle that maintains sleep problems and the emotional effects of traumatic experiences."
Sleep deprivation also alters one's mood and emotional processing. Without sufficient sleep, individuals are prone to physical and emotional burnout, and everyday tasks can sometimes become overwhelming.
Restful sleep is vital to wellbeing, and it is essential also to understand other sleep debt complications. Bruxism is a condition in which you grind, gnash or clench your teeth in your sleep and can also be caused by increased anxiety, stress, anger, and frustration.
Because you may have sleep bruxism and be unaware of it until complications develop, it's essential to know the signs and symptoms of bruxism and to seek remedies as soon as possible.
Common symptoms of bruxism are:
- Teeth grinding or clenching, which may be loud enough to wake up your sleep partner
- Teeth that are flattened, fractured, chipped, or loose
- Worn tooth enamel, exposing deeper layers of your tooth
- Increased tooth pain or sensitivity
- Tired or tight jaw muscles, or a locked jaw that won't open or close completely
- Jaw, neck, or face pain or soreness
- Pain that feels like an earache, though it's And of course, not a problem with your ear
- Dull headache starting in the temples
- Damage from chewing on the inside of your cheek
- Sleep disruption
Bruxism and increased sleep debt can be prevented using a mouthguard. A mouthguard, when fit properly, fits snugly over the teeth to prevent teeth from grinding against each other.
The world may never return to the normal it once knew, but you can make positive changes in your sleep. Learning to care for your wellbeing and proactively adopting healthy changes may be the tipping point to eliminating sleep debt.