Experts say pandemic insomnia has mental health effect

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- If you're having trouble sleeping, new research says you can probably blame the pandemic.

Experts say pandemic insomnia is soaring, and that difficulty sleeping is the most common mental health effect people are dealing with.

Researchers from the University of Ottawa in Canada gathered 190,000 people, including survivors, family members and health care workers affected by COVID-19 to evaluate their mental health.

Almost one out of four of those affected by COVID-19 reported experiencing insomnia.

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Those researchers said if you find yourself becoming a night owl, here are 5 tips to help you sleep better:

Start the day off right

Waking up at the same time every day is an important way to create a reliable rhythm. If you wake up early on weekdays and sleep in on the weekends, you are putting yourself in a state of perpetual jet lag.

Energize early, not late
Try to get 30 to 40 minutes of bright light exposure first thing in the morning to show your body's internal clock the day has begun. Daily exercise is a great way to ensure we feel sleepy at bedtime, but don't exercise too late.

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Prepare for bed

Start winding down as soon as the sun starts to set. Limit screen time within an hour of bedtime, wear blue-light-blocking glasses and consider adding an app like F.lux, which filters out the bright blue light.

Create a sleep sanctuary
For best sleep, the bedroom should be cool and pitch-black. Remove TVs and computers, and avoid working in bed.

And if all else fails, see your doctor to get to the root of the problem.

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