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Healthy Women: Sleep issues caused by stress of pandemic

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Health experts say sleep is one of the most important parts of overall health and well-being. Yet it can be one of the first things people let slip when life gets busy.

Uncertainty and stress associated with the pandemic have made sleep hard to come by for some Coloradans.

"Sleep is so important, 7-8 hours of continued sleep for adults is very important for brain function to keep us alert and work on concentration," says Doctor Andrea Manhart, a neurologist at UCHealth. "Helps prevent headaches and helps prevent depression." 

Dr. Manhart says some women are struggling with this more than others, due to all the life and work that changed in the last two years.

"Insomnia has increased when people are under stress the pandemic has given people a lot of stress and it can be hard to sleep," says Dr. Manhart.

For many Americans, sleep problems aren't new but have been made worse by the pandemic. Doctors say more than one-third of Americans haven't received enough sleep on a regular basis for years.

According to the CDC, not getting enough quality sleep can lead to drowsy driving. Health experts say that poses a serious risk to the driver and others on the road.

The CDC also says lack of sleep can increase your risk for a number of chronic diseases and conditions. Including diabetes, heart issues, and depression.

"Indirectly the pandemic has affected a lot of aspects of our life," says Dr. Manhart. "Less activity leads to obesity which increases your risk of sleep apnea which in turn impacts your risk for heart attack and stroke by about 5-6 percent per person."

If you are looking to get better sleep and more of it, there are a few things doctors recommend. Set up a schedule at the beginning of the week and follow it. make note of when you plan to eat, work, go to the gym, sleep, and any other important things on your calendar. Eat dinner well before you plan to go to sleep and try eliminating screen time before bed.

If you still aren't seeing results, it's best to talk to your doctor about other options.

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Brynn Carman

Brynn is an anchor on Good Morning Colorado. Learn more about Brynn here.

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