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Live Mic: How to cope with the effect of the pandemic on your sleep

On average, Utahns are losing roughly 13.4 hours of sleep a night since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic -- missing out on almost two hours a night. (Photo illustration: Shutterstock via CNN)

SALT LAKE CITY — The coronavirus pandemic first blew up your daily routines — dropping off the kids at schools and rolling into work — but now it has messed with your sleep, which boosts your body’s immune system and helps fight off disease.

Time to bring the expert on. 

The pandemic and your sleep

Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry spoke with Dr. Kevin Walker, medical director of Intermountain Healthcare’s Sleep Disorders Center.

The doctor says sleep problems are common even in non-pandemic times but added he is seeing more patients under increased stress and anxiety amid worries about work, finances and having children at home instead of in school because of the pandemic.

“Stress and sleep just don’t play well together,” said Walker. “And so along with increased stress, we often see more insomnia, more sleep problems that can creep up.”

Write your worries down

“What can people do get a better night’s sleep?”

Walker said write down your concerns, worries and tasks that need to get done before going to sleep.

“You put it down on paper and that kinda gives your mind permission not to stress or worry about it when you’re trying to go to sleep,” Walker said.

Exercise works great in dealing with stress and aids in sleep, Walker said. 

Make sleep a priority

What about new parents? What can they do to get a good night’s sleep with a newborn waking up throughout the night?

“When you have other things that are going to disrupt your sleep — and new babies definitely do that — it becomes more important to prioritize sleep and protect your sleep, and so, a lot of those same routine sleep-hygiene recommendations or sleep habits are even more critical,” Walker said.


Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry can be heard weekdays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.