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Are you suffering from coronasomnia? An expert explains how Covid-19 can mess with your sleep

It could also have something to do with working from home

02 February 2021 - 14:00 By cebelihle bhengu
Anxiety and stress are exploding during the lockdown, says the SA Depression and Anxiety Group.
Anxiety and stress are exploding during the lockdown, says the SA Depression and Anxiety Group.
Image: 123rf/kzenon

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country in March last year, many South Africans are suffering from “coronasomnia”, says clinical technologist Anton Fourie.

Speaking to Jacaranda FM on Monday, Fourie said many people have found their sleeping patterns have been affected by changes brought about by the pandemic.

“We are creatures of habits and our routines and habits have been broken by the coronavirus. Many are working different hours and sleep is something that is very dependent on routine. With working from home, we have broken those hours,” he said.

Fourie advised people to establish routines and avoid using technological devices before bedtime.

Last month, the SA Depression and Anxiety Group (Sadag) told TimesLIVE it has been inundated with calls since March last year. Call volumes had more than doubled to 1,400 a day, and these numbers continue to increase every month.

Operations director Cassey Chambers said unemployment, work and financial stress and relationship problems amplified anxiety, stress and loneliness during the early months of the lockdown.

“We are receiving more calls related to depression, trauma and suicide. We are receiving many complex cases. Many people are desperate, burnt out and overwhelmed,” she said.

Dr Kerissa Naidoo, Old Mutual’s chief medical officer, said in 2019 the insurer paid out about 59% more in disability claims for psychiatric disorders than in 2016. Most claimants were aged between 30 and 50 and major depression accounted for 62% of psychiatric claims.