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Harvard Sounds Off On Insomnia

June 10, 2020

Insomnia is a hot topic in good times, but factor in a global pandemic and it becomes fodder for ivy league musings in The Harvard Gazette. Dubbed “the latest casualty” in the COVID-19 crisis, lack of sleep is the latest bio-rhythm to go off kilter during lockdowns and quarantines

Harvard correspondent Clea Simon wrote the article during the mid-April core of the quarantine at a time when countless people around the world began experiencing the diabolical side effects of poor sleep. Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health saw fit to run an online forum on the topic, the fourth in a series of weekly sessions addressing “the emotional and psychological effects of the pandemic.”

Calling the current situation a “perfect storm of sleep problems,” Donn Posner, the forum’s featured speaker, pointed out how disrupted daily routines worsen the sleep-robbing stress of the pandemic. “Think of sleep problems as infection,” said Posner, president of Sleepwell Associates and an adjunct clinical associate professor at Stanford University School of Medicine in the Harvard Gazette article. “We want to jump on it quickly. Think of it as a risk factor that we want to get on top of lest it spread.”

“To nip insomnia in the bud, Posner recommended simple behavioral changes,” wrote Simon. “For example, even though it may seem counterintuitive after a lost night’s sleep, avoid napping, or at least cut it short. Likening naps to snacks, he warned that napping for longer than 20 minutes, or late in the day, ruins our “appetite” for sleep. Likewise, he dispelled the idea that sleeping late on weekends or after a night tossing and turning can make up for lost sleep.”

Source: Harvard Gazette

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