Why Does Quarantine Make Us So Tired?

May 14, 2020

People in quarantine, who have more time to sleep than ever, are reportedly feeling sluggish and tired. The Washington Post asked some experts why. Harvard"s Rebecca Robbins says the uncertainty of this time combined with concern for others is the perfect storm for insomnia. Expert Gail Saltz of New York-Presbyterian Hospital says that the repetitive days under duress takes its toll on the brain. "Chronic stress raises cortisol levels . . . and it can certainly cause you to have more awakenings during the night. It doesn't matter if you have the time to sleep,” she said. Robbins also said that having more hours to sleep doesn't actually mean you will sleep better. If you allow yourself to lie there and toss and turn, “you can actually start to develop insomnia because the bed starts to be that stressful place . . . as opposed to where you fall into peaceful slumber.” Too much sleep can also affect your cognitive ability. “Oversleeping is likely to make you feel ‘less sharp-minded’ and ‘blah’ in terms of mood,” Saltz said. The experts said there are steps you can take for better sleep: get more exposure to sunlight, limit your caffeine intake, and set, and stick to, a sleep schedule.