Some COVID Long-Haulers Experiencing Sleep Issues

A sleep specialist explains what kind of sleep issues COVID long-haulers are experiencing and offers some advice.

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CLEVELAND – Many people who have recovered from COVID-19 are still dealing with long-term complications from the virus.

Their symptoms are wide-ranging, but one of the more common issues reported involves difficulties with sleep.

“Sleep disorders are one of the most common symptoms that patients who suffer from post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection are having these days. So mainly what we are finding is that they complain from insomnia, fatigue, also brain fog, some of them present sometimes circadian rhythm disorders,” said Cinthya Pena, MD, sleep specialist for Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Pena said circadian rhythm disorders occur when a person’s internal clock is out of sync with their environment. As a result, they may suffer from insomnia, daytime sleepiness, difficult waking up, depression and stress in relationships.

Dr. Pena said they don’t know why some COVID long-haulers are experiencing sleep-related issues. That is something researchers are still trying to understand.

They also aren’t sure how long those symptoms could persist for. However, the good news is that they are treatable.

“This is just from my personal experience that those patients we were seeing a year ago in our clinic, some of them that are already after ten, twelve months of treatment, I can see some of them are improving their sleep issues. But there is no exact data, or the literature has not revealed how long symptoms are going to last,” she said.

Dr. Pena said if you have recovered from COVID-19 and are dealing with ongoing sleep issues, be sure to consult with your physician. Sleep plays an important role in a person’s health.

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