Covid-19 has changed the landscape across the world, and media has not been the exception. The pandemic provides an unending supply of news and updates. Some of these are important and essential for our daily life, while others are simply stressful and add to the overall frustration you might feel. The effects of this kind of news are not as harmless as they might seem – they might be keeping you up at night.
The pandemic has contributed to the rise in popularity of the term Revenge Bedtime Procrastination. This describes a behavior of endlessly browsing social media feeds at night even though your body is tired and you know you have to sleep. However, many of us have a hard time walking away or closing the app simply because it feels like a productive and important thing to be doing. The habit of endless scrolling the feeds is called doomscrolling.
It can seem innocuous on the surface, but in reality it can add to the stress we feel. We become hyperaware of every bad thing going on, and with the pandemic the bad things seem to have multiplied. Seeking out updates about our country and seeing the crises going on elsewhere can make us feel as if the world was in a truly awful place. Seeking out news can make us feel more anxious and stressed out, but usually it is about things we can do nothing about, such as systemic problems or cases of corruption or the progression of the virus. This can lead to feelings of helplessness and difficulties with stress that can make it hard for us to relax and, as a result, to sleep.
Coronasomnia is a new phenomenon that leads to insomnia, and many people have reported having a hard time sleeping since the pandemic began. While it is not because of doomscrolling alone, that has definitely been a contributor to sleep disturbances. An overexposure to the news can cause a lot of stress that we cannot quite get rid of because it cannot be solved by us. It stays with us and can loom over our rest and leisure.
The solution is not to stop reading news at all, but to limit doomscrolling behavior. Give yourself permission not to engage with topics that specially upset you or leave you feeling helpless and concerned. Wikipedia provides news without too many details, for example, and you can check out the headlines if you want to stay up to date. Avoid sites that focus on making you angry, sad, and fearful. You can be informed without long sleep.
Coronasomnia has a lot of causes, but you can significantly reduce your stress by cutting down on doomscrolling and other behaviors that involve absorbing a lot of negative information. It adds to stress and, because these are not things happening to you, this stress cannot be resolved by taking action. Limit your consumption of news, especially those that inspire negative emotions. You should be able to sleep better without all that weight on your mind.
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