Sleep disorders after COVID-19

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Recently, scientists conducted a study on sleep disorders, mood and fatigue after COVID-19.

They found these factors are interrelated and recommend a comprehensive approach to treat the problem effectively.

The research is published in Neuroscience and Behavioral Psychology and was conducted by a team from the HSE Centre for Cognition and Decision Making and the Central State Medical Academy.

In the study, the team examined 119 hospitalized patients with confirmed COVID-19 diagnoses who completed four questionnaires for depression, anxiety, fatigue and sleep disorders.

Patients with higher than average scores in the results of questionnaires also underwent psychiatric interviews.

The team found high levels of mood disturbances and sleep disorders among study participants.

In all, 28% of respondents reported a decline in mood, 27% experienced a disruption in the quality of their sleep, and 73% suffered from fatigue.

Higher levels of fatigue increased the risk of anxiety and depression. Likewise, increased anxiety and a decline in mood also affected overall vitality.

The findings suggest that depression can make people who have recovered from COVID-19 feel less vigorous in their daily lives.

Doctors often attribute patients’ rapid loss of energy to the organic consequences of the infection, losing sight of the anxiety and mood disorders that can be masked by the infectious disease.

Such an approach can result in a protracted course of asthenia during recovery from the illness, despite favorable physiological parameters.

The results also showed that increased anxiety and depression have an effect on the quality of sleep.

The patients’ sleep problems are more often attributed to physiological disturbances such as the consequences of a stay in intensive care and the effects of a prolonged lack of movement, but not to mood disorders.

Foreign studies have looked at the high prevalence of mood and sleep disorders in coronavirus patients during the current and past epidemics.

For example, according to Italian studies, anxiety levels have increased from 5% to 36% and sleep disorders from 27.6% to 51.2% during the current epidemic.

The data obtained support theories about the relationship between sleep disorders, mood and fatigue. One of these aspects is often missed during patient exams.

It is no easy task to treat mood disturbances, increased anxiety and impaired sleep quality in COVID-19 patients during their illness and recovery.

First of all, the authors note, the drugs prescribed should be compatible with physiological indicators and test results (functions of the lungs, liver, kidneys and cardiovascular system) and should be checked for cross-interactions with the main drug treatment.

The authors recommend prescribing low doses of non-benzodiazepine anxiolytics (benzodiazepine tranquilizers can adversely affect weakened respiratory systems) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

The prescribed treatment must be monitored by a doctor and the prescribed doses should be carefully tested and titrated.

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If you care about sleep, please read studies about melatonin: should I take it to help me sleep, and common drug for anxiety and sleep problems may harm cognitive functions.

For more information about COVID, please see recent studies about new way to treat severe COVID-19 complications, and results showing this drug may prevent severe COVID-19.

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